The Politics of Policy: Is LANTITE a solution to the “problem” of teacher education in Australia?

Year: 2018

Author: Barnes, Melissa, Cross, Russell

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Against the current global landscape for education reform, teacher quality, and policy, this presentation interrogates the concept of teacher quality through the lens of one key Australian policy initiative: The Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education (LANTITE). Employing Cochran-Smith, Piazza, and Power’s (2013) four-dimensional “politics of policy” framework, we analyse this federal initiative which acts as a gate-keeping mechanism for students entering teacher education. We begin by outlining the Cochran-Smith et al. framework, including the importance of policy analysis as a tool to problematise taken-for-granted assumptions which impact the everyday practices of teachers and students within schools in often unintended ways. The main focus of the presentation then concentrates on the first three elements of Cochran-Smith et al.’s framework—Discourse and Influences, Constructions of the Problem, and Policy in Practice—to deconstruct the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education as one key policy initiative informing current approaches to teacher education in Australia, especially student teacher selection. We conclude with a discussion of, Impact and Implementation, that focuses on not only LANTITE’s consequences for practice, but how its understanding of teacher education also carries implications for the discipline, policy, and the profession more widely.
We argue that when Cochran-Smith et al.’s (2013) four dimensions are considered together, LANTITE’s effectiveness as a tool to either ensure or raise teacher quality is questionable. Further, additional concerns are raised about how LANTITE shifts all responsibility for perceived problems onto those least able to address systemic issues, the students, than teacher education providers or accreditation authorities.