Reference : Change Management in the Governance of Schooling: The Rise of Experts, Planners, and ...
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
Change Management in the Governance of Schooling: The Rise of Experts, Planners, and Statistics in the Early OECD
Tröhler, Daniel mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) >]
Teachers College Record
Columbia University, Teachers College
Yes (verified by ORBilu)
New York
[en] OECD ; Experts ; Education Policy
[en] This paper asks how educational accountability could possibly have become a core concept in educational policy within the 10 years after the Sputnik shock. This paper argues that this introduction included a Second World War and Cold War ideology of problem solving, the faith in experts and some skepticism towards democracy, and a considerable Trust in Numbers (Theodore Porter) combined with a “‘horse race’ mentality.” This article will reconstruct that first part of this transformation after Sputnik, that is, the rise of the new faith in experts, the rise of educational planners, and statistics. The thesis it demonstrates is that this process was possible mainly by a specific rhetoric that was developed as a core means of the change management.

This rhetoric was able to level cultural and national differences, and this allowed these new ideals of educational governance to become accepted by the participants and thus to be implemented in their respective places. The example is the period leading up to 1965, when the individual member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had to take over the funding of educational programs that had previously been funded by the OECD (and that means it was funded to 50% by the United States).

This ideology was transported and disseminated by a specific rhetoric that bypassed politically taboo themes and that covered up the clear strategies of governance. This paved the way for the process of standardization and the implementation of not only a formal adaptation of the organization of education but also, and in particular, specific ways of educational planning, such as statistics, and with them specific ideologies of how society and its citizens should be shaped. Only a few years later on, educational accountability had become a “normal” part in educational policy with a tendency to be treated as fetish.

The thesis is demonstrated in five steps. First, the papers sheds some light on the broader ideological context of the early years of the OECD, that is, of its educational commitment as an expression of a highly educationalized Cold War culture. Then it focuses on the specific rhetoric developed in the think tanks and transnational organizations, settled in between science and politics, which includes the exclusion of taboo themes. Next to the analyses of the exclusion practices the rhetoric is identified as disguising, that is, suggesting help and support, but in fact creating coercing realities with hardly any way out. In the fourth step these rhetorical practices are being analyzed in one major project of the early OECD, with six Mediterranean countries at the center, in order to check in the final section the sustainability of the early efforts in educational planning after a fundamental revision of the OECD activities in 1964.

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