A Serious Dialogue with Noel Pearson’s Radical Hope: Educatio ...

Serious dialogue front cover

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Abstract

This book is a response to a provocative 2009 Quarterly Essay, Radical Hope: Education and Equality in Australia, by an influential Australian Aboriginal public intellectual and activist, Noel Pearson. His work challenges cherished notions of welfare colonialism and places remote area Aboriginal schooling dilemmas within the wider constraints of poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, family violence and historic and ongoing undermining traditional culture/language/laws. Pearson calls for serious people to resurrect their pride in community and their heritage. This response to Pearson’s article comes at a time when Australian education is facing major challenges across the board especially with regard to inequality in outcomes and the needs of public schooling in Australia. This book affirms some of Pearson’s strategies but reflects on others that show the situation is even more complex than he suggests. The primary author writes from a perspective of a teacher/researcher/lecturer/consultant with more than four decades of experience in the field and weaves his experiences into the text alongside deep musings on Pearson’s criticisms and programs. Beyond that this book places Pearson’s Radical Hope within a context of place and especially challenging times.