This paper examines issues relating to governance and the reform of public policies in the European Union.
The author suggests that a managerial agenda for change is developing, seeking to amplify the space for marketisation and control in the educational sphere.
It is argued that, between the 1990s and 2010, world-ambitious educational models have been fostered in ‘Europe’, proposing curricular organisation and regulation principles.
An unstable and controversial educational language and universe has developed, populated by entities such as active pedagogy, indicators, targets or benchmarks.
In order to substantiate the argument, the author briefly analyses the emergence of the curricular dimension in the agenda for educational change.
Furthermore, the author tries to interpret how and why the category ‘learning outcomes (and competence[s])’ has acquired importance in the confluence of the Bologna and Copenhagen Processes and the Education & Training 2010 Programme.
After considering some of these developments in ‘Europe’ and Portugal, the author ends with a few tentative reflections regarding this educational paradigm change and the action of teachers and students.