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Word Count: 1,283
A feature of todays world is a trend away from centralization and toward greater diversity and devolution of control over social institutions In this new world which some call postmodernity more voices are being raised including voices that once went unheard And these voices are bringing a surprisingly different range of messages to policy makers and governments They tell of human values once hidden by dominant ideologies and belief systems And it must be admitted that these ideologies often included distorting beliefs about the timeless merits of the intellectual heritage that liberal educators once tried to transmit So on the face of it this shift seems a promising development In principle it could broaden the language games of a liberal education extending it to include the world views of those positioned by other cultural social and gendered experiences Yet in response to these new voices now raised at local levels powerful forces beyond the local are still ignoring the messages being sent This is certainly true of education in Ontario where the Ministry has become more remote and overbearing rather than less so Even the welcome trend towards devolving more control to schools has been more apparent than real It has led to new levels of standardization and injustice and this has happened even in New Zealand which is the place that New Right politicians point to as a model of devolution worth following In that country much of the policy talk about giving schools control over their own decision-making has been smoke and mirrors Worse New Zealands so-called economic miracle masked disruptions to social life that have impacted directly on the countrys teaching and learning practices a 40 increase in poverty a doubling of youth suicide to the highest levels recorded anywhere in the world a 40 increase of violence against children and a trebling of infanticide Schools wherever they are in this new world are still rather powerless institutions when
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