Although previous research has contributed to the body of literature in education for democracy by addressing deficits in policies in equalizing students’ life chances, less attention has been paid to how accomplishing a democratic mandate in education is constructed and legitimized by educational authorities in national policy documents. In this article, we report findings from a project that examined this issue. The aim is to provide insight into how professionalism is constructed and legitimized within and across key education policy documents in the wake of a major national educational reform in Norway. We identify possible discursive shifts and examine what tensions are at play via textual analysis of selected policy documents, with a methodology inspired by a critical approach to discourse analysis. Theories on professionalism and democratic leadership serve as an overarching framework. The findings suggest (1) there are tensions between the use of performance data and education for democracy; (2) little attention is given to professionalism as a deliberative activity; and (3) there is increased emphasis on fulfilling students’ individual rights. We argue that introducing a language of performance expectations has permitted the reinterpretation of what it means to be a professional educator in a social democratic welfare state.
This item's license is: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International