This year overall middle school turns sixty (law 1869/62) and unfortunately it shows them all, now it is called high school but in terms of content it still is. It was an epoch of conquest, daughter of an important period in the history of Italy and, like most of the great reforms, it started very well to drag between improvisation, disinterest, underestimation and cost cuts.
It all begins with the Constitution (1948), especially with art. 34: “The school is open to everyone. Lower education, given for at least eight years, is compulsory and free […]. “. The Italian parliament took 14 years to implement the constitution, it did only then first center-left government in whose program the Socialists had imposed on the institution of the individual media and the nationalization of energy as preconditions. To say how the school at the time had a different weight in left-wing politics compared to today’s boring photocopies, which talk about equality and the right to study, convinced that the imitation of the American models (the same ones that paved the way for Trump) is to do it ..
Prior to that, the post-primary education system provided for two separate three-year periods: the first, professional start-up – with two possible options, the industrial and the commercial: it was a start-up / job training path with further outlets in the vocational specialization schools. The other, middle school, on the other hand, was intended to prepare for high school. At the age of 10, the young citizen and his family were forced to choose between the two paths the one that was to mark his existence. In reality, the choice was already in things: professional start-up if the family needed the offspring to go to work early, which contributes to maintenance; middle school if they decided to invest in a longer and inevitably more expensive training period to provide perspective social increase through education.
However, it was not just a question of individual “social boost”, this aspect remained decided in the background at the time compared to the confirmation of the principle of the right to education as a precondition for reducing inequalities, towards the modernization of Italy throughextension of rights, beginning with citizenship. Those that paved the way for the tumultuous growth of the union and more generally the political and social season of the late 60s and 70s. The same ones that allowed entrepreneurs access trained workforcebe able to understand the deliveries, read an instruction manual, change tasks and tasks adapted to the factory’s technological and organizational changes.
It was in that decade that the strongest push matured into a school that became the backbone of society, strong and able to support it in its rapid development and in the equally whirlwind transformation: the middle school reform will be the forerunner of widespread pedagogical experimentation that will primarily involve the primary school with the birth of full time, a forge of experimentation not only of pedagogical techniques and methods, but also of school / territory relations, of temporal articulations to unite the school’s social function with cultural and educational protection, especially in the working class suburbs to large cities. That is why the political debate that was taking place in Parliament and in the country at the time is interesting and current: on the one hand, the Conservative right who did not accept the idea of a school for everyone with “real” subjects, free and compulsory for 8 years; on the other hand, the largest party of the left, which voted against the law because it only held Latin last year and not for the entire three-year period.
The institution of the individual media triggered a real up to schooling which was grafted into the need for modernization and equality that was blowing in the country: 640 thousand new subscribers at the single middle school in the school year 1963-64, school building plans to meet new needs, recruitment of teachers necessary to meet demand; spread of evening schools for adults and much more, testifying to the real rush for education that the institution of individual media was able to unleash. Illiteracy went from 12.90% in 1951 to 5.20% twenty years later, with an ever-widening gap between the Center-North and the urban areas and the rural South (which kept the percentages above 20% also due to lack of offers). Then it was time for “150 hours for the right to education”(1973), the conquest of a trade union in the wake of the Workers’ Rights Statute (1970), which stipulated paid leave of 150 hours per. school year for workers who want to go to middle school or high school.
It was Flm – a too short and very intense example of trade union good for the workers – who was the first to put the words in. “right to study“. In doing so, he created the connection between the condition of the individual worker, the individual and collective improvement through participation in a course of study and the resulting social mobility, which mixed the maps of a world rooted in its industrial structures to the logic of the” master of nineteenth-century steam. It was the middle school courses – early evening and evening – that did the fraternal part, guys whole generations of former illiterates grew up in the tumultuous early 70s on “bread and 150 hours”. Didactic and methodological innovation struggled, left more to the good will of the individual than to a search for content and methods suitable for addressing the issue of mass education.
Then it started the cutting season (over 12 billion in the last 20 years) of backward returns, was termed “innovation”. From the Berlinguer reform to Moratti – which still today obliges 14-year-olds to choose subjects and specializations when in the world they try to distance this moment as much as possible in order to favor universal content and general competence – by going through a policy’s endless arrogance exercises as increasingly is uninterested in the content of ‘education, busy as it is in classifying itself into Atlanteans, populists, and all-ists of our dark times, and witnesses its irrelevance every day. From school for soft skills to it, terminal, by Minister Bianchi and the best, an impressive series of improvised initiatives that have also dismantled the individual media along with the Italian progressive left, which fed on the school and trusted the school for the building of new citizenship, integration, cultural rights and duties, all spiced up with a little more equality.
It’s taking a new season that by relaunching and rebuilding the school will know how to turn it into an engine to build the citizens of tomorrow, promote the learning of what it takes to be the protagonists of the world, and facilitate the formation of skills and attitudes that “shakes” an aging society and sclerotic. To do this, you need ideas and investment: for the former, you need a political force that puts it at the center of its program. modernization of society also through education. In terms of investment, wage labor in our country is more taxed than financial income; we would need a political force capable of turning the relationship around and really finding the resources needed to get Italian education back on track.