We probably should have known that the Productivity Commission was no more than a safe place for pompous, pseudo-rational windbags. But, we didn’t. And so earlier this year, by request, we made a submission to the PC’s review of the National School Reform Agreement. The PC’s Interim Report appeared in due course, and it provided sufficient reason to never again bother with these clowns. Until now.
Chapter 2 of the report is on Building Productivity in Schools. Its nothingness is captured by the Key Points introduction to the chapter:
It is the standard stuff: prima facie meaningless, but also insidious. Garden variety poison. But then one pauses on the last dot point, which suggests “variations on conventional approaches”, and, à la Dorothy Parker, one starts to ponder: what fresh Hell can this be?
The fresh, unconventional Hells are flagged in the final section of the chapter. They are all Hellish, but the first requires special mention:
School hours – time to rethink what works?
School hours have been broadly unchanged for many years … A variety of reasons have been put forward as to why current school hours may not be appropriate — particularly for student learning and parents’ labour force participation. The Commission’s focus is on the impact of changing school hours on productivity and student outcomes. …
Some governments and industry advocates have proposed extending the school day to broaden the range of subjects and activities students could explore … Others have proposed longer school hours to support learning, particularly for those that are falling behind learning benchmarks. … Schools could use the additional hours of instructional time to provide extra support to students struggling in specific subjects. [emphasis added]
Yes, you could do that. Or, you could advocate to just stop having teachers attempt to teach a garbage curriculum with garbage methods, and instead employ the good will and thousands of hours currently being pissed away towards some decent goal. It’s your call. You idiots.