Equity programs in Australian schools: social democracy,  managerialism and social capitalism

Year: 2012

Author: Morrison ,Janice, Eacott, Scott, Gore, Jenny, Miller, Wendy

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Since the 1970s Australian education policy has pursued the dual goals of economic productivity and social inclusion. Although national policies such as The Melbourne Declaration of Educational Goals for Young Australians remained couched in both economic and socially inclusive discourses, since the 1990's the proliferation of the managerialist project has shifted policy to more market based reforms as a means of achieving economic and social targets. Strategies such as the promotion of competition, school choice, devolution and greater public accountability have generally ensured that school leaders responsible for implementing equity programs are responsive to an increasing array of performative regimes. As a result, current large scale equity programs reflect an increasingly hybrid combination of socially democratic and managerialist agendas.

This paper examines how the shifting educational agenda is shaping
equity policies and programs, especially those targeted at low
socio-economic groups and Indigenous students in Australian public
schools. Following Bacchi (2009) an examination of how the NSW Schools in Partnership program (2006-10), COAG's Low SES School Community National Partnership program (2009-14), and associated media representations incorporate particular representations of the 'problems' and how this plays out in targeted schools.