Review Blog

Jan 21 2020

Changing Australian education by Alan Reid

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Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2019. ISBN: 9781760875206.
Subtitled: How policy is taking us backwards and what can be done about it. The author (an Adelaide ex-teacher and university education lecturer) argues that neoliberalism is the underlying cause of the problems in Australian education. These are identified as a culture of competition (NAPLAN, PISA, etc. scores) and an emphasis on self rather than the common good, leading to inequitable educational outcomes and a socially segregated education system including privatisation of the school system.
The proposed solution is to establish the purposes of education which the author recommends as categorised into democratic, economic, individual (education for its own sake) and social and cultural purposes. Establishing these should lead to a fairer and socially just society - the opposite of the effects of neoliberalism. A case study is utilised to expand on the suggested solution.
The book is useful for the general public interested in education as well as educators as it covers a historical basis to current education policy and discusses reviews of major reports (e.g. Gonski Review, Grattan Report, work of T. Hattie) as well as critiques of NAPLAN and PISA. However I found the language structure and terms used detracted from ease of reading.
Ann Griffin

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