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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2006): Education - Overseas

Challenging partnerships in Australian early childhood education

C. Tayler

Early Years, vol.26, 2006, p.249-265

This paper explores partnerships between parents and teachers in three early childhood education settings in Australia. It also considers partnership working among teachers in these contexts. Using the theme of “strong and equal partnership” between family and school and taking a theoretical standpoint that values social cohesion and community engagement, the three cases are analysed to reveal the administrative processes and approaches that underpinned educational partnerships. Particular early childhood programmes in Queensland and Western Australia, and a literacy support programme in New South Wales fostered education partnerships between parents and teachers, and among professionals, as a key component of effective curriculum. The prevailing management approaches in the different settings enabled partnerships to be enacted in different ways.

Creating sustainable environments in our schools

T. Shallcross and others (editors)

Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books, 2006

The book discusses how children can be educated to become active global citizens who want to achieve sustainable lifestyles. It examines some current European thinking about school development, whole school approaches, self-evaluation and the professional development of teachers. Case studies from the field of environmental education (EE) and education for sustainable development (ESD) illustrate how whole school approaches might develop. The case studies are drawn from England, Finland, Greece, Malta and Portugal. The final chapter explores sources of support for schools seeking to develop whole school approaches.

Criticizing the image of the student as consumer: examining legal trends and administrative responses in the US and UK

T. Kaye, R.D. Bickel and T. Birtwistle

Education and the Law, vol.18, 2006, p.85-129

It is clear that the history of public law and contemporary imagery of contract law have contributed to a perceived “rights” culture in higher education and to the commodification of learning. However, there are clear differences in approaches taken in the two countries. The experience of the US shows a far greater readiness on the part of the courts to defer to the decisions of university authorities, even when matters extend beyond issues of pure academic judgement. In the UK, by contrast, the traditional mechanism for protecting higher education from the demands of the market place, namely the Visitor, is being swept away as an anachronism from a byegone age. Backed by domestic legislation, the British courts have shown a new readiness to read some aspects of the university-student contract along commercial lines.

Democracy, education and equality: Graz-Schumpeter lectures

J. E. Roemer

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006

The book asks whether democracy, modelled as competition between political parties, will result in educational funding policies that will produce citizens who have equal capacities (human capital), thus breaking the link between family background and child prospects. Several models of the problem are studied, which vary according to the educational technology posited, that is, the relationship between family inputs, school inputs, and the eventual human capital of the adult the child becomes.

Diversity in gifted education: international perspectives on global issues

B. Wallace and G. Eriksson (editors)

London: Routledge, 2006

The book questions if national and international systems of education are truly inclusive when it comes to the education of gifted and talented children. It presents different cultural approaches and best practice from around the world. The contributors tackle generic and critical issues in the field of disadvantage and diversity. The chapters:

  • Present an overview of international perspectives on the issues of multicultural and gifted education;
  • Examine the critical issues related to cultural definitions of giftedness in programming for diverse gifted students;
  • Present regional real-life case studies, in order to inform practitioners’ best practice;
  • Examine issues of access for gifted students, in relation to culture, poverty, race and gender.

Education, equality and human rights: issues of gender, ‘race’, sexuality, disability and social class. 2nd ed.

M. Cole (editor)

London: Routledge, 2006

The book addresses the issue of human rights and their relationship to education in the twenty-first century. Each of the five equality issues of gender, race, sexuality, disability and social class are covered as areas in their own right as well as in relation to education. The chapters trace the history of the various issues, such as inclusive education, child poverty, and gender equality in education, etc., up to the present and provide an educational perspective on world-wide equality debates.

Effects of Comprehensive School Reform on student achievement and school change: a longitudinal multi-site study

A. Sterbinsky, S.M. Ross and D. Redfield

School Effectiveness and School Improvement, vol.17, 2006, p.367-397

In 1997 the US Congress authorised the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration (CSRD) programme, which, in 1999-2000 funded more than 1800 schools nationally with a minimum of $50,000 each for three years. By 2002, over 380 models of school reform had been adopted, covering virtually all aspects of school operation. This study investigated the longitudinal impacts of implementation of various CSR models in 12 junior schools in diverse geographic locations. Each school was compared to a demographically similar school on measures of school climate, teacher satisfaction, observed classroom teaching methods, and student achievement on a battery of four individually administered reading tests. Overall, improvements were found in CSRD schools on measures of teacher attitudes, school climate and student achievement. Observations of teaching strategies also confirmed their general conformity to the pedagogical emphases of the CSR model in use.

Efficiency, equity and girls’ education

J.A. Lincove

Public Administration and Development, vol.26, 2006, p.339-357

It is a challenge for developing countries to ensure equity while creating a national system of education that is cost effective and responsive to local needs. Attention to equity means making education accessible to groups that have historically displayed low demand, such as girls. This means that education policy needs to be designed to promote girls’ education. Unfortunately, some of the strategies that improve the efficiency of the education system also undermine equity. In particular, privatisation and decentralisation transfer costs to parents and communities, potentially decreasing demand for education for girls. In the long run these policies will harm economic development because female literacy is important to development outcomes. This article analyses three World Bank education projects in the context of gender equity.

An enlightened use of educational monitoring for Greece

P. Korilaki

International Journal of Educational Management, vol.20, 2006, p.415-438

In 2002 the Greek government passed a law which set out to improve the performance of all those working in the education system (teachers, school counsellors and educational administrators) through assessment exercises. This article suggests the use of the school effectiveness research methodology as part a monitoring system to identify schools performing at below average level and disadvantaged groups of pupils. It should be coupled with school improvement initiatives and support schemes to alleviate the discrepancies in performance brought to light.

Ideology, curriculum, and the new sociology of education: revisiting the work of Michael Apple

L. Weis, C. McCarthy, and G. Dimitriadis (editors)

London: Routledge, 2006

Michael Apple was one of the first scholars to bring a neo-Marxist perspective to issues of the curriculum in the United States. Beginning with the publication of the “Ideology and curriculum” (1979), Apple’s successive volumes have had an enormous and wide-ranging impact as he sought to uncover and articulate the connections between knowledge, teaching, and power in education. This book is a tribute to his contribution to critical scholarship in the field of education, as well as a debate with, and an extension of, the pivotal terms and research that define the corpus of Apple’s scholarship.

Inclusive learning communities: the real challenges facing reform in Malta

C. Bezzina

International Journal of Educational Management, vol.20, 2006, p.453-465

The Maltese government is promoting the creation of networks to foster both the professional development of teachers and school improvement. Networks bring teachers together to discuss their work and tackle issues in an atmosphere of trust and support. Networks can also bring collaborating schools together to share resources and ideas. The author calls for the development of networks into intentional learning communities. These bring people together to develop a learning culture that believes in specific norms and values and in change and risk taking and may truly bring about quality improvement in the Maltese education system.

One step forward, two steps back: immanent critique of the practice of zero tolerance in inclusive schools

S. James and R. Freeze

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.10, 2006, p.581-594

In North America, there has been a significant thrust towards creating schools that are inclusive of all pupils regardless of culture, ability, religion, or disability. However, contradictions in policy and practice have arisen with the implementation of the zero tolerance policy (predetermined punishments for specific offences, e.g. automatic expulsion for carrying a gun). Inclusion and zero tolerance are mutually exclusive both in terms of rhetoric and of implementation. Zero tolerance is an exclusionary practice that is incompatible with the concurrent practice of inclusion. This article suggests various alternative strategies for dealing with pupil misconduct, including reinforcement of positive behaviours, restorative justice, and direct teaching of appropriate behaviours.

Underperformance in primary schools

W.J.C.M. van de Grift and A.A.M. Houtveen

School Effectiveness and School Improvement, vol.17, 2006, p.255-273

There are several theories and hypotheses which purport to explain the emergence of underperforming schools, including:

  • the opportunity to learn hypothesis, which involves pupils not being given sufficient opportunities to learn, due to poor teaching, unavailability of suitable textbooks, etc
  • contingency theory, which predicts that the activities of teachers, principals and school boards mediate between the educational process and situational factors
  • the compensation hypothesis, which predicts that schools in disadvantaged areas have to compensate for the fact that their pupils are falling behind and provide for basic needs before they can work on improvement of educational processes.
  • the additive hypothesis, which predicts that schools in deprived areas with a largely low class intake are at higher risk of poor outcomes due to their apparent reinforcement of social disadvantage

Evidence was found in this study to support each of these theories and hypotheses, using the dataset of the Inspectorate of Education in the Netherlands.

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