This year the unified middle school sixty years ago (law 1869/62) and unfortunately it shows them all, now it is called secondary but in the background it remains so. It was a success of the time, the daughter of an important period in the history of Italy and, like most major reforms, it started really well crawling between improvisation, disinterest, underestimation, and spending cuts.
It all starts with the Constitution (1948), in particular with art. 34: “The school is open to everyone. Lower education, taught for at least eight years, is compulsory and free […]It took the Italian Parliament 14 years to implement the Constitution, it only did so when the first center-left government in whose program the Socialists had imposed as preconditions the institution of the single media and the nationalization of energy. To say how the school then had another weight in the politics of the left with respect to today’s boring photocopies, which speak of equality and the right to study convinced that imitating American models (the same ones that paved the way to Trump) is to do this ..
Prior to this, the post-primary education system provided for two different triennia: the first, professional start-up – with two possible options, the industrial and the commercial: it was an itinerary of start / vocational training with more output in the schools of professional specialization. The second, secondary school, on the other hand, was aimed at preparing for high school attendance. At the age of 10, the young citizen and his family were forced to choose between the two paths what would mark their existence. Actually, the choice was already in things: professional start-up if the family needed the offspring to go to work soon contributing to maintenance; secondary if they decided to invest in a longer and inevitably more expensive training period to give perspective social ascent through education.
However, it was not just an individual “social rise”, but this aspect was decidedly in the background compared to the assertion of the principle of the right to education as a precondition for reducing inequalities. , towards the modernization of Italy. throughextension of rights, starting with those of citizenship. Those that paved the way for the tumultuous growth of the union and, more generally, of the political and social season at the turn of the 60s and 70s. The same ones that allowed entrepreneurs to have access schooled laborable to understand deliveries, read instruction manual, modify duties and tasks adapting to technological and organizational changes of the factory.
It was in that decade that the strongest impulses matured for a school that became the backbone of society, strong and able to sustain it in its impetuous development and equally dizzying transformation: middle school reform will be the forerunner of a widespread educational experimentation that will primarily involve primary school with the birth of full time, a forge of experimentation not only of educational techniques and methodologies, but also of school / territory relations, of time articulations to marry the social function of the school with that of cultural and educational protection, especially in the working-class neighborhoods of the great cities. That is why the political debate that later took place in Parliament and in the country is interesting and current: on the one hand the conservative right that he did not accept the idea of a school for everyone with “real” subjects, free and compulsory for 8 years; on the other, the largest party on the left, which voted against the law because it only kept Latin for the last year and not for the entire triennium.
The institution of the unique media provoked a real one before schooling which was grafted onto the need for modernization and equality that was blowing in the country: 640 thousand new subscribers in the only middle school during the 1963-64 school year, school construction plans to cover new needs, teacher recruitment necessary to meet demand; proliferation of night schools for adults and much more, a testament to the real rush towards education that the institution of the single media was able to unleash. The illiteracy rate rose from 12.90% in 1951 to 5.20% twenty years later, with a widening gap between the Center-North and the urban and rural areas of the South (which maintained percentages above 20% also due to lack of supply). Then it was the turn of the “150 hours for the right to education”(1973), a union conquest as a result of the Workers’ Rights Statute (1970) which established a paid leave of 150 hours per school year for workers wishing to attend the middle cycle or high school.
It was the Flm – an example too short and very intense of union unity that is good for workers – who was the first to insert the words “right to studyWith this he created the connection between the condition of the individual worker, that of individual and collective improvement through attendance at a course of study, and the consequent social mobility, which shook the cards of a world. anchored in its industrial structures to the logic of the “steam master of the 19th century. dismissing entire generations of former illiterates He grew up in the tumultuous early ’70s with“ bread and 150 hours ”. The didactic and methodological innovation fought, left more to the good will of individuals than to the search for suitable contents and methods to deal with the subject of mass education.
Then it started the cut season (more than $ 12 billion in the last 20 years), of backward yields, were masquerading as “innovation”. From the Berlinguer reform to that of Moratti -which still today forces 14-year-olds to choose subjects and specializations when in the world they try to move as far away from this moment as possible in order to favor universal contents and general competition-, going through the infinite exercises of arrogance of a policy. who is increasingly disinterested in the substance of education, busy as he is in classifying himself as an Atlanticist, a populist, and all -ists of our dark times, testifying every day to its irrelevance. From the soft skills school to this, terminal, of Minister Bianchi and the best, an impressive series of improvised initiatives that have also dismantled the unique media together with the Italian progressive left, which nurtured from school and trusted the school for the construction of new citizenship, integration. , cultural rights and duties, all seasoned with a little more equality.
A new season is needed that, by relaunching and remodeling the school, it will know how to turn it back into an engine of construction of the citizenship of tomorrow, enhancing the learning of what it takes to be protagonists in the world, and facilitating the formation of skills and attitudes that ” tremble “an aged and sclerotic society. To do this you need ideas and investments: for the former you need a political force that puts you at the center of your program. modernization of society also through education. In terms of investments, in our country the work of employees is more taxed than financial income; we would need a political force capable of reversing the relationship and really finding the resources needed to get Italian education back on the road.