National Curriculum and Federalism: The Australian Experience.

Journal article


Harris-Hart, Catherine. (2010). National Curriculum and Federalism: The Australian Experience. Journal of Educational Administration and History. 42(3), pp. 295 - 313. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220620.2010.492965
AuthorsHarris-Hart, Catherine
Abstract

Whilst the past 35 years have seen numerous attempts at national curriculum collaboration in Australia, these have invariably failed largely due to the constitutional reality that the States have responsibility for curriculum. Federal government involvement in curriculum can only be achieved, therefore, with the consent of the States. To achieve this, in 2008 the Rudd Federal government passed the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) Act (2008) which legislated the establishment of ACARA, a national education authority which brought together, for the first time ‘the functions of curriculum, assessment and reporting at the national level’ (Julia Gillard, media release, 2008). Among its mandates, ACARA is responsible for the development of national curriculum, one of the key election platforms on which the current Rudd Federal Labor government was elected in November 2007. Whilst the ACARA Act appears on the surface to represent unprecedented intergovernmental collaboration and a transition to co‐operative federalism; cracks in this co‐operative veneer are starting to appear. In this article I draw on critical theory to examine three varied forms of Federal–State relations spanning three different eras, as they relate to issues of national curriculum – those of corporate federalism, coercive federalism and co‐operative federalism. Specifically, I will argue that the ACARA Act is not an instrument of co‐operative federalism but rather a euphemism for a continued reliance on a new, more subtle form of coercive federalism as a means to ‘deliver’ national curriculum in Australia.

Keywordsnational curriculum; federalism; landmark legislation; curriculum policy
Year2010
JournalJournal of Educational Administration and History
Journal citation42 (3), pp. 295 - 313
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN0022-0620
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/00220620.2010.492965
Page range295 - 313
Research GroupSchool of Education
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationEngland
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/88wq0/national-curriculum-and-federalism-the-australian-experience

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