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Education Game Changers

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Table of Contents

Contents Preface Chapter 1 Change, challenge and paradox Chapter 2 Economic constraint versus social imperative Chapter 3 Equity versus excellence Chapter 4 Efficiency versus productivity Chapter 5 Autonomy versus control Chapter 6 Individual differentiation versus standardization Chapter 7 'New world' versus 'Old World' thinking Chapter 8 Sustainability versus growth Chapter 9 'Work-life' balance versus work intensification Chapter 10 The genie is out of the bottle: Game-changing paradox, dissonance and dissent References

About the Author

Karen E. Starr, PhD, is the Inaugural Chair, School Leadership and Development in the Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Australia. Prior to this she was a school principal for fifteen years in three different schools in South Australia and Victoria.


This, to my mind, is the most recent and relevant book on the challenges of educational leadership globally at the present time, possessing the invaluable ability to look at educational leadership from an outside business perspective, recognizing that business and education have much in common, but that they also have differences in values and approach. Whilst the book as a whole is very stimulating and readable, the examination of the paradoxes currently faced by educational leaders seems to me to be absolutely on the button. -- Mike Bottery, PhD, Deputy Dean Research and Professor of Educational Policy and Values, Centre for Educational Studies, University of Hull, UK
If you are concerned by how the increases in effort and time spent on core tasks in education are off-set by increases in effort and time devoted to accounting for task work or erecting monitoring systems, by how accountability systems that fail to account for practitioners' mediation of policy and practice exemplify Lyotard's (1984) law of contradiction (arising between intensification as an increase in the volume of first order activities-e.g., direct engagement with students, curriculum development, etc.-required by the demands of accountability and the costs in terms of time and energy of second order activities that constitute the work of performance monitoring), then Karen Starr's book about contradictions in education policy that produce paradoxical effects is a must-read for you. In it she consolidates concerns and controversies through a series of common policy contradictions (e.g., equity versus excellence; autonomy versus control; work-life balance versus work intensification, etc.) in an era of rapid technological, social, and cultural change that is having a huge impact on education. She documents how the neo-liberalist policy context permits what I have referred to as a form of postmodern doublespeak or progressio ad contrarium, i.e., the rhetorical mouthing of a "high ground" discourse while simultaneously establishing the dominance of an opposite course of action. The dominance of the latter over the former in policy action paves the way for the political re-framing of education issues, for example, in terms of economic constraint instead of social imperative, or in terms of standardization instead of individual differentiation. -- Peter Grimmett, PhD, Professor and Head, Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Canada
Challenging the reader to stop and think about the 'big picture' of education, this book highlights the impact of politicians who come and go but leave education policies designed to meet the economic and ideological ambitions of the government of the day and simultaneously creating lasting paradoxes, contradictions and unintended consequences. The book asks, 'What is lost?' when education policies stem from neo-liberal, free market bases and ignore community, people, the environment, enjoyment and happiness. Starr suggests audacious thinking and action is required - reading this book will give you a head start down that road. -- Marcia Devlin, PhD, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Quality) Learning and Quality Portfolio, Federation University, Australia
This is a 'must read' book for educational decision-makers. It analyses and clarifies the contradictions and unsustainable assumptions that underpin the plethora of policy reforms and restructurings in educational institutions and systems, and then deftly integrates personal values, lived experiences and scholarly analyses to develop a powerful case for educational policy development and implementation that, fundamentally, reflects the 'voices and involvement of practitioners. -- Larry Smith, PhD, Center for Higher Education Management and Policy, University of New England, Australia
Ambitious in scope and scholarly in execution, this book may itself prove to be a 'game-changer'. Starr writes with passion, examining a series of significant tensions common within education policy internationally, and their inadvertent consequences. She concludes the analysis by setting out her vision for a fresh approach to education policy development in facing the turbulent times that lie ahead. -- Dr. Charlotte Woods, Senior Lecturer, School of Environment, Education and Development, The University of Manchester, UK
Starr's book truly exposes the contradictory pressures surrounding educational policy and raises many unanswered questions about the future of education worldwide. Education Game Changers is a thought provoking read that exposes the increased challenges and risk associated with leadership and 21st Century educational policy. -- Mark C. Pepera, ASBO International President 2015

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