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ERIC Number: EJ834340
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0620
Policy "Partnerships"? Power Dynamics in Curriculum Reform
Griffiths, Joanne; Vidovich, Lesley; Chapman, Anne
Journal of Educational Administration and History, v41 n2 p193-208 May 2009
In curriculum policy, discourses of "policy partnerships" and "communities of practice" have become increasingly prevalent and were reflected in Western Australian curriculum policy processes from the mid-1990s to the late 2000s--a period of significant, highly contested change. This paper presents the findings of an empirical study into the impact of curriculum reform on the changing dynamics within and between the government and non-government education sectors, drawing on critical theory and post-structuralist approaches to policy analysis within a broader framework of policy network theory. This approach is used to highlight power issues at all levels of the policy trajectory. This research found that despite policy discourses of collaborative and consultative processes to create a "shared" curriculum, the government and non-government education sectors remain largely distinct due to significant power differentials, as well as structural and cultural differences. The analysis reveals three closely connected emergent themes--limited collaboration, regulated consultation and enhanced state control of curriculum policy agendas. It is argued here that although discourses of "policy partnerships" and "community of practice" are increasingly evidenced in contemporary curriculum policy, they do not take sufficient account of embedded hierarchical power relationships. Further, such discourses can be used as legitimisation strategies to promulgate policy changes which enhance the steerage capacity of the state. Deeply entrenched power differentials operate simultaneously to distort policy partnerships and communities of practice, by both including and excluding particular sets of policy actors. (Contains 78 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia