Policy fuzz and fuzzy logic: researching contemporary Indigenous education and parent-school engagement in north Australia

Lea, T, Thompson, H and McRae-Williams, Eva (2011) Policy fuzz and fuzzy logic: researching contemporary Indigenous education and parent-school engagement in north Australia. Journal of Education Policy, 26 (3). pp. 321-339. ISSN Online ISSN: 1464-5106

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Abstract

‘Engagement’ is the second of six top priorities in Australia’s most recent Indigenous education strategy to ‘close the gap’ in schooling outcomes. Drawing on findings from a three year ethnographic analysis of school engagement issues in the north of Australia, this paper situates engagement within the history of Indigenous education policy, followed by considerations of how many of the issues faced by Indigenous families both match and can be distinguished from those experienced amongst poor and underemployed social groups throughout the western world. We find that Indigenous people are content with the schools’ engagement efforts and with their interactions with schools, accepting that how their lives are lived are not within the provenance of the school system to amend. In its homogenisation of Indigenous issues, reification of cultural distinction, and foregrounding of disengagement as an issue, Australian education policy is also about non-engagement, in that it excludes key issues from policy consideration while appearing to be inclusive. The education sector does not systematically engage with the grinding issues that Indigenous families face in their everyday worlds; and since Indigenous people do not really expect schools to know how to solve their issues, the call for engagement and its resolution is perfectly irresolvable.

Item Type: Article
Field of Research: 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education
16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160506 Education Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Date Deposited: 19 May 2011 03:40
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2015 10:46
URI: http://eprints.batchelor.edu.au/id/eprint/243

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