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ERIC Number: EJ902835
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
ISSN: ISSN-1036-0026
Infrastructure Supporting Teachers in the Country: Questions of Equity Arising from Downsizing and Restructuring
Brennan, Marie
Education in Rural Australia, v16 n1 p3-12 2006
Australia has long been of interest for its attention to educational equity by the relative quality of its state based provision of schooling in a country with a similar landmass to the 48 mainland states of the USA but a population of only 18 million. The six states and two territories had organised centralised systems of schooling which managed to ensure qualified teachers, facilities, policy frameworks and curriculum guidelines have been made available to almost all students. Even in remote and isolated settings, country hostels or distance education courses enabled most students (other than Aboriginal) to participate in terms of relative equality in forms of "mainstream" schooling. However, in the current economic conditions, "read" by the Australian government, and supported by most of the world's economic infrastructure such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the typical response to a shrinking tax basis has been to reduce government spending on education and other human services. This reduction of expenditure has been experienced in quite uneven ways, both between different states and across different locations and demographies of any particular state school system. Rural and remote schools, in particular, have been little studied in relationship to policies of devolution of certain powers and responsibilities, restructuring of curriculum and support services and in particular policies of restructuring and downsizing under which different forms of what might be called "educational infrastructure" have been removed. The relative equality of provision across the country has been eroded, sometimes significantly. This article explores the particular role of "educational infrastructure" in rural areas, with particular emphasis on what occurs for teacher professionalism as a consequence of this erosion of centralised provision. In this article, the author provides an example of the ways in which globalising economic processes are differentially realised within a nation state's educational provision. In particular, she points to the continuing role of space and physical distance in the educational provision and the consequences for teachers' professional development and activist potentials if this continues to be ignored in educational policies and funding mechanisms. The combination of cost-cutting and policies favouring localism in educational decision making have seen the dismantling of education's systemic infrastructure without an adequate replacement, with specific consequences for those in rural areas.
Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia. P.O. Box 659, Wembly, Western Australia 6913, Australia. Tel: +08-9264-5809; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia