Policies and practices in the training of school authorities in Argentina. Discursive and experiential tensions
Keywords:School authorities, Educational reforms, Teacher training policies, Teacher training practices
The article presented for this dossier includes an analysis and reflections based on the study: “Training policies and practices for the conduction of state educational institutions at the kindergarten, primary and secondary levels”. This is a research that has been carried out since 2017 in IV Educational Region in Buenos Aires Province (corresponding to Quilmes, Berazategui and Florencio Varela districts), within the framework of the Arturo Jauretche National University, on the policies for the training of directors and their link with school conduction from a historical, political, institutional and experiential perspective. From our point of view, topics concerning school leading, in the sense of school conduction, have long been discussed and recognized as matters of great importance both at the level of school operations and in terms of the application and implementation of educational policies. During the 1990s, the concern for the conduction and administration of education in our country was expressed in a debate that was dominated by the economic tone that is characteristic of neo-liberal policies and their education reform programs. These conceptions, located within a framework of efficiency, administration, and the market, emphasized aspects associated with the ideas of management, and were highly criticized both at that time and subsequently, when educational policy was assumed to be based on the idea of a state guaranteeing the right to education. At the turn of the century (2005-2015), the focus of the issue was placed on school directors as educational conductors and pedagogical agents of institutions, emphasizing the ethical and political responsibility that the managerial function entails. Since the assumption of a new neo-liberal government (2015 and onwards), public policies guaranteeing rights, which were characteristic of the previous period, have been brutally discontinued and the ideas of neo-liberalism have been recovered, introducing some novelties, both in discursive terms, such as the emphasis on emprendedurismo (an incorrect translation of the English term “entrepreneurship”), and in relation to the forms of privatization of teacher training for school authorities with public funds. The different conceptions of the role and function of school conduction undoubtedly refer to a framework of education policy meaning, contextualized in time and space; they also involve different ways of considering the training and qualification of those who occupy or will occupy school authority positions. In this article we will present an analysis of the political and pedagogical meanings displayed at the discursive level of education and training offerings aimed to school conduction teams and also, as a counterpoint, an analytical approach to the discursive and experiential constructions of school directors in their daily realities.