Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-4hhp2 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-29T05:49:13.982Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

10 - Mistake #5: leaving education out of education policy making

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 December 2021

Debra Hayes
Affiliation:
The University of Sydney
Get access

Summary

Our fifth mistake relates to the nature of education policy making and the characteristics of policy processes.

Our central argument is that for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways, educational policy making has become increasingly divorced from knowledge of educational theory and practice. This is not to say that the knowledge of teachers, school leaders, academics and researchers who study teaching, learning and other aspects of the educational day-to-day is the only kind of knowledge that should count in education policy. As with many of the issues we have discussed, the problem is not that everything that has happened is bad, but that the balance has tipped too far in one direction, making it more likely that the wrong decisions will be made and that established policies will continue to be followed even when the evidence is clear that they are mistaken.

In this chapter, we draw on research about policy, rather than about specific policies as we have done in earlier chapters. We describe some of the problems with education policy-making processes in England and Australia, how they have come about, and why we think they are getting in the way of making education better and fairer.

Long-standing problems in education policy making

In their book on social policy mistakes in England, King and Crewe (2014) identify 12 factors that lead to ‘policy blunders’. Five of these come under the category of ‘human errors’: cultural disconnect (policy makers not understanding that other people's lives are not like their own); group-think; prejudice and pragmatism; operational disconnect (policy makers not understanding how policies will play out on the ground); and panic, symbols and spin. The others are ‘system failures’: the independence of Whitehall departments; the rapid turnover of ministers and civil servants; the increasingly activist role of ministers; lack of ministerial accountability (particularly for the long-term consequences of their actions); the weak role of parliament in the English system; asymmetries of expertise especially with private sector partners; and a deficit of deliberation in the making of policy. System failures make human errors more likely and more damaging.

Education policy research points to education being particularly prone to some of these human errors, not least the commonly recognised problem of ministers relying on their own knowledge of schooling and their own prejudices.

Type
Chapter
Information
Great Mistakes in Education Policy
And How to Avoid Them in the Future
, pp. 121 - 132
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×