chapter  Chapter 11
13 Pages

The undue burden of methodological warrant on the voice of disengaged young people

WithFiona MacDonald

This chapter explores the collective voice of young people within calls for school reform and broader concerns around the level of disengagement in Australian schools. The chapter draws on the concept of collective voice from human resources and business management to consider the argument that the voices of some young people have been given undue methodological warrant in these debates. The chapter presents the argument that the collective voice of young people who have reengaged with education in alternative learning environments is being overread in these debates. While their voices are relevant here, the chapter challenges the capacity of their collective voice to represent the experience of all young people disengaged in Australian schools. The chapter highlights the absence of the voices of young people who are disengaged with learning but remain, for often complex reasons, in mainstream education. Representing the collective voice of these young people presents a unique challenge, as they are less accessible, and many have not yet demonstrated the indicators that would flag their experience as relevant in these debates. Their collective voice is relevant though, and this chapter calls for ways to better understand the complex factors that lead to disengagement in Australian schools.