A New Equity Deal for Schools: a case study of policy-making in Queensland, Australia.
In this paper we draw on concepts from policy sociology to analyse the new equity deal for schools in Queensland, Australia. We examine this 'new deal' through an analysis of the language of 'inclusion' and 'educational risk' in key policy documents associated with a major reform of public education in Queensland. In addition, we analyse the interview talk of key policy actors involved in policy framing, carriage and monitoring. We note that globalism has increased rather than reduced social inequity. At the same time, good quality accessible education can play a crucial role in challenging the inequalities produced by global informationalism. In Queensland, Australia equity is still on the agenda, but in radically new neo-liberal economic ways. The focus is individualistic - each individual needs to be tracked because they are potentially 'at-risk' of 'school failure'. Identification of 'at-risk' students has been devolved to the level of the school and district and intervention strategies have to be devised at the local level. Stories of success are then to be shared/networked with other schools. We suggest that while 'target group equity' strategies were limited in terms of addressing issues of social exclusion and inequity, the new deal on equity, a market-individualistic approach is an inadequate alternative.
British Journal of Sociology of Education