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The value base of school choice: A historical and discursive perspective
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Pedagogy and Learning. (SITE)
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Research Topic During the development of school choice policies in Sweden the values of pluralism, parental influence and equal education for all children where present in different ways. Since the reform in 1992, the idea of parental choice in education has reached almost a level of political consensus. However, due to declining PISA-results and increased school segregation, the political debate on school choice in Sweden nowadays has heated up after having maintained status quo since the middle of the 90s. One example is the latest report from the Swedish School Commission, which on the basis of OECD-recommendations suggests school choice-targeted solutions for balancing the values mentioned above (OECD 2015, SOU 2017:35). The aim of this paper is to characterize the value base of the school choice debate during the period 1975-2017, with the following research question: What discursive shifts and continuities can be seen in the debate on school choice and independent schools when studying political documents from the investigated period? Theoretical and methodological framework My overall understanding of the education system take departure from curriculum theory, i.e. I view the curriculum as ideologically and politically contested (Apple 2004). In this presentation, the focus is directed to how the value base of school choice is discursively constructed and changing, emphasizing the values and “truths” that obtain recognition and legitimacy over time (Schüllerqvist 1996). The analysis is based on a comprehensive reading of political documents (motion, government bills, official reports and policy texts). The searching and selection of documents was centered around some key words as well as the principle of intertextuality (Fairclough 1992). I will provide a brief summary of the values and arguments discussed in the 70s and 80s, but the presentations main focus will be on the present. Excerpts from documents will be used to highlight the characteristics of the value base of the school choice debate. Findings and relevance for Nordic educational research The Swedish school choice debate circles around four values: parental influence, diversity and pluralism, equal education and the tension between public and private good. The most significant trend over time is perhaps a narrowing of the democratic and pedagogical goals of school choice. However, during the 2010s, a small shift can be seen, putting stronger emphasis on how to use school choice to counteract school segregation. The actual right to choose, however, still seems uncontested and is considered “here to stay”. The relevance for Nordic education research is mainly tied to the possibility of comparing what values have shaped the Nordic education systems over time, but also in gaining understanding of how transnational policy actors more and more seems to define domestic politics. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-77967OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-77967DiVA, id: diva2:1250453
Conference
NERA 2018, Educational Research: Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges, 8-10 March 2018, University of Oslo, Norway
Available from: 2018-09-24 Created: 2018-09-24 Last updated: 2019-02-22Bibliographically approved

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Gustavsson, Erik

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Citation style
  • apa
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Language
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