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Bringing the Politics Back in: A Critical Analysis of Quality Discourses in Education

Sharon Gewirtz
British Journal of Educational Studies
Vol. 48, No. 4 (Dec., 2000), pp. 352-370
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1555889
Page Count: 19
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Bringing the Politics Back in: A Critical Analysis of Quality Discourses in Education
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Abstract

This paper considers the consequences of, and tensions within, New Labour's quality agenda for schools. In particular, it draws attention to the way in which official versions of quality, characterised by a narrow, economistic instrumentality, are being promoted in schools by various forms of quality control that are marginalising broader, more humanistic conceptions of quality. It is also argued that, despite New Labour's rhetorical emphasis on education for citizenship, the mechanisms of quality control favoured by the government tend to produce patterns of association which are authoritarian and, therefore, unconducive to giving teachers, students and parents opportunities to participate actively in key decisions in and around schooling. The analysis presented in this paper is underpinned by a concern to bring a consideration of educational politics back into education policy debates.

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