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The Legacy of Educational Administration

A Historical Analysis of an Academic Field

Izhar Oplatka

In light of attempts to trace the philosophical and historical foundations of educational administration as an academic field of study that is concerned with the management and operation of educational organisations, this book aims at reviewing important epistemological developments in this field since the early 1960s. Specifically, the author poses several questions, such as what counts as the field of educational administration and what is this field in each decade since the early 1960s? What is the knowledge base of educational administration? What is its unique identity? And what are the types of publications and the methodological tools used throughout the years by the field’s members? Based on a qualitative content analysis of the field’s various academic journals since the appearance of the first journal, the author identifies six legacies – empirical, practical, evaluative, training, ideological and critical that the field leaves behind in our time.

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Chapter Five: A time of knowledge explosion 107

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107 Chapter Five: A time of knowledge explosion Education took the national political spotlight in the 1990s as it never had before in many Western countries, as more and more right-wing governments adopted policies of privatisation, accountability and marketisation in order to ‘save’ their nations’ educational systems and raise students’ academic achievements (Glatter, 1999). In England (and later on in some Commonwealth countries), for example, the educational legislation of the Thatcher government in the 1980s introduced forms of centralisation, devolution, school choice, a system of national testing, performance management and executive leadership (Bottery, 2006). This brought about much interest in the study of educational systems and schools in these countries, and especially in issues related to policy and manage- ment. Consequently, the field knowledge base dramatically increased to include many new authors from larger nations, different religions and ethnic groups and much more diversity in terms of topics and types of works. A new journal was created with strong international orientation – IJLE – at the end of this decade. Compared to past decades, authorship became more diversified, comprising many works written by two and three authors and even several research works that were conducted by a team of four scholars or more. The field was no longer characterised mainly by works by one author of its knowledge base, but rather by groups of scholars and researchers collaborating in order to produce the field’s knowledge. The cost was the disappearance of practitioners from the field’s jour- nals and the transmission, almost entirely,...

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