Changing Australian Education
How policy is taking us backwards and what can be done about it
Australian education policy for the past 40 years has been heading in the wrong direction and is entirely unsuitable for preparing young people for the 21st century. Exaggeration? Sadly not.
For a teacher, there is nothing more exhilarating than encouraging young people to realise the power of learning. But in our schools today, teachers spend so much time preparing their students for high-stakes tests, gathering data and filling in forms, that many of them feel like the life has been squeezed out of their role. Schooling has been turned into a market, and school leaders are forced to spend precious time and resources competing with other schools. Their professional experience is disregarded as policy makers turn to the corporate world and self-appointed commentators to determine curriculum and school funding.
The outcome? Our schooling system is becoming more segregated; children from poorer backgrounds are falling behind; public schools are starved of funds; and good teachers are leaving.
One of the most highly regarded educational leaders in Australia, Alan Reid, argues it's time to reconsider the purposes of education, the capacities we need for the future, and the strategies that will get us there. He outlines a new narrative for Australian schooling that is futures-focused and prizes flexibility, adaptability, collaboration and agility, with students, teachers and school communities at centre-stage.
'A provocative and persuasive argument for the necessity of a new narrative for Australian schooling so as to meet better the demonstrable demands of the twenty-first century...' - Emeritus Professor Bob Lingard, The University of Queensland
'At the heart of the book is a penetrating critique of neoliberalism and the damaging effects it is having on education and society. It should be essential reading for policy makers, educators, parents, and anyone interested in the current state of Australian education.' - Professor Barry Down, Murdoch University
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION: A tale of two policy discourses
PART ONE: The current state of Australian education policy, and why it must change
1. Neoliberalism comes to Australian education
2. The damaging effects of current education policy directions
PART TWO: What are the problems?
3. Taking the public out of public education
4. Standardised testing and its problems: A case study of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
5. Evidence-based policy: The use and abuse of research
6. Outside influences on education policy
PART THREE: Changing the educational narrative
7. The perils of ignoring the purposes of education
8. Towards a process for thinking about futures for Australian education
9. Using the process: A case study of the fourth industrial revolution
PART FOUR: New policy directions for Australian education
10. New curriculum directions
11. New pedagogical directions
12. New directions in system-wide and school-based cultures
EPILOGUE: Towards a new narrative for Australian education
Alan Reid AM is Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of South Australia. Long recognised as one of Australia's leading educators, he has won many awards for his distinguished contributions to education, including the Gold Medal of the Australian Council of Educational Leaders.