Reviewing Academic Literature

Reviewing Academic Literature

Write a one-page review of:
Kenway, J. (2013) Challenging inequality in Australian schools: Gonski and beyond, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education

Identify the key issues
Discuss the significance of Keyways argument
Identify how the author supports her arguments
How credible is the argument?

OPINION PIECE
Challenging inequality in Australian schools: Gonski and beyond
Jane Kenway*
Education Faculty, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
In this paper I look at the most recent policy attempt to address the intractable
issue of inequality in Australian schools, the Review of Funding for Schooling
Final Report (2011), colloquially known as the ‘Gonski Report’, or simply
‘Gonski’. I highlight its important insights and some of its analytical limitations. I
show how a fixation on sector-by-sector (government, Catholic and independent)
analysis and disputation distracts from layers of disadvantage and advantage
across all sectors, while also acknowledging that there is a disproportionate
concentration of disadvantage in the government sector which must thus be
properly funded. I illustrate how socio-educational advantage (SEA) and
disadvantage are compounded and how the social segregation between schools
on the top and bottom rungs is manifest and with associated problems. As
implied throughout, systemic relational analysis, which recognises that educational
advantage and disadvantage are mutually constituted is a diagnostic
necessity which is absent in the Gonski Report and which thus led it to focus on
disadvantaged schools rather than on the systemic relationships that also
contribute to disadvantage. It is thus rather timid in its recommendations. Even
so, I argue, it deserves support because the problems it identifies and seeks to
address are dire.
Keywords: funding policy; private schools; public schools; social segregation;

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