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Welfare reform on the Web (December 2006): Education - Overseas

The charter school allure: can traditional schools measure up?

J.J. May

Education and Urban Society, vol.39, 2006, p.19-45

In the USA the school choice policy introduced by President George W. Bush allows pupils to leave failing state schools and attend alternative establishments at public expense. Millions of dollars are following pupils choosing to leave traditional state schools and attend alternative educational settings. This is causing significant revenue loss to struggling state schools. This study interviewed 260 parents who had withdrawn their children from state schools to attend charter schools in he past two years. Results show that, despite the absence of statistically significant academic gains, parents perceive an enhanced educational experience, including smaller classes, stronger discipline and improved communication with teachers. These features can be emulated by traditional state schools seeking to win back pupils.

Charter schools and urban regimes in neoliberal context: making workers and new spaces in metropolitan Atlanta

K.B. Hankins and D.G. Martin

International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol.30, 2006, p.528-547

This research analysed the motivations behind the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s championing of the cause of charter schools. It is argued that the newspaper functions as part of an urban regime and takes an interest in charter schools for four reasons: 1) to challenge traditional state education to adopt more neoliberal policies; 2) because it views charter schools as having a role making the region more competitive in the global market place; 3) because it approves of their flexibility in meeting local needs; and 4) because it sees the charter school movement as part of a broader shift towards neoliberal governance.

Education, technology and the “new” knowledge economy: views from Bongoland

A. Stambach and G.A. Malekela

Globalization, Societies and Education, vol.4, 2006, p.321-336

ICT policies and education programmes are commonly viewed as 1) providing cheaper access to quality education; 2) a means of building human capacity; 3) key to accelerated economic development; and 4) vital for bridging a digital divide between rich and poor countries. ICT education policies suggest that ICTs are a new tool for development; that they foster inclusive and democratic debate; and that they unite diverse peoples. This article presents a critique of these ideas through an analysis of postings on the Tanzanian discussion web site www.bongoland.net

Educational decentralization in three Asian societies: Japan, Korea and Hong Kong

E. S. Ho

Journal of Educational Administration, vol.44, 2006, p.590-603

Data from the first cycle of the programme for international student assessment were analysed to investigate the degree of educational decentralisation in three Asian societies: Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. Results showed four models of decentralisation: school-driven, highly centralised, teacher-driven and highly decentralised. The school-driven model was dominant in Hong Kong with a number of decisions delegated to upper levels of administration within the school, such as the school board. However levels of school autonomy and teacher participation in Japan and Korea were much lower, indicating dominance of the centralised model of governance.

From union inspired to industry led: how Australian labour’s training reform experiment turned sour

T. Brown

Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.48, 2006, p.491-505

Between 1983 and 1996 trade unions in Australia inspired a series of vocational education and training reforms implemented by a succession of labour governments. These reforms aimed at complete systemic change by linking skill development to wages through the award system. The union-inspired reforms envisioned a consensus between business, government and the labour movement which broke down when the conservative Howard became prime minister. Business and state bureaucracies reasserted control and sidelined union involvement in vocational education reform.

“Glocalizing” education: focusing in and focusing out

G. G. Reed

Citizenship, Social and Economics Education, vol.7, 2006, p.16-25

This paper describes how focusing on local, indigenous knowledge facilitates the building of competencies that are crucial for global citizenship. To illustrate how schools in Hawaii are focusing on indigenous knowledge while at the same time fostering global competencies, the author explores a curriculum that is common to many Hawaiian schools, the Ahupua’a curriculum. The ancient Hawaiian Ahupua’a was a strip of land which supported a self-contained community working together to meet the needs of all in a spirit of co-operation and reverence for the land.

Government managing risk: income contingent loans for social and economic progress

B. Chapman

London: Routledge, 2006

In recent years there has been a world-wide movement towards the use of income contingent loans (ICLs) for higher education. ICLs can be seen as a remarkably flexible government risk instrument. They were first used in Australia in 1989 and Part I of this book presents an extensive conceptual and empirical analysis of their use in higher education financing. Part II significantly broadens the discussion through a consideration of a number of ICL policy applications in a range of disparate areas, including drought relief, the collection of fines associated with criminal activity, community investment projects and ICLs for housing credits for low-income earners. Part III examines the similarities and dissimilarities of these ICL reforms and proposes several other possible areas of policy that might be improved through reforms of this type.

Imagining multilingual schools: languages in education and glocalization

O. Garcia, T. Skutnabb-Kangas and M. E. Torres-Guzman (editors)

Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2006

The book brings together visions and realities of multilingual schools throughout the world in order to examine the pedagogical, socio-educational, and socio-political issues that impact on their development and success. The chapters describe and analyse pedagogical, instructional and policy efforts to develop multilingualism through schools with different targeted populations – immigrant students, indigenous peoples, traditional minorities, majorities and multiethnic/ multilingual groups. The book also emphasises the importance of local conditions, despite the global pressures of the 21st century, in imagining and creating multilingual educational spaces.

Mission impossible? School level student democracy

K. Børhaug

Citizenship, Social and Economics Education, vol.7, 2006, p.26-41

Norwegian schools have for several decades operated student councils. The national curriculum requires that councils are included in decision-making concerning the management and development of the school as an exercise in democracy. The paper examines council practice in five lower secondary schools and concludes that they function well, but without adhering to democratic standards.

Municipally operated charter schools: a new trend in community services

P.M. Brown

Education and Urban Society, vol.39, 2006, p.3-18

Many cities throughout the USA are experiencing rapid population growth and an increased demand for public services, including schools. In some states, school districts are unable to build and open schools quickly enough to meet demand. Municipal leaders have also come to believe that good schools and the economic vitality of cities are strongly linked. Municipalities have therefore been encouraged to open charter schools in order to attract workers and residents to the urban core. Municipally operated charter schools offer local residents, agencies and institutions the chance to become active partners in providing educational opportunities and addressing community concerns.

Population policies and education: exploring the contradictions of neo-liberal globalisation

C. Bovill and M. Leppard

Globalization, Societies and Education, vol.4, 2006, p.393-414

Evidence is presented which demonstrates how neo-liberal globalisation’s emphasis on accelerated economic development has led to a drive to reduce population expansion in poorer countries. This has resulted in high levels of coercion in family planning programmes and the promotion of permanent and long-term contraception methods. On the other hand, the role of education programmes, social development, gender equality and empowerment in fertility control have been overlooked. This paper explores in depth the relatively low priority given to the role of women’s education in fertility control.

School choice and school governance: a historical study of the United States and Germany

J. Herbst

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006

Modern school choice had its beginning in the 1950s as a part of wide demographic and cultural transformations that coursed through Western societies. The book investigates the antecedents of today’s school choice policies in the United States and Germany. It also looks at the interactions of parents with school authorities and classroom teachers, including parental demands to gain a hearing on matters of their children’s school’s curricula, discipline, and daily procedures. Finally, it reviews the public debates over legislative and judicial issues concerning state schools.

Work participation and academic performance: a test of alternative propositions

G. Bradley

Journal of Education and Work, vol.19, 2006, p.481-501

Approximately 85% of a sample of 246 students at a single Australian university engaged in paid work in term time, and the majority of their income was derived from their jobs. The research provides little support for claims that the academic grades of working students are inferior to those of their non-working peers or that increasing hours of work are associated with decreasing grades. Nevertheless, a clear relationship was found between work participation and study success: two groups of students - those who did not work at all and those who worked more than 20 hours per week - performed well academically. Further research is needed to explore the strategies which enable students who work long hours to perform well academically.

Working against globalisation: the role of the media and national education in Singapore

A. Koh

Globalization, Societies and Education, vol.4, 2006, p.357-370

This paper discusses how the Singapore government works against globalisation through a state-led and initiated curriculum intervention called the national education programme. This is intended to create in Singaporean youth a sense of cultural mooring and belonging, and a place-bound identity. It seeks to use schooling to inculcate a sense of national identity and ethos in a globalising world.

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