Educational Heresies: Are markets good for education?
15 March 2012
In the same week the NSW government announced a series of reforms including the devolution of budgetary control to school principals, Professor Raewyn Connell will deliver the first lecture for 2012 in the Education Heresies Series entitled, "Are Markets Good for Education?"
Professor Connell, who holds a University Chair, says: "In the past 25 years, Australian education policy has been dominated by a market agenda. A cascade of policy changes and institutional 'reforms have shifted the ground towards a privatised and management-dominated education system."
The lecture is part of the Education Heresies series run by the Faculty of Education and Social Work and features leading scholars and practitioners who speak on how education research, policy and practice need to be challenged and transformed.
Underlying the Education Heresies program are ideas that suggest a contested field, where contemporary education is influenced by an agenda that goes beyond quality teaching and learning, community building and equality of access and outcomes.
Professor Connell says this includes the corporatisation and managerialisation of TAFE and universities; the greatly expanded subsidies for private schools; the introduction of standardised national achievement testing, the MySchool website, league tables; and the beginnings of a payment-by-results scheme for teachers.
"Accompanying this is a disturbing rise in sheer fakery in public discourses about education: among them the top-down 'education revolution' that didn't even mention curriculum, and corporate frauds in technical education for overseas students.
"In this talk I will try to define the underlying principles of a neoliberal education system. What exactly are we commodifying when we sell education? What pressures does the market exert on the knowledge base that educators use? How is teachers' work changed when parent/teacher/pupil/community/system relations are all subject to market forces? How does the market itself act as an educator?"
Professor Connell's research is characterised by her concern for combining an understanding of large-scale social structures with recognition of personal experience and collective agency.
Her most recent book is Confronting Equality: Gender, Knowledge and Global Change (Polity, 2011).
When: 5 to 6.30pm, Thursday 15 March
Where: Lecture Theatre 351, Education Building, Camperdown Campus
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