Accountability and collaboration: Institutional barriers and strategic pathways for place-based education

Ethics, Place and Environment 8 (3):261 – 283 (2005)
This article makes the case that place-based and environmental education theory and practice must be responsive to, while attempting to transform, the institutional dynamics of schooling. In the present climate of education in the USA two dynamics of schooling deserve particular attention with respect to the possibilities for place-based and environmental education: the discourse of accountability and the discourse of collaboration. Drawing especially on Foucault's analyses of disciplinary power and governmentality, I show how practices associated with accountability and collaboration limit or preclude the deepening and spreading of place-based and environmental education. However, I also argue that even given the serious limitations imposed by current trends of collaboration and accountability, these trends offer place-based and environmental educators powerful entry points through which to initiate change within the formal school setting. The conclusion of the paper outlines three models of collaboration for place-conscious education through which accountability is redefined in the interest of places.
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