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BILINGUAL SCHOOLS AND NATIONAL
EDUCATION REFORMS
ADAPTING TO IDEALS OF INDIGENAITY
INDIGENOUS EDUCATION
KEY REFORM TENSIONS
Key national and NT Indigenous education reform tensions include instituting
progressive reforms in the context of a society that by design produces
inequality, and the way Indigenaity is rationalised and problematized in the
context a national cultural identity and history colonisation. Two themes occupy
this space:
1.
Indigenous remote schools are situated broadly across sociocultural and
socioeconomic frames that produce structural gearing in opposition to
reform ideals and ongoing attempts in advancing the national education
profile.
2.
Indigenous identities situated within national racial discourses that
negatively pathologise Indigenaity as inferior and archaic. This political
environment permeates social justice broadly and undermines education
and school reform attempts.
INDIGENOUS SCHOOLING AND A NATIONAL DISCOURSE
Perversions in public policy are an ongoing feature of a capitalist economy and its layering
properties, expressed in contests of social justice, but also in its production and convolution
between economic and social policy. A net outcome of this dynamic has been profound,
and amongst its key expressions have been:
• Ongoing colonisation and assimilation that is tearing at a national identity and
consciousness. The absence of a clear and national articulation of Indigenaity impacts all
Australians
• An intellectually-dishonest and incongruent construction of education for Indigenous
Australians. This is a key manifestation of a national fragmented Policy environment
• Insignificant change in the patterning of educational outputs, most notably in remote,
traditionally-oriented Aboriginal contexts
• Circular movement of policy responses leading to ideological and policy reform inertia
• Increased centralised approaches founded on quantitative domains, predicated on
increased prescription, accountability and domination of schools by governments that
have disempowered schools and Indigenous members from the process
(1) EMPLOYING MODEL FRAMEWORK IN ORGANISATIONAL
GROWTH (TECHNICAL-RATIONAL CONVERGENCE)
National policy frameworks
Synergy and
consistency exists
between all layers
Quality Leadership, management
and administration
Quality developmental
intervention programs
National and
local educational
funding levels
Quality
teaching/learning Human
programs
capital
Social
capital
Quality
Relationships
Quality
teaching,
pedagogi
cal
practices
Quality
resources
Quality whole of school resources
Local community demographic
environment
Quality whole
school strategic
planning
NT and district
policy
frameworks
EVOLUTION OF ORGANISATIONAL COMPLEXITY
(DECENTRALISATION)
Technical specialisation
structures: tensions across
teaching, curriculum,
assessment, reporting
frames
school
Social structures: tensions
across relationships and social
complexity
Business structures: tensions
across finance, legal and HR
frames
SCHOOL CHANGE WITHIN DEMOGRAPHIC CONTEXTS
Demographic contexts influence the type and trajectory of change. Where
schools ignore or are unable to navigate the demographic forces impacting, they
struggle and move very little in regards to organisational outputs.
District policy &
resource
environment
Mental and
physical
health profile
Socioeconomic
& sociocultural
forces
School
Family
dynamics
Cultural capitalalignment with school
AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION
(REFORMS SITUATED ACROSS A STRATIFIED SOCIETY)
10,500 schools nationally
In this context of national
structural tension, purpose
is a foundation to
engagement.
Patterns of educational inequality
indicate anchoring of schools to
demographic environments for
urban and remote schools.
Urban schools situated within
capitalist expressions
Remote schools situated within traditionally-oriented
Indigenous expressions
DEMOGRAPHY AND SCHOOLING CHANGE
All reforms and their attempts at change are designed to prepare
children for a constantly changing and challenging world. This means
moving children, mostly from struggling families, to do better than their
demographic experiences.
Focus of reforms
ICSEA
A stratified or layered Australian capitalist society
produces inequality as a key bi-product
Eaton & Stillwell (1992) point to an explosion from the mid 1980’s, as Australia underwent financial deregulation,
producing pronounced class layering.
CIRCLES AND TRIANGLES: NAVIGATING CHANGE
Governments
Bureaucracies (service
enablers)
ICSEA
Schools (service providers)
SCHOOL SOCIAL& ORGANIC DYNAMICS
(A STRUCTURAL PROPENSITY TO IMPLODE)
Schools in low ICSEA contexts are naturally cycling. Schools require significant
energies to maintain internal consistency (let alone develop) and are predisposed
to internal decay.
Peaks +
Fluctuations in
funding, staff,
cultural
atmosphere,
resources, reforms
Community is a key site to
draw energy and build
resiliency within schools
Troughs -
ICSEA CONTEXTUAL TRENDS
SES: driving oppositional forces in reform
High
Challenges
Organisational
complexities-compensating
context
Aggression
Staff Attrition Rates
Recruitment Challenges
Low
Low ICSEA
High ICSEA
Patterns changing against High ICSEA as broad societal impacts continue
ADDRESSING THE SOCIAL EPIPHENOMENA SPIRALLING OUT
OF INSTITUTIONALISATION
National Safe Schools Policy Framework – constructing and maintaining standards
Special education,
academic, social
and emotional,
children in FACS
care
School-based
police, school,
cluster, hub and
departmental
leadership
High quality
relationships
Repelling
high-level
aggression
Behaviour
management
Policy
(2) REMOTE SCHOOLS SITUATED WITHIN A NATIONAL
DISCOURSE OF POLICY INTERACTIONS
Since the early 1990’s centralisation has propelled a constant layering of national systemic
policy levers in mobilising schools to produce outputs beyond their district envelopes. These
major shifts have included:
• Economic doctrine has accelerated in sync with a move toward modelling public
schools against private business models
• Decentralisation has resulted in greater levels of centralised controls with schools faced
with increased responsibilities over education
• Centralised controls have been accompanied with increased levels of technical
prescription and standards in an effort to move the teaching workforce toward a defined
professional group
• The major focus of reforms have been predicated on a construct of strengthening the
internal features of schools as the key basis for countering the inequality manufactured
across communities
• Reforms have largely resulted in increased demand for higher levels of technical
prescription across a stressed workforce. This framing is challenged across ICSEA and
remote Indigenous education
DATA TRENDS: NT INDIGENOUS POPULATION PROFILE
State
Population
Percentage of Total Indigenous
Population 0-24 years
ATSI (total) Percentage of Each
State Population
NSW
172,620
(87,378)
(29.7%)
2.5%
Vic
37,990
(18,920)
(6.4%)
0.7%
QLD
155,825
(83,843)
(28.5%)
3.6%
SA
30,430
(15,903)
(5.4%)
1.9%
WA
69,664
(39,687)
(13.5%)
3.1%
Tas
19,625
(10,594)
(3.6%)
4.0%
NT
56,776
(30,090)
(11.9%)
ACT
5,185
(2,453)
(0.8%)
NT Demography: expanding ideals of social justice, challenging colonisation
26.8%
1.5%
Source: ABS 2011
DATA TRENDS: NT INDIGENOUS SOCIAL STATISTICS
NT Total Indigenous
Population
56,776
NT Remote Indigenous
Population
45,540
Median Age
23
Average occupants/dwelling
4.7
NT Demography: expanding ideals of social justice, challenging colonisation
Source: ABS 2011
REMOTE SCHOOLS SITUATED WITHIN A NATIONAL DISCOURSE
OF POLICY INTERACTIONS
Governance and inclusion
Amalgamation of Community Councils into new structures called Shires has
dramatically changed the governance landscape in the Northern Territory,
disconnecting Aboriginal communities from their local governments and
consequently from decision-making regarding service delivery.
The Emergency Response occurred around the same time as the Shires were
introduced and to Aboriginal peoples in the Northern Territory, they appeared part of
the same assault on control over their communities.
These policies, along with a range of other changes imposed by governments have
resulted in widespread disempowerment and distrust of governments. I consider the
evidence generally on the health impacts of disempowerment and then specifically
on the suicide rates in the Northern Territory. The implication that disempowerment
and rising numbers of suicide attempts, particularly in young people, in the Northern
Territory are connected is hard to escape and is extremely upsetting.
(ATSI Social Justice Commissioner, 2012 Social Justice Report).
2012 SOCIAL JUSTICE REPORT
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER COMMISSIONER
Knowing what should occur has been rebounding for a number of years. Recent reiterations
include:
• 1.2 That the Australian Government engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples to develop a strategy for implementing the United Nations Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
• 1.3 That the Australian Government commit to ongoing funding support for the
international engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to advocate
for their human rights.
• 1.4 I reiterate the Commission’s recommendation that the United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples be included in the definition of human rights in the
Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.
• 1.5 That all political parties recommit to constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples and support the recommendations of the Expert Panel
2012 SOCIAL JUSTICE REPORT
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER COMMISSIONER
• 2.1That the Australian Government acknowledges that effective Indigenous governance
is central to sustainable development in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
•
• 2.2. That the Australian Government builds its own capacity to enable and support
effective Indigenous governance.
• 2.3 That all governments properly resource Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities to strengthen their contemporary governance structures. This resourcing
must be part of a new relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
and governments based on genuine power-sharing and partnership
2012 SOCIAL JUSTICE REPORT
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER COMMISSIONER
• 3.1 That the Australian and Northern Territory Governments invest in developing and
strengthening governance structures and systems in Northern Territory Aboriginal
communities to ensure they are culturally legitimate and aligned to community needs
and priorities.
• 3.2 That any reforms to governance arrangements in the Northern Territory be done in
genuine consultation, and where appropriate in partnership, with the Aboriginal
communities affected. Consultations should be undertaken in accordance with the
features of meaningful and effective consultation contained in the Native Title Report
2010
DATA TRENDS: NT SCHOOL ATTENDANCE OUTCOMES
Middle Years attendance rates
2010-11
2011-12
89%
89.6%
64.2%
64.1%
Non-Indigenous
-
79.6%
Indigenous
-
25.4%
Non-Indigenous
87%
87%
Indigenous
69%
65%
Non-Indigenous
-
67%
Indigenous
-
22%
Non-Indigenous
Indigenous
Students attending > 80%
Senior Years average attendance rates
Students attending > 80%
Source: 2011-12 DET Annual Report
DATA TRENDS: NT SCHOOL ATTENDANCE OUTCOMES
Preschool average
attendance rates
2010-11
2011-12
Non-Indigenous
90%
88%
Indigenous
64%
62%
Non-Indigenous
-
81%
Indigenous
-
26%
Students attending > 80%
Primary school average attendance rates
Non-Indigenous
93%
93%
Indigenous
69%
70%
Non-Indigenous
-
92%
Indigenous
-
38%
Students attending > 80%
Source: 2011-12 DET Annual Report
DATA TRENDS: NT STUDENTS ACHIEVING NATIONAL
MINIMUM STANDARD (NAPLAN)
Reading
Year
2010-11
2011-12
Non-Indigenous
3
90%
87%
Indigenous
3
53%
46%
Non-Indigenous
5
87%
86%
Indigenous Year
5
34%
29%
Non-Indigenous
7
91%
90%
Indigenous
7
43%
52%
Non-Indigenous
9
89%
83%
Indigenous Year
9
36%
41%
Source: 2011-12 DET Annual Report
DATA TRENDS: NT STUDENTS ACHIEVING NATIONAL
MINIMUM STANDARD (NAPLAN)
Writing
Year
2010-11
2011-12
Non-Indigenous
3
-
91%
Indigenous
3
-
43%
Non-Indigenous
5
-
85%
Indigenous
5
-
28%
Non-Indigenous
7
-
80%
Indigenous
7
-
25%
Non-Indigenous
9
-
72%
Indigenous
9
-
22%
Source: 2011-12 DET Annual Report
DATA TRENDS: NT STUDENTS ACHIEVING NATIONAL
MINIMUM STANDARD (NAPLAN)
Numeracy
Year
2010-11
2011-12
Non-Indigenous
3
93%
91%
Indigenous
3
51%
59%
Non-Indigenous
5
93%
91%
Indigenous Year
5
42%
47%
Non-Indigenous
7
92%
90%
Indigenous
7
44%
47%
Non-Indigenous
9
90%
88%
Indigenous Year
9
39%
45%
Source: 2011-12 DET Annual Report
DATA TRENDS: NT SENIOR YEARS STUDENTS VET AND NTCE
Senior Years
2010-11 (number)
2011-12 (number)
Non-Indigenous Enrolments
average attendance 87%
3428 (65.7%)
3484 (65.6%)
Indigenous Enrolments average
attendance 64%
1784 (34.2%)
1820 (34.3%)
Non-Indigenous
640
723
Indigenous
99
106
-
604
-
71
Achieving NTCE
Achieving VET Certificate I or II Qualification
Whole cohort
Achieving VET Certificate III Qualification
Whole cohort
Source: 2011-12 DET Annual Report
INDIGENOUS REGIONAL BOUNDARIES
Source: ABS 2007
INDIGENOUS NATIONAL POPULATION SPREAD
Source: ABS 2008
INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES
Language is not only a form of communication, it is also a way of expressing and
maintaining culture, knowledge and identity. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
languages convey unique meanings and are central to the survival of cultural
knowledge
• In 2008, 8% of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth spoke an
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language as their main language at home
• a further 4% of children and youth could speak an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
language, but did not speak one as their main language at home
• of children and youth who did not speak an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language
as their main language at home, 16% were currently learning to speak one.
Source: ABS 2008
INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES
Children and youth living in remote areas were far more likely than those living in
non-remote areas to speak an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language (42%
compared with 4%).
• In 2008, 47% of young people living in remote areas (10,700) spoke an Aboriginal or Torres
Strait Islander language and 53% (12,300 people) did not speak an Aboriginal or Torres
Strait Islander language (including 20% who only spoke a few words).
Characteristics of young ATSI language speakers in remote areas.
According to the 2008 NATSISS, young people living in remote areas who spoke an
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language were less likely than those who did not to:
• report binge drinking in the previous fortnight (18% and 34% respectively)
• report that they had used illicit substances in the past 12 months (16% and 26%
respectively)
• have been a victim of physical or threatened with violence in the last 12 months (25%
and 37% respectively).
BILINGUAL SCHOOLS AND BI-CULTURAL, TWO-WAY
PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE
Tensions exist within bilingual schools. These include, but not confined to bilingual schools
• Increased specialisation in human resources
• Funding and resource modeling (i.e. literacy production centers)
• Political endorsement from governments. The number of officially recognized bilingual
schools in the NT has reduced from 17 in the late 1980s to nil in 2013
• Endorsement from local Indigenous communities. Not always observed by community
members as a functional or choice model in language or cultural maintenance
• Incongruence with national delivery and reporting frameworks
• Philosophic challenges that question the school as a key site in local languages
maintenance (i.e. should reside within the family)
AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC POLICY, ECONOMIC POLICY,
EDUCATIONAL POLICY
(FUTURE OPTIONS)
The present expressions of Australian mainstream and Indigenous educational inequality
graphically reveal the need to evolve the policy modeling substantially. Beyond the
intensification of reforms situated within schools, other options for progressing beyond the
present patterns in Indigenous educational inequality include
• Intensive amplification and application of social policy frameworks that have greater
relevance to contemporary social properties and dynamics of schools
• Strengthening district policy environments to meet school organisational properties and
evolutions, particularly in access and equity frames
• Establishing positive synergies between a national Australian identity and its reconciliation
of colonization and Indigenous identities.

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