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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2007): Education - overseas

Accountability frameworks and children with disabilities: a test of assumptions about improving public education for all students

M.J. McLaughlin and L.M. Rhim

International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, vol. 54, 2007, p. 25-49

Holding state schools accountable for academic outcomes of students is a fundamental feature of current US education policy. This article synthesises the results of 15 years of research on the two dominant accountability frameworks in US education, standards-driven and market-driven, particularly as reflected in charter schools. It illuminates the challenges inherent in applying the two accountability frameworks, and shows how they do and do not address the needs of children with disabilities. Students with disabilities are, arguably, a liability in standards-driven accountability because they cost more to educate and make it harder for schools to meet academic attainment targets. However, policymakers should not simply relegate them to lower alternative standards to avoid sanctioning schools. Instead, they need to identify the incentives that could be used to ensure that children with disabilities are included in the accountability frameworks and to encourage schools to enroll them.

An analysis of accountability policies in Finland and the United States

T. Itkonen and M. Jahnukainen

International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, vol. 54, 2007, p. 5-23

The authors analyse institutional designs, resources devoted to education, public education values, disability policies and student diversity in the United States and Finland in order to try to explain Finland's superior performance on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Findings presented in this article suggest that pupils' academic attainment is related to: 1) national goals with local discretion; 2) resources and their distribution; and 3) institutional values surrounding state education, eg early intervention. Finland's high score on PISA may be explained in part by its policy of allocating extra funding to schools with disproportionate numbers of disadvantaged children and of providing intensive early education to all children under five.

Bridging two worlds: special education and curriculum policy

R. Millar and M. Morton

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.11, 2007, p. 163-176

There is concern that a gulf exists between the two worlds of curriculum development and special education policy. However, there are also promising signs that the gulf between the two worlds is being bridged. After presenting overviews of special education and curriculum policy development in New Zealand, the article ends with some examples of innovative approaches where the school curriculum provides specific support for the inclusion of pupils with disabilities.

Can academic autonomy survive in the knowledge society? A perspective from Britain

M. Henkel

Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 26, 2007, p. 87-99

This paper examines some key contemporary challenges to academic autonomy posed by the knowledge economy and new conceptions of the state. The ideal of academia as a sovereign, bounded territory free by right from intervention in its governance of knowledge development and transmission has been superseded by ideals of engagement with the societies in which academic institutions are "axial structures" whose work is important to governments, businesses and civil society. This paper presents alternative conceptions of institutional and individual self-determination within a reconfigured polity, in which the governance of knowledge and knowledge-based institutions is shared and often contested between the state, the market and academic institutions.

Changing educational contexts, issues and identities: 40 years of Comparative Education

M. Crossley, P. Broadfoot and M. Schweisfurth (editors)

Abingdon: Routledge, 2007

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.28, 2007, p.5-21

The book documents major intellectual and paradigmatic changes in the field of comparative education in the light of the history and development of the journal Comparative Education. It reproduces a selection of articles from the 40 years of the journal's history to illustrate how changing times have been reflected in the nature and quality of published of comparative research. The book explores how new challenges faced by the social sciences have seen shifts in the contexts, issues and priorities attended to by comparativists; and how different approaches to comparative education have influenced the intellectual and professional identities of those involved. Key issues explored include: marketisation, accountability and globalisation. All levels and forms of education are examined, and contexts given specific attention range from American and European systems to those of Japan, China, Malaysia and Africa.

Changing patterns of governance for Australian universities

K. Harman and E. Treadgold

Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 26, 2007, p. 13-29

During the 1980s and 1990s Australian universities adopted a corporate, business or market model of governance in response to neo-liberal economic and new public management agendas which regarded the business model as superior in terms of assuring efficiency and accountability. However, recent dissatisfaction with the corporate model of university governance prompted the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee in 2003 to suggest an alternative "trusteeship" model. This paper discusses the possible adoption of a trusteeship model as an alternative to the widespread "corporate" governance model.

Expanding peripheral activities, increasing accountability demands and reconsidering governance in US higher education

J.D. Thoma

Higher Education Research and Development, vol.26, 2007, p.57-72

There is a significant expansion of activity at the periphery of American higher education institutions, including academic programmes for non-traditional students, partnerships with communities and industry, and various auxiliary activities. These activities tend to be dominated by managers and less influenced by faculty than the academic core. There is also an increase in state and federal government accountability requirements. However, providing performance data to states has proved more of a nuisance than a real threat, while the steady move towards an ever more managed institution on the periphery changes the governance equation, reducing the influence of faculty.

Globalisation, changing nature of the state and governance in education

K.H. Mok and A. Yonezawa (editors)

Globalisation, Societies and Education, vol. 5, 2007, p.1-136

This special issue examines the different strategies for the development and governance of higher education adopted by East Asian countries in response to the growing impact of globalisation. Contributors address the following questions:

  • How do these states cope with the challenges of globalisation on the one hand while maintaining control over higher education policy and management on the other?
  • In what way has the nature of the East Asian developmental state changed in the face of the pressures of globalisation?
  • How have selected East Asian states attempted to change their strategies for the governance of higher education?

Inside the black box of school reform: explaining the how and why of change at Getting Results schools

D. McDougall, W.M. Saunders and C. Goldenberg

International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, vol. 54, 2007, p. 51-89

The study reported in this article contributes to the literature on school change for diverse and traditionally low-achieving populations of pupils. The article reports findings from a qualitative, prospective, external evaluation that explored the internal workings of a whole school reform project. The Getting Results model used in the project is made up of five interdependent elements or change levers: goals (standards), indicators (assessments), assistance (collaboration and professional development), leadership and settings. Findings show that the model was successfully implemented at the project schools and that its implementation established processes that contributed to improved academic attainment at low-achieving schools.

Institutional autonomy for higher education in Vietnam

M. Hayden and L. Q. Thiep

Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 26, 2007, p. 73-85

In 2005 Vietnam accepted the case for granting autonomy to higher education institutions, which had been traditionally subject to strict central control by the state. The Ministry of Higher Education and Training has developed a reform agenda for higher education, most of which has been approved by the government. Measures supportive of institutional autonomy in higher education now need to be put in place. There is a need for the creation of a legislative basis for institutional autonomy, clarification of accountability relationships, the development of managerial expertise for the exercise of institutional self-government, and the building of confidence and trust in the new system.

'Modern' governance and codes of conduct in Dutch higher education

H. de Boer and L. Goedegebuure

Higher Education Research and Development, vol.26, 2007, p. 45-55

Government higher education policy in the Netherlands has been strongly focused in recent years on enhancing the institutional autonomy of universities, particularly in relation to their non-academic affairs. This policy is being advanced by a new Bill to replace the Higher Education and Research Act 1993. The Bill proposes several measures aimed at increasing the self-regulatory capability of higher education. Codes of conduct have been proposed as a mechanism for increasing the self-regulatory capacity of Dutch universities. In this article the new approach is critically discussed and its potential and drawbacks highlighted.

Public sector reform in Dutch higher education: the organizational transformation of the university

H. de Boer, J. Enders and L. Leisyte

Public Administration, vol.85, 2007, p.27-46

This article describes changes in the governance of Dutch higher education over the past twenty years and examines their consequences for the university as an organisation. It is argued that traditional mechanisms of governance in higher education, state regulation and academic self-governance, have lost some ground, while new modes of governance in the form of state "steering at a distance", new public management, communicative planning and network approaches have gained ground. The authors use a framework that focuses on the construction of identity, hierarchy and rationality to systematically analyse various aspects of the transformation of universities.

Perspectives of a school for all

J. Brodin and P. Lindstrand

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 11, 2007, p. 133-145

The authors argue that truly inclusive schools should offer all pupils, with or without special needs, the support they need to take advantage of the education on offer and to realise their potential. If it is a central task of schools to teach children to read and write, and if some children find this more difficult than others, then instruction needs to be adapted to the child's capacities. In this article, different aspects of inclusive schools are highlighted and discussed from a Swedish perspective.

School reform, standards testing and English language learners

A. Laguardia and P. Goldman

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 11, 2007, p. 111-131

School reform in the USA after 1990 moved rapidly towards high-stakes, standardised assessments that created benchmarks for secondary graduation and, in some places, for yearly advancement from grade to grade. At the same time, increased migration brought in more and more children unable to speak English well enough to succeed in school without extra help. Interviews with state and local education officials in Oregon and Washington explored how American educators serving these English language learners addressed their students' needs as they faced the assessments mandated by school reform legislation. Respondents believed that the standards would make schools more accountable for English language learner success, but also acknowledged that the schools lacked the resources, skills and will to support them effectively. They noted public resistance to educational changes that threatened to divert resources away from traditional educational programmes into projects for second language learners.

Shifting roles and approaches: government coordination of post-secondary education in Canada, 1995-2006

T. Shanahan and G.A. Jones

Higher Education Research and Development, vol.26, 2007, p. 31-43

The Canadian federal government was the major source of financial support for the post-war expansion of higher education through a system of transfer payments to provinces. However the 1995 federal budget changed this arrangement. Since 1995 the federal government has focused on massive investment in research and development, and addressing student financial support issues. Provincial governments have expanded post-secondary systems and increased institutional diversity and the role of the market in provision, while at the same time developing more mechanisms of coordination and accountability.

Taking it on board: quality audit findings for higher education governance

J. Baird

Higher Education Research and Development, vol.26, 2007, p.101-115

Governance can be defined as the processes by which organisations are directed, controlled and held to account. In Australia, universities are governed by a council with overall responsibility for overseeing the management of the institution chaired by the chancellor. Responsibility for managing academic quality assurance processes is usually delegated by the governing council to an academic board or senate, which may be a committee of the governing body. This paper compares quality audit findings in respect of the work of these two bodies in Australian universities.

University mission and identity for a post post-public era

S. Marginson

Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 26, 2007, p. 117-131

This paper focuses on two movements which are reshaping universities in Australia and other countries. The first set of changes has been set in train by global research rankings which are ordering research universities in a single hierarchy or league table and tend to push them into the same mould. Institutions compete and are judged on the quality of their research. The second set of changes springs from the growing emphasis on specialisation or diversity. This movement works in almost the opposite manner to university rankings. At its best it calls on universities to be themselves and allows them to be different.

Women's movements and new public management: higher education in Sweden and England

J. Barry, J. Chandler and E. Berg

Public Administration, vol. 85, 2007, p. 103-122

This article considers change in higher education in Sweden and England, focusing on gender equity and new public management reforms. It draws on social movement theory to argue that public sector agendas in these countries have been influenced by their respective women's movements as well as by new public management. These developments are explored through the experiences of a group of employees whose voices are seldom heard, those in middle-level academic positions in universities who are responsible for delivering change. It is argued that the rational, hierarchical, masculine discourses of new public management offer challenges to women's movement supporters, whose responses are examined.

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