The Logic of Equity Practice in Education Queensland 2010

Year: 2003

Author: Taylor, Sandra, Singh, Parlo

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on an interview based study relating to the implementation of Education Queensland's new policy directions, with particular attention to social justice issues. Three main areas of the bureaucracy were represented in the interviews: strategic directions, performance and measurement; curriculum and assessment; and workforce and professional development. The study investigated the ways in which equity and 'difference' were being conceptualised in the implementation process. In particular we were interested in how the tensions between redistributive and recognitive approaches to social justice were being managed. We suggest that these tensions reflect the different 'logics of practice' (Bourdieu 1998) operating within the bureaucracy, and that in the pursuit of social justice in education, the 'balance' between redistributive and recognitive approaches may need to change depending on the particular field of practice involved. In addition, we explore the dominant discourses about equity and social justice pervading the logic of equity practice, namely, 'evidence as ideology' or 'evidence based practice'. How, do dominant discourses of 'evidence as ideology' attempt to resolve the contradictory and paradoxical tensions between the redistributive and recognitive aspects of social justice? Moreover, how do policy activists inside the educational bureaucracy manage these tensions/contradictions? This paper, through a systematic analysis of interview data attempts to explore these issues.