Public pedagogy and national policy failure: the case of Australian schooling

Year: 2021

Author: Hattam, Robert

Type of paper: Symposium

The key question for this paper is: why is the radical failure of schooling policy ignored by policy makers and the debate in the public sphere?  To answer this question this paper pushes some recent Australian educational policy studies towards an analysis of a politics of truth for Australian schooling policy. In short there are two games of truth we can analyse here: firstly we can play the game of true and false and interrogate the truth claims made by policy; and/or secondly we can ask a different set of questions: how come this gets to be true now; how come the regime of truth being adopted gets to be accepted, and as it seems, mostly without critique by policy makers or the mainstream press. The paper has four moves: firstly I outline the widely accepted case of the policy failure of Australian schooling; second I make a case for four key logics of policy that have no evidence they actually improve learning; third I segue to outline a politics of truth argument and ponder the question: how come the regime of truth gets to be true today and argue for what I’m calling an archive politics that gets played by the key policy makers in Australia, which is then reflected, without a conspiracy, by those in the media who attempt to report of what’s going on. The fourth move connects up with recent policy studies that analyses how policy making is now mediatized. I provide a reading of how recent pronouncements of the federal minister for education have been read by one section of the mainstream media and argue that we need more studies that analyse how governing manages its policy work through public pedagogical work involving mainstream and niche media modalities. In brief, we now see government control their cover story without coercion. The trick is to control the archive.