Across the Australian states generally there is now a substantial consolidation of central technocratic controls over key educational policy areas, thereby denying any real possibility for substantial inputs by representatives of teacher, citizen and community groups. Given that the centre would thus be made both more powerful and less representative, any real scope for participation would be limited to the local level and to questions concerning how best to implement central policy. But within the ‘rational’ model of educational planning and administration that now dominates, the responsibility for ‘getting the job done’ is viewed, in microtechnocratic terms, as mainly a matter for the local professionals, while school principals are assigned a much stronger managerialist role in order to ensure that overall schooling policy is a functional adaptation of the new sense of central purpose. No real space is allowed at any stage of educational planning and implementation for the democratic discussion of viewpoints and concerns and hence for an active community voice. Nonetheless, the rhetoric of devolution does not merely serve a mystifying ideological function but rather has a much more positive political content; it signals that the burden of ‘democratic’ accountability falls mainly on teachers. Once this position is accepted, issues concerning the production and nature of policy itself would cease to be a matter of focal public concern and debate.