Neither Technicians nor Technocrats: pluralism and democratic accountability in schools

FORUM - ISSN 0963-8253
Volume 62 Number 3 (2020)

Neither Technicians nor Technocrats: pluralism and democratic accountability in schools
PETER KELLY, pages 423-432
https://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2020.62.3.423

Abstract

Whether the relationship between policymaking and science has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic remains unclear. The success scientists have enjoyed in dealing with the virus and hopes they will develop a vaccine may increase the status of some experts whilst damaging populist anti-science sentiment. Some may call for increased technocracy, where experts run the state. However, the opposite is also possible, as science is exposed as a combination of evidence and opinion, and tarnished by its association with untrustworthy politicians using it to justify their policies. This, then, would seem like a good time to clarify the scope and limitations of science in developing public policy. The author's interest is in education, where managerial practices dominate whilst a new science modelled on evidence-informed medicine has emerged, which promises to find out 'what works' to raise student attainment. But evidence has limitations and politics often influences its selection and interpretation - concerns that could undermine public confidence and play into populist hands. Instead, decision-makers should acknowledge these difficulties, take a more pluralist stance to research-informed practice, and act transparently to allow public scrutiny and support democratic accountability.

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To cite this article
PETER KELLY (2020) Neither Technicians nor Technocrats: pluralism and democratic accountability in schools, FORUM, 62(3), 423-432. https://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2020.62.3.423

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