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  • 1.
    Holmgren, Mikael
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Johanson, Olof
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. olof.johansson@pol.umu.se.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Att bygga en rondell i rusningstrafik?: ppföljning av Skolverkets informationsinsatser vid implementeringen av skollagen2012Report (Refereed)
  • 2.
    Holmgren, Mikael
    et al.
    Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Johansson, Olof
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Sweden: centralization and decentralization as implementation strategies2013In: Transnational influences on values and practices in Nordic educational leadership: is there a Nordic model? / [ed] Lejf Moos, Dordrecht: Springer, 2013, p. 73-85Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    From the 1930s to 1980s, Swedish education was generally governed much in the same way as the rest of the social democratic welfare state. Policy was to be formulated at the national level through negotiation between leading politicians and representatives of major organised interests, implemented by neutral, rule-following civil servants and carried out by local authorities and professionals in the municipalities. In stark contrast, the past few decades have seen Sweden gain a reputation for having one of the most decentralised educational systems in the world, as decision-making powers previously held by the national parliament have been generously transferred to local authorities, quasi-markets, school leaders and other actors. At the same time, however, the state has not so much vanished as it has taken up a new set of core activities: centralised quality control through statutory regulations, oversight and sanctions. In this chapter, we document these changes and consider how the dual focus on centralisation and decentralisation has impacted on Swedish education. First, we provide an overview of the formal governing structure at the local level, focusing on how authority previously held by the state has been delegated to municipalities and independent schools. Second, we examine some of the new steering mechanisms enacted at the national level to control the performance of local actors. Third, we consider the role of educational leadership in the current system. This chapter concludes by assessing the implications of the reforms for the distribution of power between the state, the municipalities and the schools.

  • 3.
    Holmgren, Mikael
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development.
    Johansson, Olof
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Skott, Pia
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development.
    Local School Governance in Sweden: Boards, Parents and Democracy2012In: Journal of School Public Relations, ISSN 0741-3653, Vol. 33, no 1, p. 8-28Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 4.
    Hover, Hans Christian
    et al.
    Norway.
    Merok Paulsen, Jan
    Norway.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Uppsala Universitet .
    Kofod, Klaus Kasper
    Denmark.
    Kanervio, Pekka
    Finland.
    Pulkkinen, Seppo
    Finland.
    Control and trust in local school governance2014In: School Boards in the Governance Process  / [ed] Lejf Moos & Jan Merok Paulsen, Dordrecht: Springer, 2014Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 5.
    Johansson, Olof
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Holmgren, Mikael
    Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Moos, Lejf
    Department of Education (DPU), Aarhus University, Copenhagen, Denmark .
    Skedsmo, Guri
    Department of Teacher Education and School Research, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway .
    Paulsen, Jan Merok
    Volda University College, Volda, Norway.
    Risku, Mika
    Institute of Educational Leadership, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland .
    Local Decisions Under Central Watch: A Nordic Quality Assurance System2013In: Transnational Influences on Values and Practices in Nordic Educational Leadership: Is there a Nordic Model? / [ed] Lejf Moos, Amsterdam: Springer Netherlands, 2013, p. 173-192Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Quality assurance or accountability, as we use the term, refers to when an actor, in virtue of contractual obligations, has the right to hold another actor responsible to a set of standards, to judge whether the standards have been met and to impose sanctions if the standards are deemed unfulfilled. In this chapter, we compare how (and if) these rights have been distributed and enacted in educational administration in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. By specifying contractual obligations, we wish to separate accountability from other kinds of asymmetric power relations, such as those between parent and child, and focus on acts of delegation and control.

    We find that there is variation between the four Nordic countries. It is clear that Sweden has gone furthest in reintroducing central command through the use of statutory regulations, oversight and sanctions, whereas Finland has largely abstained from developing a comprehensive system of national quality control. But in Finland, international evaluations and assessments are used to position the country in the global context and to identify national strengths and weaknesses. Finland also tries to take an active role in the development of international evaluations, so that they meet the needs of the Finnish education system. Denmark and Norway have positioned themselves in between the two extremes, both having developed national oversight systems with monitoring and reporting requirements, but so far without the addition of hard sanctions.

  • 6.
    Johansson, Olof
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Uppsala Universitet .
    Nationell utbildningspolitik möter kommunala genomförandestrukturer2014In: Skolledare i mötet mellan nationella mål och lokal policy / [ed] E. Nihlfors och O. Johansson, Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2014, 1, p. 13-24Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 7.
    Johansson, Olof
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Uppsala Universitet .
    The Swedish superintendent in the governing structure of the school system2014In: The educational superintendent between trust and regulation: an international perspective / [ed] Nir, Adam E., Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2014, p. 193-206Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 8.
    Johansson, Olof
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Department of Education, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden .
    Jervik Steen, Linda
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development.
    School Boards in Sweden2014In: School Boards in the Governance Process / [ed] Leif Moos, & Jan Merok Paulsen, Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media B.V., 2014, p. 67-83Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The school law has strengthened the rights for the pupils and parents not only through the possibility to choose the school but also to test decisions taken by the law in court. The state inspection has a great number of possibilities to act against schools that don’t fulfill the law.

    When the principal needed support, they gave their demands to the school owner. We call this “under-pressure”. Often the demands are about resources. These negotiations affect the relations between the principal and the school owner, as well as between principals, teachers, and parents who have often been involved.

    The strong and direct state regulation of the schools, together with a separate system for the allocation of money between states and municipalities, seems to have strengthened the relation between the state and the school and weakened the relation between the schools and the municipality (Nihlfors E, Johansson O, Rektor – en stark länk i styrningen av skolan [The school principal-a strong linkage in school governing]. SNS Förlag, Stockholm, 2013).

    At the same time, well-educated, dedicated board members with an interest in education work as spare-time politicians and want to make a difference. The communication with the principals is not frequent, and they heavily rely on the information from the superintendent. Also the board members look to the national level and trust the state inspection more than they trust their own evaluations.

  • 9. Merok Paulsen, J.
    et al.
    Johansson, Olof
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Moos, Lejf
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Uppsala Universitet .
    Risku, Mika
    Superintendent leadership under shifting governance regimes2014In: International Journal of Educational Management, ISSN 0951-354X, E-ISSN 1758-6518, Vol. 28, no 7, p. 813-822Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose

    The purpose of this paper is to analyse the superintendent position, its relation to the local political system and the function as superior of principals in the school district in order to illuminate important district-level conditions for student learning. Influences from historical legacies and policy cultures are investigated by means of cross-country case analyses.

    Design/methodology/approach

    This paper is based on data from national surveys of superintendent leadership in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway.

    Findings

    A key point is the observation of a mix-mode system of hard and soft governance. Municipalities, schools, teachers and pupils are – in different degrees across the Nordic countries – subjected to external evaluation and assessment by central control agencies, where the streams of reports, assessments and performance data are assembled. However, shifts in the governance systems are only modestly reflected in the self-reports on the superintendents’ role. Overall, superintendents in the cases express a self-preferred leadership style as professional learning facilitators who focus on pupil orientation, which positions the superintendent in “crossfires” between conflicting stakeholder demands.

    Research limitations/implications

    The paper reinforces the importance of superintendent leadership in local school governance. It underscores the importance that superintendents facilitate learning conditions for school leaders, teachers and students, which we see as a promising path for further research.

    Originality/value

    The paper provides empirical evidence regarding superintendent leadership situated in local social and political contexts within the Nordic countries. The cross-country analysis illuminates how path-pendent historical legacies mediate current reform trends.

  • 10. Merok Paulsen, Jan
    et al.
    Strand, M.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Uppsala Universitet .
    Brinkkjaer,, U
    Kanervio, P.
    Pulkkinen, S.
    Multi Level Governance2014In: Educational Governance research / [ed] L. Moos, & J. Merok Paulsen, Dordretch: Springer, 2014Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 11.
    Moos, Lejf
    et al.
    Denmark.
    Merok Paulsen, Jan
    Norway.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Uppsala Universitet .
    Kanervio, Pekka
    Finland.
    Pulkkinen,, Seppo
    Finland.
    Educational Governance: Politics, Administration and Professionalism2014In: School Boards in the Governance Process / [ed] Leif Moos, & Jan Merok Paulsen, Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media B.V., 2014Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 12.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Uppsala Universitet .
    Johansson, Olof
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Låt rektor och förskoelchef få leda!2014In: SKolledare i mötet mellan nationella mål och lokal policy / [ed] E. Nihlfors och O. Johansson, Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2014, 1, p. 231-239Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 13.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Uppsala Universitet .
    Johansson, Olof
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Rektor – en stark länk i styrningen av skolan2013Book (Refereed)
  • 14.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Uppsala Universitet .
    Johansson, OlofUmeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Skolledare i mötet mellan nationella mål och lokal policy2014Collection (editor) (Refereed)
  • 15.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Johansson, Olof
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Moos, Lejf
    Department of Education (DPU), Aarhus University, Copenhagen, Denmark.
    Paulsen, Jan Merok
    Volda University College, Volda, Norway.
    Risku, Mika
    Institute of Educational Leadership, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.
    The Nordic superintendents' leadership roles: cross-national comparison2013In: Transnational influences on values and practices in Nordic educational leadership: is there a Nordic model? / [ed] Lejf Moos, Amsterdam: Springer Netherlands, 2013, p. 193-212Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The chapter focuses on what happens when national education policies meet structures of implementation at the local school district and school levels. Focus is on the position that is subordinated to a municipal committee or board responsible for education. This position is here called superintendent, even if precise titles vary. By focusing on this position, its relation to the political board and the function as superior of principals in the school district, it will be possible to investigate some of the preconditions for learning in the school districts.

  • 16.
    Nihlfors, Elisabet
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development. Uppsala Universitet .
    Skedsmo, Guri
    Norway.
    Merok Paulsen, Jan
    Norway.
    Moos, Lejf
    Denmark.
    Kanervio, Pekka
    Finland.
    Pulkkinen, Seppo
    Finland.
    Role and influence of school boards in improving educational quality2014In: School Boards in the Governance Process / [ed] Lejf Moos, & Jan Merok Paulsen, Dordrecht: Springer International , 2014Chapter in book (Refereed)
1 - 16 of 16
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