The family law and the significance of the school reform

Therefore, a change in society comes through the school. Intervention by Sister Anna Monia Alfieri, expert in school policies

Since I don’t know how to embroider, I insist on writing. It is clear that stubbornness stems from an idea, namely the free school. Especially in this phase, when, while the Draghi government is dedicated to the management of the general administration, the engines of the electoral campaign are fired up and alliances are studied in the light of the opinion polls, I believe that it is right to make the voice of many heard through my honest citizens who are tired of certain politics and want a change in society. And if there is to be a change, it must necessarily go through the school. It is a message that the society of good people must convey to politics. It is the right time. Ecclesia semper reformanda, it is said. Well, the school has been waiting for years for its historic reform, namely the recognition of the freedom of educational choice. Only Italy is missing.

We talked about average student costs, the ways public school leaders deal with financial hardship. Today I want to return to focusing on family law.

What is family law? It is a law delegated to the government, which in articles 1 and 2 highlights important openings towards the themes of autonomy, scholastic equality and freedom of educational choice.

Here is the first article:

1. This Act contains provisions delegating to the Government for the adoption, reorganization and strengthening of provisions aimed at supporting parenting and the social and educational functioning of families, at combating pre-natality, at promoting harmonious and inclusive growth of children and young people , supporting the independence and economic autonomy of young people, as well as promoting the union of family life with the work of both parents and supporting female work in particular.

In particular, the social value of children’s education and learning activities, even non-formal, is thus confirmed through the recognition of tax reductions, exemptions, deductions in the tax base or deductions in income tax in relation to the expenses incurred by families or through the provision of a credit or a sum of money tied to the purpose.

Music to our ears! It is easy to understand the historical passage: the educational tasks of families (and the service role of schools) are recognized with special contributions, to the extent of awarding “tied sums of money” to those who do not pay taxes, i.e. say the disadvantaged classes. In the delegated decrees of the government, it could be clarified that the expenses of the families to attend private schools are recognized.

This is in full agreement with the Berlinguer Law, which recognizes “equality for equal schools” states that “In order to make the right to study and education effective for all students in state and equal schools … the state adopts an extraordinary plan of financing . .. must be used to support the expenses that families have incurred and documented for education through the awarding of scholarships of the same amount … primarily for the benefit of families in disadvantaged circumstances “(Article 9 – 11 of Law 62 – 2000) . The grant referred to in Law 62/2000 can be understood as the “standard cost per pupil”, the share that the state allocates to families for their children’s school: this does not constitute a withdrawal of funds from state schools, but a partial compensation of the savings that the state benefits from not attending state primary schools. It is, as can be seen, a question of a logical linking of legally founded arguments.

Article 2 confirms all this:

In the exercise of the delegation referred to in paragraph 1 of this article, in addition to the general guiding principles and criteria mentioned in article 1, the government must comply with the following additional principles and guiding criteria:

b) provide for measures to support families through contributions to cover, even for the full amount, the cost of fees in connection with participation in educational services for children

in accordance with the accreditation requirements established by applicable legislation and kindergartens.

It is clear that for children the procedure is in place to help families pay the tuition and not to disburse funds to schools. This principle had already been confirmed by Legislative Decree 65/2017 in Articles 9 and 12 to which I refer.

We await the implementation of legislative decrees (the government continues to work in a responsible way in time) to understand the scope of what seems to be the solution to guarantee the right to learn that every student has, beyond any economic discrimination.

There are many hardships that families and our schools live and have to face, but the prospect of the Family Law and the funds from the NRP, which are used to give our children a future, commits us to protect the pluralism that is increasingly threatened , especially in economically more fragile areas.

Eternal Rome, Eternal Vatican. This is how Pope Pius XI said to complain about the curial delays. We could use the same expression in the school area. We have been waiting for the reform of the reforms for too many years. Here we are. The legal and financial conditions are all there and constitute a bountiful harvest. It is necessary to continue along the path taken. Italians expect this and expect a new attitude from the political class, the humility of those who know that they must fulfill their duty because they enjoy the trust of the citizens and that trust, once gained, must be preserved.

“These are the fruits of humility: it is what keeps us against our weakness, makes it known and remembered every moment (…) And in adversity is comfort to the humble soul, which acknowledges itself worthy to suffer, and tries the feeling of joy that comes from consenting to justice”. (A. Manzoni, Observations on Catholic Morals).

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