The curriculum policy debate over educational inequality has moved in two directions: toward a common curriculum for all students or to a community based, class specific approach. Using critical theory, the thesis of this paper is that both approaches are flawed because they fail to address the ideological hegemony of the dominant culture in school curriculums, thereby tacitly acting as agents of social and cultural reproduction. A common curriculum founders on differential cultural capital and an exclusively working-class curriculum reinforces cultural capital difficiencies· This paper details empirical research on how two schools respond to their working-class clientele. One school offers a traditional academic curriculum for university entrance and the other attempts to provide an education organic to the working class. The persistence of unequal educational outcomes for the working class remains an anathema to the ideals of equal opportunity. The 'education debate' still surrounds what Connell referred to as the problem of'what to do about education for the working class' (Connell et al., 1982, p. 23). Despite many egalitarian reforms, the class/school nexus remains strong. There is plenty of evidence indicating that the education system has not acted as the 'great equaliser'. Edgar (1976) and Connell et al. (1982) depict a class bias in the education system where considerably fewer working-class children complete secondary school. Recent research by Williams (1987, pp. 42--43) found that two-thirds of children from parents with professional backgrounds completed Year 12 compared with one-quarter of children from unskilled worker families. Of those who pass Year 12, four out of ten from professional worker families go on to university compared with only one-tenth from unskilled worker backgrounds.
Curriculum Over 30 Years: What Have We Achieved? p. 121-135