Education, Professionalism, and the Quest for Accountability
Hitting the Target but Missing the Point
By Jane Green
Routledge – 2011 – 268 pages
Routledge – 2011 – 268 pages
This book focuses on education and its relation to professional accountability as viewed from two different, but not unrelated, perspectives. First, the book is about the work of professionals in schools and colleges (teachers, head teachers, leaders, principals, directors and educational managers, etc.) and the detrimental effects which our present system of accountability – and the managerialism which this system creates – have had on education, its practice, its organization, its conduct and its content. It is also about the professional education (the occupational/professional formation and development) of practitioners in communities other than educational ones and how they, too, contend with the effects of this system on their practices.
These different perspectives represent two sides of the same problem: that whatever one’s métier – whether a teacher, nurse, social worker, community officer, librarian, civil servant, etc – all who now work in institutions designed to serve the public are expected to reorganize their thoughts and practice in accordance with a "performance" management model of accountability which encourages a rigid bureaucracy, one which translates regulation and monitoring procedures, guidelines and advice into inflexible and obligatory compliance. A careful scrutiny of the underlying rationale of this "managerial" model shows how and why it may be expected, paradoxically, to make practices less accountable – and, in the case of education, less educative.
"…there is much to enjoy in this extended essay that is of relevance beyond the world of education. Defending the priority of seasoned judgement against a world of auditing and targets may also prove to be an argument whose time has come and may find surprisingly fertile ground in the new politics of austerity sweeping through Western Europe." - Michael Power, Department of Accounting, London School of Economics and Political Science, British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 33, No. 4, July 2012, 621 - 628.
"Jane Green’s book is an important addition to the literature on professionalism. It aims and lands some well-directed (and much deserved) volleys on the target of the new public management. It is scrupulously written, attendant to the contemporary literature, and sustains a progressive narrative throughout. It is to be hoped that Jane Green will build on this text and renew her explorations here, and attempt to fill out and develop a conception of professionalism for the current age". - Ron Barnett, Department of Lifelong and Comparative Education, University of London, Journal of Philosophy of Education, Vol. 48, No. 3, 2014.
Dr. Jane Green is a freelance consultant and tutor, designing and running ethics courses. Further information can be found at www.ethics-courses.com.