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  1. Education Systems – ACEL Forum

    11 May 2017 by shartley

    How High-Performing Systems Shape Teacher Quality

    a forum hosted by ACEL

    at NSW Parliament House


    The Hon. Rob Stokes MP (current NSW Minister for Education)

    Member for Murray Adrian Piccoli (former NSW Minister for Education)

    Ann McIntyre (ACEL NSW President)

    Aasha Murthy (ACEL CEO)

    is the Australian Council for Educational Leaders

    ‘Parliament House c.1829’
    Flickr, Government Macquarie account

    This was an evening about handing over the baton, one education minister to the next. Both were humble and gracious. Both presented as remarkably intelligent, demonstrating much depth in their knowledge of education and education systems.

    The forum commenced with the President of ACEL NSW, Ann McIntyre, introducing the context of the forum title. The topic stemmed from a study led by Linda Darling-Hammond, conducted over three years in several education systems/jurisdictions in Canada, China, Finland, Norway, USA and Australia. The subsequent book, Empowered Educators: How High-Performing Systems Shape Teacher Quality Around the World, thus provided the forum its title. There is also a version that focuses on the Australian part of the study, Empowered Educators in Australia: How High-Performing Systems Shape Teacher Quality. Both books were co-authored by Ann. Somehow, Ann managed to summarise the findings of the study quite neatly (provided here as a mixture of verbatim and paraphrasing).

    The key to education improvement is:

    1. Teacher quality
    2. supported by policies and practices established within the system
    3. with a balanced assessment system
    4. and a progressive needs based funding model

     To enable this to occur the research showed school systems need:

    1. Good recruitment procedures
    2. Teacher preparation/training for deep knowledge and pedagogy
    3. Timely and quality professional experience and mentoring
    4. Continuous professional learning
    5. Opportunities for professional feedback, focused on growth/improvement
    6. A career and leadership development program

     To achieve all this, schools need resources and opportunities for collaboration.

     Key features of NSW and all the other jurisdictions studied in this research project were:

    1. High social regard for teaching (disputable in NSW)
    2. Selectivity into the profession
    3. Deep financial support for preparation of teachers and professional learning throughout career
    4. High integrity in professional standards
    5. Preparation and induction grounded in very well defined curriculum content and how it is taught
    6. Teaching that is research informed
    7. A collaborative profession, not operating in isolation
    8. Professional learning across a continuum
    9. Well-developed leadership that captured and foster the highly skilled teachers
    10. Systems focused on equity and excellence, as seen in the Melbourne Declaration 

    All this doesn’t happen randomly. It must be through systematic, coordinated reform and innovation. It is important to invest in teaching so that it transforms not just some but all students.

    Ann then handed over to the former and current NSW ministers of education. Rob Stokes spoke first, prefacing his talk with a lawyer-esq disclosure that what he was about to say were his thoughts about education, not yet fully formed.  He then proceeded to provide an intellectual, although brief, consideration of his philosophy of education. He supports an Athenian model over Spartan model, as in developing the whole person rather than educating for the mere purpose of producing people who can contribute to the state. He believes education should be inclusive and be about preparing learners rather than the didactic delivery of information. He concluded by saying he does not have a reductive view of education but an expansive view so, for example, he is not about merely developing ideas to put into existing classroom situations.

    Adrian Piccoli spoke briefly, I suspect to keep the emphasis on Rob Stokes as the current minister. In summary, he said the role of the minister is to facilitate education by providing the right environment, dollars and people to make it function. The minister also needs to be constantly aware that education reform could drift and thus be at risk, although what this risk entailed was not made clear.

    Ann then facilitated a Q&A session. Both Rob and Adrian were obviously comfortable in each other’s company, sharing the stage with ease. They were respectful of each other and the audience. The questions posed were pertinent but they were very considered in their responses, even as to who would be most appropriate to answer first.

    The themes that emerged from this discussion were:

    • Children are at the heart of education.
    • Valuing teachers
    • Systems vs People


    Children are at the heart of education. Rob and Adrian are very proud of NSW having needs based funding and even though they can see flaws with the amount of funding dollars out of the Federal Budget this week, they are pleased with the needs based model on which it is based. Relieved, even, that it is now a bipartisan policy. I suspect Adrian Piccoli has had many fights within the coalition about that. On the other hand, there was some regret expressed about the amount of financial contribution to education coming from the federal government.

    Valuing teachers more was another recurring point. Rob made the astute observation that at the local level, those actually involved in schools, particularly parents, mainly have great respect for teachers. That said, Adrian suggested parents don’t know enough about what happens in school and that they need to know more about the importance of growth instead of raw scores. He also pointed out that there is a cultural perception hard to remedy, represented partly by the attitude towards teachers having so many holidays, and that someone with a 99 ATAR wastes their intellect on becoming a teacher. He believes this has stemmed from complacency rising from consistent economic success and that accessing university education has become easier. He offered that the best way to help teachers is to buy them more time to think and to collaborate. Easy to say now he’s no longer making such decisions. But he’s right.

    Systems vs People is how I would summarise the rest of the discussion. There is a constant struggle in education of quality teaching being hampered by requirements of the system, where the system includes standards, curriculum/syllabi, testing regime (eg NAPLAN and HSC), policies and funding. It limits the freedom of principals to focus on learning over administration and operations, it makes it difficult to be equitable for students with disabilities and in low socioeconomic areas, and testing crowds out more genuine learning.

    Generally the discussion was philosophical. Rob returned to the Greek idea and said the purpose of education was to prepare children to make a living and make a life but the social aspect of this being almost impossible to measure. He drew parallels to his previous role as Minister of Planning that a development proposal can measure economic impact but much more difficult to assess social impact, in quantifiable terms. The relational aspect of education is what makes it particularly hard to measure. Adrian suggested that teaching is an art form, not a science. For instance, if you teach two kids exactly the same way, you will still achieve two very different outcomes.

    Rob and Adrian were political in their responses when it came to the amount of testing in our schools. Adrian cited the removal of the School Certificate and better understanding of NAPLAN data reducing the misuse of it as success under his watch. He supported the Year 9 NAPLAN becoming a compulsory hurdle for the HSC due to the importance of numeracy and literacy. Rob added that it was important for students to take school seriously earlier and not wait for Year 11 to step-up their efforts. A member of the audience pointed out that NAPLAN is so separate from the day-to-day syllabi that it is perceived as an extra burden, on both students and teachers. I don’t think many politicians and other people outside schools see the level of stress a testing regime places on students. It also places more value on mark obtainment through memorising over learning and thinking skills in a more general sense.

    Throughout the discussion I was very impressed with the deeply considered responses Adrian and Rob provided. However, Rob as the current minister and seasoned politician already has his three word slogan for education: equity and excellence. Equity, in that every child matters, and excellence by teachers being exemplars. It told me that he will be putting increasing pressure on teachers. Yes, there are some teachers who ride through with minimal effort but I believe the majority are working extremely hard for their students to achieve and thrive as living human beings.

    A tweet from a principal recently stated that senior leadership (but really applies for schools as a whole) is about “keeping young people alive, challenging [their] lifestyle choices and navigating conflicting stories, setting them up for life beyond school but mostly keeping them alive”. She added, “The heart of school is about caring for our young people and bringing out the best in them”. This is what people outside schools need to understand. The system should change to allow more time for teachers to meet the needs of their students and for society to understand what schools are really about, and it isn’t merely an ATAR. Society, the system and schools need to stop treating the HSC and the ATAR as the one and only goal of education. This includes NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority) continually promoting a “Stronger HSC” ad nauseam. It is a marketing slogan, not a description of what education should be about. We need politicians and government representative bodies to be more vocal about the worth of teachers, schools and education in general, and reduce the rhetoric that overly stresses the importance of the HSC. If Rob Stokes truly believes the philosophy of education he presented at this forum, he needs to speak it proudly and loudly, without caveats.

  2. League Tables

    19 October 2013 by shartley


    Everything seems to evolve around the economy now. Education is no exception.

    On the home page of the federal government’s Department of Education Schooling website it repeatedly refers to being about access to schools.  It states the department is responsible for access to “quality and affordable” education that meets the needs of all children (Australian Government Department of Education 2013a).  The words access, quality, affordable and needs all relate to the field of economics and economics is about constant measurement and assessment.  Education is no exception: “The My School website contains school performance data and other information on Australian schools” (Australian Government Department of Education 2013b).  It is interesting that the judgement-laden word, performance, is used, as if the data displayed is a definitive evaluation of schools.  The media then further analyses these numbers to create the Australian version of league tables.

    There have been many criticisms of the use and display of league tables including that it humiliates low-ranking schools (Farrell 2009) and sends administrators into “damage control” (Joseph 2006), place teachers under pressure (Joseph 2006) which results in teaching to the test and frequent tests (Hawkes 2010) and is used for “wedge” politics (Clennell and Patty 2009).  The main issue, however, is that the data only covers a very narrow aspect of education.  League tables neglect the cultural, sporting, extracurricular, ICT and community aspects of schools (Joseph 2006, p.16).  Boston (2009) claims employers find young people with formal qualifications “unable to communicate simply and well, cannot work collaboratively, lack initiative and enterprise…lack a thirst for continued learning and personal growth…deficit in the soft skills that form an essential component of the human capital of each individual” (p.37).  This is an example of an argument against league tables, an economic driven measurement, also being stated in economic terms.

    The government argues that MySchool exists to provide transparency to parents but it is such a small window it “becomes a proxy for all the other information which is inferred” (Boston 2009, p.37).  It has created a stronger market situation for schools using economic rhetoric about choice and asset allocation to support its case (Cobbold 2009, Joseph 2006).  Choice may actually lead to social and racial segregation (Cobbold 2009, p.10) and is not readily available to many due to the financial restrictions of fees, transport and lost time (Reid 2010, p.13).  Tim Hawkes (2009), Principal of one of the most prestigious schools in Australia, The King’s School, recognised the negative issues of league tables but also argued that MySchool is good as an indicator of the value added by a school and how government is allocating taxpayers’ money. This constant economic language ties in with the government’s neo-liberal focus on individuals instead of community.

    Education should be much more than about creating a product called human labour, contributing to Australia’s role in the global economy.  Education is about community, friendships, nurturing, caring, the whole person, contributing to the world in more than the economic sense.  It is about understanding ourselves and each other.  The MySchool website is a tiny window into just a fraction of what school is about. Other information needs to be gathered if it is to be a realistic indicator of school performance.  Even so, the rhetoric about choice and asset allocation as justification for transparency needs to cease because it is a complete fallacy.



    Reference List

    Australian Government Department of Education. (2013a). Department of Education: Schooling. Retrieved from

    Australian Government Department of Education. (2013b). Department of Education: MySchool. Retrieved from

    Boston, K. (2009, October). League tables. Teacher, n.205, 36-42. Retrieved from

    Clennell, A. and Patty, A. (2009, November 12). Breaking the law: the exam results they don’t want you to see. smh.

    Cobbold, T. (2009, March). League tables. Professional Educator, 8(1), 8-11. Retrieved from

    Farrell, J. (2009, November 19). School league tables. Club Troppo. Retrieved from

    Hawkes, T. (2010, January 27). Ladder of opportunity rises above league tables. smh. Retrieved from

    Joseph, J. (2006, October). Report Cards: Reporting what matters. Professional Magazine, 21, 14-17. Retrieved from

    Reid, A. (2010, March). The My School Myths. AEU (SA Branch) Journal, 42(12), 12-13. Retrieved from

  3. Protectionism Game (role play)

    7 November 2012 by shartley

    Another experiment with my HSC Economics class.

    On the drive to school I had an idea for a ProtectionismGame:


    I had to remove two of the fours from the selection of cards due to absent students but overall it went well.  The students were happy to work in their random pairs and they prepared their arguments well.  Other than the Lego cars (which I unfortunately forgot to photograph) I had some sugar sachets and fake money as props.


    The negotiation role plays went well.  I believe the students will remember the ones they had to prepare and deliver but there was an issue with them following other negotiations occurring.

    At the end we did a debrief and went through the graphs that relate to subsidies, tariffs and quotas.  I think the best value they gained from the game was experiencing the different perspectives of the players involved and thus also having some idea of how FTAs are negotiated.

    I’m counting this one as a success.

  4. The PPP Policy Proposal

    28 May 2011 by shartley

    final exam

    The PPP Policy Proposal: A proposal to improve HSC assessment by introducing externally marked Projects, Portfolios or Performances for all subjects

    For my very last subject in my Masters of Arts (Writing and Literature) I chose to break away from the creative writing courses (fiction and non-fiction) and study Public Policy Analysis.  I teach Economics and thought it would be relevant in that regard.  There is much about the course I haven’t liked but the assessments themselves have been thought provoking.  My last assignment (ever?) is to write a 3000 word policy proposal in a prescribed format.  After some discussion on Twitter I settled on reducing the reliance on exams for HSC assessment, partly due to inspiration provided by @cpaterso.  I have now completed The PPP Policy Proposal (pdf file – don’t want to fuss with style conversion from Word to Blog).  Enjoy!


    (1) There is a little political hyperbole within this policy proposal

    (2) It is within the constraints of a university assignment.  Eg Convenor wanted only one paragraph in the Evaluation section and limited to 3000 words in total (I took this to mean not including the Reference List and Appendices)

  5. Wedging the Window Open (an essay for uni)

    15 April 2011 by shartley

    ‘Policy windows open infrequently, and do not stay open long. Despite their rarity, the major changes in public policy result from the appearances of these opportunities‘ John Kingdon

    Policy windows are not dichotomous. There are degrees to which opportunities become available. The emphasis placed on windows of opportunities in agenda setting belies all the other factors at play. Some of these factors are reflected in the punctuated equilibrium model (Jones and Baumgartner 2005) and the advocacy coalition framework advocated by Sabatier (Parsons 1995, pp.194-203). Further in the background are the social and economic contexts in which agenda setting is made (Considine 2005). The development of a national curriculum for all Australian schools is just one more step in an incremental process (Lindblom 1959) of the federalism of education and illustrates how policy setting is subjected to all of these theories. Often the window of opportunity is not open for long but at times it can be gradually wedged further open until it is permanently stuck in place. Changes in federal education policy kept disrupting the status quo in the various states little by little, so that now a major reform like national curriculum is achievable.

    Kingdon uses the analogy of space as providing launch opportunities to demonstrate how windows provide opportunities in political systems (1995, p.166). He sees the window only opening when three strands come together. For a policy to be chosen from the “policy primeval soup” (p.123), it depends what is floating on top when the other two strands align, the problem strand and the political strand. A problem has to be noticed, become prevalent and at the same time be a change in the political landscape, such as a transfer of personnel in power (p.174). Some would see the writing of a national curriculum as meeting these three criteria, particularly with a change from the Howard Government to the Rudd Government in December 2007.

    National curriculum has repeatedly been floated as policy but Kingdon’s supporters would see it failing due to the window being closed. Instead it just needed further opening. The perceived problem with separate state curriculums are mainly geographic and economic. A national curriculum will allow greater mobility for students and teachers across Australia and economically the education process will be streamlined and opportunities with greater economies of scale (Reid 2005). There really hasn’t been an event to bring the problem to light other than politicians making grand announcements about how necessary it is to have a national curriculum. There’s a bigger picture to the story that other theorists can explain better than via an over simplified three stream window of opportunity.

    It is easy to apply Kingdon’s window of opportunity theory to the Building Education Reform when Prime Minister Rudd pledged $16.2 billion to fund buildings in school in the 2009 Budget (Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 2011). There had been much said over the years about inadequate buildings for schools (Milburn and Green 2005) so Kingdon’s first stream, the problem, had existed for some time. However, due to the expensive nature of such infrastructure it was overlooked as a prime concern for the federal policy agenda. Then Kingdon’s third stream came into play, the Global Financial Crisis under Keynesian theory required a large spending program by the federal government, an answer looking for a problem and thus a policy was born.

    However, when it comes to developing a national curriculum a window of opportunity is less obvious. This is partly because the changes have been incremental, as so often it is when it comes to budgetary decisions (Jones & Baumgartner, 2005, p325). Federal government provides nine per cent of public school government funding (with the states providing the other 91 per cent) but a higher percentage to private schools (Hinz 2010). At first school funding was organised on an ‘ad hoc’ basis with projects such as Commonwealth Science Laboratories (1964) and Commonwealth Libraries (1968) (Lingard 2000, p.25). Under Whitlam the funding arrangement became more formalised with general funding instead of distinct projects (Lingard 2000, pp.25-26).

    The 1980s saw an increasing move towards federalism of education due to Labor seeking a platform for its social justice agenda in conjunction with the pressure of globalisation (Lingard & Porter 1997,pp.15-18). These social and economic changes are the key to “policy interventions” (Considine 2005). In a summation of the academic writers of the time, McCollow and Graham said “since the mid-1980s, education policy has been increasingly seen as a part of the agenda for micro-economic reform, designed to make Australia’s economy more internationally competitive” (1997, p.61). This capitalist approach signifies a shift of power from a pluralist approach on a consultative committee basis within each state, where government was assumed to be making neutral decisions, to a situation of Lukes’ third dimension of power where the ideas of globalisation and capitalism were dictating the policy agenda for education at the federal level (Dudley & Vidovich 1995, p.25). This was in effect reducing the power of the states over their own education policies, particularly when federal policies were tied to funding.

    According to Fenna (2005, pp.130-131), one of the more famous pluralists, Lindblom, conceded that the pluralist process favoured the power of business in a capitalist society and thus narrowed the gap between pluralism and Marxism. Perhaps it was also a case that as the world became more globalised the federal government was seeking ways to reassert its authority which fits the structuralist approach Hancock (2008, p.4) describes as the statist view.

    Dror (1964, p.154) argued forLindblom’s incrumentalism theory to work that present policy must be mainly satisfactory, the existing problems must be ongoing and the means for solving the problem readily available. This is beautifully applied to development in federal education policy. Education is fundamentally on firm ground as a desired public good. A continuous issue with education, however, is the insatiable desire to achieve better outcomes by all participants in the policy process. The states have individually developed different systems in their striving for better outcomes, within budgetary constraints, and there lies a secondary ongoing problem, the incongruous systems. Federalism has been consistently touted as a solution for both of these problems and more.

    Dror (1964, p.154) went on to say that “Changes in knowledge-technological and behavioral-put at the disposal of policy makers new means of action, which, unless ignored, lead to radically new policies”. This is evident in the Digital Education Revolution policy where some of the states in conjunction with the federal government are introducing a 1:1 laptop program to public schools (NSW Government Education and Training 2011). The technology enabled government to make a radical change in the education process, not like the small shifts to which Lindblom refers in his incrementalism theory.

    The incremental changes towards more federal involvement in education policy was aided by disruptions to what would otherwise be a fairly stable policy, particularly regarding national curriculum. This falls under the punctuated equilibrium model proposed by Baumgartner and Jones in 1993 where change can come about once policy is disrupted (Parsons 1995, pp.203-206). Jones and Baumgartner (2005, p.325) themselves declared incrementalism to be “the foundation of punctuated equilibrium”. Every time prominent politicians – Fraser, Dawkins, Nelson, Bishop, Rudd, Gillard (Lingard 2000, Reid 2005, Hinz 2010) – promoted national curriculum as being desirable it disrupted the status quo regarding the states’ hold on school curriculum. It was only when Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister with a Labor Government that national curriculum actually began to be written. This fits Kingdon’s window of opportunity due to change of federal government and friendly state governments: “A problem is recognized, a solution is developed and available in the policy community, a political change makes it the right time for policy change, and potential constraints are not severe” (Kingdon 1995, p.165).

    Yet a better fit than Kingdon’s window are the two forces Baumgartner and Jones declare to be underpinning the punctuated equilibrium model, policy image and the institutions involved (Parsons 1995, pp.203-204). Media outlets generally reported support of Rudd’s to national curriculum comparing his pluralist approach to the policy as opposed to the Howard government’s plan to impose national curriculum (AAP 2007). Government language carefully promotes giving power to the people in its propaganda regarding policy change in education, thereby promoting a pluralist view. For instance, “MySchool has provided parents, teachers and the community with nationally consistent robust information about how schools are faring, where they are doing well and areas that need improvement” (Gillard, J & Crean, S, 2010). In doing so they ironically fit Colebatch’s (2006) authoritative choice (p.5) and social construction (p.7). By promoting national curriculum as being for the community it allows voters to feel safe in our education system.

    The most important institution involved in the federalism of education had been hatched decades earlier through the development of a state and federal collaborative body, the Australian Education Council (AEC), which later became Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) (Lingard et al 1995). It was therefore no great shift from collaborating on research and national testing to national curriculum. Now in addition to MCEETYA the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has been established via legislation at the end of 2008 (Australian Government Com Law 2008) and the Board in May 2009 (ACARA 2009) to administer national curriculum and take over some of MCEETYA’s responsibilities such as national testing.

    The advocacy coalition framework (ACF), promoted by Paul Sabatier, places policy in the context of values and beliefs, “the ACF explicitly identifies beliefs as the causal driver
    for political behavior” (Weible et al 2009, p.122). It has already been said that the Labor Government of the 1980s were looking at education as a social justice agenda but also holding an increasing corporatism view and statist view of federal government dominating the states. John Howard as Prime Minister wielded his personal ideology on education policy as seen, for example, in his linking funding to flying the Australian flag at schools (Clark, A 2006). In fact, one of the factors that brought national curriculum back on the agenda during Howard’s reign was his objection to the way history was being taught in schools (Grattan, M & Green, S 2006).

    The ACF framework can be applied to the education policy changes in the 1980s. The stable parameters involve the education system itself, the external system is the increasing globalisation of the world and the prevalence of economic rationalism and the constraints mainly being the states resisting federal government stepping on their turf. It is only in 2007 that the long-term opportunity arose due to bipartisan support in federal parliament for a national curriculum.

    Considine’s article, Analysing the Policy Context (2005), neatly provides background for these incremental steps gradually opening the policy window to allow national curriculum to fly in. The social and economic conditions were favourable, there were historical alignments with Labor in power federally and in most states and the established relationship of the federal government funding of education linked to various actions providing the policy instrument. The collaborative group, MCEETYA had been developing policy for some time and were able to act as a source of integration until ACARA was founded.

    Motivated by a desire for dominance over the states and economic rationalism aiming to reduce the costs of multiple education systems over the last 30-40 years, the federal government has sought to take power over education in Australia. The current development of national curriculum by ACARA is a major step in the federalism of education. This has been enabled by the alignment of political parties in power and a generally bipartisan approach and the wielding of big players in the political domain. The institutions (AEC, MEETYA, ACARA) established in the wake of a political upheaval by these politicians brought together the various stakeholders to work towards a common goal. Overall, it is the beliefs and values underpinning education policy that support a national approach. All parents want is what’s best for their children and national curriculum brings together nationalistic pride and individualistic aspirational goals. The states have provided many obstacles to date and quite probably will in the future. However, federal government policy will dominate in the end, enabled by all the incremental changes over the years as power was chipped away in return for funding.

    Reference List

    AAP 2007, ‘Rudd proposes national school curriculum’, The Age, 28 February 2007, retrieved 9 April 2011, <>.

    ACARA 2009, ‘About us’, retrieved 12 April 2011, <> .

    Australian Government ComLaw 2008, ‘Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority Act 2008’, retrieved 12 April 2011, <>.

    Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 2011, ‘Nation Building Economic stimulus Plan: Building the Education Revolution’, retrieved 12 April 2011, <>.

    Colebatch, HK 2006, ‘Thinking about policy: finding the best way’, paper presented to the GovNet International Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, 29 November – 1 December, pp.1-17, retrieved 12 April 2011, <> .

    Considine, M 2005, ‘Analysing the policy context’, Making public policy: institutions, actors, strategies, Polity, Cambridge, UK, pp.26-50.

    Clark, A 2006, ‘Flying the flag for mainstream Australia’, Griffith Review, No.11, pp.107-112.

    Dror, Y 1964, ‘Muddling Through, “Science” or “Inertia”?’ Public Administration Review, Vol.24, No.3, pp.153-157, retrieved 2 April 2011, JSTOR database.

    Dudley J & Vidovich L 1995, The Politics of Education: Commonwealth Schools Policy 1973-1995, The Australian Council for Research, Melbourne.

    Fenna, A 2004, Australian Public Policy, 2nd edition, Pearson Education Australia, Frenchs Forest.

    Gillard, J & Crean, S 2010, Gillard Government gives power to parents and principals, Australian Labor, retrieved 14 April 2011, <> .

    Grattan, M & Green, s 2006, ‘PM claims victory in culture wars – AUSTRALIA DAY 2006 • Call for new approach on teaching history’, The Age, 26 January 2006, retrieved 12 April 2011, Newsbank database.

    Hancock, L 2008, ‘Power, interests and agenda-setting’, unpublished, in possession of author, Melbourne.

    Hinz, B 2010, Australian federalism and school funding: Exploring the nexus in Victoria’s devolution reforms, Australian Political Science Association Annual Conference, Melbourne 26 – 29 September 2010, retrieved 10 April 2011, .

    Jones, BD & Baumgartner, FR 2005, ‘A model of choice for public policy‘, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, vol.15, no.3, pp.325-352, retrieved 10 April 2011, Expanded Academic ASAP database.

    Lindblom, CE 1959, ‘The Science of “Muddling Through”’, Public Administration Review, Vol.19, No.2, pp.79-88, retrieved 2 April 2011, JSTOR database.

    Lindblom, CE 1979, ‘Still muddling, not yet through’, Public Administration Review, Vol.39, No.6, pp.517-526, retrieved 10 April, 2011, EBSCO database.

    Lingard, B 2000, ‘Federalism in Schooling Since the Karmel Report (1973), Schools in
    Australia: From Modernist Hope to Postmodernist Performativity’, Australian Educational Researcher, Vol.27, No.2, pp.25-61, retrieved 9 April 2011, APA-FT database.

    Lingard, B & Porter, P 1997, ‘Australian schooling: The state of national developments’, in B Lingard & P Porter (eds), A National Approach to Schooling in Australia?: Essays on the development of national policies in schools education, The Australian College of Education, Canberra, pp.1-25.

    Lingard, B, Porter, P, Bartlett, L & Knight, J 1995, ‘Federal/State Mediations in the Australian National Education Agenda: From the AEC to MCEETYA 1987-1993’, Australian Journal of Education, Vol.39, No.1, pp.41-66, retrieved 9 April 2011, APA-FT database.

    McCollow, J & Graham, J 1997, ‘Not quite the national curriculum: Accommodation and resistance to curriculum change’, in B Lingard & P Porter (eds), A National Approach to Schooling in Australia?: Essays on the development of national policies in schools education, The Australian College of Education, Canberra, pp.1-25.

    Milburn, C & Green, S 2005, ‘A state of decay’, The Age, 10 October 2005, retrieved 12 April 2011, <>.

    NSW Government Education and Training 2011, ‘Digital Education Revolution – NSW’, retrieved 12 April 2011, <> .

    Parsons, W 2995, ‘Networks, streams, advocacy coalitions and punctuated equilibrium’, Public policy: an introduction to the theory and practice of policy analysis, Edward Elgar, Aldershot, UK, pp.184-207.

    Reid, A 2005, ‘Rethinking National Curriculum Collaboration: Towards an Australian Curriculum’, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, retrieved 2 April 2011, <>.

    Weible CM, Sebatier, PA & McQueen, K 2009, ‘Themes and Variations: Taking Stock of the Advocacy Coalition Framework’, The Policy Studies Journal, Vol.37, No.1, pp.121-140, retrieved 9 April 2011, Expanded Academic ASAP database.

    Special thanks to Bronwyn Hinz (@BronwynHinz) and Maralyn Parker (@MaralynParker) for conversing with me on this topic on Twitter.

    This essay received a Distinction (73/100).

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