Kommunen - en part i utbildningspolitiken?
Sammanfattning: This dissertation focuses on the municipality (the local authority) as a participant in Swedish educational policy. The reform of school governance in the 1990s, gave municipality wider authority in the educational field and a greater responsibility for education. Discussions about the equivalence of education were a key aspect in decentralising school governance and responsibility for education, and questions were raised about how equivalence would be affected by increased local influence on education. Since the meaning of equivalence had become contested in educational policy, the answer differed. In the dissertation, political discussions about the municipality and about equivalent education are merged, and together form a base for the main question: In what different ways are the municipality constructed as a participant in educational policy?The analysis is undertaken within a curriculum theory tradition and from a discourse theory perspective that focuses school and education as situated in a field of tension determined by social and political struggle. The research interest is directed to the world as constructed in language and communication. The empirical material studied in the dissertation consists of national political texts, texts from the National Agency for Education and interviews with local politicians (local authority committee members).From the analysis, three discourses about the municipality as a participant in educational policy are identified. These are:The municipality as responsible for performance, which centres the construction of the municipality on a responsibility for educational performance. All actions undertaken by the municipality are in the discourse defined within a framework of goal achievement and results.The municipality as a non-participant, where the municipality has no place in educational policy or realisation of the educational system. Education is considered as a matter between the state, the professionals and the families.The municipality as a political-ideological actor, where the municipality is constructed as a participant with scope to organise school on the basis of certain political and ideological principles. The ideological stance adopted by the political majority guides the municipality’s actions in the educational field.The discourses have tangible consequences for the shape which school education assumes on a day-to-day basis in municipalities. Depending on which discourse that dominates a municipality’s understanding of its own role, the actions undertaken by that municipality will be more or less directed towards education performance, and more or less ideologically based.
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