In this chapters we have highlighted the fact that education constitutes an integral part of society and culture and, therefore, has to be seen as being relational. That is to say, the nature of the changes taking place in school organization can be understood properly only if they are examined in relation to the external events that have given legitimacy to particular practices and processes – and, by that fact, the exclusion of different possibilities. Instead of selecting out systems, process and ‘performativity’ as the key organizing principles- which is the case in the prevailing school effectiveness framework, analysis needs to acknowledge discursivity. The includes acknowledgement of the fact that: • Education is grounded in particular forms of social relation that are circumscribed and sustained by complex societal power networks, practiced and processes. And, at the same time, account needs to be taken of the inherently disordered and unstable nature of determining forces, and the different value interests that underpin the prevailing model of educational change. The past decade has been a period of relentless change in education • The quality control processes put into place to sustain the dominant model of educational change and development have discursive impact to effects. This necessarily includes variables such as equity, social justice and values as these relate to the lives of those involved in education (teacher and pupils) as well as the communities in which they live and work. • Education operates within an organically interactive context traversed by a diverse range of often conflicting and contradictory individual, cultural and institutional meanings. As is argued by Angus (1993:342) The embeddedness of schooling within wider social dynamics and power relationships means that context is relational, dynamic and interactive such that, for instance schools and schooling are influenced by, but also influence, the cultural milieu of the society I which they are embedded. They articulate with other sectors of the social formation and contribute to power relations and widely shared beliefs across sectors of society and macro-cultures. The issues throughout this chapter have highlighted the fact that the relative ‘effectiveness’ (or not) of schools needs to be seen and understood in relation to the influences of a variety of social, political and cultural factors. Thus educational discussion need to incorporate wider sets of questions that transcend circumscribed taxonomies of school effectiveness within the marrow confines of bureaucratic power processes. They need to address issues related to the motivations of the policy drivers; the primary significations that give meaning to the particular notion of social change that predominates; cultural power and the role of education within a reconceptualized transformative democratic polity. Educational change and development are intrinsically political.
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