The politics of differentiation : education reform in postwar Britain and Germany / Gregory Charles Baldi.
This dissertation examines the structural evolution of the general systems of education in Britain and the Federal Republic of Germany after World War II and seeks to explain an important empirical puzzle, namely why Britain reformed its early postwar policy of placing students in separate secondary schools on the basis of perceived ability while Germany has retained the practice. It maintains that the variation observed in the case studies is largely explained by two factors: (1) the institutional framework of educational policymaking in both countries; and (2) the timing of changes in dominant policy discourses. In Britain, new sociological and psychological conceptions concerning the nature of human ability led policymakers to rethink fundamentally the ideational foundation of differentiation in education, leading to political reforms in the mid-1960s that created a single “comprehensive” state secondary school model attended by nearly all students. In West Germany, by contrast, cultural federalism and structural legacies from the Nazi era served to retard the application of modern social science techniques to education. The result was a fatal delay in the introduction of reform initiatives to modernize the school system.
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