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The Limitations of Social Democratic Educational Policy: Scotland, Past and Future Stephen Baron (NB Draft, not for quotation)

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1 The Limitations of Social Democratic Educational Policy: Scotland, Past and Future Stephen Baron (NB Draft, not for quotation)

2 Aggregate class structure (all men) in eleven countries by decade Class1970s1980s1990sCum % 1970s Cum % 1990s I + II III IVa+b IVc V + VI VIIa VIIb

3 A social democratic vision of education Economic modernisation and efficiency Social Justice Realised through –Meritocracy –Teacher professionalism

4 Scotland as an acid test of the social democratic vision Strong popular commitment to education as a democratic mechanism Strong teacher professionalism Thorough comprehensive reform of a pre- existing system of universal secondary schooling Low levels of school segregation Small private sector Reform of curriculum and assessment specifically for comprehensive education

5 The limits of the social democratic vision Education systems have oiled the wheels of the changing class structure (absolute mobility) Education systems have had negligible impacts on class life chances (relative mobility) Examples of Sweden, France and the Netherlands suggest that wider social policies are needed (e.g. redistribution) if education is to have an impact Coming crisis of mobility, expectations and consent as professionalisation reaches saturation point?

6 Women: A discrepant case? Significant increased mobility of women born to enter Classes I & II Rates of entry maintained for later cohorts From 1980s women have accessed degree level studies disproportionately

7 Possible conditions for the discrepant case Structural economic changes: –Gender segmentation of labour market –Economic pressure on women through changing housing market Social policy changes: –Women gaining more from comprehensivation –Equal opportunities policies and programmes Changes in civil society: the womens movement as the major social movement of the time

8 Major post devolution Executive policy documents New Community Schools Educating for Excellence Assessment, Testing and Reporting 3-14 Curriculum for Excellence Ambitious, Excellent Schools Schools of Ambition

9 10 social democratic weaknesses in Executive policy documents Dearth of primary questions about the relationship education-economy-society Discourse dominated by a marketised version of the social democratic vision The individual child as the unit of policy analysis Parents external to the processes of education, often pathologised Communities external to the processes of education, often pathologised

10 10 social democratic weaknesses in Executive policy documents Professional action as the key driver Limited role for the analysis of social relations Citizenship discourse formal and one way Curriculum focussed on limited visions of justice and economy Control through twin movements of decentralisation - centralisation

11 10 alternatives Primary questions about globalisation and consequent exploitations at the heart of educational debates Policy discourse dominated by social solidarity, equality and the education of desire Unit of educational policy analysis nested communities Professionals as supporters of parents in educating the child

12 10 alternatives Professionals as supporters of nested communities as they seek collective self realisation Understanding and altering individual and community conditions as the key driver of education Analysis of social relations as central to the process of education Thoroughgoing citizenship of participative democracy

13 10 alternatives Really useful knowledge as structuring curriculum Community control of education processes


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