1st Edition

The Australian Government Muscling in on School Education
A History (1901–2018)

ISBN 9780367861926
Published June 4, 2020 by Routledge
270 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Despite the Australian Constitution implying school education to be a state responsibility, the Commonwealth has increasingly interfered with state school education. The Australian Government Muscling in on School Education therefore offers a historical account of this government involvement in Australian education, from federation to the present day, providing a much-needed, fully updated and relevant overview the topic.

Arguing that education has become an arena for competing political forces, this book examines the powerful influence of the Commonwealth over education and the political motives behind it, exploring how politics influences aspects of the curriculum, teaching standards, assessment and reporting, funding, teacher selection and policy more broadly. Ultimately questioning whether this influence is in the interests of the members of the community who depend on education, the book holds government engagement in education to account. Taking the major epochs of federalism as an organizing framework, the book’s chapters include explorations of:

  • The efficiency dynamic and the progressive years (1919–39)
  • Postwar imperatives and the Menzies years (1949–72)
  • Coordinative federalism and treading softly: the Whitlam years (1972–5) and Fraser years (1975–83)
  • Corporate federalism: the Hawke/Keating years (1983–96)
  • Supply-side federalism and globalization: the Howard years (1996–2007)
  • National control and the Rudd, Gillard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison years (2007–15)

A thorough and significant examination of the historical engagement of the Australian government in education, this book is essential reading for student teachers and postgraduate students in education studies and politics.

Table of Contents

Introduction.  Chapter 1: Researching the Kaleidoscope of Australian Federalism and School Education.  Chapter 2: Coordinated Federalism: Federation, Compulsory School Cadets and a Looming War (1901–19).  Chapter 3: Cooperative Federalism: The Efficiency Dynamic and the Progressive Years (1919–39).  Chapter 4: Pragmatic Federalism: Postwar Imperatives and the Menzies Years, Coalition Governmnets (1949–72).  Chapter 5: Coordinative Federalism and Treading Softly: The Whitlam and Fraser Years (1972–83).  Chapter 6: Corporate Federalism: The Hawke and Keating Years (1983–96).  Chapter 7: Supply-Side Federalism and Globalism: The Howard Years (1996–2007).  Chapter 8: Enter ‘Risk Society’: National Control and the Rudd, Gillard, Abbott, Turnball, Morrison Years (2007–2015).  Chapter 9: General Conclusions.

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Grant Rodwell is an Adjunct Research Academic at the School of Education, University of Tasmania, Australia.