The daily fight for inclusion

Image: A Yush


Tarcísio de Freitas' government deepens inequality in special education

The publication of decree 68415, of 4/4/2024, is yet another action excluding the educational policy of the Tarcísio de Freitas/ Renato Feder government, which continues the line adopted by the João Doria/ Rossieli Soares/ Rodrigo Garcia government, posing the questions budgetary measures and the objective of implementing the “minimum State” above the needs of the population.

In the case of people with disabilities, the imposition of exclusionary measures has an even greater impact, considering the specific conditions of these people, especially when it comes to children and young people of school age. The fight for the inclusion of children and young people with disabilities in regular schools gained greater strength with the Declaration of Salamanca (1994), approved at the World Conference on Special Education held in this Spanish city. The reality, however, is that this inclusion is a daily struggle for families and educators, facing countless obstacles and prejudices.

In the first year of his administration, governor Tarcísio de Freitas published the State Special Education Policy, eliminating the assistant teacher, which many families had won through injunctions granted by the courts. In its place, it established the presence of professionals without teaching training who can even be outsourced.

In this way, more attentive pedagogical support for students with special needs depends exclusively on the teacher of the class or subject. We know, however, that under the current conditions of the state education network, with overcrowded classes and many other precarious situations, and without specific training, this service will not occur or will fall far short of the needs.

Now, with decree 68.415, this exclusionary policy gains another chapter, as the rule leaves it to family members or professionals designated by them to meet the personal needs of these students in the classroom. It turns out that the costs of this professional, if this is the family's decision, must be borne by them. Now, we are talking here about state schools, where the majority of students are low-income. Parents work or have jobs that prevent them from accompanying their children to school every day and, as a rule, they do not have enough income to pay a professional.

Arguments by some managers that the measure represents “an advance”, as it authorizes the presence of “personal attendants” in schools, is nothing more than a smokescreen. It is the State's obligation to guarantee quality public education for everyone. And this equality in service also implies meeting the specific needs of students with disabilities. This is not a privilege; quite the opposite.

The published decree actually creates another element of inequality and discrimination within an already unequal situation: students with disabilities whose families have greater availability or financial resources will have “personal attendants”, while students who belong to low-income families, whose parents and other family members do not have time available will be left behind.

For this reason, it is the duty of the entire society to denounce the exclusionary nature of this decree and demand the immediate institution of a true inclusive policy, which guarantees the rights of everyone in special education in the state of São Paulo.

*Maria Izabel Azevedo Noronha, Professor Bebel, it's dstate representative in São Paulo (PT). She was president of APEOESP.

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