Schooling and Social Change, 1964-1990

Schooling and Social Change, 1964-1990

Schooling and Social Change, 1964-1990

Schooling and Social Change, 1964-1990

Synopsis

This text offers an overview of the ways in which the sweeping social and economic changes of the modern period have impacted on the education system.

Excerpt

This book is an attempt to analyse and explain some of the changes which have taken place in education in England and Wales during what might be described as the modern period, the years from 1964 until 1990. It is, therefore, a sequel to my Education in the post-war years which took such an analysis as far as to 1964. It is not, though, a strictly chronological or comprehensive account of the more significant events of the period. That task has already been undertaken by authors such as Brian Simon. Rather, what I have tried to do is to examine the changing social, economic and intellectual contexts within which educators and educationalists worked. I have tried to seek out what seemed to me to be the more significant determinants of the educational provision and to show the ways in which they impinged on schooling, a term which I use in its widest sense to cover both state and private schools as well as agencies of higher education. My attempt is to get at the question of why things turned out as they did, or at least why they might have been likely to. My approach is to identify a number of key changes which were taking place in society and to show how they related to the educational provision. Although these are dealt with separately, chapter by chapter, which makes it possible to dip into the book for insights on particular issues, I am also attempting to develop an argument which runs through the book. This is, in brief, that it is only by seeing the interrelatedness of these issues that we can begin to understand the social dynamic which, in a modern society such as that under consideration, makes the educational system itself central to the processes of social change and one of the key arbiters of the form they take and of the impact they have on the people.

Throughout the book, several issues are central, and I have tried to focus on the cluster of questions which they raise. First, I outline the underlying and persistent characteristics of our schools, colleges and universities. This sketch of some of the most significant changes taking place in the education system is used to illustrate the argument that there is a strange contrast between the deep-seated changes taking place in wider society and the relative inflexibility of school systems. This chapter seeks to explore the

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