Blogs | The Valditara school is well known to me: it is the class

by Mario Pomini*

How the minister imagines the Italian school Joseph Vallettara? Reading some of his first interviews I felt a shiver, primarily of nostalgia, but above all of worry. The new minister doesn’t seem to know the reality of school and his recipes appear completely anachronistic. The school of Valditara is well known to me, even personally, because it is the school of my generation, that of the baby boomers. It’s a school, I’m referring mainly to high school, highly selective at the entrance, elitist and of good quality. Naturally still in the seventies, but also in the eighties, the transition to high school was not for everyone, but reserved for a small part of the school population, the more willing or well-off.

The vast majority of boys and girls took it early way of work with some envy on our part, always penniless students. This strongly class-based education was very generous to those who were able to take advantage of it because the diploma, and even more so the degree, guaranteed a certain economic successas well as social. Then the famous social elevator broke down in the nineties, or rather, it completed its function. With the mass schooling the positional income of graduates, and today of graduates, has run out.

How to restore thesocial lift? The minister’s proposal is simply to eliminate it for return to the old elitist school of yore. The purpose of the school is, in his words, that of “first of all training the person and allowing each student to fulfill himself in life, whether it is high school or technical-professional studies. I had a friend who was bad at math, but he could make beautiful planters out of tires. THE good professors adequately trained they know how to ensure that the boy is valued when he does not have the capacity for abstract reasoning, but a great concrete intelligence”.

Here then is the explanation of the pedagogical-didactic philosophy of the Valditara school: there are boys and girls, a narrow circle moreover, who are gifted for abstract reasoning. They have the Latin mentality, one would have said in the twenty years, while the vast majority are gifted for the manual works and practical activity. The mission of the school would be precisely to make the student and his family understand the importance of his practical intelligence and to ensure that the technical-professional path is freely chosen.

The right returns to its banal, but also tragic, vision of a dual school: there is the school of knowledge, for the few and naturally well placed on the social scale, and the school of doing for all the others.

How to reverse course? And here we find the two proposals of the Minister. The first part from above. Valditara declares that he will personally write a letter to the families to illustrate them the brilliant opportunities of technical and professional training. “I will write shortly to those who have children in eighth grade, indicating the data they need to know in order to be able to make informed choices so as not to burn their children’s chances of success in the workplace. I will give them concrete information on the needs of the area in which they live, on the employment and salary prospects that each school address offers”. It is certain that in analyzing the data the Ministry will make use of private foundations well paidbut this is a secondary aspect.

Since the minister himself I believe warns the sense of the ridiculous of his proposal, then here is a second piece. In every lower secondary school there will be a tutor who will explain because it’s not appropriate continue the high school path, which leads to certain unemployment if you are not very good, and instead it is much better to follow the technical-professional path that leads to a secure and profitable job. In short, the task of middle school would be to select the best for high schools, and all the others for the technical-vocational education system. The Valditara school has been a school since Gentile flavourelitist and classist, but without the necessary decision-making coherence.

Not missing a touch of educational populism when the minister states that the teacher tutor will have to: “follow children in difficulty more closely and value those who are very good and stay close to the syllabus, even outside class hours during the year and during periods of suspension of lessons. Now it is the wealthiest families who pay for private lessons or additional courses. It’s the state’s job to do that.”

Of course we must think that the teachers will compete to act as a megaphone for the minister with an adequately increased salary. Matteo Renzi’s “Good School” has betrayed the progressive requests for the efficiencyist design of Confindustria. There merit school di Valditara at least has the merit of being consistently right-wing and not hiding his true intentions. We can bet that thanks to the valuable ministerial advice businesses will still find welders, warehouse workers, carpenters and high professional figures of this type, which seem to be in great demand. It only remains to be seen whether Italian families will be happy with this plunge into the past which they laboriously and rightly got rid of.

*Associate Professor of Political Economy, Padua

Blogs | The Valditara school is well known to me: it is the class-based one intended only for the deserving – Il Fatto Quotidiano