Last April 18 I signed a letter together with a small group of teachers and parents, united by the need to ask a certain reopening, in the presence, for the month of September, of the school. The letter has collected more than 85 thousand signatures but has not been answered. Last May 23, throughout Italy, the same committee organized a demonstration simultaneously in 19 cities, always under the auspices of Priority to the School (this is the name of the initiative). We were not called into the government debate or received a response from the Ministry of Education. In the coming days there will be a lot of play, on the subject of school. This is a letter that I share with you and all those who are concerned about what will happen to our children the next school year.
Dear Minister Lucia Azzolina and, for information, kind President of the Council of Ministers, Giuseppe Conte,
– the ministers of the Republic and the government are required to comply with the constitutional provisions;
– the government has provided for public education an allocation of ordinary and extraordinary resources which is totally inadequate compared to the importance that schools have for future generations, for families and therefore for the economy and work of today and tomorrow ;
– to date we continue to record rhetorical and contradictory statements to which correspond, however, the disappearance of any reference to additional extraordinary resources for the school, against the investments announced for other public and private entities, and the consequent reduction in the enjoyment of a constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right;
– after our letter from April 18 and to which they joined further 85,000 people authoritative appeals have been made to it by several members of the intellectual world and the school sector;
– the concern in our country is such that on May 23 a peaceful invitation from the “Priority Committee to the school” – formed around the above letter – was enough for the squares of nineteen cities to go down thousands of people (parents, teachers, educators, students, school temporary workers) every day more aware of the risk of not finding again a school open in attendance in September;
– the reading of the documents produced so far shows: 1) the attempt to reduce school time through shifts, de facto abolition of full time, outsourcing of substantial parts of the school timetable (even 20 hours out of 40 for elementary school) and reduction of the school lesson time 60 to 40 minutes (one third reduction); 2) a deresponsibilisation by the national government that leaves the burden not only to organize the difficult logistics of the next school year but also the decision on which students will be able to fully enjoy the school in attendance;
– the determination of the workforce for the A.S. 2020/21 is taking place, just in these days, based on the pre-existing rules and there are widespread cases of staff reduction, class cuts in schools proposed by various Regional School Offices, in contradiction with what is indicated by the Technical-scientific Committee, which would expect the spacing of one meter between the pupils to ensure a safe return and presence in September.
We are therefore forced to reiterate our requests: in September, schools must be reopened safely, all – of every order and grade -, for all, without shorter hours, without shifts, without mixed teaching, without outsourcing half of the “school-time”, ensuring compliance with the articles . 3, 33 and 34 of our Constitution.
Requests that we invite you to take into due consideration at the “table” on the school announced by you and the Prime Minister Conte for tomorrow, Thursday 4 June. These requests are those that in recent days come from all those who write to us to participate in ours mobilizations in order to urge the government to bring all Italian students back to class in attendance and in continuity without shorter hours in September.
In addition, we want to know soon as a political and operational decision the Ministry and the government will take it in the light of the reports presented by the technical commissions they have set up.
For the reopening of the schools, the technical-scientific committee has already given indications, essentially centered on distancing, from which only one practical consequence is obtained: in order not to waste another year of school, spaces and teachers must be sufficient to bring all school students of all levels back to class in September. Ministry and government must find resources and means that allow all institutions in the country to apply these rules and to reopen, with non-reduced and safe timetables.
The indications of the Technical-scientific Committee also show something very serious: that responsibility for health prevention for the next school year is passed on to individual school managers and families. The government can make the school become a territorial health center, capable of keeping just under a fifth of the population safe, thus bringing together the centrality of school and health, complementary and inseparable rights. Security measures must be few, feasible and effective for the different health scenarios that are expected in September and with national responsibility: firstly, prevention measures at the entrance, the guarantee of regular and guaranteed tests for the teaching staff and ATA, possibility of changing the duties for those who fall into frailty, voluntary early retirement for those who are in their last years of career.
And for all this we are ready to manifest again, without waiting for September.
School Priority Committee