A Case for Radical Pragmatic Leaders and Personalised Learning Schools: Risky Public Policy Business
Thousands of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are forsaking education in secondary mainstream schools across Australia. This book places a sociological and lived experience phenomenological lens on public policy that is working against school inclusion, learning engagement and post-school opportunity. The school case studies provided here highlight the damage done and the opportunity for refreshed policy approaches to address this malaise.
Across the educational landscape, there are a number of fine examples of schools that are choosing to do schooling ‘against the grain’ of unhelpful regulatory policy that works to exclude many from their educational entitlement. These schools and their practices are examined in this book and are presented as examples for policy learning.
If education systems learn to embrace an ongoing culture of research and inquiry, where the evidence-based and contextual learning experiences of students, teachers and Principals are equally valued and heard in the policy realm, the phenomenon of early school leaving can begin to turn around. This work calls upon Principals in the first instance to become more radical and pragmatic in their leadership of schools, collectively working with courage to ensure that the experience of schooling is personalised to the learning needs and career aspirations of all young people.
Dr Andrew Bills is an education leadership academic at Flinders University, Australia. He teaches, researches and consults in the areas of policy, politics and practice with a particular interest in socially just reform in school communities struck by disadvantage. His previous professional roles have included positions as an educational leader and designer of alternative schools, a diagnostic school reviewer, a special education teacher and a leadership consultant. He works within the research traditions of critical policy sociology, emancipatory action research and lived experience phenomenology, and has published 17 journal articles in these areas and two books.
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