School, an assessment of the Legislature in chiaroscuro. Exclusive interview with Irene Manzi, national director of the Democratic Party School

We interview Irene Manzi national manager of the School of the Democratic Party, from Macerata in the Marche region, was a member of the Parliament of the Democratic Party in the House the previous legislature and a member of the VII Committee on Culture and Education.

Dr. Manzi, what is your assessment of the eighteenth legislature with regard to the School whose problems still seem to have been left in the background, despite the fact that the pandemic and the PNRR are a unique opportunity and for some unrepeatable to put in close these problems and solve them or at least start solving them?

The eighteenth legislature was very complex both by the alternation of governments formed by different political majorities (and with obviously different ideas regarding the interventions to be adopted in the field of education) and by the need to manage an unprecedented phenomenon such as the outbreak of the pandemic. in the winter of 2020, which saw periods of closure (with the complex management of distance learning) followed by other periods of reopening with not short-term consequences on students ’learning itineraries. I will only give one example: in 2019 we witnessed the cancellation – by the Minister of the Northern League Bussetti – of the three-year training course for future teachers and a few weeks ago – with decree law 36 – a new teacher recruitment system. reintroduced into our system with an initial training course. It is a minimal example if you will, but it well represents the alternation of very different positions over these 4 years. The budget of the legislature is in the dark because of the many difficulties they face, but I think there are elements, especially linked to the objectives of the PNRR assigned to education, that can give hope, because they address some of the critical issues that affect the school world: the hiring of teachers (with the ambitious goal linked to the hiring of 70,000 teachers in 2024, with calls for competitions with a finally certain and regular frequency), the resources to overcome the gaps territorial and early school leaving, measures in favor of technical education and support for the construction of schools, to the important issue of the sizing of the school. I don’t mean that the problems are gone or will go away soon, but we finally have the means and resources to address them. It is up to us (the political and government forces) to foster, not only the best possible investment of these resources, but above all a process of involvement and participation of the school world in this fuller and more conscious phase. A job that, as a Democratic Party, we try to carry out, now as in the past.

The Government inserts in a Decree Law of the PNRR a reform of the hiring in secondary and the incentive formation like unique opportunity of race of the teaching staff, the unions go on strike and ask that it is suppressed, you can summarize the position of your party in the phase of conversion into law of Legislative Decree 36 and what are the prospects also in view of the implementing decrees, the first should be issued a Decree of the Prime Minister before July 31, net of the political crisis that is he is living in these hours.

We are well aware of the critical issues that accompanied the process of approving Legislative Decree 36 -implementation of the objectives of the PNRR linked to initial teacher training and continuing education, as well as the School of Higher Education-, the Democratic Party it was the only political force that met and officially confronted the fund, before the May 30 strike, with the union forces that had convened it. Our position on the decree – aware of the impossibility of removing the provisions relating to the school precisely because they implement the objectives of the PNRR – was critical in terms of the content of some provisions (I think especially on the issue of cutting resources and chairs or the complex issue linked to training encouraged to rely on collective bargaining and not the law, with the especially restrictive procedures provided for in the original version of the decree) but propositive. The confrontation carried out with trade unions, sectoral associations, experts gave shape and content to the amendments that the PD presented to the text, some of which have significantly improved and improved this provision. I am thinking -to give an example- of the possibility given to subjects in possession of 24 credits to participate in the competition even if they have not previously completed the entire initial training course, in the elimination of the multiple-choice tests of the competition or a broader recognition of the role given to collective bargaining in terms of incentive training. We would have liked more: I am thinking of recognizing specific evidence for the precarious that takes into account the experience or the knot — problematic and unfortunately unresolved — of resources that have unfortunately not been recovered. It is a challenge, that of resources, on which, obviously clear of the current political crisis, we must continue to measure ourselves, also with regard to the renewal of the collective agreement of teachers, which is committing the Department of School and the whole national secretariat, to begin with Enrico Letta, in these complex weeks.

School dropout, amid controversy over distribution criteria, reaches the first 500 million euros. Some experts in school problems argue that we often intervene on the effects and never on the causes, we think of the so-called implicit dispersion. Two governments, Conte 2 and Draghi, have done nothing to revise the parameters of class formation and for many one of the causes of dispersal if not the main one is precisely the excess of students in the classes.

We have also followed the controversy that accompanied the fate of the first 500 million in favor of schools to combat dispersal. In our opinion, greater preventive involvement of schools and local realities in planning and in the ways to be implemented to combat dispersal would have been preferable. Unfortunately this has not happened and now we need to ensure that resources are used in a really effective way. Undoubtedly, the high number of students per class is one of the causes that contribute to early school leaving (to which, however, other elements such as the social and cultural conditions of origin of students are also linked), and it is especially risky in specific phases – such as at the beginning of cycles – or in vocational training institutes. In this sense, the provision contained in the Budget Law of 2022 that empowers the Ministry of Education to establish classes in derogation of the provisions of Presidential Decree 81/2009, in schools characterized by values ​​of social status indices, economic and cultural, is significant and early school leaving, thus recognizing a correlation between early school leaving and the high number of students per class and, therefore, measures are planned to intervene in such a complex and dangerous phenomenon. . The reorganization of the school system itself – reform of the PNRR that will be achieved within the course – calls into question precisely the number of students per class, which must also be addressed taking into account the progressive phenomenon of births, the difficulties that are they find in the internal realms. and at risk of depopulation. In this regard, as has recently been represented in Minister Bianchi, I hope that a debate and a wide-ranging debate will be opened on this issue, involving, for example, local administrations, mayors in the first place, in order to jointly define appropriate levels that I also take into account the territorial specificities that exist in our country.

Security in the classroom in the face of the resurgence of the Pandemic due to its Omicron variants. In September for the third year in a row for air exchange will we be forced to open the windows?

The Democratic Party – as you know – has always been actively involved in the installation of sanitation and ventilation devices in schools, both providing for the adoption of specific guidelines on the adoption of mobile devices for purification and assigning – in the energy decree of last May: additional financial resources for the purchase of disinfection and air filtration devices. Unfortunately, these guidelines have not yet been announced and for this reason we continue to urge -through our parliamentary groups- the competent ministries (in particular the Ministry of Health) to take the necessary measures so that the new course can start without further uncertainties or expectations. Of course, what is happening in these hours of political crisis does not give us hope, unfortunately, in the rapid implementation of the measure.

Here are all the texts to prepare for the school’s 2022 special competition

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