This thesis takes as its basic premise the need for more democratic educational structures end practices. By examining the restructuring of public secondary schooling provisions in New South Wales in the period after 1950 it argues that public schools in Australia are not democratic institutions. Rather than being democratic institutions public schools, it is maintained, reflect the private interests of members of so-called “professional and professionalizing groups”, or, more precisely, of those with assets in credentials or assets in organization employed within monopoly capitalist enterprises and state enterprises. The employment domain of these groups is characterized by bureaucratic forms of control. The private interests of these groups are class interests in that they pertain to the maintenance of the material interests of those with assets in credentials and assets in organization through the monopoly of special knowledge and skills and reflect the class structure of a society in which monopoly capitalism has become the dominant economic, and, therefore, political and ideological, force. As the above outline suggests, in attempting to address the question of inequality in secondary schooling, Marxist theories and categories, most notably those pertaining to class formation and class struggle, are drawn upon. In addition, the thesis maintains that the private interests of those with assets in credentials or assets in organization are “naturalized” in and through the ideology of individualism and of meritocracy. By examining the actual way in which the labour force was being restructured in the post-war period the thesis provides one avenue of critique of these constructions and attempts to demonstrate the limits of equality of opportunity in a class-based society.
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