WHAT MUST BE DONE TO ACHIEVE A GOLDEN STATE IN SCHOOL EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA?
In May 2011 The Economist published an article on the future of Australia under the heading ‘The next Golden State’, with the sub-title ‘With a bit of self-belief, Australia could become a model nation’ (The Economist 2011: 13-14). Much of the article contrasted the social and economic potential of the nation with the narrowly-focused inward-looking discourse that it alleges is characteristic of politics in Australia. It looked at the characteristics of open, dynamic and creative societies as these have been developed over the years in other nations and offered the following in respect to Australia:
Such societies, the ones in which young and enterprising people want to live, cannot be conjured up overnight by a single agent, least of all by government. They are created by the alchemy of artists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, civic institutions and governments coming together in the right combination at the right moment. And for Australia, economically strong as never before, this is surely such a moment. (The Economist 2011: 13).
In this paper we support the proposition of The Economist as it concerns developments in school education. Progress is being made in creating the alchemy but much remains to be done. As far as the question posed in the topic for the symposium is concerned, the evidence supports an affirmative response to the question, namely, privatising policies can indeed support massification and in doing so, they are serving to reduce rather than increase inequality.