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  • Publication
    Educational developmentalists divided? Patrick Cannon, Patrick Hillery and the economics of education in the early 1960's
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2009)
    The role of Patrick Cannon as a developmentalist critic of the educational status quo at the beginning of the 1960s is highlighted by Tom Garvin in Preventing the Future. Here the organisation the Headmaster of Sandymount High School led, the Federation of Lay Catholic Secondary Schools, is depicted as coming in from the bureaucratic cold as Jack Lynch brought a more activist, reformist ministerial presence into the Department of Education. But although the reforming trend continued under Lynch's successor, Patrick Hillery, Cannon and his organisation quickly found themselves operating in a very hostile environment. In 1962 the Department broke off relations with the Federation over its decision to adopt a new title while Hillery publicly accused it of blackening Ireland's name overseas in a report that applied the same economics of education approach that the Department itself was embracing in collaboration with the OECD. The catalytic effect of the OECD-linked study that produced Investment in Education is a much-celebrated episode of Ireland's modernisation. A remarkably broad cross-departmental consensus supported the initiative. Bureaucratic caution and ministerial self-preservation were set aside to allow a 'warts and all' portrait of Irish education to be painted by the study team. Special efforts were made to focus public attention on the findings of a damning report that legitimated a quickening pace of government action to increase access to an expanded, rationalised and reoriented education system. But, as well as developmentalist triumph over conservatism in the education field, there was also significant division between state and civil society developmentalists which a case study of the relationship between the secondary schools' federation led by Cannon and the Department of Education enables us to explore.