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Change Management in the Governance of Schooling: The Rise of Experts, Planners, and Statistics in the Early OECD


by Daniel Tröhler — 2014

Background/Context: Based on archival material, the following paper analyzes the political strategies of the early OECD stakeholders in transforming schooling from a cultural to a technological system and how they were in need of standardizing different existing patterns of thoughts or institutional behaviors in the member countries. The European standardization process observable in the early 1960s, triggered by the OECD, affected the organization of the educational policies on a ministerial level designed to influence the national school systems according to a specific ideology.

Purpose: The paper asks how this new managerial ideology was transported, disseminated, and implemented and finds its answer in a specific rhetoric that bypassed politically taboo themes and that covered up the clear strategies: The new iron cage of accountability was based on omitting controversial topics.

Research Design: A contextual reconstruction of the discourse emerging from and reinforcing the process of standardization and the dissemination of specific ways of educational planning, such as statistics, and with them specific ideologies of how society and its citizens should be shaped.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Revisiting today’s educational bureaucracy and its logic of expertise, standards, and accountability by reconstructing its origins in the Cold War and by that challenging the ideology of uniformity and accepting plurality as the condition of life of late modern societies.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 116 Number 9, 2014, p. 1-26
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17542, Date Accessed: 4/27/2017 12:51:36 PM

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About the Author
  • Daniel Tröhler
    University of Luxembourg
    E-mail Author
    DANIEL TRÖHLER is Professor of Education and Director of the Doctoral School in Educational Sciences at the University of Luxembourg and Visiting Professor of Comparative Education at the University of Granada, Spain. His latest publications include Languages of Education: Protestant Legacies, National Identities, and Global Aspirations (Routledge 2011) (AERA Outstanding Book of the Year Award) and Pestalozzi and the Educationalization of the World (Palgrave Pivot 2013).
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