Street-level buraucracies – agents of change and stability in education

Field: Statsvetenskap
Project leader: Ingegerd Municio-Larsson
Starting year: 2004
Project type: Project

The overall aim of the project is to study if services, that bureaucracies of the public sector offer the citizens, will change their content by means of laws or reforms designed by politicians, or if bureaucracies are by definition stable and bound by tradition. This issue becomes even more pressing in states, which have experienced major political change, as for example in post-socialist Europe. The main questions posed are grounded in theories of bureaucracies, their position in democratic regimes, as well as the sources of bureaucratic power in modern societies.

More specifically, the project is focused on issues that in the literature are labelled street-level bureaucracies, in this case referring to secondary education in Estonia. To what extent do schools change education in accordance with the lines drawn up by politicians with the aim to change society in a democratic direction? Special focus is laid on how the subject democracy is taught, but also on how educational and other activities are organised. This is compared with national documents in education on state and municipal level. In addition, efforts of monitoring and evaluating education from higher levels are compared to how principals and teachers understand and practice their task of organising and democratising education.