Introduction: Heresy and Orthodoxy in Contemporary Schooling: Australian Educational Policy and Global Neoliberal Reform

  • Helen Proctor
  • Peter Freebody
  • Patrick Brownlee
Part of the Policy Implications of Research in Education book series (PIRE, volume 3)


This book grew out of a colloquium series, hosted by the University of Sydney, in which leading scholars and researchers were invited to name what they took to be the deep, potentially lethal flaws at the heart of contemporary schooling practice and policy. They were invited to identify and challenge prevailing orthodoxies and to voice their potentially ‘heretical’ views about education in the twenty-first century. The chapters in this volume arise from an Australian schooling and policy context that has international resonance. Australia provides, we argue, a good case study of the kinds of globally popular reform strategies that have been described by the celebrity Finnish educator, Pasi Sahlberg as ‘GERM’—the Global Education Reform Movement: standardisation; a focus on core curriculum subjects at the expense of areas such as creative arts; risk-avoidance; corporate management models, and test-based accountancy policies. In this chapter we introduce key elements of our authors’ critiques of contemporary education policy and practice and consider the purpose of critique (or ‘heresy’), and the practical impact, or otherwise, of this kind of academic work at a time of uncertainty and change for university research and teaching in the field of education.


School Choice Australian Schooling Lethal Flaw Prevailing Orthodoxy Colloquium Series 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Proctor
    • 1
  • Peter Freebody
    • 1
  • Patrick Brownlee
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Education and Social WorkUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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