equity and excellence in the curriculum
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Equity and Excellence in the Curriculum. Rob Gilbert Emeritus Professor, School of Education, The University of Queensland. Curriculum.

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equity and excellence in the curriculum

Equity and Excellence in the Curriculum

Rob Gilbert

Emeritus Professor,

School of Education,

The University of Queensland


...is a socio-historical construction which is expressed through general systems of knowledge characterization and hierarchy; these systems are in turn translated and transformed into legislative and administrative regulations, academic achievement standards, textbooks and teaching aids, and the practice of teaching and learning in classrooms and schools (Moreno 2006)

equity and social justice
Equity and social justice

An equal society protects and promotes equal real freedom and substantive opportunity to live in the ways people value and would choose, so that everyone can flourish. An equal society recognises people’s different needs, situations and goals, and removes the barriers that limit what people can do and can be. UK Equalities Review, 2007

In these days it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he has been denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to al on equal terms.

Brown v Board of Education, 1954

conceptualising equity and social justice
Conceptualising equity and social justice

Flude (1974): redistribution, deficit, integrationist, phenomenological approaches

Fraser (1997, 2009): redistribution, recognition, representation

Sen (1992): capabilities to function

educational entitlement
Educational entitlement

Principles for democratic schooling

  • That education is a human right: The provision of education in a democratic society is both a moral and a practical imperative....
  • That all young people have an equal entitlement to appropriate educational provision and curriculum, not one that is shaped to meet the needs of students from particular social, ethnic or cultural groups and is incompatible with the backgrounds and experiences of many others.....
  • That all young people are entitled to an education that develops their democratic capabilities to the fullest extent possible.

Kelly, 1995

Since the beginning of the decade, Australia's annual productivity growth has averaged 1.5 per cent, behind the US (2.0 per cent), the UK (2.3 per cent) and Japan (1.9 per cent).

In a decade’s time, Australia should aim at realising productivity growth rates that not only keep pace with, but exceed, those of our principal competitors in the OECD. This means implementing a national program of action on productivity growth.

… Of course, the Government’s productivity agenda starts with an education revolution.

‘New Agenda For Prosperity’ Conference,

Melbourne University, 27th March 2008

excellence competition and acquisition
Excellence, competition and acquisition
  • Education as a positional good
  • Possessive individualism
  • Contest mobility
  • Natural talent
types of economic justice
Types of economic justice

Commutative (just exchange): fair prices and contractual arrangements and dealings

Productive (fairness of participation in the economic system):

  • Equal opportunity to participate in the economic system
  • Opportunity to satisfy basic needs
  • Individual dignity and fairness in work

Distributive (allocating benefits among members of the system):

  • To each according to merit (work, effort, etc)
  • To each according to basic needs (rights to living standards and welfare)
  • To each equally (universal rights to benefits)

Wilson, 1992

sahlberg 2006 education reform for raising economic competitiveness
Sahlberg (2006): Education Reform for Raising Economic Competitiveness

Rethinking Innovation:

  • Teaching and learning should be seen as non-linear, non-deterministic and complex processes;
  • Innovation a collective process – co-operative learning;
  • Knowledge and skills should be attained through active construction rather than direct instruction and accommodation.
cognitive activity and structure of knowledge
Cognitive activity and structure of knowledge

Baxter, G. and Glaser, R. (1998) Investigating the cognitive complexity of science assessments, Educational Measurement: Issues and practice, 17, 3, 37-45.

lawrence stenhouse
Lawrence Stenhouse

Education as induction into knowledge is successful to the extent that it makes the behavioural outcomes of the students unpredictable....

In any area of knowledge or art the most important product in terms of student performance is the essay – in the broadest sense of that word, that is, a trial piece or endeavour….

An essay should be individual and creative and not an attempt to meet a prespecification. It takes account of the indeterminacy in knowledge which arises because the structures of knowledge are not mere classification and retrieval systems but constitute a raw material for thinking.

principles for national curriculum collaboration
Principles for national curriculum collaboration
  • a clearly articulated rationale, purposes and philosophical reference points
  • a theorized and articulated view of curriculum
  • a strong research and conceptual base
  • a process that engages the professional community in the conceptual phases
  • a process that seeks to build a constituency of support
  • a recognition of the political realities produced by the Australian Federal system