Academic journal article Australian Journal of Education

Editor's Introduction

Academic journal article Australian Journal of Education

Editor's Introduction

Article excerpt

Simon Marginson's Special Issue on `Education and markets' provides a comprehensive, analytical, and broad-based discussion of what is arguably one of the most centrally important issues in contemporary Australian public education. To my mind, it has not been noted widely enough, yet our liberal (small `l') understanding of the purposes, conditions, and provisions for public education has been quietly eroded without much public discussion. No matter how one assesses what Marginson describes as `the trend towards market forms and behaviours in education', there is a need to reconceptualise our taken-for-granted philosophical understandings of free and secular public education. We are in a period of immense transformation regarding our views of mass education without having any clear notion of how to appraise, incorporate, or otherwise come to terms with the increasing `marketisation' of education. There are a number of challenges we must face, and must face successfully if we are to maintain some notion of education as a fundamental good that benefits all in a civilised society, an understanding of education that is broader than the utilitarian instrumentalist currently in vogue.

Under threat is the notion of the educated citizen since the notion of citizen seems to have been largely replaced by that of the consumer of goods of which education is now considered to be one. Under threat is also the commitment to equality and equality of educational opportunity as values worth keeping. Although such a conception has never been unproblematic, it was nevertheless believed to be essential. To be sure, there has always been tension in determining the aims of education because people want different things from it and assume different goals. In this sense, public education has always been at the intersection of political ideals and economic realities.

David Labaree (1997) has recently argued convincingly, in relation to the goals of American public education, that there is a fundamental tension between democratic rights (public rights) and capitalist markets (private rights), between majority control and individual liberty, between political equality and social inequality. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.