3 March 2011
12.30pm - 1.30pm
Venue: Seminar Room G05, 10 Grafton Road
Department of Political Studies, Master of Public Policy seminar by Professor Karen Seashore Louis, Distinguished Visitor, Beck Chair at the University of Minnesota.
'Globalised solutions to educational problems are challenging our educational system to meet common high standards' is a sound bite that can be attributed to almost every national educational leader in the world. Probing beneath the rhetorical responses that accompany each release of international student achievement data, Professor Louis’s talk will examine some of the reasons why fundamental differences among school systems are likely to persist over the next decades, even as elements in the curriculum are shared in the name of improving educational performance. She attributes important but enduring differences to political cultures and will develop a framework to examine political culture and its effects. The talk, which is based on empirical work in the US and Europe, argues that political cultures typically transcends the more frequent shifts in policy language that occurs when political parties realign and government coalitions change. Political culture includes fundamental assumptions about how policy options get on the legislative/parliamentary agenda, which groups or individuals are expected to participate in defining the meaningful changes that are enacted, and which social values, such as equity or efficiency prevail when there are tough decisions about allocating resources or mandating changes. Her talk will draw on country case studies to illuminate the reach and the limits of globalisation, and provide an alternative perspective to the assumption that national systems are rapidly becoming alike.
Karen Seashore Louis has come to the University of Auckland as a Distinguished Visitor. She is a Regents Professor and the Robert H Beck Chair at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on school improvement and reform, leadership in school settings, and the politics of knowledge use in education. Recent books include Organizing for School Change (2006), Aligning Student Support with Achievement Goals: The Secondary School Principal’s Guide (with Molly Gordon, 2006), Professional Learning Communities: Divergence, Depth and Dilemmas (with Louise Stoll, 2007), Building strong school cultures: A guide to leading change (with Sharon Kruse, 2009), and Linking Leadership to Student Learning (with Kenneth Leithwood, in press). She has served as the President of the Educational Administration Division of the American Educational Research Association, received the lifetime Contributions to Staff Development award from the National Staff Development Association in 2007, and was the 2009 recipient of the Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award from the University Council for Educational Administration.