A nationwide strike called by base unions against implementation of Law 107, better known as the “good school” law, is set to happen on Friday 17th.
The education sector is already experiencing the devastating effects of reforms desired by the Renzi government and former education minister Stefania Giannini, extending the powers of principals, the introduction of the “merit award,” extensions of the school-work system, the use of personnel in fictitious, precarious roles instead of full-time places which could help lower the number of pupils per class.
The disaster is obvious, but is not yet complete. Parliament, when it voted for Law 107 in the summer of 2015, gave the Giannini powers to legislate directly, without parliamentary procedures, on implementation of its nine decrees. Enactment had been postponed until after the referendum last December (although the shift to Renzi is not served crabs) and in January, the last possible day, new Education Minister Paolo Gentiloni, issued eight out of nine decrees, the final piece of implementation of 107.
The issues and touch on fundamental aspects of education such as access to the teacher’s role in secondary education, support for disabled students, the radical overhaul of education up to the age of six,revision of professional paths, examining teacher status and so on. Without going into details that deserve careful analysis, however, we can point out some wideranging changes being introduced. Access to the role of teacher will require a three-year underpaid internship (€500 a month) in a competition which, if failed, will have to be repeated from scratch. There will be a reserve army of precarious temps. The allocation of support hours will be determined by bureaucrats who have no connection with real needs. It will reduce the number of support teachers, who will also be performing administrative functions leaving educational intervention presumably to the reserve army of temps.
The State kindergartens will be practically abandoned, becoming managed by local authorities which will have to find resources in their integrated system — in practice opening yet more school districts covering this age group to private control, which in Italy it is constituted for the most part by religious schools.
This, briefly, is the landscape of the major innovations that they want to introduce with these decrees. It says nothing of the teaching staff, non-teaching staff, who are still being condemned to a gradual elimination of roles through the use of outsourcing. The hiring freeze, a ban on replacement of administrative staff who are absent for long periods, the structural extension of school networks required by 107, with personal loans for common needs and centralised fulfillment of some practices are elements that proceed in this direction.
The government, after consultation with the room culture and Senate committees has until April 16th to permanently enact the decrees. In this period the base unions are mobilising through a busy schedule of union meetings, and through an active propaganda campaign, to counter approval of the decrees and the further implementation of “good school.”
It is necessary that this strike succeed and we cannot rely on the contribution of those who so far have made the main opposition to the operetta renziana reform. Of course we can not rely on CGIL (the Italian TUC), which declined to seriously oppose the law een when it was first introduced, let alone now that the education ministry is led by Stefania Fedeli, who from 1974 to 2012 was an outstanding member of the CGIL.
It is necessary that the strike succeed, but we can not do it alone. Women workers and employees of the school need to be able to count on solidarity that only the most advanced social sectors, only the most lucid political organisations and those most distant from the logic of capital can provide. We support the school strike of March 17th. We support the struggles that oppose the policies which are best only for companies, government policies and capital.
Edited from a machine translation of an Umanita Nova article, written by Patrizia