An accelerating pattern in Australia and internationally is the dismantling of public education systems as part of a long-standing trend towards the modernisation, marketisation and privatisation of educational provision. Responsibility for direct delivery of education services has been shifted to contracting and monitoring under the clarion call of school and leadership autonomy and parental choice. Part of this pattern is an increasing blurring of boundaries between the state and private sector, a move from government to new forms of ‘strategic’ governance, and from hierarchy to heterarchy.

Challenges for Public Education examines the educational leadership, policy and social justice implications of these trends in Australia and internationally. It maps this movement through early shifts to school-based management in Australia, New Zealand and Sweden and recent moves such as the academies programme in England and charter schools in the United States. It draws on recent studies of a distinct new phase in Australian school reform – the creation of ‘independent public schools’ (IPS) in Western Australia and Queensland – and global policy moves in public education in order to provide a truly international dialogue and debate on these matters.

This book moves beyond critique. It innovatively brings together Australian and international perspectives and a rich range of diverse theoretical lenses: practice philosophy, feminism, gender, relational, and postmodernism. As such, it provides a crucial forum for illuminating alternate ways to conceptualise educational leadership, policy and social justice as resources for hope.

chapter 1|13 pages

Challenges for public education

Perils and possibilities for educational leadership, policy and social justice
ByJane Wilkinson, Scott Eacott, Richard Niesche

part I|2 pages

Theoretical possibilities

chapter 3|13 pages

School and principal autonomy

Resisting, not manufacturing, the neoliberal subject
ByRichard Niesche

chapter 4|13 pages

Educational leadership research and the dismantling of public education

A relational approach
ByScott Eacott

part II|2 pages

Local/international cases

chapter 5|14 pages

Competitive entrepreneurship and community empowerment

59Competing practices of a school autonomy reform
ByBrad Gobby

chapter 6|14 pages

Exploring a school improvement initiative

Leadership and policy enactment in Queensland’s Independent Public Schools
ByAmanda Heffernan

chapter 7|14 pages

Depoliticisation and education policy

ByHelen M. Gunter

chapter 8|15 pages

Oh to be in England?

The production of an un-public state system
ByPat Thomson

chapter 9|16 pages

Shifting logics

Education and privatisation the Swedish way
ByNafsika Alexiadou, Lisbeth Lundahl, Linda Rönnberg

chapter 10|13 pages

To be ‘in the tent’ or abandon it?

A school clusters policy and the responses of New Zealand educational leaders
ByMartin Thrupp

chapter 11|14 pages

The rise of authoritarian neoliberalism

How neoliberalism threatens public education and democracy
ByDavid Hursh

part III|2 pages

Critical commentary

chapter 12|16 pages

Restoring the ‘publicness’ of public education

ByAlan Reid