The generally held belief that the extension of participative administrative arrangements within education systems has necessarily led to democratic educational reform is critically examined. Although restructured systems may afford greater community involvement in educational governance, such involvement is generally bureaucratically mandated and occurs within a social and political context in which power relationships, including the relationship of education to other social spheres, are largely unexamined and remain unaltered. Using the case of Victoria, Australia, as an example it is demonstrated that versions of participation in education need not disturb patterns of managerial control.
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