PNRR reform: a decree that harms the school. Letter

sent by Prof. Irene Muscato – The boys are sick. And so do the children. Disorientation, relationship difficulties, anxiety attacks, attacks of
Panic, fear are just some of the manifestations of this discomfort. Every day, teachers from all over Italy, from schools of all levels, are faced with an emergency that is endless in the history of the Republic. Only those who have never come into contact with children and adolescents could deny that they are going through a phase of deep suffering. And only those who have never learned would think that all was well before the pandemic.

It is not so.

For many years, together with the economic, social and cultural changes that have affected our country in the broad context of globalization, the world of education has witnessed an exponential increase in aid needs for students of all ages. Needs and their fears precisely in school, with their teachers and with their classmates, rather than in the family too externally.

Are they weak? Too spoiled? Are they worse than us?

I don’t think so. Externalities of this type are only for those who want to take responsibility for themselves, identify as the cause of widespread malaise the inability of children and adolescents to react and be elastic (the magic adjective is too often used as an invitation to address the System mismatch). Our students are better than us and their malaise is proof of that. It is the protest (implosively not explosive, yes) against a social system that is not good. And it is to this day the only protest that takes place in the desolate context of general addiction.

How is teacher activity configured in this setting?

Every day, we find ourselves dealing with a very high number of requests, managing a workload that only those who do this work understand. It is necessary:

– study (yes, teachers always have to study) to prepare their lessons;
– select, and often invent, didactic strategies suitable for their students, thinking of everyone, from the most autonomous to those who need constant guidance, from the most motivated to those whose attention needs to be continuously supported;
– Correctly identify homework, strengths and weaknesses, from which work in the classroom and at home is constantly being rescheduled;
– evaluate (yes, evaluation is not the mathematical average of the individual marks, but a much more complex and articulate task that requires specific skills, time, attention and deep reflection);
– take care of the creation of a healthy relational space, marked by mutual listening and peaceful discussion;
– manage the emotional burden of their students, devote time to them even after class, listen to their needs, try to differentiate solutions and act as intermediaries with families, social workers, psychologists, study support centers, etc.
take care of relationships with families, build relationships based on clarity and cooperation, in awareness of the diversity of tasks and roles.

And then you have to take a lesson. The tip of the iceberg that represents only a small percentage of our work. The only visible. Or rather, the only one you want to be visible to the eyes of non-experts.

To what is listed must be added all the activities related to teaching, such as meetings, teaching staff, school-family meetings, etc. as well as all bureaucratic tasks delegated to teachers, tripled under the pressure of pandemic emergencies, which swell the ranks of undeclared work.

It will not be difficult to understand that, in order to orientate oneself in such a broad complex framework, updating and training are essential. And teachers have always been concerned about this, even before a law, n.107 of 2015, introduced this concept as “revolutionary”. We update ourselves because we are in daily contact with the changing world and we know what each of us needs to grow and help our students. And only we teachers can know that, because what is needed in one particular classroom context is not necessarily necessary in another. The needs of the school can be explained only by those who do, live, continue, only by those who enter the classroom every day and put their professionalism at the service of the students, in an angle of life that does not disappear at the end of the lessons.

So that the formation is welcome, it is good news that the government is interested in it and wants to finance it.

But what kind of training is it about? And by what process did the new system come into being? And most importantly, who pays the price?

The new training system

The system of “continuous training with incentives” provided for in Article 44 of Legislative Decree no. 36 of 2022, which will be transposed into law by 29 June, provides for the establishment of a higher education institution, which has the task of promoting and coordinating the training of teachers, with the help of INDRE and INVALSI for the performance of their activities and will have administrative and accounting autonomy.

Three-year training courses are launched with annual intermediate checks as well as a final exam, which the permanent teachers support before a committee for the evaluation of teachers (Art.11, DL 16 April 1994, n.297), integrated in the final verification phase , by a technical manager or a school director of another institution. The content of the training is defined by the higher education institution, an organization in which it is explicitly stated that teachers from the school sector can not be employed for any reason. So teachers, the only ones who know in detail what the school needs, will not participate in the game that decides their education and the extracurricular time they have to devote to it.

Every teacher knows very well how many courses, even those run by highly respected organizations, have proved to be useless in principle, because they are completely excluded from the school context. It is an absurdity that in the decree we entrust our training to those who do not live without a form of cooperation in the planning of the activities and the execution of the courses.

The process of reform

But it is even more absurd that such an invasive reform of the school system is achieved by a decree law, bypassing the confrontation with the unions and denying Parliament the opportunity to discuss it by devoting the necessary attention and time to it. and clearly inform. public opinion. This transformation will greatly affect the teaching profession, eliminating the freedom of teachers
the selection of the areas of their education, with the mechanism of evaluation will create internal control and competition systems that do not yield good results in an educational community.

Such systems implemented by Law 107 may be good for a company (I have my doubts), but they are harmful to the school. In the work environment in which we care about others, and we do it as a team, the values ​​that work together on the basis of the relationship between equals and the deans (today, not surprisingly, called managers) are: Sharing, mutual support, the communion of intentions, the honest confrontation, the free expression of one’s thoughts, the inability to be exposed to extortion.

The fact that a decree was enforced has made all forms of serious opposition and unwillingness to listen even more conspicuous, given that with the joint statement of 14 June, following the strike of 30 May, FLC CGIL, CISL, UIL, SNALS and GILDA have requested the removal (and not the amendment) of the part of the decree regarding training (additional substantial changes to the provisions regarding initial recruitment). Going straight on your own path, ignoring the protests of most representatives of the school world, is a clear and unambiguous signal. And do not say that later amendments solved the problems. The situation remained essentially unchanged.

Funding for higher education

The last but important question that one reflects on in this gloomy picture is that of financing. Decree 36 of 2022 refers to “further urgent measures for the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR)”. However, only a small part of these funds is allocated to the school sector. For the establishment of the new education system, the funds are obtained by deducting them from the school itself.

The school finances the school (from the higher education institution).

And it does so through the reductions in professors envisaged in the light of data on future demographic decline.

In the coming years, there will be fewer students in our classrooms and what does the government decide to do about it? Allocate the funds that come from what is defined in the amendments of the decree “the adaptation of staff to the autonomy of the teaching staff in accordance with demographic trends, taking into account the migration flows” to the subsidization of new management figures and the financing of all the training apparatus she will manage. If it were not reality, it would be like a joke.

For many years, it has always been noted that for the success of pedagogical practice it is necessary and indispensable to reduce the number of pupils per class. The pandemic announced in the dark that our students had been trapped in the chicken coop classes for hours. Projects on projects are activated (hence further investment) to reduce early school exchanges, hearing aids are opened, recovery and / or afternoon classes are launched to support those students who need extra help, continuous proliferation of acronyms and diagnoses that help students should personalize teachers for their studies and, in the face of the dramatic prognosis of a demographic decline, instead of reducing the number of students per class and finally making the Italian public school a democratic school, is d ‘Idea to create a high school that nobody feels the need for?

It’s a robbery against our students. It is a fatal blow to the Italian school. A school that is based on the professionalism and self-reliance of a teaching staff, which must be put in a position to deal with the only thing that matters: the human and intellectual education of the students.

As long as there is such a high average number of students per class, doing so in a truly effective and inclusive way is impossible and those who say you can do it or have never set foot in a class.

At the end of June, Decree 36 comes into force. I tried to say no by striking, informing and informing. The government is going its own way, but it does not have my consent or that of many colleagues. The school needs a reform that invests in the school and not in the school (higher education). We know this and do not agree is what we can and must do even after the approval of the decree. We owe it to ourselves, but most of all to our students and their families.

We should not talk about the future in a country that abuses its best resources in this way.

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