Policy and adolescent literacy

Luke, Allan & Woods, Annette F. (2009) Policy and adolescent literacy. In Christenbury, L., Bomer, R., & Smagorinsky, P. (Eds.) Handbook of Adolescent Literacy. Guildford Press, New York, pp. 197-219.

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Abstract: Literacy education across western nations continues to contend with the rise of neo-liberalism with its expectations for market-based efficiencies, and these moves have been accompanied by policy, media, and curriculum initiatives offering simplistic solutions to the latest perceived literacy crisis. Policy matters in important ways. It enables and constrains the responses that systems, schools, and teachers can make in providing equitable access to literacy pedagogy for students, many of whom we know are dealing with the effects of poverty as it plays out with gender, race, Indigeneity or First Nation status, and cultural and linguistic diversity.
In this chapter we set about reviewing current education policy in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, and uncover common threads in assumptions of accountability as testing, standardization, decreased autonomy for schools, and a continued consignment of resources to the early years of schooling continue to affect education. Debate about the merit of such a focus in No Child Left Behind (United States of America, 2001), the U.K. Literacy strategy (United Kingdom, 1997) and Australia’s moves to implement Federal Literacy and Numeracy Benchmarks (Commonwealth Department of Education Training and Youth Affairs, 1997) and more recently the review of the teaching of reading (National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy, 2005) are not new. However, in this chapter we extend this debate by seeking to consider the links between research into adolescent literacy and the current early years focus of literacy policy initiatives. We use this as a way to support the development of a common set of strategies and procedures focused on the specifics of communities, each with its own mix of linguistic, racial and cultural demographics and the generics of effective literacy pedagogy for all. We take as a basic assumption that the key issues for adolescent literacy learning are not about a best method. Working outside of popular 'crisis discourses-- whether they be focused on too little basic phonic skills or the too much multimedia and new text use--we make an argument that the key issues for adolescent literacy are related to developing new combinations of pedagogic practice that will best serve the growing number of youth presently disengaged with education as an institution. Calling on the example of Literate Futures, an evidenced-based policy initiative utilized in Queensland, Australia, we consider what large-scale evidence-based policy might look like if the aim is to improve literacy for all students, including those beyond the first three years of schooling.

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ID Code: 14018
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link) or contact the author.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: adolescent literacy, education, hybrid literacies, policy
ISBN: 1593858299
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Guildford Press
Deposited On: 10 Jul 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2012 05:15

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