Re-conceptualizing the viability of small rural schools viv-a-vis a provincial political-economic crisis: a critical exploration of Newfoundland's education reform movement

Arruda, Arthur Paulo Pascoal (1997) Re-conceptualizing the viability of small rural schools viv-a-vis a provincial political-economic crisis: a critical exploration of Newfoundland's education reform movement. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

For over a decade, Newfoundland's education system has been subjected to continual pressure to enact substantive, structural, and procedural reforms. The foundation of education reform in the province is encapsulated in two seminal Royal Commission reports, which, although addressing different topics, are inseparably linked. The Royal Commission on Employment and Unemployment (1986) delineates the commencement of the current movement to reform and rationalize the education system and direct it toward instrumental economic goals. The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Delivery of Programs and Services in Primary, Elementary, Secondary Education (1992) presented a blueprint for education reform, incorporating many of the recommendations found in the Report of the previous Royal Commission. Subsequent policy statements from the Government of Newfoundland have refined the direction of reform toward a non- denominational school system that will emphasize fiscal rationalization, cost efficiency and centralization of education services, and an instrumental link to economic development. -- The primary focus of this study was how these reforms have endangered the survival of small rural schools in the province. Small rural schools are being disparaged for their lack of an urban-based comprehensive school structure and for their purported low achievement levels and inefficiency. As the viability of these schools is called into doubt, they are being subjected to increasing levels of consolidation and closure. -- This study utilized a critical theoretical framework in analyzing the situational and concurrent events in the educational, economic, and political-ideological realms in which the education reform process is located. As such, the strictly educational and pedagogical relevance of the reforms, the benefits of school consolidation, and the foundation upon which small rural schools are proposed as being non-viable, were shown to be spurious. Instead, the changing political economy was identified as the catalyst for education reform; and post-industrial economic development the referent toward which education is being restructured. Finally, the rational-pragmatic discourse employed in the policy statements, which proclaim the benefits of a rationalized school system, was identified as serving to conceal the hegemonic intentions of the provincial government in relation to both small schools and rural communities.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10098
Item ID: 10098
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 201-232.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1997
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Educational change--Economic aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador; Educational change--Political aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador; Rural schools--Newfoundland and Labrador.

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