At a time when public education and reform agendas are changing the way we approach education, this book critically examines the key issues facing the public with implications for education policy makers, professionals and researchers.
Drawing on empirical evidence gathered over 20 years, Helen Gunter confronts current issues about social justice and segregation. She uses Arendtian ideas to help the reader to ‘think politically’ about education and how and why public services education can be reimagined for the future.
Western politicians consider that leadership is essential for the delivery of educational reform. This important and timely book examines how leaders, leading and leadership became the dominant theme in education. It presents an analysis of the relationship between the state, public policy and the types of knowledge that New Labour used to make policy and break professional cultures. It is essential reading for all those interested in public policy, education policy, and debates about governance and will be of interest to policymakers, researchers and educational professionals.
Education policy has a long tradition of political sociology, but the dominant trend continues to be sociological.
Drawing on data and analysis from the Education Policy Knowledgeable Polity (EPKP) project, supported by funders such as the British Academy and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), this book aims to restore the role of political analysis by presenting a new political sociology for framing, conducting and presenting education policy research.
In doing so, it will be the first in the field to connect political thinking from Arendt with sociological thinking from Bourdieu, producing innovative analysis for and about educational reform.
This chapter reports on primary research into the experience of education professionals who are located at the interface of the privatisation of public education in England. Specifically data are provided from “dispossessed experts” who have moved into private consultancy through the push of redundancy from the public system and/or the pull of business freedoms as a rejection of public bureaucracy. I examine what it means to be located within a ‘conjunctural crisis’ through using the thinking tools of hysteresis, mimicry and misrecognition in order to examine the influence of corporate elites. Such influences impact on how individuals reposition at a time of major changes to identity and working lives (and livelihoods), where the neoliberal project is lived, revised and constructed through ordinary decisions and practices.
This chapter provides an overview of the book’s main themes. This book presents a new conceptualisation, so-called Knowledgeable Polities, and identifies and deploys the Education Policy Knowledgeable Polity as the methodological means of examining the dynamics of the state, people, practices, ideologies and networks. Such an approach allows the study to consider the conditions for rethinking politically ongoing ‘reforms’ of education. The book provides access to ideas, evidence, and practices vital for the re-politicisation of public services education. By engaging with Hannah Arendt as a ‘discussion partner’, it explores a range of ideas and arguments.
This chapter suggests that the combination of the ‘uncommon’ knowledges for and about the curriculum and teacher readies both for schools as businesses, where data on pupil outcomes has come to dominate the design and delivery of the curriculum and pedagogy for a segregated marketplace. Core to this has been a shift in accountability away from collegiality and peer review towards data-determined performance measurement as competent teaching. Teachers and teaching are now directly implicated in the construction and maintenance of sectarian divides based on uncommon knowledges. The chapter explores these trends using Hannah Arendt’s identification of labour, work, and action. It first outlines her ideas before critically engaging with the notion and realities of performance accountability.
This chapter considers the continued dominance of the private over the common purposes of education. It focuses on access to a school and examines what this means for plurality. Notably, through the deployment of the Education Policy Knowledgeable Polity, it gives prime attention to the demand side and how deregulation by the state means that parents have been offered ‘choice’ in the public system through schemes such as vouchers. The practices involved in offering and responding to the exercise of a preference for a ‘good’ school place is enabled through a form of depoliticisation by colonisation of globally networked market ideologies. Instinctively it seems that vouchers are enabling of plurality, but the chapter show how parental choice mechanisms are primarily rhetorical, by facilitating and strengthening segregation as a form of biopolitical distinctiveness.
For Hannah Arendt, education ‘turns children toward the world’, and so ‘it is care for the world, not technical skills or moral development, that is its hallmark’. However, this chapter shows how the trend in this ‘turn to the world’ is usually the first rather than the second case as a form of regulated natality within a segregated education system, where biopolitical distinctiveness means that ‘elite’ children know their entitlements while the majority of children know their place. The deployment of the Education Policy Knowledgeable Polity to the reforms of school restructuring in England enables an examination of direct interventions by the state as a form of depoliticisation by personalisation.
This chapter discusses the deployment of the Education Policy Knowledgeable Polity, which shows how the state has adopted a form of depoliticisation by contract as a form of risk-management-promising, where the trend is towards proactive private as distinct from public contractualism based on the binary risk of failure–success designed to secure and extend segregation. Underpinned by globally networked corporate ideas regarding education as a site for investment, the identification of success and the eradication of failure has become policy in school reform. Importantly, the pursuit of child and school failure as public policy is integral to this process, where schools and children do and, indeed, have to fail in order for segregation to be effective.
In the high stakes context of biopolitical distinctiveness, what matters appears to be selecting data and using it to make performance claims by smoothing a narrative. This chapter examines how this is integral to segregating the system using Hannah Arendt’s (2003) thinking about responsibility and judgement, where she identifies what happens when people are rendered thoughtless, particularly in how a situation is framed and understood through fabricated myth-making. The deployment of the Education Policy Knowledgeable Polity to the creation of ‘data-rich’ schools in England enables an examination of a form of depoliticisation by calculation where the interplay between standards, numbers, and school leadership is deployed to change identities and practices. The state has been able to make contractual alliances with elite individuals, companies, and networked knowledge producers who have used particular ideologies in order to present a seductive, trainable, and measurable model for the modern professional.