1st Edition

The Quest for Revolution in Australian Schooling Policy

By Glenn C. Savage Copyright 2021
    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book seeks to critically examine the impacts of ‘grand designs’ in public policy through a detailed historical analysis of Australian schooling reforms since the ‘education revolution’ agenda was introduced by the federal government in the late 2000s. Combining policy analyses and interviews with senior policy makers and ministerial advisors centrally involved in the reforms, it offers a detailed interpretive analysis of the complexities of policy evolution and assemblage. The book argues that the education revolution sought to impose a new order on Australian schooling by aligning state and territory systems to common policies and processes in areas including curriculum, assessment, funding, reporting and teaching. Using a theory and critique of ‘alignment thinking’ in public policy, Savage shows how the education revolution and subsequent reforms have been underpinned by uncritical faith in the power of nationally aligned data, evidence and standards to improve policies and unite systems around practices ‘proven to work’. The result is a new national policy assemblage that has deeply reshaped the making and doing of schooling policy in the nation, generating complex questions about who is steering the ship of education into the future.

    The Quest for Revolution in Australian Schooling Policy is a must read for education policy researchers, policy makers, education ministers and school leaders, and will appeal to anyone with an interest in the complex power dynamics that underpin schooling reforms.

    1.Revolution 2. Arrangement 3. Order 4. Disorder 5. Future


    Glenn C. Savage is a policy sociologist with expertise in education reforms, federalism, intergovernmental relations and global policy mobilities. He is an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.

    "This book provides a carefully crafted and written account of recent changes in Australian education, and puts forward a compelling argument about how policies are now developed in Australia. It challenges the rationalist assumptions regarding the power of nationally aligned data, evidence and standards to steer reform, and contends that genuine reform cannot be achieved by policy edicts alone, no matter how comprehensive and coordinated" -Fazal Rizvi, Emeritus Professor, The University of Melbourne.

    "The Quest for Revolution in Australian Schooling Policy is necessary reading for all public policy scholars, especially those focused on education policy. The book proffers a critique of technical rationality, specifically ‘alignment thinking’, outlines an innovative assemblage approach to policy analysis, and provides a granular history of post-2007 education policy in Australia" -Bob Lingard, Emeritus Professor, The University of Queensland, and Professorial Fellow, Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education, Australian Catholic University