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The science curriculum; the decline of expertise and the rise of bureaucratise

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The content for the school science curriculum has always been an interplay or contest between the interests of a number of stakeholders, who have an interest in establishing it at a new level of schooling or in changing its current form. For most of its history, the interplay was dominated by the interests of academic scientists, but in the 1980s the needs of both future scientists and future citizens began to be more evenly balanced as science educators promoted a wider sense of science. The contest changed again in the 1990s with a super-ordinate control being exerted by government bureaucrats at the expense of the subject experts. This change coincides with the rise in a number of countries of a market view of education, and of science education in particular, accompanied by demands for public accountability via simplistic auditing measures. This shift from expertise to bureaucratise and its consequences for the quality of science education is illustrated with five case studies of science curriculum reform in Australia.

Keywords: bureaucratic control; contest; market; science curriculum; scientific expertise

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-04-01

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