New Localism or Fuzzy Centralism: Policymakers’ Perceptions of Public Education and Involvement in Education
43 Local Government Studies 598-620, 2017
Posted: 21 Apr 2020
Date Written: 2017
This research examines local authority involvement in education as a function of local policymakers’ perceptions of education as a public service – namely, whether public education is for the benefit of society as a whole, or for individual students and parents. Perceptions of education and involvement in education were assessed through 107 questionnaires returned by mayors and heads of local education departments in Israel. The results show that
(1) local policymakers tend to perceive public education as a general public service, and
(2) the relationship between this perception and involvement in education varies with the locality’s centre-periphery status.
In peripheral localities, perceiving education as a general public service and an understanding of ‘society’ as the local community leads to greater involvement in education. In central localities, involvement rose with a more individualized perception. Implications of the findings are discussed in line with viewing education in the spirit of new localism.
Keywords: Local Education Policy, General Versus Individual Public Service, New Localism, Local Governance, Fuzzy Centralism, Local Policymakers’ Perceptions
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