In Britain, as in other advanced industrial societies, such as the US, education is high on the public policy agenda. The concern is about how to maintain and improve educational standards. The right aims to give more power to parents as consumers, while the left aims to involve parents in educational processes. This book examines the evidence that has been amassed over the last 40 to 50 years in order to evaluate these two sets of political claims about how to improve educational provision.The book also reviews the effects that changing family structures, such as the growth of lone-parent families and maternal employment, have on educational opportunities and performance. It considers the impacts on both children and parents, especially mothers. It concludes with a consideration of the future of education reform in the light of changing family structures.
'Parents now play a more central part in educational policy through
their role as parent governors in schools. But despite this,
policy, or indeed assumptions about the ways in which schools
should operate, are not based on a realistic view of the lives of
mothers and fathers or on the ways in which family life has changed
in recent years. Miriam David argues convincingly that we cannot
sensibly discuss schooling without taking account of what goes on
in the home. This book breaks new ground in its analysis of the
relationship of home and school and is essential reading for anyone
concerned with children, education or parenthood.'
Martin Richards, Centre for Family Research, University of
'This is a timely and thorough review of changes in party
political positions, policy approaches and the preoccupations of
social science research regarding education that enables us to
appreciate the magnitude of the 1980s changes, particularly in
respect of the shifting meaning of the partnership between home and
Jane Lewis, The London School of Economics and Political
'A timely and interesting book.' Political Studies
'David provides a good summary of family change in recent
decades together with a balanced and comprehensive account of
educational policy.' Social Policy
1. Introduction: Parents, Education Reforms and Social
2. The Family Policy Context: The War over the Family and
Family Life Changes: 1944-1992.
3. The Education Policy Context: The Idea of a
`Meritocracy' from 1944-1976.
4. The Education Policy Context: The Idea of a
`Parentocracy' from 1976-1992.
5. Parents and Education: The Social Democractic
Reformer-Researcher Partnersip over Equal Opportunities.
6. A Parental `Voice' in Education as Community, or Consumer,
7. Parental or Family Choice of School, or of
8. Parental Involvement for School Effectiveness or Home
9. Mothers in Education, or Mum's the Word?.
10. Debating the Effects of Family Changes and Circumstances
on Children's Education.
11. Conclusions: Family Changes, Social Research and
Index of Authors.