Teacher reflections on policy

This post is a part of a series being written for my EDUC6352 online masters students.

Educational policy always sits at the intersection of the past, present and future, with the latter often expressed in policy texts as an imagined desired future” (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010, p. xi).

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Much of teachers work is shaped by policy – yet do we know how teachers feel about this aspect of their work? Currently in Australia there is a push to professionalise teaching – and yet much of the current policy  has removed agency from teachers (the last ten years have seen the removal of curriculum control, increased standarised testing, and the introduction of a prescriptive model of teacher professional standards). At the same time there is a growing criticism of how many children are missing out on the benefits of education. (See the video below, for an example). Some of this criticism comes with a sense that teachers are to blame and that managing the teachers, via policy settings, will create a better future and a better education system.

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Teachers decry the marketisation of education

This post is a part of a series being written for my EDUC6352 online masters students.

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12 months ago I blogged about the Australian education policy context by providing an overview of the Melbourne Declaration. Today, The Age has published an anonymous piece by three teachers from Victoria who provide a scathing critique of the same context, and the education policies proposed by the opposition party in Victoria. In reference to the latter, they note that the:

draconian plans – which include installing police in our 10 most “high-risk” schools, abolishing the Safe Schools program, pumping up parochial Australian nationalism and stamping out celebration of diversity in the curriculum – are bound to have a devastating impact on the educational opportunities of our most disadvantaged and marginalised students.

For these teachers however, the half baked idea of putting police in disadvantaged schools does not represent the real problem. What they are really concerned about is the marketisation of education that’s been orchestrated by both the Labor and Liberal parties over the past ten years. Continue reading

On policy evaluation

This post is a part of a series being written for my EDUC6352 online masters students.

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Policy analysis and evaluation seems like a straight forward and obvious requirement for school leaders and government departments. Basically if you implement policy one might assume that you would wish to evaluate said policy. However, in the frenetic pace of schools which, in Australia at least, have been in a policy reform cycle for at least two decades there is little chance to analyse nor evaluate policy as the next policy-cycle is upon leaders. Policy makers themselves are beholden to Australia’s short election cycle and the have to design policy to differentiate one government from the next with new policies and policy foci.

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Examining the education policy context in Australia by looking closely at the Melbourne Declaration

This post is a part of a series being written for my EDUC6352 online masters students.

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One of the themes of policy in Australia (over the past 40 years or so) is the increasing influence of neoliberalism. This is particularly apparent in education, which has become increasingly marketised. Teachers’ work is increasingly subject to economic principles – made visible through the focus on accountability and standardisation; and performance pay which is perennially proffered as the a means of increasing teacher quality.

Nearly ten years after its signing, the 2008 Melbourne Declaration remains a useful case study which illustrates some of the ways that neoliberalism is manifest in Australian schooling. Continue reading