Literacy, educational disadvantage and education policy

Year: 2008

Author: Bishop, Kaylene

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Improving literacy outcomes for all students, particularly those from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, is a complex social, economic and political issue that challenges politicians and educators alike. The existence of unequal outcomes of schooling in Australia has become public knowledge as, for the past two years at least, the media has engaged in a series of extended attacks on schools, their work and student results. Given that literacy is now perceived as an essential skill for participation in modern society, it is important to establish what ‘literacy’ is (or ‘literacies’ are), why differences in literacy capabilities occur, and what roles schools play in shifting cultural and social values. My research explores the relationship between literacy research, literacy policy and classroom practice; in particular how policy is shaped and interpreted as its design and implementation move from the education bureaucracy to the classroom. My investigation draws on the discourses of production, distribution and consumption associated with literacy reform in Education Queensland. Literate Futures is the case study for my research.