Rise and fall of the comprehensive school idea in the Netherlands. Political and educational debates on the Middle School project (1969-1993)

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Dutch comprehensive education eventually failed on a political level, despite support from many politicians, labour unions and branches in the educational practice. In the early 1970s denominational political parties strove for a Middle School to provide equal opportunities of all children by postponing school choice. From 1973 onwards, however, the Middle School was given a socialist appeal, which led to strong critique from both the right-wing Liberal Party and teachers in higher secondary education united in The Dutch Association of Teachers. By resisting, the right-wing Liberals struck a chord with the denominational parties over their fear of indoctrination and the threatening of the constitutional freedom of education. The many proponents, including those from the field of education, tried to influence the political debate by publishing their ideas on the Middle School, but their efforts were to no avail. The outcome, therefore, was that in 1993 there were to be no Middle Schools, only the realisation of a common curriculum for the first phase of secondary education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-292
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Educational Research Journal
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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