Notes on the Reading
|Apple (2000)||The author focuses on the way ideologies affect the development of the educational system. Apple (2000) stresses that ideologies influence the way people see education, its major role, and methods to be employed. |
Problems: Although the author provides some illustrations of successful policies, it is still unclear how policies can be developed and be beneficial for all stakeholders as there is always a conflict of interests.
|Ball (2007)||The author examines the role of privatization in the sphere of education. Ball (2007) notes that privatization has diverse forms and affects the educational system differently. |
Problem: It is still unclear how to find the balance between achieving educational goals and gaining profit. However, it is important to find an answer to that question as the educational system is likely to become largely market-driven.
|Ball (2013)||The author explores various education policies that have shaped the educational system. It is possible to trace the development of the educational system. |
Problem: It was quite difficult to comprehend the information as there is too much information on different policies and incentives. It is still unclear whether it is possible to align educational goals with the country’s budget.
|Ball, Maguire, Braun and Hoskins (2011)||The researchers identify different types of policies and teachers’ (and other stakeholders’) perspectives as regards the policies. |
Problem: The authors explain peculiarities of two views on policies, but there is no clarity as regards what paradigm is the most suitable for the contemporary society. Furthermore, the view related to interpretation seems to be completely wrongful as the author seems to fail to provide sufficient information on its benefits.
|Gunter and Forrester (2008)||The authors provide insights into the perceptions of educators and policy makers concerning the New Labor education policy. |
Problem: The concept of the policy entrepreneur lacks for clarity.
|Phillips and Ochs (2004)||The authors provide valuable insights into the process of policy borrowing and its major stages. |
Problem: The concept of policy borrowing is properly explained, but it is unclear how it can be actually implemented in different settings.
|Sorensen and Torfing (2005)||The authors state that the governance networks are diverse, and their roles in the contemporary society have changed. The authors stress that politicians should play a central role in the process. |
Problem: It is still unclear whether politicians can develop an effective policy as they often lack experience in the sphere and the information on the contemporary issues schools meet.
|Vincent, Rollock, Ball and Gillborn (2013)||The researchers explore the way race and class affect parents’ choices related to extra-curriculum activities of their children. |
Problem: It can be important to address the issue as regards low-income families in detail. It is also important to see the way policies are aligned with parents’ desires as to their children’s future.
|Vowden (2012)||The researcher concentrates on the way the class affects parents’ attitudes towards their children educational environment (with a focus on mixed-class classes). |
Problem: It is unclear whether policies can be aligned with the parents’ desires and needs related to their children’s future.
|Personal Position||This research equipped me with a general idea of the educational policies. It also helped me acquire valuable insights into the peculiarities of policies, their development and their impact on the stakeholders as well as the entire system. One of the major questions to be answered is concerned with the way policymakers can align the policies with all the stakeholders’ needs as the conflict of interest often undermines the effectiveness of policies.|
Issues Affecting Contemporary Education Policy
The educational system of any country has developed in accordance with cultural, economic, political, and social peculiarities of the region. Policy-makers come up with numerous incentives and policies aimed at aligning the existing educational system with the challenges of the contemporary society. It is necessary to note that various factors have an impact on the contemporary education policies. This paper includes a brief analysis of the major factors affecting the development of new education policies in the contemporary society.
Clearly, the challenges of new times make people reconsider the role of education as well as its primary goals. For instance, Ball (2013) notes that the sphere of education has become a target of numerous changes throughout the past two decades. The educational sphere can be characterized by a significant degree of hyper-activism, which has manifold implications (Ball, 2013). For instance, the contemporary UK educational system aims at making young people prepared for a smooth transition to a career path.
Thus, the country is in need of professionals who have certain skills and knowledge in specific spheres. Globalization has also had a significant influence on the development of education policies. Thus, experiences of other countries are often taken into account when developing and implementing various education policies. Phillips and Ochs (2004) identify four major stages of this process that include “cross-national attraction, decision, implementation, and internalization/indigenization” (p. 773).
This approach is also illustrative in terms of another factor affecting education policies. Apple (2000) stresses that ideologies have a profound impact on the development of the educational system as well as education policies. The author stresses that dominating groups often shape the existing ideology, which has an effect on the development and implementation of education policies. Sorensen and Torfing (2005) claim that policies often result from the interaction of private, public and semi-public actors, but dominant groups have more power and often shape the policies implemented.
It is also possible to note that the beliefs on the distribution of power that are closely linked to the existing ideologies can also be regarded as factors influencing the development of policies. Ball, Maguire, Braun and Hoskins (2011) note that such stakeholders as teachers and policy-makers have different attitudes towards policies. Prescriptive policies that are associated with rigid recommendations are often negatively accepted while more flexible policies are welcomed by educators and many policy-makers. At present, it is believed that educators can evaluate the effectiveness of the policy and adjust it to their specific community and classrooms.
Flexibility is seen as a key to the success of any policy. Gunter and Forrester (2008) claim that empowerment of educators is often a priority. For instance, in the UK, head teachers obtain training in leadership, which aims at improving the quality of educational services provided.
Apart from the issues associated with the power of different groups, economic issues come to the fore. For instance, educational systems in some developed countries are becoming more market-driven. Students and parents are regarded as consumers and educators are regarded as services providers. The shift towards the market-driven trends is also associated with the privatization. Ball (2007) states that privately-owned companies have already penetrated into the educational system as they provide various services.
Testing and professional development are common spheres where companies operate. Thus, the laws of the market also have certain effects on the development of policies. Competitiveness of companies results in the development of various efficient strategies and services that positive effect the development of the entire educational system. At the same time, there are concerns that the sphere will become too market-driven and the providers of services will focus on the profit rather than the quality of services provide and the development of the society.
Clearly, such factors as class and ethnicity also play an important role in the development and implementation of education policies. For instance, Vowden (2012) claims that British middle-class parents are keen to secure the corresponding educational environment for their children.
Interestingly, the majority of parents positively see mixed-class classrooms, but they also have certain fears. Vowden (2012) notes that parents are afraid of the negative influence of children who pertain to lower classes, but they also feel uncomfortable if their children are placed in classrooms where children of higher class can appear. Similar trends are traced in other studies. For instance, Vincent, Rollock, Ball and Gillborn (2013) note that middle-class parents (pertaining to ethnic minorities) also prefer safeguarding their children’s future. Parents tend to choose extra-curricular activities that will help their children land good jobs and remain within the middle class or even move higher in the class hierarchy.
On balance, it is possible to note that cross-national and national political, social and cultural agendas play an important role in the development and implementation of education policies. It is also necessary to add that these issues have been extensively discussed and researchers, as well as practitioners, have come up with numerous methodologies that are instrumental in the development, implementation, and evaluation of education policies.
Clearly, various policies have been and will be developed as the society changes, and people have to face new challenges. At the same time, the efficiency of the contemporary educational systems established in many countries shows that people have managed to address the challenges successfully.
Apple, M. (2000). Official knowledge. New York, NY: Routledge.
Ball, S.J. (2007). Education pie: Understanding private sector involvement in public sector education. London, UK: Routledge.
Ball, S.J. (2013). The education debate. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.
Ball, S.J., Maguire, M., Braun, A., & Hoskins, K. (2011). Policy subjects and policy actors in schools: Some necessary but insufficient analyses. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 32(4), 611-624.
Gunter, H., & Forrester, G. (2008). New Labour and school leadership. British Journal of Educational Studies, 56(2), 144-162.
Phillips, D., & Ochs, K. (2004). Researching policy borrowing: Some methodological challenges in comparative education. British Education Research Journal, 30(6), 773-784.
Sorensen, E., & Torfing, J. (2005). The Democratic anchorage of governance networks. Scandinavian Political Studies, 28(3), 195-218.
Vincent, C., Rollock, N., Ball, S. J., & Gillborn, D. (2013). Raising middle class Black children: Parenting priorities, actions and strategies. Sociology, 47(3), 427-442.
Vowden, K. (2012). Safety in numbers? Middle-class parents and social mix in London primary schools. Journal of Education Policy, 27(6), 731-745.