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

Equality and the freedom to choose the “what and when” of schooling: students with special educational needs in timetable-free settings

A. Ahl

European Journal of Special Needs Education, vol.22, 2007, p.183-197

In 1999 the Swedish government initiated an experiment in which the national timetable was dropped in elementary schools in 79 trailblazing municipalities for a period of five years. No change, however, was proposed with regard to national curricula and national grading criteria. In the pilot schools, the day was divided into ordinary lessons and work periods, characterized by autonomous work and freedom of choice for the pupils. This paper focuses on an investigation of how abolition of the timetable impacted on pupils with special educational needs.

First generation entry into higher education: and international study

L. Thomas and J. Quinn

Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2007

This book examines the proposition that parental education is a key factor contributing to the access and success of students, but that insufficient attention is paid to this by researchers, national systems and institutional interventions. Analysis of research findings from ten countries, plus a UK wide study, indicates that parental education is more important in determining access to higher education than parental employment or financial status. The book provides a clear conceptualisation of first generation entry, exploring its complex interrelationship with social class. Furthermore, it provides a unique examination of how first generation entrants are supported or otherwise by different national approaches and institutional responses.

The new education professionals: the emerging specialities of instructional designer and learning manager

J.L. Miller

International Journal of Public Administration, vol. 30, 2007, p. 483-498

This article raises technical and procedural problems in distance learning design and management. Successful distance learning design requires an understanding of the learning process and the numerous stakeholders involved. The author identifies seven challenges centring on these issues, including understanding student motivation and behaviour and identifying different and effective distance learning concepts.

A new equity deal for schools: a case study of policy-making in Queensland, Australia

P. Singh and S. Taylor

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.28, 2007, p. 301-315

This paper explores how the terms 'inclusion' and 'educational risk' were used in the debates about what constitutes equitable education in Queensland, Australia. The case study illustrates the impact of global trends on educational policy-making, and in particular on the ways in which equity issues were framed and addressed. Although equity issues were still on the reform agenda, the approach taken to address educational disadvantage could be said to be market-individualistic. Each individual is considered to need tracking because they are potentially at risk of school failure. Identification of at risk students has been devolved to the level of the school and district and intervention strategies have to be devised at local level. Stories of success are then to be shared with other schools.

Public sector competitive strategies: understanding post secondary distance education in South Dakota

M.A. Card and K.A. Card

International Journal of Public Administration, vol. 30, 2007, p. 461-481

Rural US states face the challenge of providing access to post-secondary education to a small population living in geographically isolated areas. This study compares and contrasts the distance education strategies used by three universities in South Dakota in the context of their mission and values, and considers how these choices have been implemented.

School discipline, buy-in and belief

J. F. Goodman

Ethics and Education, vol. 2, 2007, p. 3-23

State schools in the USA impose endless rules to enforce good behaviour, which are widely ignored by pupils, leading to frequent use of ineffective punishments. The author argues that if discipline is to be effective, pupils must believe in and identify with the goals it is designed to support. Rules need to be perceived as just because they advance school aims and objectives accepted by all stakeholders.

The university, state, and market: the political economy of globalization in the Americas

R. A. Rhoads and C. A. Torres (editors)

Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006

The book explores the complex relationships among universities, states, and markets throughout the Americas in light of the growing influence of globalization. It highlights the ways in which corporate capitalism, academic capitalism, and increased militarization, both in the form of terrorism and in the international war against terrorism, are directing societies and institutions. It also argues that neoliberal globalization has changed the context for academic work, research and development, science, and social responsibility at universities. It examines issues of access and social mobility, and argues that the recent push toward privatization limits the democratic and emancipatory possibilities of universities. Finally, the book explores various forms of resistance and discusses globalization in terms of social movements and global human rights.

The well-being of children, the limits of paternalism, and the state: can disparate interests be reconciled?

M.S. Merry

Ethics and Education, vol. 2, 2007, p. 39-59

The author argues that the well-being of the child is paramount and that this is best promoted through the provision of an education that promotes his/her autonomy and enables him/her to critically evaluate parental core beliefs and eventually pursue his/her own conception of the good. Parents are not justified in choosing an education for their children that ensures the transmission of their own cultural or religious values, with no thought for the best interests of the children themselves. This calls for a more prominent state role in educational oversight in the USA. The state also has an stake in the education of children, through its interest in cultivating good citizens. This article explores the tensions that arise from conflicts of interest between the child, the parents and the state.

The work of classroom assistants in special and mainstream education in Finland

M. Takala

British Journal of Special Education, vol. 34, 2007, p. 50-57

The contribution of teaching assistants, learning support assistants or classroom assistants is becoming increasingly important in inclusive and specialist settings. This article describes research into the work of 14 classroom assistants working in a range of mainstream and special schools in Helsinki. Results indicate that assistants were mainly needed during the early years at school. The most central part of their work was assisting an individual pupil. The time spent assisting the teacher increased the older the children were. The assistants also spent more time with the teacher in special than in general education. This discussion should be of relevance to anyone concerned with the development of support in the classroom.

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