Achieving equity in education has long been a key aspect of the national education policies and goals for schooling. Most recently it is one of the key goals in the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Declaration (2019) set for Australian education and its future development. The goal of equity in education should be well- defined in order to guide education policy and funding, measure equity and monitor progress in improving equity. However, that definition is lacking at present and has never been adequately addressed in previous statements of national goals. For example, in the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Declaration equity of education is mentioned after ‘excellence’ of education that often leaves it with much less policy attention and making equity a consequence of greater excellence.
In June this year Trevor Cobbold (Save Our Schools Australia) and I wrote a submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry on the National School Reform Agreement. Our hope is that the new Government would use this opportunity to define equity in education clearly so that it would lead to better policies and fairer education in Australia.
Our submission focuses on the issue of the meaning of equity in education and how progress in improving equity can be measured and monitored. It is supported by the attached paper “Leadership for equity & adequacy” (2021) published in the Journal School Leadership and Management. We consider that the idea of equity is central to national school reform and is not defined clearly enough in the current framework guiding the National School reform Agreement.
I have written various texts to facilitate conversations for better understanding what equity is and what can we do to strengthen it. One of them is a two-part set of short, reader-friendly articles are published by the NSW DET’s SCAN journal. First one of them titled “What is equity?” was published in August 2022, part two will be available in November 2022.
I hope these are helpful.