Education in the transition of government

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By MARCOS FRANCISCO MARTINS, JOSÉ GONÇALVES GONDRA & LUCIANO MENDES DE FARIA FILHO*

The transition dilemma is political and becomes clearer in the field of education

Every government transition has its own particularities. The one that is being forwarded by the Lula-Alckmin ticket is perhaps one of the most complex in the republican history of Brazil, as it is characterized as a “very broad front”, encompassing social forces of the most different (and even antagonistic!) political-ideological shades, from left to right. right. Lula's political clarity in taking on this complicated task is expressed in his speeches, such as in São Paulo (24/10/22), when he said that “Our government will not belong to the PT, but to all who support us”. Thus constituted the victory, the Transition Team has established itself as a space of dispute, in particular, in the nucleus that took as its attribution to forward the work related to education.

Formally, things are going well, because once the election is over, Chapa Lula-Alckmin is articulating to assume the Presidency and relying on the guarantees of Law 10.609/2002 for the full functioning of the Transition Team: 50 Special Government Transition Positions ( CETG), access to data from public accounts, programs, projects and government activities. Except for the hilarious fact that the space made available to receive the Transition Team (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil – CCBB) was previously occupied by equipment and about 40 employees from ABIN (Brazilian Intelligence Agency), it does not lie in the formality cool the problem of transition.

The transition dilemma is political and gains solar clarity in the field of education. It should be noted that Fernando Haddad was expected to take over the Education Nucleus during the transition, based on the record of work performed at the MEC, so much so that Lula expressed interest in having him back in the portfolio. But, it seems that other buildings on the Esplanada shone more strongly in the ex-minister's pupils and there is talk today that he could go into the economy or planning, if the portfolio is reconfigured.

Despite his interest in other ministries, Fernando Haddad's political capital enabled him to articulate the Education Nucleus that works with the Transition Team. Available information indicates that he appointed the formerexecutive secretary of the MEC (2006-2014) and former minister (2014-2016), Henrique Paim, to coordinate the referred Nucleus, as well as composing a collective with 46 seats to produce the diagnosis of the national educational reality, indicate priorities to the government, suggest public policies and normative actions to implement them, some to be formalized on the first day of government: 01/01/2023.

And this is where the situation got complicated, because the composition of the Education Center does not politically represent the forces of the “very broad front”, since “business reformers of education” (funded by Itaú/Unibanco, Natura and businessman Jorge Paulo Lemann – see Rodrigo Ratier: https://www.uol.com.br/ecoa/colunas/rodrigo-ratier/) have 18 of the 46 seats, FGV (Fundação Getúlio Vargas) has 7, something completely disproportionate to the 3 representatives of the 107 federal universities and institutes. In addition, there are significant and unimaginable absences, such as student organizations (UNE – National Union of Students – and UBES – Brazilian Union of Secondary Students), the CNTE (National Confederation of Workers in Education), teacher unions and administrative technicians, ANFOPE (National Association for the Training of Education Professionals), ANPED (National Association of Graduate Studies and Research in Education) and social movements that work and contribute to education: LGBTQIA+ collectives, students, teachers unions, scientists, quilombolas, land, children's education, EJA (Youth and Adult Education) and indigenous people.

At first glance, it seems that the organizations and movements absent from the Núcleo de Educação were very busy in the difficult campaign for the election of Chapa Lula-Alckmin, while the “business reformers of education”, many of whom were coup leaders in 2016, articulated spaces in the instances that they would make a diagnosis of education and guide actions based on it. This is regrettable, because even considering the political and ideological breadth of the ticket, the under-representation of the sector is unacceptable, which, throughout history, especially in the last six difficult years, fought against the dismantling of public, free, secular and quality socially referenced in our country.

By the way, the absence of these subjects in the Education Center contradicts item 19 of the document “Let's Together Brazil – Guidelines for the Reconstruction Program in Brazil – Lula 2023-2026”: “Our objective is to rescue and strengthen the principles of the project democratic education, which was dismantled and degraded. In order to participate in the knowledge society, it is essential to rescue an education project that dialogues with the national development project. For this, it is necessary to strengthen universal, democratic, free, quality, socially referenced and inclusive public education, with appreciation and public recognition of education workers” (p. 6).

Leaving the Education Nucleus as it is configured, what was one of the most cited by Lula as a good example of PT governments will prevail, education, the interests of “business reformers”, who have their share of responsibility in the aforementioned dismantling of the “project democratic education”. It should be remembered that one of the “business reformers of education”, “Todos pela Educação”, until yesterday fought against initiatives such as the Cost Student Quality (CAQ). Obviously, they act guided by the conception that they have education as a private right, which is effective in the commodity form. Different is the conception of the absent forces in the Nucleus, because they conceive education as a fundamental human right, which must be implemented in the form of a public good, something adherent to what the Lula-Alckmin ticket announced in the “Guidelines for the program for the reconstruction of Brazil – Lula 2023-2026”.

It is interesting to observe that this dilemma within the scope of the Education Center was observed by subjects excluded from it, but due to pruritus or political naivety, they decided not to manifest and/or even to articulate actions with a view to guaranteeing space in the transition process. The arguments used to justify ineffectiveness are the most “creative”, such as: (i) it is necessary to trust Lula and the newly elected PT government, because they have already demonstrated their commitment to public education; (ii) one should not rush into actions that could be used by enemies to wear down the newly elected government; (iii) it is necessary to let the Transition Team work freely, without resistance from the field that has historically sided with Lula and the PT; (iv) it is necessary to know the initiatives of the Transition Team in order to be able to position yourself in relation to them and this will only occur from January 1st.

Now, do these subjects forget, do they not know, or do they resist accepting that the denial of action in politics means submitting to the force of those who are leading the debate and hegemonizing the field? They will remain “accepting in advance the predominance of centre-right forces” (Luiz Carlos de Freitas – https://avaliacaoeducacional.com/2022/11/09/na-area-de-educacao-comeca-mal-a-transicao/), sem dispute the direction of the transition and the future government?

The ineffectiveness of some valiant collective subjects, who should have been in the Nucleus, due to the historic struggle in favor of public education, must have been received with applause among the “business reformers of education”, because when they decide to act, the diagnosis will have already been made and , based on it, defined priorities and formulated public policies, expressed even in the form of legal measures to be signed by Lula on January 1st.

Many education professionals at all levels, researchers in the area and activists felt the need to act, but did not, among other reasons, because there was a lack of direction from the collective subjects that represent them. This was expressed in the huge reception given to the “Public note by teachers, researchers and education activists on the composition of the education transition commission” (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdAHitLIDV9fic-oxMvFafTxQtJZcYvsgnX5flpNzzQUaAzYQ/viewform), which recognizes inequality of representation in the Nucleus and calls for expansion with the forces that fought against the dismantling of the public school. Fortunately, it seems to have mobilized subjects not represented in the Education Center to seek the space that belongs to them.

To ensure an increasingly public and inclusive education, that such democratic forces are able to move the Education Center of the Transition Team to a democratic level, organically incorporating themselves into it, so that they also participate in the elaboration of the diagnosis of education and present proposals, drawn up based on the scientific rigor of research and a number of valuable experiences, with a view to guaranteeing quality public schooling for the Brazilian population as a whole.

*Marcos Francisco Martins is a professor at the Faculty of Education at UFScar-Sorocaba campus.

*José Gonçalves Gondra He is a full professor at the Faculty of Education at UERJ.

*Luciano Mendes de Faria Filho Professor at the Faculty of Education at UFMG.

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