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School reforms, market logic, and the politics of inclusion in the United States and Denmark
chapterposted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Jessica Holloway, Bjorn Hamre
This chapter will compare parallel effects, ambivalences, and differences in the present inclusive efforts in the educational politics in Denmark and the United States while relying specifically on a poststructural critique of policy. The inclusive efforts in educational policy in the two countries will be analysed in relations to what we see as the growing culture of international comparisons, testing, and accountability, framed as the ‘logic of the market’. Though inclusive politics and the political intentions of raising students’ achievements seem to feature some of the same articulated agendas, such as social justice or equality, they also produce practical dilemmas that affect politicians, school principals, teachers, and students. On one hand, we find that the 2001 US No Child Left Behind Act and the 2012 Danish Inclusion Act, though very different in form, influence the political intentions of inclusive schooling in the two countries. However, we question how the intentions of inclusion may be challenged by some of the present tendencies of testing, evaluation, accountability, the logics of the market, and neoliberalism in the educational policies. These tendencies present an individualization in education, with a focus on the ability and competences of the individual, which may challenge the inclusive approach to education. We argue that the policies produce particular norms for how a student is supposed to ‘be’, which requires a disposition of optimization and a commitment to constant self-work to be more ‘normal’.