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Parents, Gender and Education Reform. Family Life

  • ID: 2247454
  • Book
  • March 1993
  • 220 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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In Britain, as in other advanced industrial societies, such as the US, education is high on the public policy agenda. The concern is about how to maintain and improve educational standards. The right aims to give more power to parents as consumers in the education market–place, on the ostensible grounds of demanding better educational standards for their own children. The left aims to involve parents in educational processes in order to make schooling more effective.

This book reviews the evidence that has been amassed over the last 40 to 50 years in order to evaluate these two sets of claims about how to improve educational provision. Various public policy strategies have been pursued to develop schooling in conjunction with families. Social scientists have been involved in evaluating recent education reforms, especially over parental choice and involvement.

The book also reviews the effects that changing family structures, such as the growth of lone–parent families and maternal employment, have on educational opportunities and performance. It considers the impacts on both children and parents, especially mothers. It concludes with a consideration of the future of education reforms in the light of changing family structures and asks whether social and sexual inequalities are likely to be exacerbated by current trends.
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1. Introduction: Parents, Education Reforms and Social Research.

2. The Family Policy Context: The War over the Family and Family Life Changes: 1944–1992.

3. The Education Policy Context: The Idea of a `Meritocracy' from 1944–1976.

4. The Education Policy Context: The Idea of a `Parentocracy' from 1976–1992.

5. Parents and Education: The Social Democractic Reformer–Researcher Partnersip over Equal Opportunities.

6. A Parental `Voice' in Education as Community, or Consumer, Involvement?.

7. Parental or Family Choice of School, or of Education.

8. Parental Involvement for School Effectiveness or Home Improvement?.

9. Mothers in Education, or Mum's the Word?.

10. Debating the Effects of Family Changes and Circumstances on Children's Education.

11. Conclusions: Family Changes, Social Research and Education Reforms.



Index of Authors.
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'Parents now play a more central part in educational policy through their role as parent governors in schools. But despite this, policy, or indeed assumptions about the ways in which schools should operate, are not based on a realistic view of the lives of mothers and fathers or on the ways in which family life has changed in recent years. Miriam David argues convincingly that we cannot sensibly discuss schooling without taking account of what goes on in the home. This book breaks new ground in its analysis of the relationship of home and school and is essential reading for anyone concerned with children, education or parenthood.'

Martin Richards, Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge

'This is a timely and thorough review of changes in party political positions, policy approaches and the preoccupations of social science research regarding education that enables us to appreciate the magnitude of the 1980s changes, particularly in respect of the shifting meaning of the partnership between home and school.'. Jane Lewis, The London School of Economics and Political Science

'A timely and interesting book.' Political Studies

'David provides a good summary of family change in recent decades together with a balanced and comprehensive account of educational policy.' Social Policy
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