In what is now becoming a tradition, today we review the field of comparative and international education for 2018. With me are Susan Robertson and Roger Dale, co-editors of the journal Globalisation, Societies and Education.

In our conversation, we touch on many topics, from the contradictions found within the Sustainable Development Goals to the lack of Climate Change research in the field and to the power of PISA.

Susan and Roger also point to new directions in research for 2019.

Susan Robertson is a Professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Cambridge, and Roger Dale is a Professor of Education at the University of Bristol.

Citation: Robertson, Susan & Dale, Roger, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 142, podcast audio, December 30, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/2018inreview/

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Sustainable Development Goal 4 is all about education. Under the goal, there are seven targets, ranging from providing equitable access to education worldwide to making sure students have relevant skills for the future. The most revolutionary yet incredibly complex indicator is 4.7.

My guest today, Aaron Benavot, takes us through the history of target 4.7. How did the international community agree on such a revolutionary target?

Aaron warns us about the future of the target given there is no consensus on how to measure it across countries.

Aaron Benavot is a Professor in the department of educational policy and leadership at the school of education, University at Albany, State University of New York. He was previously the Director of the Global Education Monitoring report.

Citation: Benavot, Aaron, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 141, podcast audio, December 24, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/benavot/

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Today we take stock of the Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by the United Nations three years ago. With me is Silvia Montoya who is the director of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics. UIS is charged with monitoring a few of the SDGs.

In our conversation, which we had on the sidelines of the Global Education Meeting in Brussels, we dive into the problems and challenges of trying to measure concepts such as literacy, global citizenship, and sustainability.

Today’s episode of FreshEd was made possible through the support of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Tokyo and Education International.

Citation: Montoya, Silvia, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 140, podcast audio, December 17, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/montoya/

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How can we define comparative education? That question has long vexed scholars in the field. My guest today is Angela Little, who has spent her entire career in comparative education and has wrestled with this very question.

Angela argues that it is best to define the field through shared action rather than agreed-upon definitions and talks about has long of being an academic-slash-practitioner. She also discusses has spent role that southern theory plays in the field of comparative education.

Angela Little is Professor Emerita at the University CollegeLondon, Institute of Education, University of London.

Citation: Little, Angela, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 139, podcast audio, December 10, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/angelalittle/

Will Brehm 1:49
Angela Little, welcome to FreshEd.

Angela Little  1:51
Thank you very much.

Will Brehm  1:52
So, let’s talk about the field of comparative education which we both are somehow members of. Many people have a hard time even defining what it means. What is comparative? What is education? At one point we included international into the name of the field. So, comparative and international education. What’s your take? What is comparative education as a field?

Angela Little  2:17
Okay, well, this is not going to be a short answer.

Will Brehm  2:21
[Laughter] That’s okay.

Angela Little  2:22
For me, comparative education is about extending the boundaries of our knowledge about education. Moving it beyond national systems of education. It’s about making something that appears to be rather unfamiliar, studying it making it familiar and in the process of making it familiar possibly making -what originally was familiar- making that rather strange so that one can see, for example two education systems from both sides, as it were. I know that from my own experience, my early teaching experience in Nigeria was very, very informative in this sense. I wasn’t a student of comparative education at that time and I suppose in a sense, I was doing international education. I had moved from England to Nigeria, and I was teaching mathematics. But doing that made me sit up and think about the way in which British education was organized. It was rather similar in Nigeria, but there were distinct differences as well. So, for me, comparative education is about making the unfamiliar familiar and making the familiar strange. Add to that international. Now, if I was being pedantic, “inter-national” means between nations, so in which case you might think that international education was exclusively about relationships between educators and policymakers in two or more different countries. And I suppose that a lot of the writing on educational borrowing and lending would fall therefore into that category. But I think, “international” is used in many, many different ways. For some people international is equivalent to global in some sense. And we have international organizations and we have all kinds of international exchange programs. So, if we take the broader meaning of international, I think that then comparative education probably becomes subordinate to international. International is a very general category that covers analysis, it covers advocacy, and it covers action and activity and add them to the mix development or development studies or international development. Well, I think for several decades now, development has usually referred to two things: It’s referred to the development of education in what are known as developing countries and at the same time, it refers to those agencies that are involved in different forms of cooperation with those countries in order to develop education for the development of society. But I like to go back to a definition that was offered by George W. Parkin, back in the mid 1970s. George Parkin was a New Zealand educator and for a brief period of time, he was a visiting professor at the Institute of Education in London. And for him, comparative education was about the contribution that education makes to the development of societies everywhere in the world. So for him, development did not refer to exclusive -it wasn’t a matter of geography, it wasn’t a matter of Africa, Asia, Latin America- he was interested in the contributions education makes to the development of society, economy, polity all over the world. So, that would include in Europe, it would include comparisons between Germany and the US for example. So, you can see from what I’ve said so far, how broad a field it is, and how inclusive it is, I think,

Will Brehm  6:11
Yeah, eight years ago, you published this piece in Comparative Education?

Angela Little  6:16
In Compare.

Will Brehm  6:17
In Compare, excuse me. And in that piece, you basically say, you know, enough of the debate about definitions! Our field has done this for a while, ever since it’s become a “field”. What is comparative education? And rather, you argue that we should really think about shared action. What we do should be the way in which we define what our field is rather than the meanings of these words. Has that worked out in the last eight years? Do you think that the field has moved in that direction?

Angela Little  6:53
[Laughter] Well, clearly if you look at the the journals that have been published in recent years -and I retired officially eight years ago, so I don’t look at these journals in the way that I used to- but I do occasionally dip in. And there’s still a high degree of what I would sometimes call, “navel gazing” and then attempt to actually -I think it’s a little bit, there’s a certain irony in that sometimes these articles that reflect on “the field” of comparative education are often about boundary setting. Whereas for me, I mean the beauty of comparative education is about boundary extension. And I find it slightly ironic sometimes that one is trying to draw distinctions between real comparative educationists and non-comparative educationists. I mean, at the same time, I do see the value in reflecting on the field by those who practice in the field. And I perhaps ought to say a little bit about the background to the the piece that you referred to in Compare because it’s not a conventional journal length article. The editors of Compare were putting together a special issue to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Compare and they invited a number of contributors -six or seven I think- to write. And then they -as one always does with a journal- they put the papers out for independent review. And one of the papers that was sent to me for review was actually by Mark Bray and I think it was probably the introductory paper giving an overview of his take on what comparative education was. And in that article -and I perhaps ought to have it in front of me now so that I quote it correctly and apologies to Mark if I don’t quote it correctly, but- he basically referred to the subtitle of the journal Compare, which I believe is “A Journal of Comparative and International Education”. And since Compare is the journal in a sense that belongs to the British Association of International and Comparative Education, I think he was querying, why international shouldn’t be placed before comparative. And at one level -this is a good point- I suspect, but I don’t know, because I wasn’t involved in the naming of the journal but I suspect that the subtitle derived from the fact that one of the predecessor organizations was called the British Comparative and International Education Society. So in that, so comparative came before I and that’s when the journal was established. So, I suspect that it’s just continued. But anyway, be that as it may, it just got me thinking. And so the subtitle of my little piece, which is just a commentary really. The editors I think, decided that once they put the papers out for external review, I think some of the comments that came back on the papers prompt them to then say, well, okay, we’ve got our six or seven or articles now let’s invite three or four people to write short think-pieces on the articles and also their take on the field. So, it’s a very short article and that’s how it came about. So, I said in that article that we should look a little bit more carefully at both what we do together and what we want to do together in terms of the type of research that we want to do. And I don’t know how far we’ve got with that agenda. I think one of my goals was for a greater appreciation of diversity and diversity of education practices and education policies from around the world. And to some extent, the rise of the articles that are appearing from a younger generation written about, I think it’s called “Southern Theory”. And I think to a large extent many of these calls sort of echo some of what I was trying to argue for. And indeed, I think that my goal for a greater appreciation of diversity as well as commonality. I mean, I don’t see every system as so unique from every other system that they cannot be compared and common elements drawn out, not at all. My search would always be for similarity and dissimilarity, diversity and commonality, universality and specificity. I don’t like the “either-or”. I think that constantly in comparative education, you’ve got to be very aware of both poles of those dimensions.

Will Brehm  11:34
So, what then of method? How does method -the comparative method- fit into this idea of not having either-or’s but having this universalism and specificity? You know, how does method fit in?

Angela Little  11:49
Okay, well, I think my concern about method occurs at two different levels. One is that when I moved to London to the Institute of Education, I moved from the Institute of Development Studies. And I moved to what at that time was a department of International and Comparative Education. But what that department was was basically a merger of two rather separate historical departments each with their own history and each with their own traditions. And the comparative education group who were a very small group, they -or some of their predecessors- had been very, very concerned about staking out a particular methodological approach to comparative education. There were, you probably heard of the right out of from Edmund King and Brian Holmes, or Brian Holmes was in the London Institute, Edmund King was in King’s College. They had quite different approaches to comparative education, both of which I could see had value. But it seemed to me that there was a lot of argument in that particular literature about which method was superior and which method should be followed and which method the students should follow. Coming from the other side and I had come from an Institute of Development Studies and stepped into what was then called the Department of International Comparative Education. But that the part that dealt with developing countries previously had been called education in developing countries and colleagues in that group -and I was part of that subgroup- were not nearly so concerned about that all these methodological papers. So, I think I felt at that time that method was getting in the way of the content of inquiry. The other methodological dispute, if you like, that has exercised me from time to time is what has become quite a major dispute in the social sciences, certainly in Britain, between those who promote what they call qualitative analysis and those who promote quantitative analysis. And I value both and for me, it depends very much on what you’re trying to find out. So, it’s in that sense that I say it’s your problem that from which your choice of methods should be made.

Will Brehm  14:18
Yea. Methods are tools that you use to answer the research question that you posed.

Angela Little  14:23
But you will be aware from discussions with a lot of research students that they struggle with this greatly. And for some students doing research, whether it’s comparative research or non-comparative research, they feel that doing research is doing a case study or doing a survey, right? Now, okay, they need to know, they need to find out about those those methods or those tools. But the much more challenging question for me is, why do you choose that method or that method? Or why not think about using both methods but in series? You can use a qualitative approach for the first phase of your work followed by a quantitative survey or vice-versa. And some researchers who combine the methods often produce very, very, very fine work. And when I say combine, I think, again, it’s very, you know, combination is a warm word, it’s a comforting word. It’s like interdisciplinarity or we’ll have a interdisciplinary approach to this problem. But there are points at which in fact, you do have to draw boundaries and you have to say, well, okay, in this research at this first stage of the research, I think it is best approached through qualitative means which might be unstructured interviews with people, with teachers, with students about a range of issues so that you elicit from them what they consider to be the most salient dimensions of a particular problem. At a later stage you may move that into a survey questionnaire, because at that point you might be asking questions about how many or how much or what percentage and as soon as you ask those questions, you’re talking about a quantitative approach. Now, I think the difficulty for students is that sometimes they are fed this quantitative vs qualitative.

Will Brehm  16:19
As is if they have to choose.

Angela Little  16:20
As if they have to choose! But then if they then move to a phase where they realize they can use both, the danger then is that they do neither properly. They fall between the two stools. And I think that actually students who use both approaches they possibly have a more difficult time because they have to master what that approach is. They have to do the work properly. They have to do it with scholarship.

Will Brehm  16:48
And in a four-year PhD program. I mean, how do you actually become an expert in two very different ways of doing research?

Angela Little  16:56
Yeah, yeah. So you know, it used to be a shorthand used by some of my colleagues in Britain. You know, are you a “Quant”? Or are you a “Qual”? Meaning, are you a quantitative researcher or a qualitative researcher and I used to just back off at that point and say look, it’s really not helpful. Fortunately, there are a few pieces of writing in the literature that very helpfully draw out the distinctions. Not, I would say, within our comparative education field, but in other fields that they’re in the, if you like, the comparative social sciences, you will find that.

Will Brehm  17:34
So, another big issue beyond method in comparative education and the name of comparative education, the meaning. Another issue that I -I guess being in the field for just about a decade now- I’ve noticed is that comparative educationalists -those who go through that academic trajectory- often end up working in development agencies or ministries of education, or you know, all sorts of NGOs, nonprofits, and then even the academics who are professors of comparative education often do work with these same groups over their career. So, they sort of have their foot in the world of practice and theory at the same time. They’re a practitioner but they’re also in the academy. So, you know, how do you think scholars should balance this role of the ability to analyze issues of comparative education, but then also participate in particular advocacy for education?

Angela Little  18:43
Hmm, that’s a very good question and I suppose I am one of those who has had her feet in both camps in a variety of ways. I think for those who move on from comparative and international education into a full-time position in an international organization or in an international NGO or a national NGO, I think within that organization, they need to be strong to request time for analysis. I know that in some international organizations, the pace of the discourse and all the funding imperatives are so -it’s so rapid- that the priority list of you know, “what is it today”, changes very rapidly, and I think sometimes there’s just no time for the analysis. If they cannot do the analysis themselves, or they don’t feel they’ve got the time to do the analysis, I think they need to cultivate around them a group of people -they could be consultants they might even be mentors, I’m not sure- who do have the time, who continue to have the time for analysis and those are people who are still in universities. So, I think that it’s hard if you move out of the field into a full-time position into one of these advocacy and action organizations. If you are fortunate, very fortunate, in being able to continue with a university job and at the same time, then are being invited to get involved in advocacy, I think you’re in a different position. I think that you still have -the academy still has- the opportunity for some amount of time for considered analysis, for sabbatical leave, for contributing to refereed journal articles. And I think one has to recognize the privilege of that position and value it and not allow any, “research time”, to be frittered away on advocacy and action work. It’s very tempting because the advocacy world and the action world is in many ways very exciting, very stimulating. And also, it gives you an entree to discourses that you might not otherwise have access to if you were in your “ivory tower”, as it were. So, I think analysis versus advocacy, I make that distinction quite strongly. I make it to my research students as well, because I don’t know whether you’ve had this experience but I have had in the past some -maybe not many, but some- research students who know the answer to their question before they’ve even addressed it. So they know what they want to recommend, and they haven’t done the study. Now, in this case, the advocacy is in front of the analysis. And it’s very, very hard in some cases to persuade students that they just need to forget about the recommendations and step backwards. Now a PhD over three or four years, I think for many people, including I think many academics, is one of the most privileged times of your life because you really do have time to read, you have time to analyze, you have time to think. And if you get through that period, and you’ve mastered a variety of skills, and you’ve developed a set of attitudes to education in the world, I think it places you in a very, very good position, even if you then move into a full-time job where it’s full of advocacy and action and getting on with spending money. It’s a tough one. I think that the other point I would make is that I would hope that if you have studied comparative and international education, that you retain a critical stance on many of the assertions, which come out of international organizations. International organizations have their own needs, they need to legitimize themselves, they need funding, they need to keep moving and they need to keep processing or reprocessing messages. And they often make grand claims about “X” leads to “Y” in most of the world and therefore “X” should lead to “Y” in the rest of the world. Now, if you’ve done comparative and international education in principle, you’ve got access to the resources that would enable you to test that proposition. And with the internet, now you’ve got even more access to resources. So, I would say to people just keep that critical hat on.

Will Brehm  23:33
It must be hard for some to keep that critical hat on when they end up working in development agencies that are trying to push their model: the best way to do this type of learning or solve this type of educational problem. I mean, I would imagine that they’re sort of bound by the need to advocate for that “solution” being offered. I can just see how that might be very challenging to stay critical. You want to be critical, but at the same time your job is telling you regardless of the circumstances, you have to say that this model is right.

Angela Little  24:14
Okay. I accept the constraint of that situation. At the same time, I would say take every opportunity you can to attend conferences. And much more than that, take every opportunity you can to present your work at conferences, knowing that if some members of the academy are there, they may be quite critical of what you’re doing, but use that critique to help you to reflect. Perhaps don’t rely on yourself and your peers to do all that self-reflection. Most organizations do have periods of time for in-service training or continuous professional development and some organizations and DFID actually -this is the Department for International Development- in recent years has been really quite good in encouraging many of its staff to attend, for example, the UKFIET conference, the United Kingdom Forum for International Education and Training. And those of us, who have been in that forum for a very long time -since its inception- were always very pleased when members of development agencies come and participate with us. Sometimes they request space for a panel to talk about their latest position paper. And sometimes it is possible to give them that space and they know that there will be a critique, there will be a lot of questions. But as members of the Academy, I think we try not to do that. We try to critique in a way which is constructive, not destructive. And I think sometimes it might be quite threatening for people to do that. But we also have to remember that, of course, many of the people who work in the development organizations are our former students. So, there is already a degree of trust there and there’s already an experience of analysis and academic life. And I think that’s very positive.

Will Brehm  26:09
So, you wrote that piece in Compare eight years ago looking at the main challenges to the field at that time. I know you said you retired around that same time that you published that piece but if you were to look at the field today, what would the main challenges be, the ones you see today? And are they different from the ones you saw eight years ago?

Angela Little  26:32
I think that today, even over that short space of time of eight years, I think the amount of information which is available on the internet, I mean, it’s just exploded. So, students actually have no excuse now. When they used to come along and say, I can’t find that report. I can’t find this, I can’t find that. If they’re looking for reports that have been produced from these so-called international agencies, there’s no excuse, most of that stuff is on the net. Where I think it’s still problematic in some countries is gaining access to what we might call the grey literature, the grey policy literature within countries, because a lot of that is not made available on the internet, and also, of course, historical material. And for that, you just have to search. You have to do old-style searching, sitting in archives and going through the material. In terms of the approach to problems, you drew my attention to a couple of writings on what might be generally termed, “Southern Theory”. And I think perhaps eight years ago that was beginning to take off. I think there’s more of that around in 2018 than I might have predicted in 2010. And I think on balance that’s very, very positive, as I said before, I think it it feeds into my predilection for the study of diversity. Where I’m just a little bit, I would wish to be a little bit cautious about some of that writing because some of it is imbued with the language of racism and I find that that’s tough. I think that when you have worked in a field for 45 years and when you have seen and been part of changing the -creating a much more diverse staffing profile for example in- a department that you’ve been associated with for two or three decades. Change is slow but one has seen change. Considerable amount of change. I think some of the language of those who call for Southern Theory and a counter hegemony, in effect. I think the language needs to be considered carefully if we are to move towards a comparative and international education field which is truly inclusive. There’s a certain danger that what is being called the Northern hegemony, certain danger that the call is to replace it with a Southern hegemony. I don’t buy into that partly because I’m not sure that I buy into all of the caricature of the Northern hegemony anyway. But I do, I think that those who are calling for a greater level of contribution from those who know systems, in the so-called “South” from the inside -and who are themselves extremely good scholars- to see a greater contribution only to be welcomed and invited. Nearly 20 years ago now, I undertook an analysis of the articles which had appeared in Comparative Education over the previous 20 year period. The year 2000 was when Comparative Education was doing yet another set of reflections on the condition of the field. And what I did was an analysis of of these about four or 500 articles. And I was interested in the four C’s: context, content, comparison, and contributors. So, the question of content was addressed to George Parkin’s issue about geography. And I found a pretty good spread of countries that were addressed in the articles. Content was what was the problem area that the articles were addressing. And that was incredibly diverse, incredibly diverse. I mean, everything from higher education to language policy, to pedagogy, to relations between education and development. Very, very wide. The third area was comparison. Now this one was very interesting because I took my cue from Parkin and some of the comparative educators before him. And perhaps working from maybe even Kandel’s position, I was looking for articles which compared two or more countries. And actually, I found that the vast majority of articles were only focused on one country. And I felt for me that didn’t devalue them. I just felt that if they were articles that were going to appear in a comparative education journal, they needed to be written with another author, maybe who have been looking at something similar in another country. I think that single country studies are absolutely essential for comparison. I don’t think you can “compare” until you’ve done a proper study of two countries or a team has done a proper scholarly study of the countries that they purport to compare because I think there’s a great danger otherwise that your comparisons become very, very surface level. Okay, so that was the comparison dimension. And the fourth dimension was contributors. And I found that there was a very heavy concentration of the contributors in Northern institutions. Now, they themselves may well have been from the South. They may have done their PhDs in the South but they have migrated to institutions in the North. Now, I think one of the challenges we have in the development of the collective development of higher education around the world if how can we find ways of distributing the skills of comparative and international education more equally across the globe so that in turn, those who have the skills can work in diverse parts of the world to develop scholarship in those parts of the world? Because if there’s this continued migration to the institutions in North America and Europe -and when I say the South, I rather exclude Australia and New Zealand and I think they would exclude themselves from what is referred to as the South. So perhaps not, not entirely perhaps- but if people are migrating, if academics are migrating to these good centers and departments of international comparative education, I think that worries me for the field. It doesn’t worry me for the individuals. The individuals are making very, very rational individual decisions. But I worry for the next generations of scholars from those countries who wish to stay in -not to stay in their country but who wish to- do comparative education in other countries, but then who wish to contribute to comparative international education in their country.

Will Brehm  33:50
And in a way that would contribute to this idea of Southern theory.

Angela Little  33:54
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

Will Brehm  33:58
Well, Angela Little Thank you so much for joining FreshEd today, it was really a pleasure to talk.

Angela Little  34:02
Thank you very much.

Will Brehm 1:49
Angela Little, bem-vinda ao FreshEd.

Angela Little 1:51
Muito obrigada.

Will Brehm 1:52
Vamos falar sobre o campo da educação comparada, do qual, de certa forma, somos ambos membros. Muitas pessoas têm dificuldade em definir o que significa educação comparada. O que é “comparada”? O que é “educação”? A certa altura acrescentamos “internacional” ao nome do campo. Então, educação internacional e comparada. Qual é a sua opinião? O que é a educação comparada?

Angela Little 2:17
Muito bem, não vai ser uma resposta curta.

Será Brehm 2:21
[Risos] Tudo bem.

Angela Little 2:22
Para mim, a educação comparada é sobre ampliar as fronteiras do nosso conhecimento sobre a educação. Movendo-o para além dos sistemas nacionais de educação. Trata-se de fazer algo que parece pouco familiar, estudá-lo tornando-o familiar e no processo de o tornar familiar, possivelmente tornando-o originalmente familiar. Por exemplo, dois sistemas educativos de diferentes locais. Sei isto pela minha própria experiência, a minha experiência enquanto professora no início da minha carreira na Nigéria foi muito, muito informativa nesse sentido. Eu não era uma estudante de educação comparada na época e suponho que, de certo modo, eu estava a estudar educação internacional. Mudei-me de Inglaterra para a Nigéria e estava a ensinar matemática. Mas esta experiência fez-me pensar sobre a forma como educação britânica estava organizada. Era bastante semelhante na Nigéria, mas também havia diferenças. Então, para mim, a educação comparada é sobre tornar o familiar desconhecido e familiarizarmo-nos com o estranho. Adicione a isso o internacional. Agora, se eu estava sendo pedante, “inter- nacional” significa entre nações, então, nesse caso, pode-se pensar que a educação internacional trata exclusivamente a relação entre educadores e políticas em dois ou mais países. E suponho que muitos dos textos sobre borrowing and lendingestão enquadrados nesta categoria. Mas julgo que a palavra “internacional” é usada com uma variedade, muito, muito grande. Para algumas pessoas, internacional equivale a global, de certa forma. E nós temos organizações internacionais e todos os tipos de programas de intercâmbio internacional. Então, se internacional tiver um significado mais amplo, julgo que a educação comparada provavelmente se torna subordinada do internacional. Internacional é uma categoria muito abrangente que inclui análise, inclui incidência política [advocacy] e inclui ações e atividades que são adicionadas aos estudos do desenvolvimento ou ao desenvolvimento internacional. Bem, eu julgo que desde já há várias décadas, o desenvolvimento normalmente se refere a duas coisas: ao desenvolvimento da educação naqueles que são conhecidos como países em desenvolvimento e, ao mesmo tempo, refere-se àquelas agências que estão envolvidas em diferentes formas de cooperação com esses países, a fim de desenvolver a educação para o desenvolvimento da sociedade. Mas eu gosto de voltar a uma definição de George W. Parkin, em meados da década de 1970. George Parkin foi um educador da Nova Zelândia e por um breve período de tempo foi professor visitante no Instituto de Educação em Londres. E para ele, a educação comparada era sobre a contribuição que da educação para o desenvolvimento das sociedades em todo o mundo. Então, para ele, desenvolvimento não se referia a exclusivamente – não era uma questão de geografia, não era uma questão de África, Ásia, América Latina – ele estava interessado na contribuição da educação para o desenvolvimento da sociedade, da economia, das políticas em todo o mundo. Então, desta forma incluiria a Europa, incluiria comparações entre a Alemanha e os EUA, por exemplo. Então, você pode ver pelo que eu disse até agora, quão amplo é um campo, e como é inclusivo, penso eu.

Will Brehm 6:11
Sim, há oito anos publicou um artigo na Comparative Education?

Angela Pequeno 6:16
Na Compare.

Will Brehm 6:17
Na Compare, desculpe. E nesse artigo, basicamente refere, sabe, já chega de debater as definições! O nosso campo fez isso durante algum tempo, desde que se tornou um “campo”. O que é a educação comparada? Em vez disso, argumenta que deveríamos pensar em ações partilhadas. O que fazemos deve ser o modo pelo qual definimos o nosso campo e não o significado das palavras. Julga que isto funcionou nos últimos oito anos? Pensa que o campo se moveu nessa direção?

Angela Little 6:53
[Risos] Bem, claramente, se olhar para os artigos das revistas que foram publicados nos últimos anos – e eu reformei-me oficialmente há oito anos, então eu não olho para essas revistas do mesmo modo que antes – mas faço-o ocasionalmente. Ainda há um alto grau do que às vezes eu chamo de “olhar para o umbigo” e então tento realmente – eu acho que é um pouco, há uma certa ironia nisso algumas vezes esses artigos que refletem sobre “o campo” da educação comparada são frequentemente sobre a criação de fronteiras. Contudo, para mim, quero dizer a beleza da educação comparada é sobre expansão das fronteiras. E às vezes acho irónico que alguém esteja a tentar fazer distinções entre que investigadores que fazem educação comparada “real” e investigadores que não fazem educação comparada. Quero dizer, ao mesmo tempo, vejo o valor de refletir sobre o campo por aqueles que o praticam. Talvez eu deva falar um pouco sobre o contexto do artigo que mencionou da Compareporque não é um artigo com um tamanho convencional de uma revista. Os editores da Compareestavam a organizar uma edição especial para comemorar o 40.º aniversário da Comparee eles convidaram um conjunto de autores para colaborar nesse número – seis ou sete – para escrever. E então eles – como sempre fazemos com uma revista – os artigos foram para uma revisão independente. E um dos artigos que me foi enviado para rever foi, na verdade, de Mark Bray e acho que foi, provavelmente, o artigo introdutório que oferece uma visão geral sobre a sua perspetiva do que era educação comparada. E nesse artigo – e talvez eu devesse tê-lo na minha frente agora, para que o pudesse citar corretamente, peço desde já desculpa ao Mark se não o citar corretamente, mas – ele basicamente referiu-se ao subtítulo da revista Compare, que eu acredito que é “Uma Revista de Educação Comparada e Internacional”. E como a Compareé uma revista que de certa forma pertence à Associação Britânica de Educação Internacional e Comparada [British Association of International and Comparative Education], penso que ele estava a questionar, porque é que o internacional não deveria ser colocado antes do comparado. E de certa forma – isso é um bom argumento – eu suspeito, mas não sei, porque não estive envolvida na atribuição do nome à revista, porém suspeito que o subtítulo derivou do fato de uma das organizações predecessoras se chamar Sociedade Britânica de Educação Comparada e Internacional [British Comparative and International Education Society]. Então, comparada veio antes de mim e foi quando a revista foi criada. Então, suspeito que apenas continuou. Mas de qualquer modo, seja como for, isso fez-me pensar. E assim surgiu o subtítulo do meu pequeno artigo, que é apenas, realmente, um comentário. Os editores, penso eu, decidiram que, uma vez que eles colocassem os artigos para revisão externa, eu penso que alguns dos comentários que voltaram nos artigos os levaram a dizer, muito bem, nós agora já temos os nossos seis ou sete artigos, agora vamos convidar três ou quatro pessoas apenas para escrever recensões críticas sobre os artigos e também sobre as suas visões sobre o assunto. Então, é um artigo muito pequeno e foi assim que surgiu. Então, naquele artigo disse que deveríamos olhar com mais cuidado para o que fazemos juntos e o que queremos fazer juntos em termos do tipo de investigação que queremos fazer. Eu não sei quão longe fomos com esta agenda. Penso que um dos meus objetivos era um maior reconhecimento da diversidade, da diversidade de práticas e políticas educativas em todo o mundo. E, até certo ponto, os artigos que estão a surgir escritos por uma geração mais jovem são sobrepenso que se chama, “Teoria do Sul” [Southern Theory]. Penso que uma grande parte muitas destas perspetivas ecoam um pouco do que eu estava a tentar argumentar. E, de facto, penso que meu objetivo é um maior reconhecimento da diversidade e da partilha de interesses. Quer dizer, eu não vejo cada sistema tão único em relação a outros sistemas que não possam ser comparados e de alguma forma extraídos elementos comuns. A minha a busca seria sempre por similaridade e falta de similaridade, diversidade e de partilha de interesses, universalidade e especificidade. Eu não gosto do “um ou do outro” [either-or]. Penso que, constantemente, na educação comparada temos que estar muito consciente destes dois polos dessas dimensões.

Will Brehm 11:34
Então, e o método? Como é que o método – o método comparativo – se enquadra nesta ideia de não ter um ou outro, mas ter esse universalismo e especificidade? Sabe, como é que o método se enquadra?

Angela Litle 11:49
Bem, penso que minha preocupação com o método ocorre a dois níveis distintos. Uma é que, quando me mudei para Londres, para o Instituto de Educação, mudei-me do Instituto de Estudos do Desenvolvimento. E mudei-me para o que naquela época era um departamento de Educação Internacional e Comparada. Mas esse departamento era basicamente uma fusão de dois departamentos históricos bastante separados, cada um com sua própria história e cada um com suas próprias tradições. O grupo de educação comparada, que era um grupo muito pequeno, eles – ou alguns de seus antecessores – estavam muito, muito preocupados em estabelecer uma abordagem metodológica específica para a educação comparada. Houve, provavelmente já ouviu falar de Edmund King e Brian Holmes, Brian Holmes estava no Instituto de Londres e Edmund King estava no King’s College. Eles tinham abordagens bastante diferentes para a educação comparada, e eu via um valor acrescentado nisso. Mas pareceu-me que havia muita discussão nessa literatura em particular sobre qual o método que era superior, qual o método que deveria ser seguido, e qual método que os estudantes deveriam seguir. Vindo do outro lado, vim de um Instituto de Estudos do Desenvolvimento e entrei no então chamado Departamento de Educação Internacional e Comparada. Mas a parte que lidava com países em desenvolvimento já tinha sido chamada de educação em países em desenvolvimento e colegas daquele grupo – e eu fazia parte desse subgrupo – não estavam tão preocupados com todos esses documentos metodológicos. Então, penso que senti naquele momento que o método estava a atrapalhar o conteúdo da investigação. A outra disputa metodológica, se a podemos chamar assim, que me tem exercitado de tempos a tempos tornou-se numa grande disputa nas ciências sociais, certamente em na Inglaterra, entre aqueles que promovem o que chamam de análise qualitativa e aqueles que promovem a análise quantitativa. E eu valorizo ambos e, para mim, depende muito do que está a tentar descobrir. Então, é neste sentido que julgo que a escolha dos métodos está dependente de cada um.

Will Brehm 14:18
Sim. Os métodos são ferramentas que usa para responder à pergunta de investigação que colocou.

Angela Little 14:23
Mas estará ciente, a partir discussões com vários estudantes que estão a frequentar unidades curriculares de investigação, que eles têm grandes dificuldades com este aspeto. E para alguns alunos que fazem investigação, seja investigação comparada ou não comparada, eles pensam que fazer investigação é fazer um estudo de caso ou fazer um questionário, certo? Agora, tudo bem, eles necessitam de saber, necessitam de descobrir esses métodos ou essas ferramentas. Mas, para mim, a questão muito mais desafiadora é, porque é que escolhe este ou aquele método? Ou porque não pensar em usar os dois métodos, mas em séries? Pode usar uma abordagem qualitativa para a primeira fase do seu trabalho, seguida de uma investigação quantitativa ou vice-versa. E alguns investigadores que combinam os métodos geralmente produzem um trabalho muito, muito bom. E quando digo combinar, penso que, novamente, é muito, sabe, combinação é uma palavra calorosa, é uma palavra reconfortante. É como interdisciplinaridade ou teremos uma abordagem interdisciplinar para o problema. Mas há pontos em que, de fato, temos que estabelecer limites e temos que dizer, bem, nesta investigação, nesta primeira fase da investigação julgo que é melhor abordado através de  métodos qualitativos que podem ser entrevistas não estruturadas com pessoas, com os professores, com os alunos sobre uma variedade de questões, para que produza o que eles consideram ser as dimensões mais salientes de um problema em particular. Posteriormente, pode colocar essas questões num questionário, porque, nesse momento, pode estar a fazer perguntas sobre quantas ou quanto ou quais percentagens e, assim que fizer estas perguntas, está a falar de uma abordagem quantitativa. Agora, acho que a dificuldade para os alunos é que às vezes eles são “alimentados” com esta dicotomia quantitativo vs. qualitativo.

Will Brehm 16:19
Como se tivessem que escolher.
Angela Little 16:20
Como se tivessem que escolher! Mas então, se eles se movem para uma fase em que percebem que podem usar ambos os métodos, o perigo é não seguir os procedimentos corretos. Eles ficam entre duas possibilidades. Julgo que, na verdade, os alunos que usam ambas as abordagens possivelmente têm mais dificuldade porque precisam dominar estas duas abordagens. Eles têm que fazer o trabalho corretamente. Eles têm que fazê-lo recorrendo a uma bolsa de estudo.

Wil Brehm 16:48
E num programa de doutoramento de 4 anos. Quero dizer, como é que se pode tornar, verdadeiramente, umespecialista em duas formas bastante diferentes de fazer investigação?

Angela Little 16:56
Sim, sim. Sabe, costumava ser uma abreviatura usada por alguns dos meus colegas na Grã-Bretanha. Sabe, é um “Quant”? Ou um “Qual”? Significa que é um investigador quantitativo ou qualitativo e eu costumava recuar nesse ponto e dizer olha, realmente essa perspetiva não é útil. Felizmente, existem alguns textos na literatura que fazem uma distinção relevante. Dentro do nosso campo da educação comparada, eu diria que não, mas em outros campos em que eles estão, se preferir, as ciências sociais comparadas, encontra-a.

Will Brehm 17:34
Então, outra grande questão que extravasa a questão dos métodos na educação comparada e o nome “educação comparada” é o seu significado. Outra questão que – eu penso que está presente no campo quase há uma década – tenho notado é que quem está ligado à educação comparada – aqueles que passam por uma trajetória académica – e muitas vezes acabam a trabalhar numa agência de desenvolvimento ou num Ministério da Educação, ou sabe, todos os tipos de ONG, organizações sem fins lucrativos, e até mesmo os académicos que são professores de educação comparada, frequentemente trabalham com esses mesmos grupos ao longo das suas carreiras. Então, têm um pé no mundo da prática e outro no da teoria ao mesmo tempo. Eles são práticos, mas também estão na academia. Então, sabe, como pensa que os estudiosos devem equilibrar esse papel da capacidade de analisar questões de educação comparada, mas depois também participar em ações específicas de educação comparada?

Angela Little  18:43
Hmm, esta é uma pergunta muito boa e suponho que eu seja uma daquelas pessoas que tiveram os pés em ambos os lados de várias formas. Julgo que para aqueles que passam da educação comparada e da educação internacional para um trabalho a tempo integral numa organização internacional ou numa ONG internacional ou numa ONG nacional, eu penso que dentro dessa organização, eles precisam ser fortes para pedirem tempo para análise. Eu sei que em algumas organizações internacionais, o ritmo do discurso e todos os imperativos de financiamento são tão – é tão rápido – que a sua lista de prioridades sabe, “o que é hoje”, muda muito rapidamente, e eu julgo que por vezes há não há tempo para análise. Se não podem fazer a análise por si, ou não sentem que têm tempo para fazer a análise, julgo que necessitam de ter à sua volta um grupo de pessoas – podem ser consultores, ou mesmo mentores, não tenho a certeza – quem tem tempo, quem continua a ter tempo para análise, e essas pessoas são geralmente quem continua nas universidades. Então, julgo que é difícil se sair do campo para um trabalho a tempo numa dessas organizações de incidência política [advocacy]. Se tem a sorte, muita sorte, e conseguir continuar com um trabalho universitário e, ao mesmo tempo, ser convidado para se envolver em incidência política [advocacy], penso que está numa posição diferente. Considero que se ainda tem – a academia ainda tem – a oportunidade de ter algum tempo para análise ponderada, para uma licença sabática, para contribuir com artigos com revisão por pares em revistas. E julgo que é necessário reconhecer o privilégio de ter essa oportunidade e valorizá-la e não permitir que qualquer “tempo de investigação” seja desperdiçado em trabalho de incidência política [advocacy] e ação. É muito tentador, porque o mundo da incidência política [advocacy] e da ação são, em muitos aspetos, muito empolgantes, muito estimulantes. E também, lhe dá acesso a discursos que de outra forma não teria acesso caso estivesse na sua “torre de marfim”, por assim dizer. Então, eu penso em análise versus incidência política [advocacy], faço esta distinção com bastante veemência. Faço isso mesmo para os meus alunos de investigação, porque não sei se teve essa experiência, mas eu tive no passado alguns – talvez não muitos, mas alguns -estudantes de investigação que já sabem a resposta às perguntas de investigação mesmo antes de as redigir. Então, eles sabem o que querem recomendar, mas ainda não fizeram o estudo. Neste caso, a incidência política [advocacy] está à frente da análise. E é muito difícil, em alguns casos, persuadir os alunos que só precisam esquecer as recomendações e voltar atrás. Um doutoramento de três ou quatro anos, penso que para muitas outras pessoas, julgo que inclusivamente para muitos académicos, é um dos momentos mais privilegiados da sua vida porque têm realmente tempo para ler, tempo para analisar, tempo para pensar. E se passar por esse período, já dominou uma variedade de competências e desenvolveu um conjunto de atitudes em relação à educação no mundo, julgo que isso o coloca numa posição muito boa, mesmo que mude para um trabalho a tempo repleto de incidência política, ação e gestão de financiamentos. É difícil. Porém, julgo que outro ponto que gostaria de acrescentar é que espero que alguém que estudou educação internacional e comparada mantenha uma postura crítica sobre muitas das afirmações que vêm de organizações internacionais. As organizações internacionais têm as suas próprias necessidades, elas precisam de se legitimar, precisam de financiamento, precisam continuar em movimento e precisam continuar processando ou reprocessando as mensagens. E muitas vezes fazem grandes reivindicações sobre “X” leva a “Y” na maior parte do mundo e, portanto, “X” deve levar a “Y” no resto do mundo. Agora, se estudou educação internacional e comparada, em princípio, terá acesso aos recursos que permitem testar essas proposições. E com a internet, agora consegue-se ainda mais acesso a recursos. Então, diria às pessoas para manterem o “chapéu” da crítica.

Will Brehm 23:33
Deve ser difícil para alguns manterem o “chapéu” da crítica, quando acabam a trabalhar em agências de desenvolvimento que estão a tentar impulsionar o seu modelo: a melhor forma de fazer esse tipo de aprendizagem ou resolver esse tipo de problema educacional. Quer dizer, imagino que eles estão ligados à necessidade de defender a “solução” que está a ser oferecida. Posso apenas imaginar como pode ser bastante desafiador permanecer crítico. Quer ser crítico, mas ao mesmo tempo o seu trabalho está a dizer-lhe, independentemente das circunstâncias, que o modelo que está a usar está certo.

Angela Little 24:14
OK. Eu aceito a restrição dessa situação. Ao mesmo tempo, diria que deve aproveitar todas as oportunidades para participar em conferências. E muito mais do que isso, aproveite todas as oportunidades possíveis para apresentar o seu trabalho em conferências, sabendo que, se alguns membros da academia estiverem lá, eles podem ser bastante críticos sobre o que está a fazer, mas use essas críticas para o ajudar a refletir. Talvez não se limitar apenas à sua autorreflexão e à dos seus colegas. A maioria das organizações tem períodos de tempo para formação em serviço ou desenvolvimento profissional, e algumas organizações e precisamente o DFID – isto é o Departamento para o Desenvolvimento Internacional do Reino Unido- nos últimos anos tem sido muito bom a encorajar muitos de seus funcionários a comparecer, por exemplo, no UKFIET, o Fórum do Reino Unido para Educação Internacional e Formação [United Kingdom Forum for International Education and Training]. E aqueles de nós, que estão nesse fórum há muito tempo – desde o início – ficam sempre muito satisfeitos quando membros de agências de desenvolvimento participaram connosco. Às vezes, solicitam espaço para um painel para terem oportunidade de falar sobre seu mais recente documento de posicionamento. E às vezes é possível dar-lhes esse espaço e eles sabem que haverá crítica, haverá muitas perguntas. Mas como membros da Academia, penso acho que tentamos não fazer isso. Nós tentamos criticar de uma maneira construtiva, não destrutiva. E penso que às vezes pode ser bastante ameaçador para as pessoas fazerem isso. Mas também temos que lembrar que, é claro, muitas das pessoas que trabalham nas organizações de desenvolvimento são nossos ex-alunos. Então, já existe um certo grau de confiança e já existe uma experiência de análise e vida académica. E penso que isso é muito positivo.

Will Brehm 26:09
Então, escreveu o artigo da Comparehá oito anos, olhando para os principais desafios do campo naquele momento. Eu sei que disse que se aposentou na mesma época em que publicou esse artigo, mas se fosse olhar para o campo hoje, quais seriam os principais desafios, aqueles que identifica atualmente? São diferentes dos que viu há oito anos?

Angela Little 26:32
Penso que hoje, mesmo nesse curto espaço de tempo de oito anos, penso que a quantidade de informação disponível na internet, quero dizer, acabou de explodir. Então, os estudantes agora não têm desculpa. Quando apareciam e diziam, não consigo encontrar o relatório. Não consigo encontrar isso, não consigo encontrar aquilo. Se estão a procurar relatórios que foram produzidos a partir das chamadas agências internacionais, não há desculpas, a maioria das informações está na internet. Onde considero que ainda é problemático em alguns países é o acesso ao que podemos chamar literatura cinzenta, a literatura cinzenta referente a políticas dos países, porque muita desta informação não está disponível na internet, e também, claro está, material histórico. E para isso, apenas precisa de investigar. Tem que realizar pesquisa à “moda antiga”, ir para os arquivos e rever o material. Em termos da abordagem às diferentes problemáticas alertou-me para alguns escritos sobre o que poderá ser chamado de “Teoria do Sul”. Julgo que talvez há oito anos isto estava a começar. Considero que há mais disso em 2018 do que eu poderia ter previsto em 2010. Julgo que o balanço é muito, muito positivo, como eu disse antes, penso que isso alimenta a minha predileção pelo estudo da diversidade. Onde eu estou apenas um pouquinho, eu gostaria de ser um pouco cautelosa sobre alguns escritos, porque alguns estão imbuídos na linguagem do racismo e julgo que isso é difícil. Penso que quando se trabalha numa área há 45 anos e quando vê e faz parte da mudança de criar um perfil de pessoas muito mais diversificado, por exemplo, em um departamento ao qual tem estado associado durante duas ou três décadas. A mudança é lenta, mas já se viu mudança. Uma quantidade considerável de mudança. Na realidade, alguma da linguagem(s) daqueles que clamam pela Teoria do Sul e uma contra-hegemonia. Eu penso que a(s) linguagem(s) necessitam de ser consideradas com precaução se quisermos que haja uma movimentação para uma educação internacional e comparada que seja verdadeiramente inclusiva. Há um certo perigo para o que está a ser chamado de hegemonia do Norte, está a ser substituída por uma hegemonia do Sul. Eu não entendo isso em parte porque eu não tenho certeza se compro toda a caricatura da hegemonia do Norte de qualquer maneira. Mas eu acredito que aqueles que estão a pedir um maior nível de contribuição daqueles que conhecem os sistemas, no chamado “Sul” de dentro – e que são, eles mesmos, extremamente bons académicos – é para contribuírem e apenas para serem bem-vindos e convidados. Há quase 20 anos, realizei uma análise dos artigos que apareceram na Comparative Educationno período de 20 anos. O ano de 2000 foi quando a ComparativeEducationestava a realizar um conjunto de reflexões sobre as áreas. E o que fiz foi uma análise desses cerca de quatro ou 500 artigos. Estava interessada nos quatro C’s: contexto, conteúdo, comparação e colaboradores [context, content, comparison, and contributors]. Então, a questão do conteúdo foi endereçada à questão de George Parkin sobre geografia. E eu encontrei uma boa distribuição de países que foram abordados nos artigos. O conteúdo era a problemática que os artigos abordavam. E isso foi incrivelmente diversificado, incrivelmente diverso. Quer dizer, tudo, do ensino superior à política linguística, à pedagogia, às relações entre educação e desenvolvimento. Muito abrangente. A terceira área foi a comparação. Agora, este foi muito interessante porque segui a sugestão do Parkin e alguns dos investigadores de educação comparada antes dele. E talvez trabalhando talvez a partir da posição de Kandel, estava à procura de artigos que comparassem dois ou mais países. E, na verdade, descobri que a grande maioria dos artigos estava focada apenas em um país. E eu senti que esse aspeto não os desvalorizou. Eu apenas senti que, se fossem artigos que aparecessem numa revista de educação comparada, precisariam de ser escritos com outro autor, que talvez estivesse à procura de algo similar em outro país. Julgo que os estudos de um único país são absolutamente essenciais para a comparação. Não penso que se pode “comparar” até que se tenha feito um estudo apropriado de dois países ou uma equipa tenha feito um estudo académico adequado sobre os países que pretendem comparar, porque penso que há um grande perigo caso contrário as suas comparações se tornam-se muito, muito superficiais. Muito bem, então essa foi a dimensão de comparação. E a quarta dimensão foram os autores[colaboradores]. E descobri que havia uma concentração muito grande de autores nas instituições do Norte. Agora, eles mesmos podem ter sido do Sul. Podem ter feito os seus doutoramentos no Sul, mas migraram para instituições no Norte. Agora, julgo que um dos desafios que temos no desenvolvimento de um desenvolvimento coletivo do ensino superior em todo o mundo é como podemos encontrar formas de distribuir as competências da educação comparada e internacional, de forma mais igualitária em todo o mundo, de modo a que, por sua vez, aqueles que têm as competências possam trabalhar em diversas partes do mundo para desenvolver o campo nessas partes do mundo? Porque se há essa migração contínua para as instituições na América do Norte e da Europa – e quando digo o Sul, eu excluo a Austrália e a Nova Zelândia e considero que elas se excluem do que é chamado de Sul. Talvez não, talvez não inteiramente – mas se as pessoas estão a migrar, se os académicos estão a migrar para esses bons Centros e Departamentos de educação internacional e comparada, penso que isso me preocupa para o estado do campo. Não me preocupa pelos indivíduos. Os indivíduos estão ta tomar decisões individuais muito, muito racionais. Mas eu preocupo-me com as próximas gerações de académicos daqueles países que desejam permanecer – não para ficar no seu país, mas que desejam fazer educação comparada em outros países, mas que desejam contribuir para a educação internacional comparada em seu país.

Will Brehm 33:50
E de uma maneira que contribuiria para essa ideia da “teoria do Sul”.

Angela Little 33:54
Sim, absolutamente. Absolutamente.

Will Brehm 33:58
Bem, Angela Little Muito obrigado por participar no FreshEd de hoje, foi realmente um prazer conversar consigo.

Angela Little 34:02
Muito obrigada.

Translation by Rui da Silva and Rosa Silva

Want to help translate this show into other languages? Please contact info@freshedpodcast.com

Will Brehm 1:49
Angela Little, bienvenue à FreshEd.

Angela Little  1:51
Merci beaucoup.

Will Brehm 1:52
Discutons donc du domaine de l’éducation comparée dont nous sommes tous deux en quelque sorte membres. Beaucoup de gens ont du mal à définir ce que cela veut dire. Qu’est-ce qui est comparatif ? Qu’est-ce que l’éducation ? À un moment donné, nous avons inclus l’international dans le nom de ce domaine. Donc, l’éducation comparative et internationale. Qu’en pensez-vous ? Qu’est-ce que l’éducation comparée en tant que domaine ?

Angela Little 2:17
Bon, eh bien, ce ne sera pas une réponse brève.

Will Brehm  2:21
[Rire] C’est bon.

Angela Little  2:22
Pour moi, l’éducation comparative vise à élargir les limites de nos connaissances en matière d’éducation. Il s’agit de l’amener au-delà des systèmes nationaux d’éducation. Il s’agit de rendre quelque chose qui semble peu familier, de l’étudier pour le rendre familier et, ce faisant, de rendre peut-être familier ce qui l’était à l’origine, ce qui le rend plutôt étrange, de sorte que l’on puisse voir, par exemple, deux systèmes éducatifs des deux côtés, pour ainsi dire. Je sais par expérience que ma première expérience d’enseignant au Nigeria a été très, très instructive en ce sens. Je n’étudiais pas l’éducation comparative à cette époque et je suppose que, dans un sens, je faisais de l’éducation internationale. J’avais quitté l’Angleterre pour le Nigeria et j’enseignais les mathématiques. Mais cela m’a fait réfléchir à la façon dont l’éducation britannique était structurée. C’était assez semblable au Nigeria, mais il y avait aussi de nettes divergences. Donc, pour moi, l’éducation comparative vise à rendre familier l’inconnu et à rendre étrange ce qui est familier. Ajoutez à cela l’international. Maintenant, si j’étais pédant, “international” signifie entre nations, auquel cas vous pourriez croire que l’éducation internationale concerne exclusivement les relations entre éducateurs et décideurs politiques dans deux ou plusieurs pays différents. Et je présume qu’une grande partie des écrits sur l’emprunt et le prêt de matériel éducatif relèveraient donc de cette catégorie. Mais je pense que le terme “international” est employé de nombreuses façons différentes. Pour certaines personnes, international est équivalent à mondial dans un certain sens. Et nous avons des organisations internationales et nous avons toutes sortes de programmes d’échanges internationaux. Donc, si nous prenons le sens plus large d’international, je pense que l’éducation comparative devient probablement secondaire à l’international. L’international est une catégorie très générale qui couvre l’analyse, la défense des intérêts, l’action et l’activité, et qui s’ajoute au mélange développement ou études sur le développement ou développement international. Eh bien, je trouve que depuis plusieurs décennies maintenant, le développement fait généralement référence à deux choses : Il s’agit du développement de l’éducation dans ce qu’on appelle les pays en développement et, en même temps, il s’agit des agences qui sont engagées dans différentes formes de coopération avec ces pays afin de promouvoir l’éducation pour le développement de la société. Mais j’aime retourner à une définition proposée par George W. Parkin, au milieu des années 1970. George Parkin était un éducateur néo-zélandais et, pendant une brève période, il a été professeur invité à l’Institut d’éducation de Londres. Et pour lui, l’éducation comparative concernait la contribution de l’éducation au développement des sociétés partout dans le monde. Pour lui, le développement n’est donc pas exclusif – ce n’est pas une question de géographie, ce n’est pas une question d’Afrique, d’Asie, d’Amérique latine – il s’intéresse à la contribution de l’éducation au développement de la société, de l’économie, de la politique dans le monde entier. Ainsi, cela comprendrait, en Europe, des comparaisons entre l’Allemagne et les États-Unis par exemple. Ainsi, vous pouvez voir, d’après ce que j’ai dit jusqu’à présent, à quel point ce domaine est large et inclusif, je pense,

Will Brehm 6:11
Oui, il y a 8 ans de cela, vous avez publié cet article dans l’Éducation Comparative?

Angela Little  6:16
En guise de comparaison.

Will Brehm  6:17
Dans Comparer, veuillez m’excuser. Et dans cet article, vous dites en gros, vous savez, assez du débat sur les définitions ! Notre domaine le fait depuis un certain temps, depuis qu’il est devenu un “domaine”. Qu’est-ce que l’éducation comparative ? Et vous dites plutôt que nous devrions vraiment envisager une action commune. Ce que nous devrions faire, c’est définir notre domaine plutôt que de définir le sens de ces mots. Cela a-t-il marché ces huit dernières années ? Croyez-vous que le domaine a évolué dans cette direction?

Angela Little  6:53
[Rire] Il est évident que si vous regardez les revues qui ont été publiées ces dernières années et que j’ai pris ma retraite officielle il y a huit ans de cela, je ne regarde plus ces revues comme avant – mais je m’y plonge de temps en temps. Et il y a encore une grande part de ce que j’appellerais parfois “l’observation du nombril” et j’essaie ensuite de – je crois que c’est un peu, il y a une certaine ironie dans le fait que des fois, ces articles qui réfléchissent sur “le domaine” de l’éducation comparative portent souvent sur la définition de limites. Alors que pour moi, je veux dire que la beauté de l’éducation comparative est l’extension des limites. Et je trouve parfois un peu ironique qu’on essaie de faire des différences entre les vrais éducateurs comparatifs et les éducateurs non comparatifs. Je veux dire, en parallèle, que je vois l’intérêt d’une réflexion sur le terrain par ceux qui pratiquent dans ce domaine. Et je devrais peut-être dire quelques mots sur le contexte de l’article auquel vous avez fait référence dans Comparer, car il ne s’agit pas d’un article de longueur conventionnelle. Les rédacteurs de Comparer préparaient un numéro spécial pour célébrer le 40e anniversaire de Comparer et ils ont invité un certain nombre de contributeurs – six ou sept je pense – à écrire. Puis, comme on le fait toujours avec une revue, ils ont soumis les articles à un examen indépendant. L’un des articles qui m’a été envoyé pour examen était en fait celui de Mark Bray et je crois qu’il s’agissait probablement de l’article d’introduction donnant un aperçu de son point de vue sur ce qu’était l’éducation comparée. Et dans cet article – et je devrais peut-être l’avoir sous les yeux pour le citer convenablement et m’excuser auprès de Mark si je ne le cite pas correctement, mais – il faisait essentiellement référence au sous-titre de la revue Comparer, qui est, je crois, ” Un Journal d’éducation comparative et internationale “. Et puisque Comparer est la revue qui appartient en quelque sorte à la British Association of International and Comparative Education, je pense qu’il se demandait pourquoi l’international ne devrait pas être mis avant le comparatif. Et à un certain niveau – c’est un bon point – je soupçonne, mais je ne sais pas, parce que je n’ai pas participé à la dénomination de la revue mais je soupçonne que le sous-titre découle du fait qu’une des organisations précédentes s’appelait la British Comparative and International Education Society. Donc, en cela, la comparaison est venue avant moi et c’est à ce moment-là que la revue a été établie. Je pense donc qu’elle a simplement poursuivi ses activités. Mais quoi qu’il en soit, cela m’a fait réfléchir. Et donc le sous-titre de mon petit article, qui n’est qu’un commentaire en fait. Les éditeurs ont décidé, je pense, qu’une fois les articles envoyés à un examen externe, je pense que certains des commentaires qui leur sont parvenus les ont amenés à dire, eh bien, d’accord, nous avons nos six ou sept articles, invitons à présent trois ou quatre personnes à écrire de courts articles de réflexion sur les articles et sur leur vision du domaine. C’est donc un article très court et c’est comme ça que ça s’est fait. J’ai donc dit dans cet article que nous devrions étudier un peu plus attentivement à la fois ce que nous faisons ensemble et ce que nous voulons faire ensemble en termes de type de recherche que nous voulons faire. Et je ne sais pas où nous en sommes avec ce programme. Je pense que l’un de mes objectifs était de mieux comprendre la diversité et la diversité des pratiques et des politiques éducatives dans le monde entier. Et dans une certaine mesure, la montée des articles d’une génération plus jeune sur lesquels on écrit, je crois que cela s’appelle la “théorie du Sud”. Et je crois que, dans une large mesure, beaucoup de ces appels font en quelque sorte écho à ce que j’essayais de défendre. Et en effet, je crois que mon but pour une plus grande appréciation de la diversité ainsi que des points communs. Je veux dire que je ne considère pas chaque système comme si unique par rapport aux autres systèmes qu’il soit impossible de les comparer et de dégager des éléments communs, pas du tout. Ma recherche sera toujours celle de la similarité et de la dissimilitude, de la diversité et des points communs, de l’universalité et de la spécificité. Je n’aime pas le “ou bien”. Je pense qu’en éducation comparée, il faut constamment être très conscient des deux pôles de ces dimensions.

Will Brehm  11:34
Donc, qu’en est-il de la méthode ? Comment la méthode – la méthode comparative – s’inscrit-elle dans cette idée de ne pas avoir l’un ou l’autre, mais d’avoir cet universalisme et cette spécificité ? Vous savez, comment la méthode s’inscrit-elle dans cette idée ?

Angela Little 11:49
Bien, d’accord, je crois que ma préoccupation au sujet de la méthode se situe à deux niveaux différents. Le premier est que quand j’ai déménagé à Londres à l’Institut d’éducation, j’ai quitté l’Institut d’études du développement. Et je suis passée à ce qui était alors un département d’éducation internationale et comparative. Mais ce département était en fait une fusion de deux départements historiques plutôt distincts, chacun ayant sa propre histoire et ses propres traditions. Et le groupe d’éducation comparative, qui était un très petit groupe, eux – ou certains de leurs prédécesseurs – avaient été très, très soucieux de définir une approche méthodologique particulière de l’éducation comparative. Vous avez probablement entendu parler de ce droit par Edmund King et Brian Holmes, ou Brian Holmes était à l’Institut de Londres, Edmund King était au King’s College. Ils avaient des approches très différentes de l’éducation comparative, dont je pouvais voir qu’elles avaient toutes deux de la valeur. Mais il me paraissait qu’il y avait beaucoup d’arguments dans cette littérature particulière pour savoir quelle méthode était supérieure et quelle méthode devait être suivie et quelle méthode les étudiants devaient suivre. Venant de l’autre côté, je venais d’un Institut d’études du développement et j’ai fait un pas dans ce qui s’appelait alors le Département d’éducation comparative internationale. Mais la partie qui traitait des pays en développement s’appelait auparavant l’éducation dans les pays en développement et les collègues de ce groupe – dont je faisais partie – n’étaient pas si concernés que ça par tous ces documents méthodologiques. Je pense donc qu’à cette époque, j’avais le sentiment que la méthode faisait obstacle au contenu de l’enquête. L’autre différend méthodologique, si vous voulez, qui m’a parfois préoccupé est ce qui est devenu un différend majeur dans les sciences sociales, certainement en Grande-Bretagne, entre ceux qui promeuvent ce qu’ils appellent l’analyse qualitative et ceux qui promeuvent l’analyse quantitative. Et j’apprécie les deux et pour moi, cela dépend beaucoup de ce que vous essayez de découvrir. C’est donc dans ce sens que je dis que c’est votre problème qui doit guider votre choix de méthodes.

Will Brehm  14:18
Oui. Les méthodes sont des outils que vous employez pour répondre à la question de recherche que vous avez posée.

Angela Little  14:23
Mais vous savez, d’après les discussions que vous avez eues avec de nombreux étudiants en recherche, qu’ils ont beaucoup de mal à faire face à cette situation. Et pour certains étudiants qui font de la recherche, qu’il s’agisse de recherche comparative ou non comparative, ils ont l’impression que faire de la recherche, c’est faire une étude de cas ou une enquête, n’est-ce pas ? À présent, ils ont besoin de savoir, ils ont besoin de découvrir ces méthodes ou ces outils. Mais la question beaucoup plus difficile pour moi est de savoir pourquoi vous décidez de choisir telle ou telle méthode. Ou pourquoi ne pas envisager d’utiliser les deux méthodes, mais en série ? Vous pouvez employer une approche qualitative pour la première phase de votre travail, suivie d’une enquête quantitative ou vice-versa. Et certains chercheurs qui associent les méthodes produisent souvent un travail très, très, très fin. Et quand je dis associer, je pense, encore une fois, que c’est très, vous savez, l’association est un mot chaleureux, c’est un mot réconfortant. C’est comme l’interdisciplinarité ou nous aurons une approche interdisciplinaire de ce problème. Mais il y a des points où, en fait, il faut tracer des limites et dire, bon, d’accord, dans cette recherche, à ce premier stade de la recherche, je pense qu’il est préférable d’aborder le problème par des moyens qualitatifs qui peuvent être des entretiens non organisés avec des personnes, avec des enseignants, avec des étudiants sur toute une série de questions afin d’obtenir d’eux ce qu’ils considèrent comme les dimensions les plus saillantes d’un problème particulier. À un stade ultérieur, vous pouvez passer à un questionnaire d’enquête, car à ce stade, vous pouvez poser des questions sur le nombre, la quantité ou le pourcentage et dès que vous posez ces questions, vous parlez d’une approche quantitative. Maintenant, je pense que la difficulté pour les étudiants, c’est que parfois on leur donne cette approche quantitative ou qualitative.

Will Brehm  16:19
Comme si elles devaient choisir.

Angela Little  16:20
Comme s’ils devaient choisir ! Mais s’ils passent ensuite à une phase où ils se rendent compte qu’ils peuvent se servir des deux, le danger est alors qu’ils ne fassent ni l’un ni l’autre convenablement. Ils tombent entre les deux tabourets. Et je pense qu’en fait, les élèves qui emploient les deux approches ont peut-être plus de difficultés parce qu’ils doivent maîtriser cette approche. Ils doivent faire le travail correctement. Ils doivent le faire avec une bourse.

Will Brehm 16:48
Et dans un programme de doctorat de quatre ans. Je veux dire, comment devient-on vraiment un expert dans deux façons très distinctes de faire de la recherche ?

Angela Little 16:56
Oui, oui. Donc vous savez, c’était une abréviation employée par certains de mes collègues en Grande-Bretagne. Vous savez, êtes-vous un “Quant” ? Ou êtes-vous un “Qual” ? C’est-à-dire, êtes-vous un chercheur quantitatif ou qualitatif et j’avais pour habitude de prendre du recul à ce moment-là et de dire “regardez, ça n’aide vraiment pas”. Heureusement, il y a quelques écrits dans la littérature qui font ressortir les distinctions de manière très utile. Non pas, je dirais, dans notre domaine de l’éducation comparative, mais dans d’autres domaines qui relèvent, si vous voulez, des sciences sociales comparatives, vous trouverez cela.

Will Brehm 17:34
Donc, une autre grande question au-delà de la méthode dans l’éducation comparative et le nom de l’éducation comparative, la signification. J’ai constaté que les spécialistes de l’éducation comparée – ceux qui ont suivi cette trajectoire universitaire – finissent souvent par travailler dans des agences de développement ou des ministères de l’éducation, ou vous savez, toutes sortes d’ONG, d’organisations à but non lucratif, et puis même les universitaires qui sont professeurs d’éducation comparative travaillent souvent avec ces mêmes groupes au cours de leur carrière. Ainsi, ils ont en quelque sorte les pieds dans le monde de la pratique et de la théorie en même temps. Ils sont praticiens, mais ils sont aussi dans le monde universitaire. Ainsi, vous savez, comment pensez-vous que les universitaires devraient concilier ce rôle de capacité à analyser les questions d’éducation comparée, mais aussi à participer à la défense de l’éducation en particulier?

Angela Little  18:43
Hmm, c’est une très bonne question et je pense que je suis de ceux qui ont eu les pieds dans les deux camps de diverses manières. Je pense que pour ceux qui passent de l’éducation comparative et internationale à un poste à plein temps dans une organisation internationale ou dans une ONG internationale ou une ONG nationale, je crois qu’au sein de cette organisation, ils doivent être forts pour demander du temps pour l’analyse. Je sais que dans certaines organisations internationales, le rythme du discours et tous les impératifs de financement sont tels -il est si rapide- que la liste de vos priorités, “qu’est-ce que c’est aujourd’hui”, change très vite, et je pense que parfois il n’y a tout simplement pas de temps pour l’analyse. S’ils ne peuvent pas faire l’analyse eux-mêmes, ou s’ils ne pensent pas avoir le temps de la faire, je pense qu’ils doivent former autour d’eux un groupe de personnes – qui pourraient être des consultants, voire des mentors, je n’en suis pas sûr – qui ont le temps, qui continuent d’avoir le temps d’analyser et qui sont encore à l’université. Je crois donc qu’il est difficile de quitter le terrain pour un poste à plein temps dans l’une de ces organisations de défense et d’action. Si vous êtes chanceux, très chanceux, de pouvoir continuer à travailler à l’université et que vous êtes en même temps invité à vous engager dans la défense des droits, je pense que vous êtes dans une position différente. Je pense que vous avez encore -l’académie a encore- la possibilité de disposer d’un peu de temps pour une analyse réfléchie, pour un congé sabbatique, pour participer à des articles de revues arbitrées. Et je pense qu’il faut reconnaître le privilège de cette position et l’apprécier à sa juste valeur, et ne pas permettre qu’un quelconque “temps de recherche” soit gaspillé pour des travaux de plaidoyer et d’action. C’est très séduisant parce que le monde de la défense des droits et de l’action est à bien des égards très excitant, très stimulant. De plus, cela vous permet de vous lancer dans des discours auxquels vous n’auriez peut-être pas accès si vous étiez dans votre “tour d’ivoire”, pour ainsi dire. Je crois donc qu’il faut faire la distinction entre l’analyse et l’action, et je le fais avec beaucoup de force. Je le fais aussi pour mes étudiants en recherche, parce que je ne sais pas si vous avez eu cette expérience, mais j’ai eu dans le passé quelques – peut-être pas beaucoup, mais quelques – étudiants en recherche qui connaissent la réponse à leur question avant même de l’avoir posée. Ils savent donc ce qu’ils veulent recommander, et ils n’ont pas fait l’étude. À présent, dans ce cas, le plaidoyer se trouve devant l’analyse. Et il est très, très difficile dans certains cas de persuader les étudiants qu’il leur suffit d’oublier les recommandations et de faire un pas en arrière. A présent, un doctorat sur trois ou quatre ans, je crois que pour beaucoup de gens, y inclus, je crois, beaucoup d’universitaires, c’est l’un des moments les plus privilégiés de votre vie parce que vous avez vraiment le temps de lire, vous avez le temps d’analyser, vous avez le temps de réfléchir. Et si vous passez cette période, et que vous maîtrisez diverses compétences, et que vous avez développé un ensemble d’attitudes à l’égard de l’éducation dans le monde, je pense que cela vous place dans une très, très bonne position, même si vous passez ensuite à un emploi à plein temps où il est plein de défense et d’action et où vous continuez à dépenser de l’argent. C’est un travail difficile. Je crois que l’autre point que je voudrais soulever est que j’espère que si vous avez étudié l’éducation comparative et internationale, vous conservez une position critique sur de nombreuses affirmations, qui proviennent des organisations internationales. Les organisations internationales ont leurs propres besoins, elles doivent se légaliser, elles ont besoin de financement, elles doivent continuer à bouger et elles doivent continuer à traiter ou retraiter les messages. Et elles font souvent de grandes affirmations sur le fait que “X” mène à “Y” dans la plupart des pays du monde et que, par conséquent, “X” devrait conduire à “Y” dans le reste du monde. Maintenant, si vous avez fait de l’éducation comparative et internationale en principe, vous avez accès aux ressources qui vous permettraient de tester cette proposition. Et avec l’Internet, vous avez maintenant encore plus accès aux ressources. Alors, je dirais aux gens de conserver ce chapeau critique.

Will Brehm 23:33
Il doit être dur pour certains de conserver ce chapeau critique lorsqu’ils se retrouvent à travailler dans des agences de développement qui essaient de pousser leur modèle : la meilleure façon de faire ce type d’apprentissage ou de résoudre ce type de problème éducatif. Je veux dire, j’imagine qu’ils sont en quelque sorte liés par la volonté de plaider pour que cette “solution” soit proposée. Je vois bien que cela peut être très difficile de rester critique. Vous voulez être critique, mais en même temps, votre travail vous dit que, quelles que soient les conditions, vous devez dire que ce modèle est bon.

Angela Little  24:14
D’accord. J’accepte la contrainte de cette situation. Parallèlement, je vous dirais de saisir toutes les opportunités qui vous sont offertes pour participer à des conférences. Et bien plus encore, saisissez toutes les opportunités de présenter votre travail lors de conférences, en sachant que si certains membres de l’académie sont présents, ils peuvent être assez critiques de ce que vous faites, mais utilisez cette critique pour vous aider à réfléchir. Ne comptez peut-être pas sur vous-même et sur vos pairs pour faire toute cette auto-réflexion. La plupart des organisations prévoient des périodes de formation en cours d’emploi ou de développement professionnel continu et certaines organisations et le DFID – c’est-à-dire le ministère du développement international – ont vraiment bien réussi ces dernières années à inciter un grand nombre de ses employés à participer, par exemple, à la conférence UKFIET, le Forum britannique pour l’éducation et la formation internationales. Et ceux d’entre nous qui participent à ce forum depuis très longtemps – depuis sa création – ont toujours été très heureux quand des membres d’agences de développement viennent participer avec nous. Parfois, ils demandent un espace pour qu’un panel puisse discuter de leur dernière prise de position. Et des fois, il est possible de leur donner cet espace et ils savent qu’il y aura une critique, qu’il y aura beaucoup de questions. Mais en tant que membres de l’Académie, je pense que nous essayons de ne pas faire cela. Nous essayons de faire une critique constructive et non destructrice. Et je pense qu’il peut parfois être très menaçant pour les gens de faire cela. Mais nous devons aussi nous souvenir que, bien sûr, beaucoup de personnes qui travaillent dans les organisations de développement sont nos anciens étudiants. Il y a donc déjà une certaine confiance et une expérience de l’analyse et de la vie universitaire. Et je pense que c’est très positif.

Will Brehm  26:09
Vous avez donc écrit cet article dans Compare il y a huit ans en examinant les principaux défis auxquels le domaine était soumis à l’époque. Je sais que vous avez dit que vous aviez pris votre retraite à peu près à la même époque que vous avez publié cet article, mais si vous deviez regarder le terrain aujourd’hui, quels seraient les principaux défis, ceux que vous voyez aujourd’hui ? Et sont-ils différents de ceux que vous avez vus il y a huit ans ?

Angela Little 26:32
Je crois qu’aujourd’hui, même sur ce court laps de temps de huit ans, je pense que la quantité d’informations disponibles sur Internet, je veux dire, a tout simplement explosé. Donc, les étudiants n’ont plus d’excuse maintenant. Quand ils venaient me dire : “Je ne trouve pas ce rapport”. Je ne peux pas trouver ceci, je ne peux pas trouver cela. S’ils cherchent des rapports qui ont été produits par ces soi-disant agences internationales, il n’y a pas de raison, la plupart de ces documents sont sur le net. Là où je crois que c’est encore problématique dans certains pays, c’est l’accès à ce que nous pourrions appeler la littérature grise, la littérature politique grise à l’intérieur des pays, parce qu’une grande partie n’est pas disponible sur Internet, et aussi, bien sûr, le matériel historique. Et pour cela, il suffit de faire une recherche. Vous devez faire des recherches à l’ancienne, en vous installant dans les archives et en parcourant le matériel. En ce qui concerne l’approche des problèmes, vous avez attiré mon attention sur quelques écrits sur ce que l’on pourrait généralement appeler la “théorie du Sud”. Et je pense qu’il y a peut-être huit ans, cette théorie commençait à prendre son essor. Je crois qu’il y en a plus en 2018 que ce que j’aurais pu prédire en 2010. Et je pense que dans l’ensemble, c’est très, très positif, comme je l’ai dit précédemment, je pense que cela renforce ma prédilection pour l’étude de la diversité. Là où je suis juste un peu, je voudrais être un peu prudent sur certains de ces écrits parce qu’une partie est imprégnée du langage du racisme et je trouve que c’est difficile. Je pense que quand on travaille dans un domaine depuis 45 ans et qu’on a vu et participé à l’évolution de la -création d’un profil de personnel beaucoup plus diversifié, par exemple dans un service auquel on est associé depuis deux ou trois décennies. Le changement est lent, mais on a vu le changement. Les changements sont importants. Je pense que certains des propos de ceux qui réclament la théorie du Sud et une contre-hégémonie, en fait. Je crois que ce langage doit être examiné avec soin si nous voulons évoluer vers un domaine de l’éducation comparative et internationale qui soit réellement inclusif. Il y a un certain risque que ce qu’on appelle l’hégémonie du Nord, un certain risque que l’appel soit de la substituer par une hégémonie du Sud. Je n’y crois pas, en partie parce que je ne suis pas sûr de croire à toute la caricature de l’hégémonie du Nord. Mais je crois que ceux qui réclament une plus grande contribution de la part de ceux qui connaissent les systèmes, dans ce qu’on appelle le “Sud” de l’intérieur – et qui sont eux-mêmes de très bons chercheurs – pour voir une plus grande contribution, sont accueillis et invités. Il y a près de 20 ans maintenant, j’ai entrepris une analyse des articles qui étaient parus dans Comparative Education au cours des 20 années précédentes. En 2000, l’éducation comparée a fait une nouvelle série de réflexions sur l’état du domaine. Et j’ai analysé ces quatre ou cinq cents articles. Et je me suis intéressé aux quatre C : contexte, contenu, comparaison et contributeurs. Ainsi, la question du contenu a été adressée à la question de George Parkin sur la géographie. Et j’ai constaté qu’il y avait une bonne répartition des pays abordés dans les articles. Le contenu était le domaine problématique abordé dans les articles. Et c’était extrêmement varié, extrêmement varié. Je veux dire, tout, de l’enseignement supérieur à la politique linguistique, à la pédagogie, aux relations entre l’éducation et le développement. Très, très large. Le troisième domaine était la comparaison. Celui-ci était très important, car je me suis inspiré de Parkin et de certains des éducateurs comparateurs qui l’ont précédé. Et peut-être même que, travaillant dans la position de Kandel, je cherchais des articles qui comparaient deux ou plusieurs pays. Et en fait, j’ai trouvé que la grande majorité des articles ne se concentraient que sur un seul pays. Et j’ai senti pour moi que cela ne les dévalorisait pas. J’ai simplement estimé que s’il s’agissait d’articles destinés à être publiés dans une revue d’éducation comparée, il fallait qu’ils soient écrits avec un autre auteur, qui avait peut-être étudié quelque chose de similaire dans un autre pays. Je crois que les études portant sur un seul pays sont absolument essentielles pour la comparaison. Je ne pense pas qu’on puisse “comparer” avant d’avoir fait une étude appropriée de deux pays ou qu’une équipe ait fait une étude scientifique appropriée des pays qu’ils prétendent comparer, parce que je pense qu’il y a un grand danger sinon vos comparaisons deviennent très, très superficielles. Ok, donc c’était la dimension de comparaison. Et la quatrième dimension a été déterminante. Et j’ai remarqué qu’il y avait une très forte concentration des contributeurs dans les institutions du Nord. À présent, il est fort probable qu’ils soient eux-mêmes originaires du Sud. Ils ont peut-être fait leur doctorat dans le Sud, mais ils ont migré vers des institutions du Nord. Maintenant, je pense que l’un des défis que nous avons à relever dans le développement du développement collectif de l’enseignement supérieur dans le monde est de savoir comment nous pouvons trouver des moyens de répartir les compétences de l’enseignement comparatif et international de manière plus égale dans le monde afin qu’à leur tour, ceux qui ont les qualifications puissent travailler dans diverses parties du monde pour développer l’érudition dans ces parties du monde. Parce que s’il y a cette migration continue vers les établissements d’Amérique du Nord et d’Europe – et quand je dis le Sud, j’exclue plutôt l’Australie et la Nouvelle-Zélande et je crois qu’ils s’excluraient eux-mêmes de ce qu’on appelle le Sud. Donc peut-être pas, pas tout à fait – mais si les gens migrent, si les universitaires migrent vers ces bons centres et départements d’éducation comparative internationale, je pense que cela m’inquiète pour le domaine. Cela ne m’inquiète pas pour les individus. Les individus prennent des décisions personnelles très, très rationnelles. Mais je m’inquiète pour les prochaines générations d’universitaires de ces pays qui veulent rester – pas rester dans leur pays mais qui souhaitent – faire de l’éducation comparée dans d’autres pays, mais qui souhaitent ensuite contribuer à l’éducation internationale comparée dans leur pays.

Will Brehm 33:50
Et d’une manière qui contribuerait à cette idée de la théorie du Sud.

Angela Little 33:54
Oui, tout à fait. Absolument.

Will Brehm 33:58
Eh bien, Angela Little Merci beaucoup d’avoir rejoint FreshEd aujourd’hui, c’était vraiment un plaisir de parler.

Angela Little 34:02
Merci beaucoup.

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Is there a worldwide learning crisis today? My guest, Keith Lewin, argues that the real issue in much of international education development has to do with financing.

In our conversation, we discuss aid to education and the ways in which the Sustainable Development Goals don’t take the idea of sustainability seriously.

Keith Lewin is an Emeritus Professor of International Education and Development at the University of Sussex

 

Citation: Lewin, Keith, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 138, podcast audio, December 3, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/keithlewin/

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Today we look at the power of Participatory Action Research in public science. My guest is Michelle Fine. In the 1990s, she worked on a study called Changing Minds, which looked at the impact of college in a maximum-security prison. The research team comprised of women in and outside of prison.

For Michelle, participatory action research plays an important role in the struggle for social justice. It not only can change legislation, impact critical social theory, and mobilize popular opinion for educational justice; but seemingly small issues can also have deep and lasting implications.

Michelle Fine is a Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York where she is a founding member of the Public Science Project.

Citation: Fine, Michelle, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 137, podcast audio, November 26, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/michellefine/

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Today we bring you a special episode of FreshEd. With me is Manos Antoninis, the Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report, which was just released.

Each year, UNESCO publishes an editorially-independent Global Education Monitoring Report to monitor the progress towards the education targets in the Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s topic is migration, displacement, and education.

Based on evidence from around the world, the report argues that investing in the education of mobile people can actually create cohesion and peace. Of course, there are many challenges facing children, teachers, policymakers, and society from the displacement and migration of large numbers of people.

The 2019 report is entitled Migration, Displacement, and Education: Building Bridges, not Walls and is available online now.

Citation: Antoninis, Manos, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 136, podcast audio, November 20, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/antoninis/

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Today I continue my two-part conversation with Justin Driver, the author of the new book, The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind.

In today’s episode, Justin recounts his biography from growing up in Washington DC to clerking for two Supreme Court justices.

Justin takes us through some of the Supreme Court cases involving public schools he thinks are most important but that receive little attention today.

He also looks to the future given the recent confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Justin Driver is the Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. His book, The Schoolhouse Gate (2018 Pantheon), is receiving rave reviews. The New York Times called it “indispensable” while the Washington Post called it “masterful.”

Citation: Driver, Justin, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 135, podcast audio, November 19, 2018. https://freshedpodcast.com/driver-p2/

Will Brehm 2:11
Justin Driver, welcome to FreshEd.

Justin Driver 2:13
Glad to be with you, Will. Thanks.

Will Brehm 2:15
Another tactic that you talk about in the sort of post-Brown era is this idea of color blindness. Can you explain how that has been used to sort of advance a particular agenda that might be counter to what Brown ruled?

Justin Driver 2:31
Yeah, so the colorblind notion of the 14th Amendment says that governmental entities are almost always prohibited from taking account of race no matter the purpose. And so Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion in Parents Involved can be seen as being about a colorblind vision of constitutional law. And of course, that vision of constitutional law has important implications for our higher education in thinking about the realm of affirmative action. And this is, you know, of course, the subject of a lawsuit that involves Harvard College right now. Interestingly, in the Parents Involved case, Justice Kennedy sort of disavowed the notion that the Equal Protection clause requires colorblindness. He voted to invalidate the programs in Louisville and Seattle because they classify individual students according to race. But he did insist that schools could take account of race, therefore not be colorblind, when they are drawing district boundaries in an effort to bring about racial integration or when they are citing schools, when they were building a new school, they can be aware of the racial demographics of the city as a whole and try to foster racial integration in that way. So, this is one area where we may see his replacement, Justice Kavanaugh, take a more conservative line in this area.

Will Brehm 4:14
So, it is quite interesting that you know, what you said at the beginning of our conversation where schools are typically the first encounter of the government for people, for young adults, for children, for citizens. But yet we see this struggle constantly of constitutional rights stopping at “the schoolhouse gate” to use the title of your book. So, what have you found to be sort of the common arguments in favor of limiting the Supreme Court’s reach into schools?

Justin Driver 4:47
Yeah, there are a host of arguments that recur in this area. Perhaps the foremost is that people say, well, Supreme Court Justices are not teachers, and they do not know what is happening in public schools. They also say that the schools are quintessentially local endeavors, and therefore the federal government should play no role whatsoever in this area. And then perhaps the other final reason would be that the Constitution of the United States does not mention education. I don’t find any of those arguments persuasive, and when one notes that all three of these arguments were advanced by the proponents of Jim Crow during the era of Brown v. Board of Education, it seems to me that we should all be less accepting of the power of those arguments. This isn’t to say that every dispute in the schoolhouse should make its way into a federal courthouse. But it does suggest that we should not just reflexively accept those arguments.

Will Brehm 6:09
So, I want to ask how you first got involved in studying education law. Where did you end up going to school in America? Like public school or private school? What is your background in schooling and legal issues in America?

Justin Driver 6:27
Yeah, so I grew up in Washington, DC. I grew up in South East Washington, DC, east of the Anacostia River. Starting from a very young age, I traveled way to upper Northwest Washington, the most privileged segment of Washington, DC, and in order to do that, I caught a bus to two different subway lines, and then had a long walk, and as I would undergo this daily trek round trip, I would think, what am I gaining as a result of this journey? Conversely, what are my neighbors not gaining? I can remember learning about Brown v. Board of Education right around 1985 and thinking that in the nation’s capital within shouting distance of the Supreme Court’s marble palace, there are still some schools that are all black, and that suggested to me that there’s often a large gap between law on the books and life on the streets. And then, when I graduated from college, I very much thought I was going to be a public-school teacher for the rest of my life. I got certified to teach public school and taught AP US history and civics to ninth graders. And when I was doing that, I had some vague sense that there were constitutional decisions that shaped the schoolhouse, but I would have been hard pressed to identify, say, Tinker v. Des Moines. And so, one of the goals that I have for this book is to render, in an accessible way, the origins of students’ constitutional rights, and the contours of students’ constitutional rights in a way that, not just lawyers but ordinary folks, including, you know, educators and principals and even enterprising high school students can understand. And so that’s sort of one of the major audiences for this book.

Will Brehm 8:28
And eventually, you end up being a clerk for two Supreme Court Justices. I think it was Justice Breyer and also Sandra Day O’Connor. Did you end up talking to them a lot about education and, you know, constitutional issues inside public schools?

Justin Driver 8:46
I did, yes. Both Justice Breyer and Justice O’Connor played no small role in motivating me to undertake this project. Not by directly encouraging me but through my interactions with them. You know, Justice O’Connor, when I was with her, was a retired Justice, and she had begun to shift her attention to thinking about the importance of civics. She was very disheartened to think about the way in which many young people don’t understand even foundational concepts of our government. And so, she was interested in trying to promote civic awareness about the separation of powers. My goal here is to do a similar sort of thing. That is to say, I believe that if students can think about their own rights, that as they exist within the schools, that it may make studying the constitution a more accessible, you know, sort of document. And so, I do hope that this will make people have greater amounts of awareness of constitutional rights generally, but if you can reach students at an impressionable age in a way that they will have a great ability to apprehend what’s going on, I think that that will lay an important foundation. Justice Breyer was also important. When I was with him, two of the cases that I write about in the book were decided, the ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ case and also the ‘Parents Involved’ case. And he dedicated enormous amounts of time to thinking about both of these cases. And in doing so underscored to me the importance of constitutional decisions in schools for our nation’s larger constitutional order. You know, his father was an attorney for the school board in San Francisco, and he would often talk about how important that work was. And so, both Justice Breyer and Justice O’Connor did play, as I say, a significant role in motivating me to think about this work.

Will Brehm 10:54
Was there ever a time where you disagreed with them on some educational issue?

Justin Driver 10:59
I hold both of the Supreme Court Justices in very high esteem. I felt very lucky to be a law clerk there, and I viewed it as my job to help them with their jobs. You know, I now view the ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ case in a way that is different from how Justice Breyer would have resolved it. Justice Breyer would have resolved the case along grounds of something called “qualified immunity”, and therefore not reached the underlying first amendment question. He did not go so far as to say that Joseph Frederick did not have a First Amendment right here, but he just wouldn’t have reached the question. I would have, you know, now today certainly have joined the opinion that Justice Stevens wrote, saying that punishing Joseph Frederick for this sort of speech violated his freedom of speech rights.

Will Brehm 12:00
So, returning to some of these cases and topics that your book very carefully details -both the public opinion, the Justice opinions, even the legal opinions in a lot of these journals that are published at the time- one of the topics that really stuck out to me was corporal punishment. I had absolutely no idea that this was still legal in America, let alone practiced -well, quite a lot in a few states- and more importantly that there was a clear racial difference between which students were receiving corporal punishment and which were not. And in this case, it was more African American students receiving corporal punishment. So, has the court ruled on corporal punishment, and what was some of their logic behind these rulings?

Justin Driver 12:52
Yeah, this is the issue that I care the most about that I cover in the entire book. The, in my view, scandalous persistence of corporal punishment. The Supreme Court in the 1970s had an opportunity to rein in corporal punishment in a case called Ingraham v. Wright. The case arose from truly egregious facts. James Ingraham was a middle school student in Florida, and he was on stage with some of his friends during an assembly, and he was instructed to depart the stage and did so with an insufficient sense of alacrity. For that pretty classic Middle School behavior, he was summoned to the principal’s office to receive five licks in the parlance, and that is to say, he was going to be struck with a two-foot-long wooden paddle. When his turn arose, he protested his innocence, and two assistant principals grabbed him, bent him over the principle’s desk, held down his arms and his legs, and he received not five licks but 20 licks. And this beating was so savage that even three days later he had a bruise that was six inches in diameter, that was tender, swollen, and purplish in color, and also oozing fluid. So, you would be hard-pressed to imagine a more, sort of, shocking set of facts than those that existed at Charles R. Drew Junior High School, James Ingraham’s school. It was an all-black school. And James Ingraham’s treatment was part of a larger reign of terror that existed where students were beaten for sitting in the wrong seat, for wearing the wrong socks to gym class, you know, for just incredibly minor infractions. And the school district, when they defended this policy, ended up making matters worse. There was a principal from a school in Miami Beach who said, “Oh, no, we don’t use corporal punishment in this school. We have a predominantly Jewish population, and they understand oral persuasion”. The implication there, of course, is that the black students at Charles R. Drew Junior High School understand only brute force. And so, the Supreme Court of the United States, it was a very odd opinion of five to four decision, Justice Powell said this does not qualify as punishment for constitutional purposes. The Eighth Amendment, of course, prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, but Justice Powell said, that, in effect means cruel and unusual punishment that stems from a criminal conviction. And so it was a very surprising decision because only a few years earlier, the federal courts got rid of what was called “the strap” in prison, meaning hitting inmates, and people thought, well, if you can’t hit people who have been convicted of crimes for not following orders, there’s no way in the world that you’re going to be able to hit public school students. But the Supreme Court did not see it that way and exactly as you suggest, Will, this is not just a historical artifact. Corporal punishment still exists. There are 19 states that have it, but in some ways that overstates its prevalence because there are five states that account for more than 70% of the instances of corporal punishment. And if there’s any, as I say, single goal that I have for this book, that it elevates the salience of corporal punishment and invites the Supreme Court to revisit this issue because I don’t think that the jurisdictions that retain this practice at this late date are going to abandon it on their own.

Will Brehm 16:38
And what is the constitutional issue at play for corporal punishment in your eyes?

Justin Driver 16:43
Yeah, so the strongest claim would be the Eighth Amendment claim, and I think that this is an argument that would appeal to liberals, but also the libertarian inflected vision of constitutional law that is ascendant in some right-leaning circles. If you are a libertarian, you have a skepticism of state authority. And in what instance could it be starker where the state is exercising dominion over an individual than physically hitting someone with a foreign object? I should say that public school students are the sole remaining group in American society that governmental figures can strike with impunity.

Will Brehm 17:33
Wow. I mean, that leaves me speechless. Another issue today is, and we hear it more and more from politicians, is that we need to start arming teachers to prevent lone shooters with the rise of mass shootings in American schools. What are some of the constitutional issues that you see when it comes to arming teachers, when it comes to police officers inside schools, as we see more and more of that happening. You know, what sort of issues arise constitutionally?

Justin Driver 18:08
Yeah, so the Supreme Court’s case involving the Second Amendment is a case called Heller v. District of Columbia. It’s written by Justice Scalia and did confer some limited individual’s right to bear arms, but the opinion was quite careful to say that nothing in the opinion should be understood to disturb regulations involving firearms in sensitive government buildings, and it particularly mentions public schools. So, I have seen some claims that the Second Amendment should make it so that laws prohibiting guns in public schools are impermissible. That is a very difficult argument to square with Heller itself. It is of course true that there have been a number of truly upsetting and deeply disturbing incidents involving firearms. Indeed, massacres is not too strong a word in thinking about Columbine and Newtown, and Parkland. And so, there is no doubt that many judicial opinions refer to our post-Columbine era. I am sensitive to the needs for school safety. I take that very seriously. And I do not think that if a school wishes to have metal detectors that the constitution should be understood to prohibit those efforts. I do also think at the same time that we need to have a realistic approach to the likelihood of a school shooting that’s going to happen at any particular school. I came across a statistic that suggested that any given school in America can expect a school shooting roughly once every 6000 years. And so again, it is to say that these are rare events. They are highly salient events, but we should not believe that a school shooting is a likely event where our children, say, attend schools.

Will Brehm 20:16
Another issue that seems to be on the minds of many Americans today is illegal immigration. We have Donald Trump constantly talking about this caravan of basically migrants from South America, Latin America, moving their way up through Mexico to the Mexican-American border, hoping to seek asylum from all sorts of various troubles from where they came from. In terms of immigration and unauthorized immigration, has the court ruled on anything related to immigration and education?

Justin Driver 20:54
Yeah, so there is a really important case that too few people know about called Plyler v. Doe, which was decided in the early 1980s. That case involved a Texas statute that sought to exclude unauthorized immigrants from Texas public schools. The Supreme Court of the United States invalidated that measure and said that it is unconstitutional to bar, in fact, the children of unauthorized immigrants from the nation’s public schools. Some constitutional law professors have tried to minimize the importance of that case. They say, well, Texas was the only state in the nation that had such a law at that time, and so we should not view the Supreme Court’s intervention as momentous. They say, in effect, that only those cowboys down in Texas would be drawn to this sort of a measure. But we know very well today -as your question suggests, Will- that anxieties about unauthorized immigration are far from confined to the nation’s border. And so, I view Plyler v. Doe as so significant because had the Supreme Court not in effect interred the Texas measure, there is no doubt that other states would have passed similar legislation. And so, as a result of the Plyler v. Doe decision, millions of children have been able to receive an education who otherwise would have been denied one. And so rather than viewing that as some insignificant decision of marginal import, I think that Plyler v. Doe is among the most significant decisions that Supreme Court has ever issued.

Will Brehm 22:40
I mean, obviously, it had a huge impact on access to education, which is seen as an idea that so many people in the world of education want to advance.

Justin Driver 22:51
Yeah, I should say one more thing about Plyler v. Doe, by the way, that I fear that the current court could revisit that issue. John Roberts, when he was a young attorney working in the Reagan Department of Justice, co-authored a memorandum suggesting that Plyler v. Doe was incorrectly decided. You know, Justice Kennedy, who is now no longer on the court, never weighed in expressly on Plyler v. Doe, but I strongly believe that he would have found it to be correctly decided. I could quite easily imagine his successor thinking that it was wrongly decided, and so I fear that states are going to enact legislation that is designed to invite the Supreme Court to revisit that issue, and if the court were to reverse course, that would have calamitous consequences for our constitution order.

Will Brehm 23:45
That brings up a very interesting point. Throughout your book, you really focus on the courts composition, and you focus in on these different Justices and sort of the different majority opinions that they could form, you know, 9:0 or sometimes 8:1 or sometimes 5:4. We now live with a Supreme Court that is deeply divided ideologically. But Justice Roberts is now seen as sort of the quote unquote, swing vote, which I am not sure if that even is the right way to describe it. But he said sort of in the middle ideologically. So, what do you see if you were to sort of think about the future of the Supreme Court and education? What do you see happening in terms of student constitutional rights?

Justin Driver 24:39
Yeah. So, in addition to the Plyler v. Doe decision, potentially being in flux, I can imagine a couple of other areas that Justice Kennedy’s departure and Justice Kavanaugh’s joining the court could make a difference. So, I think about the establishment clause involving religion. The Supreme Court has, in my view, done a pretty good job of making sure that public schools are not places where students are being proselytized to. When Kavanaugh was in private practice, he co-authored a brief casting doubt on some of this jurisprudence in a case called Santa Fe v. Doe, where a public school had students to deliver prayers over at a high school football game over the school’s loudspeaker. Justice Kennedy thought that did violate the establishment clause, but if Kavanaugh continues to hold the view that he expressed as an attorney, then the area of religion in public schools is a potentially hot button area. Another area that keep an eye on would be the legitimacy of race-conscious actions taken by school boards. We spoke about Parents Involved earlier, and Justice Kennedy departed from the rest of the GOP appointed Justices in finding that some race-conscious measures were permissible. Kavanaugh, when he was in private practice, wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal, where he suggested that race-conscious measures should be almost automatically regarded as unconstitutional. And so, I think that those are two areas where the current court could lurch to the right in the area of students’ rights.

Will Brehm 26:49
So, looking across the history of Supreme Court rulings, what can we learn?

Justin Driver 26:55
One of the most important lessons that I draw from this research is that the Supreme Court has an especially vital duty to protect constitutional rights within the schools. The Court’s decision in Barnette from 1943 makes this very point in a really powerful way. That case involved requiring students to pledge allegiance to the American flag. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance violated their religious faith. Justice Jackson wrote an opinion for the court that invalidated that measure, and he said that the freedom of speech involves a corollary right not to speak. But more important than any single line from that opinion is his insistence that the school is a vital theater for constitutional law, because Justice Jackson said, if we discard constitutional rights within schools, then we teach youth to discount constitutional principles as mere platitudes. And he says, we risk strangling the free mind at its source. And I cannot imagine a more powerful and important lesson than the one that Justice Jackson gave to us in the 1940s.

Will Brehm 28:24
Well, Justin Driver, thank you so much for joining FreshEd, it really was a pleasure of talking today.

Justin Driver 28:29
Thank you, Will. I really enjoyed our time together.

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Do constitutional rights stop at the schoolhouse gate? Are American students, in other words, granted the freedom and protections outlined in the US constitution?

This question doesn’t have an easy answer.

My guest for the next two episodes is Justin Driver. In his new book, The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind, Justin explores most if not all Supreme Court rulings on students in public education.

In the first part of my conversation with Justin, we explore the constitutional significance of school rulings and focus much of our attention on the issue of race.

Justin Driver is the Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. His first book,The Schoolhouse Gate(2018 Pantheon), is receiving rave reviews. The New York Times called it “indispensable” while the Washington Post called it “masterful.”

Citation: Driver, Justin, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 134, podcast audio, November 12, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/driver-p1/

Will Brehm 2:15
Justin Driver, welcome to FreshEd.

Justin Driver 2:18
Glad to be with you, Will. Thanks.

Will Brehm  2:19
So, I want to just jump right into this and ask why is public school a significant location to even study constitutional issues?

Justin Driver  2:28
Yeah, we don’t often think about public schools as legal entities, but they are, in fact, animated by Supreme Court decisions affecting constitutional law. It’s also true that the public school is the first place that most people encounter the government for sustained periods in their time. There are more than 50 million public school students in the country and it takes several million of adults to run schools and that means that about one sixth of the American population is in public school on school days. It’s also true that I am particularly drawn to examining constitutional law and the public schools because the disputes that enter the school often are reflective of larger cultural anxieties that exist throughout the nation. And so, one of the arguments that I make in the book is that by tracing these particular conflicts, one can understand the last 100 years of American history. So those are a couple of reasons why I think this is a particularly important area to study.

Will Brehm  3:43
And so, for much of the history of the Supreme Court though, the justices rarely ruled on education, on school. So, what was the general logic historically that the court took when it came to schools and the Constitution?

Justin Driver  4:00
Yeah, the first case that I write about in much depth chronologically, is a case called Cumming v. Richmond, where a community in Georgia closed its high school for black students but kept its high school for white students open. And the Supreme Court of the United States refused to find that was a violation of the equal protection clause. Even though you might regard these schools as some people have said as separate and unequal, right. There’s no high school for black students. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court said, in effect, that these are local matters that the Constitution of the United States says nothing about one way or another. We’re not going to get involved in this quintessentially local arena. And that rationale was representative of the overall approach for many years.

Will Brehm  4:59
And another case that I often think about is Plessy v. Ferguson, but I always associated it with schools, but in fact, it was about train cars. Could you just explain the logic of that case and how it fit into this sort of historical narrative of education being seen as a local issue?

Justin Driver  5:18
Sure. So, Plessy v. Ferguson is a case that’s decided in 1896. Louisiana has a racially separate rail system. The language that many people identify with Plessy v. Ferguson is “separate but equal”. That language comes, not from the Supreme Court opinion, but it actually comes from the Louisiana statute in question. And the Supreme Court decision written by Justice Brown, says that if racial classifications are reasonable then they pass constitutional muster. Justice Harlan, of course, wrote a famous dissenting opinion where he says that our Constitution is colorblind. Interestingly, for our purposes, Justice Harlan wrote the majority opinion in Cumming v. Richmond, which we spoke about a moment ago, upholding the closing of the black school. And this suggests that Justice Harlan is not quite the avatar of modern racial enlightenment that some Supreme Court Justices hold him out to be.

Will Brehm  6:33
And looking at these two cases, Plessy v. Ferguson and Cumming v. Richmond, you say that African Americans at the time, in the 19th century, the court basically provided civil equality but denied African Americans’ social equality. Can you explain what the difference was at that time?

Justin Driver  6:55
Yeah, so this is an unusual thing to our modern ears. We think of equality as being a largely undifferentiated concept. But in the 19th century it was divided into a few different categories including, as you suggest, civil equality on the one hand, and social equality on the other. Civil equality would have meant the ability to enter into contracts and things of that nature whereas social equality would have meant the sort of things that lead to interracial intimacy, including interracial marriage, but also importantly, for purposes, integrated schooling would have been regarded as socially equality. And so, Justice Harlan dissented in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision because he viewed rail cars as involving civil equality. Evidently because people were buying tickets for rail cars, he viewed that as being civil equality, whereas the Justices in the majority in Plessy v. Ferguson would have regarded the rail car separation as a form of social equality. And so, Justice Harlan is able to write the Cumming v. Richmond opinion because he viewed integrated schooling also. And he would have regarded that with  schooling matters as involving social equality, and therefore, the Equal Protection Clause would have said nothing about that whatsoever.

Will Brehm  8:27
So, it seems like a lot of the sort of beginning cases of the Supreme Court in education or in public schooling in particular, were really about saying, schooling is this local issue, and we’re not going to get involved too much. Separate but equal is okay. So, when did the Supreme Court actually take more of a stance that said, okay, the state is actually infringing on civil liberties of students or of individuals when it came to schools? When did that actually happened?

Justin Driver  9:01
Yeah, beginning in the 1920s, the Supreme Court begins its involvement with education. It’s important to say that the major cases from the 1920s did not involve public schools but were instead thinking about constitutional infringements by the state with respect to private schools. One case from the 1920s is a case called Pierce v. Society of Sisters. There, Oregon passed a measure that required all students to attend public schools. In other words, it sought to outlaw private schools and in particular, parochial schools. The measure was backed by the Ku Klux Klan and their fear was that Catholic schools prevented Catholics from being what they would have referred to as “Americanized”. The Supreme Court of the United States invalidated that measure and said in resident language, the child is not the mere creature of the state. And so, Pierce v. Society of Sisters along with another pair of decisions, that was an important intervention and step on the path toward finding that public school students also had constitutional rights within the public school.

Will Brehm  10:31
I find that pretty amazing that it took so long to recognize that students, American students, had constitutional rights like American adults. I guess that’s the separation here.

Justin Driver  10:47
Yeah, that’s right. It is a striking phenomenon. One of the things that jumped out at me as I was working on this book was the incredibly contingent nature of constitutional decision making. And we sometimes think that constitutional law is sort of foreordained and this was anything but, in the sense, that the development in this area was hardly something that would have been foreseen at the beginning. And so, it was very much unfolded in fits and starts and quiet plausibly, many of the most important decisions could have been decided the other way. So, what jumps out at you is also something that’s striking to me.

Will Brehm  11:32
And one of the most important decisions that I think you highlight in your book is Tinker v. the Des Moines Independent Community School District. Could you explain what that case was and how that’s relevant to seeing students as having constitutional rights?

Justin Driver  11:49
Yes. So, Tinker is a case out of Des Moines, Iowa, where in the 1960s students want to wear black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War. This is in December 1965, long before there’s any mass mobilization against the Vietnam War. When the Des Moines school officials got wind of this plan, they said, “Oh, no, this is too hot of a topic. We have a graduate of the Des Moines schools who died over in Vietnam. And he still has buddies here. And if you all wear black armbands, his friends are going to regard you as dishonoring his legacy” and so they said, “You can’t wear the armband and said that you are unwelcome to attend school as long as you wear the armbands”. And at the time it’s a really open question as to whether students have first amendment rights. Justice Fortas writes a magnificent opinion and it gives me the title for my book, he says, “It can hardly be argued that students shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate”. Justice Black wrote a vehement dissenting opinion, where he says, students are there to be seen and not heard. Our society is too permissive. And, in effect, the youth culture is spiraling out of control. Justice Black gave his descent from the bench and he spoke for more than 20 minutes. That’s a signal of unusual, deep displeasure with the majority’s opinion. It’s not merely that the majority was wrong for Justice Black, it’s that they were dead wrong. So, he spoke for a really long time, he was fairly frothing at the mouth and Chief Justice Warren is reported to have said, “Old Hugo really got caught up in his jockstrap on that one”. And so, it’s a really remarkable opinion. But, you know, the opinion by Justice Fortas, it was significant because it reconceptualized the role of students in American society. Fortas, the real sort of innovation here is that, he says that, “Students are not merely receptacles that teachers fill with information. Instead, students talking to each other about the issue of the day is not some sort of distraction but instead a vital part of the educational process itself”. So, I think of Tinker as a really important breakthrough. Unfortunately, in my view, the court has failed to build on Tinker in the way that it should have.

Will Brehm  14:41
So, what happened since then? I mean, it seems like giving agency to students in the educational process -by giving them constitutional rights, the ability to have free speech, advanced ideas in their own way, challenge ideas that are seen as normative -that seems like, in my mind, a good thing. I mean, you’re saying that that has actually sort of shifted to the other direction, towards Justice Black’s dissent?

Justin Driver 15:09
Justice Black’s dissent continues to be embraced by Justice Thomas. He wrote an opinion in a case called Morse v. Frederick from 2007 that Justice Black was exactly right, and that Tinker was wrongly decided, students should have no first amendment rights whatsoever. Justice Thomas, of course, is an originalist and he said that, you know, in the original understanding, teachers commanded, and students obeyed and so it was quite striking that he waxes nostalgic. Justice Thomas’ views are not representative of the current court but in recent years -in recent decades- the court has carved out a number of exceptions to the foundational rule of Tinker including in the Morse vs. Frederick case itself. I should say I’m calling it Morse v. Frederick but just about nobody calls it Morse v. Frederick. Instead, it’s routinely referred to by lawyers as “the Bong Hits 4 Jesus case”. That message was on a 14-foot-long banner that a high school senior in Juneau, Alaska unfurled from across the school as the Olympic torch made its way down glacier Avenue in Juneau, Alaska. The principal sees Joseph Frederick unfurl this banner, marches across the way, rips the sign out of his hand, and then suspends him from school. And the question is, does this violate his first amendment rights? The Supreme Court in a very odd opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts said that if the school believes that the speech is designed to promote illegal drug use, then it’s permissible to punish the student for that speech. And I say that’s unusual from a First Amendment perspective because it’s a hallmark of the freedom of speech that you’re supposed to be neutral with respect to viewpoint. You can’t silence pro-drug speech if anti-drug speech is permissible because the marketplace of idea, you should allow people to have their say. Justice Stevens wrote a really important dissenting opinion in this area. He was quite elderly at the time. And he said that he could remember prohibition, and that we should in effect view Joseph Frederick, as attempting to participate, however, inarticulately, in a growing debate about the legality of marijuana. And of course, he means by that, with respect to prohibition, that what is illegal today can become legal tomorrow. And of course, 11 years have passed since the “Bong hits 4 Jesus” decision and Justice Stevens’ dissent assumes only added significance and force.

Will Brehm 18:07
Do you think that the “Bong hits 4 Jesus” ruling would be overturned in this new era where marijuana is becoming increasingly legalized?

Justin Driver  18:16
It’s a good question. The court is typically reluctant to reverse itself and to overturn precedents. I do, however, hope that the Supreme Court will demonstrate renewed interest in vindicating students’ speech. The Roberts Court has a reputation as being a staunch defender of the freedom of expression. Indeed, some people think it’s rather too enamored of the freedom of speech and identifies infractions where they don’t properly belong. But one major area where it has failed to vindicate free speech rights is students’ speech. And so, I do hope that the court would be willing to revisit Morse v. Frederick and also build on Tinker. Let me give you an example. You know, the Tinker case, the rule that emerged from that was that if teachers have a reasonable forecast of a substantial disruption then it’s permissible to punish students for speech. But the problem with that rule is that it reads in what might be regarded as a “hecklers veto”. This is a term that first amendment mavens use to describe when particularly sensitive listeners can, if they object vociferously enough to the speech, decide to silence speech. And so, we see many of these cases where students grow upset and they can threaten their classmates and rather than talking to the folks that are threatening violence or unrest, instead, too often, in my view, school officials silence the speech. And so, I find that a distressing development and I do hope that the court will revisit this issue.

Will Brehm  20:15
Yeah, it’s so fascinating that even today, it seems like constitutional rights literally stop at the schoolhouse gate. That children, that young adults, are viewed fundamentally different as citizens, right? They don’t have the same necessarily constitutional rights as adults, for instance. And I guess, for me, what’s so interesting is that the issue of race in your book sort of cuts across all of the different cases that you profile, that you go through in such great depth. And, in a sense, this idea of separate but equal from Plessy v. Ferguson and the idea that you don’t want this interracial mixing going on because maybe children are seen as innocent and, you know, corruptible and mixing races is going to have some sort of negative outcome. That seems to be a recurrent theme over many different cases. And of course, the big case that people probably always associate with education is  Brown v. the Board of Education. So, can you talk a little bit about what did Brown v. Board of Education actually do? And maybe more importantly, what didn’t it do?

Justin Driver  21:29
Yeah, it’s a great question. Brown v. Board of Education is the most widely celebrated opinion. Today, Judge Kavanaugh, during his confirmation hearings said that he thought that Brown v. Board of Education was the most important decision in the Supreme Court’s history. More important than Marbury v. Madison in an important early case dealing with judicial review. But even though everybody sort of knows Brown, people have widely different views about what the opinion actually held. So, this is a case from 1954 dealing with racial segregation by law in the nation’s public schools. There are 17 different states that require Jim Crow and another four states that permitted Jim Crow, including Topeka, Kansas. And so Chief Justice Warren writes a unanimous opinion, saying that in the realm of education separate is inherently unequal. But the question becomes exactly as you suggested, Will. What does Brown mean? Does Brown nearly forbid segregation? Or does Brown require integration? And so, the decision itself set off a fierce debate to control the meaning of Brown and ultimately, it’s my argument that I advanced in the book that the erstwhile segregationist successfully claimed the mantle of Brown.

Will Brehm  23:09
How so?

Justin Driver 23:10
So, in 1956, Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina helped to mastermind a document called the Southern Manifesto. Senator Ervin was a graduate of Harvard Law School and a former Justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court. He was quite legally sophisticated and also a staunch segregationist. And he said -right around the time of the Southern Manifesto, which was a document that said that Brown was wrongly decided- he made a public statement where he argues, “Brown is a deplorable decision and it’s also not as drastic as people think”, he says. And so, over time, he eased away from the first part of that construction, that it was deplorable, and said, it’s not as drastic as people think, meaning that he contended, Brown does not require integration. And indeed, over time beginning in the 1960s, he would say that Brown, properly understood, forbids the efforts of school districts to require integration. And that is an argument that ultimately carried the day in a case called Parents Involved in Community Schools from 2007 which was decided when I was a law clerk at the Supreme Court for justice Breyer.

Will Brehm  24:39
And what did that ruling state?

Justin Driver  24:41
So, in Parents Involved, the court considered plans out of Louisville, Kentucky, and Seattle, Washington. They wanted to have greater amounts of racial integration than would flow from assigning people simply to their neighborhood schools. They say we have racially diverse cities, but our schools are racially isolated. And so, in order to make sure that the schools are reflective of the greater racial diversity than we have in our cities, we’re going to take account of race in order to bring about racial integration. Chief Justice Roberts writes an opinion that effectively claims the mantle of Brown and says that it forbids these sorts of programs. He says that Brown invalidated regimes that told students where they could go to school based on the color of their skin. These programs in Louisville and Seattle tell students where they can go to school based on the color of their skin. It matters not one wit, for constitutional purposes, according to Chief Justice Roberts that the programs in the modern era were designed to bring people together and that in the Jim Crow era, they were designed to keep people apart, and indeed keep racial minorities subordinate.

Will Brehm  25:57
It reminds me of the book, ‘Through the Looking Glass’. It’s like everything is turned upside down. You know, like, how did we go from seeing Brown -as celebrating Brown to reintegrate schools, to get rid of segregation- to having, in 2007, a Supreme Court Justice, use Brown to argue, basically, segregated schools. As so many students today know -I mean, even myself. I went to school in the US and I’ve seen so many public schools that were either 99% minority students, or 99% white students, and it’s so obvious that schools are so segregated today in America.

Justin Driver  26:42
Yeah, it’s it was a very upsetting decision for me, when I was a law clerk to Justice Breyer and Justice Breyer wrote a very long and in my unbiased view, wholly, convincing, dissenting opinion, where he says that it is a cruel distortion of history to compare Topeka, Kansas of the 1950s to Louisville and Seattle of the modern era and he offered what we could think of as an integrationist conception of the reconstruction amendments. Unfortunately, though Justice Breyer’ opinion did not carry the day.

Will Brehm  27:19
Well, Justin Driver, thank you so much for joining FreshEd. It really was a pleasure of talking today.

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Nine public service employees are suing Navient, the student debt service provider, for providing misleading and inaccurate information. They allege that Navient engaged in predatory lending, more interested in turning a profit than finding them the best repayment plan.

My guest today is Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. ATF has been helping their members navigate the student loan industry. What they found is shocking.

For Randi, there is a legal and electoral path to find justice for student loan borrowers.

Citation: Weingarten, Randi, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 133, podcast audio, November 5, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/weingarten/

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