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    What Kind of Society Does the School Need? Redefining the Democratic Work of Education in Impatient Times

    Biesta, Gert (2019) What Kind of Society Does the School Need? Redefining the Democratic Work of Education in Impatient Times. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 38 (6). pp. 657-668. ISSN 0039-3746

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    In many places around the world the modern school is under a relentless pressure to perform and the standards for such performance are increasingly being set by the global education measurement industry. All this puts a pressure on schools, teachers and students but also on policy makers and politicians, who all seem to have been caught up in a global educational rat-race. There is a discourse of panic about educational quality, which seems to drive an insatiable need for improvement, geared towards ever narrower definitions of what counts as education and what counts in education. The surprising result is that the modern school is increasingly seen as a problem, with high levels of dissatisfaction amongst teachers, students, politicians, the media and the public at large, who all want something better from the school, although they disagree about what this may look like. The question this raises is whether it is time to give up on the modern schools and its promise and hand it over to Pearson, Google and other educational capitalists, or whether we should try again and, if so, where we might go. The reflections I offer in this paper are primarily meant to think again about the relationship between the school and society, arguing for a more ‘obstinate’ school and a more ‘patient’ society. I argue that whether such a recalibration of the relationship between school and society is possible, is ultimately a test of the democratic quality of society itself.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Cite as: Biesta, G. (2019). What kind of society does the school need? redefining the democratic work of education in impatient times. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 38(6), 657-668. doi:
    Keywords: The modern school; The welfare state; Democracy; Quality; Performativity; The impulse society;
    Academic Unit: Centre for Teaching and Learning
    Item ID: 16051
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Gert Biesta
    Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2022 09:24
    Journal or Publication Title: Studies in Philosophy and Education
    Publisher: Proquest
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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