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Social Justice

Small Group Presentation

Greg Nelson

on 8 November 2016

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Transcript of Social Justice

Commissioned by the Government in 2010 the review was chaired by businessman David Gonski

Nationally the review panel received more than
7,000 submissions
visited 39 schools
consulted 71 education groups

The findings were presented to the Government in
December 2011
The Government released the report, along with its initial response, in
February 2012

Since its release the Commonwealth and states have been deliberating over what to do with the recommendations
Kinetic typography has many different applications including;
Title sequences
and music videos
David Gonski
Is an Australian public figure and businessman

Is currently sitting on the boards of around 40 businesses

Chair of the University of New South Wales foundation
President of the Board of Trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW
Served on the board of St Vincent's Hospital (Sydney)
Ambassador for the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation

In 2007 Gonski was appointed as a Companion of the
Order of Australia (AC)

**Attended Sydney Grammar School & UNSW
> John Fairfax Holdings
> ANZ Bank
> Westfield Group
> ING Australia
< Coca-Cola
< Singapore Airlines
< ASX Limited
< Investec Bank (Aust)
Who gets what and why
Playing Fair
Gale, T & Densmore, K
Why does social justice matter for education?
Education plays a central role in the economy by providing a skilled workforce and informed citizenry

Education is one of the primary ways that people can improve their situations

Up to a quarter of state spending is devoted to education, it represents an enormous chunk of the economy
Usually use terms such as ‘fair’, ‘right’ and ‘good’ but these are historically determined terms

These terms often carry over their definitions from times of scarcity, we now live in a time of incredible abundance with incredible inequality regarding distribution of that abundance

Time for a theory which provides direction for educators, policy makers and the wider community (stakeholders)
Why have a theory of social justice?
Distributive, retributive, recognitive

Rawls, Nozick, Young & Fraser

Some reading: A Theory of Justice; Anarchy, State and Utopia; Justice and the Politics of Difference

Theories differ on the idea of ‘freedom from’ and ‘freedom to’ as well as their approach to how things change
Different theories of social justice
Distributive justice
Liberal-democratic view: disadvantaged people are allocated extra resources to bring them up to a baseline or ‘normal’ which is determined by broader society

e.g. remedial classes

Contrasts social-democratic views which eschew ‘simple equality’ for complex equality in which not everyone has the same needs to begin with
Justifying the Gonski Report
The Gonski Report is critical of the gross inequality in the Australian education system

It allocates blame for Australia’s slipping international standing to the widening gap; disadvantaged students are doing comparatively worse and worse

Therefore the answer is more funding and particularly more funding to public education where these students are concentrated
- (A somewhat Rawlsian approach)
Expenditure on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education as a percentage of GDP, 2008
Fairness in method, not fairness in outcome (Nozick)

Called retributive because those who infringe on the rights of others to use their property or talents as they see fit are disadvantaged
Retributive justice
Opposing or Adjusting the Gonski Report
Funding should not be concentrated in public schools because this is favouring failed businesses

Private schools are succeeding because their model of education is more efficient and more successful

Private school parents shouldn’t be punished for using their hard earned money to benefit their children

e.g. Andrew Bolt
Recognitive justice
The reading is fairly vague, but then so are Young and Fraser

Dynamic rather than static view of social justice

Other views claim to require impartiality but this just results in dominant views of ‘normal’ being perpetuated

Seeks to generalise the view of the disadvantaged

Focuses on self-determination and action
Fighting for the Gonski Report
The Gonski Report itself often leaves its conclusions and measures in the form of implication rather than explicit statements

Does not state where extra funding should come from or link disadvantage, inequality and funding in a coherent manner
Nevertheless, unions, communities and disadvantaged schools utilise the Gonski Report to fight against inequality, for greater funding and more resources for minority groups, disabled students and students from poor socio-economic backgrounds
image: igiveagonski.com.au
image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/1d/Robert_nozick.jpg/220px-Robert_nozick.jpg
e.g. students are punished for copying the work of more capable students, like a form of copyright law
image: http://resources2.news.com.au/images/2012/10/10/1226492/992566-gonski-gillard.jpg
image: http://resources2.news.com.au/images/2013/03/26/1226607/095514-eric-lobbecke.jpg
The Myths of Meritocracy
Educational achievement is based on “merit” (talent/hard work)

The primary determinant of economic success is educational attainment

The most effective, and fairest, way to implement meritocracy is through the market
image: Chris Bonnor, TEP395 Lecture, Macquarie University, 2013
The Gonski Review – Revealing Educational Disadvantage
The Implications of Gonski – Schooling & Inequality
The single biggest factor determining educational success is socioeconomic status

Education largely reflects rather than alters socioeconomic disadvantage

Market “solutions” can only compound disadvantage eg No Child Left Behind in the US
Rawls & Distributive Justice
Very critical of the libertarian theory of justice, which treats liberty as a matter of formal rights

This individualistic/market focus obscures the real differences of power in society

Distributive justice treats freedom and equality as mutually constitutive

Society should benefit the least advantaged – including through educational provision
There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal.
F.A. Hayek
What would Rawls think of this?
image: Proportion of students by disadvantage group, by sector, from: Review of Funding for Schooling Final Report (2011)
Gonski as Distributive Justice
Gonski’s recommendations:
Massive increase in funding to public schools

Funding should target low SES schools

Funding should be concentrated in the government sector
The Limits of
Distributive Justice
Rawlsian distributive justice is an abstract goal, and is not based on a concrete analysis of society. This means:
It can easily be appropriated by the advocates of meritocracy
‘Trickle Down’ Theory
Does inequality benefit the poor because of the hard work/leadership/wealth creation of the rich?
It does not address the structural barriers to justice
Schools are part of capitalist system and the roots of inequality are deeper than funding arrangements – even “truly” meritocratic education would not bring justice

There will likely have to be conflict to bring about justice– it’s about class interests, not just mistaken policies
Advocates of Emancipatory Justice
Symes & Preston
Distributive justice forms a starting point,
but we must go beyond it

Equality of outcome should be our goal – freedom and true human development depend upon it

This means recognising the need for a total transformation of society, not just education
Symes, C and Preston, N
as a potential good:
Greg Nelson | Grant Adams | Ademir Hajdarpasic
What should be the response to the Gonski Review on school funding?

Should the report’s recommendations
be implemented?

Why or why not?
Q & A
The Recommendations:
The report says Australia must aspire to have a schooling system that is among the best in the world for its quality and equity, and must prioritise support for its lowest performing students

It says every child should have access to the best possible education, regardless of where they live, the income of their family, or the school they attend. And it says no student in Australia should leave school without the basic skills and competencies needed to participate in the workforce and lead successful and productive lives

The report says funding needs to be increased by about $5 billion per year

One third of that funding should come from the Commonwealth
- how the additional cost is borne should be negotiated between all governments

The report is adamant the additional funding should go to the government sector
- due to the significant numbers & greater concentration of disadvantaged students
in government schools
image: Review of Funding for Schooling - Final Report - December 2011
image: Review of Funding for Schooling - Final Report - December 2011
image: Review of Funding for Schooling - Final Report - December 2011
image: Review of Funding for Schooling - Final Report - December 2011
The Findings:
Australian student academic performances are slipping and have been for the last 10 years

The gap between the highest and lowest performing students is growing

Government funding is too complicated and funding approaches lack unity between levels of government
image: http://www.biography.com/imported/images/Biography/Images/Profiles/H/F.A.-Hayek-39293-1-402.jpg
To consider:
The recent decline in student performance has in fact accompanied a significant increase in funding for education as a whole

Why does funding mean increased performance?
School Education Program Director
Ben Jensen
image: http://images.theage.com.au/2012/02/21/3060995/pope22-2-600x400.jpg
image: Australia’s School Funding System. A Dowling, Dec 2007, Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation Unit
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