Florestan Fernandes, sociology and public education

Image: Cyrus Saurius


Florestan's seminal importance in the founding work of those who, under his guidance, contributed to the consolidation of the sociology of education in the country

The commemoration of the centenary of the birth of prof. Florestan Fernandes invites you to reflect on aspects related to his important theoretical contribution to educational studies and to his fierce militancy in defense of public schools, inseparable dimensions of his intellectual trajectory. And, in particular, to examine the reasons why such aspects are little mentioned or valued in the debates and analyzes that surround his work.

Unfortunately, I was not a student of Prof. Florestan, it was not possible for me to take advantage of his classes. I belong to an intermediate generation that entered the university after Institutional Act n. 5, from 1969, and experienced the curtailment of some of the most representative critical voices, with greater theoretical consistency and political combativeness, among them Professor Florestan Fernandes.

I belong to a generation that trod, in the ellipses of silence, after the compulsory retirement and exile of several professors, the paths of resistance to the military dictatorship taken by those other masters who stayed at USP's FFLCH, who gradually broke the barrier of fear, maintaining vigor in research, in theoretical elaboration, and to whose fearlessness and struggle is due the continuity of the fertile theoretical and political legacy of prof. Florestan and his students, from the group of researchers he guided and formed.

I cite, in particular, two of them: professors Celso de Rui Beisiegel and Luiz Pereira, guided by prof. Florestan, with whom I maintained an intellectual and emotional relationship, as they were my advisors. I was also a student, among others, of profs. Heloisa Fernandes, Paulo Silveira, Brasílio Sallum (who replaced Luís Pereira, after his early death, in supervising my doctorate), and also, in graduate school, at the suggestion of Luís Pereira, I attended – for a few years – seminars on the works by Marx and Henri Lefebvre, taught by prof. José de Souza Martins. All of them, in turn, were supervised by Luiz Pereira and became professors in the Department of Sociology at FFLCH-USP.

It was in this way that the writings of Prof. Florestan and his theoretical orientations, shared by my advisors, were part of my training. As stated by the late Prof. Celso Beisiegel,

Despite the current multiplication of fields of interest, the diversification of intellectual affiliations and the growing deepening of specialties, the marks of origin in the Faculty of Philosophy are still present in work habits and in the permanent demand for rigor in investigations (Beisiegel, 2003, p. . 364).

In the intellectual interaction with my advisors, I got to know the great contribution of Florestan Fernandes to the development of the field of sociological research in Brazil, the relevance of his interpretations on the specificities of capitalist development in the country, and, mainly, I learned how to do research, choosing the educational field as an area of ​​study. Through my advisors, I discovered the centrality assumed by education in Florestan's work, I learned to value the fundamental importance of public schools in the process of “social transformation of Brazilian society”, as FF claimed in the 1950s, a transformation that later , after the 1964 coup and its disastrous implications, will be characterized by him as the process of rupture of Brazilian society with its dependent capitalist condition, towards democracy, towards socialism.

In the course of my learning, of theoretical and political maturation, I recognized in the example and intellectual and moral dignity of these masters my own academic identity, my responsibilities and commitment, as an intellectual and as an educator, with the working classes, the exploited, the " humiliated and offended”, with “those from below”, as prof. Florestan. I learned that the realization of this commitment would have to go through the challenge – emphasized by him – of overcoming the cultural “heteronomy” that we are led to develop in social life, particularly in academic life, as a result of the processes of imposition of dominant representations and practices. , which we naturalize, and to build - as a researcher and university professor - the essential intellectual autonomy in the effort to update historical and sociological interpretations regarding the educational situation in the specific frameworks of Brazilian capitalist society in its uneven and combined development, a path trodden by my advisors, who chose – not coincidentally – the area of ​​education as the focus of their militant activities.

Coherently, the construction of knowledge took place, for them, through research and social intervention - also republishing here the guidelines of prof. Florestan and his “sociology of praxis”, defined, for this very reason, as a “sociology of hope”. And the innovative content of praxis, as reiterated by José de Souza Martins (1998, p. 15 and 102), passes first through democratic education.

In Florestan, sociology asserts itself, at the same time, as a sociology of knowledge, a “form of social awareness of Brazilian society”, an aspect that, for Martins (1998, p. 15), would also define the work of his advisees and collaborators , constituting them in what he calls the “Sociological School of São Paulo”. Although Prof. Florestan refused such characterization, emphasizing the intellectual freedom of his assistants and students, considered essential to the development of an autonomous and creative scientific production, I tend to agree with Martins. With due regard for the diversity of themes and interpretations assumed by the members of this group, it is possible to state that the works constitute a school to the extent that they are defined by the “construction of a sociological perspective rooted in the historical, social and cultural singularities of Brazilian society”, critical of the interpretative guidelines produced in the dominant countries, “whose sociological reality is largely different” (Martins, 1998, p. 18).

This somewhat lengthy personal digression aims to introduce and justify the choice of direction for the notes outlined here. Demarcating the importance of education in FF's work implies two essential and inseparable points – the incidence of his theoretical elaboration in the production of research in the educational field, and his contribution to public education policies. And both go through the difficult and complex issue of erasing memory, or rather, the oblivion to which circumstances, people and situations are subjected in the course of history.

The various books published after Florestan's death in 1995, and now, in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth, made visible the omission of sociologists, even those from FFLCH-USP, by not addressing the educational issue in the analyzes of the set of author's work. Only books and articles by researchers and professors in the area of ​​education did so (1).

Likewise, in recalling the founding years of the Faculty of Philosophy on Rua Maria Antônia and the legacy of prof. Florestan Fernandes and his group of students, assistants and collaborators, of the professors who made up the teaching staff of the institution, two names were rarely remembered, two assistants of prof. Florestan, who took up teaching in Sociology I at FFLCH, and who are both – coincidentally – protagonists in the creation and development of the sociology of education in Brazil – profs. Luiz Pereira and Celso de Rui Beisiegel. Which causes strangeness because, as is known, the educational issue is constitutive of the analysis of dependent capitalism, that is, prof. Florestan formulated fundamental interpretations of aspects of Brazilian society that expand the possibility of theoretical understanding of education as an inclusive social process and of the impasses of public education in Brazil.

Finally, and on the other hand, as Prof. Osmar Fávero, the insertion of FF in the field of educational thought is not “completely consensual”, perhaps “because he does not have a production and a dialogue dedicated to the sociology of education”, although he has formed excellent sociologists of education, or perhaps because of the interpretation more current that his thinking about education is more “political” than “academic”. The fact is that the references made to him in discussions in the educational field “are usually disproportionate to the quality of his work, the potential of his analyzes and the importance of his performance in the sphere of educational issues and struggles” (Fávero, 2005, p. 3).

I share the position of studies that affirm the relevance of Florestan to understand the transformations and dilemmas experienced by public education until today. His analyzes are essential to support the proposition that it is dependent capitalism that brings the present closer to the immediate past, that is, that the line of continuity that unites the commodification of education in the present to that of the civil-military dictatorial period is the dependent capitalist condition (Leher , 2005,, p. 212-3).

Therefore, not agreeing with this relative silence or erasure of memory, the objective of the intervention is to explain the contribution of Florestan Fernandes' thought and its seminal importance in the founding work of those who, under his guidance, contributed to the consolidation of the sociology of education in the country.

Florestan Fernandes, FFCL – USP and the Regional Center for Educational Research/CRPE

It is not, therefore, a matter of just lamenting the oblivion, but of bringing to memory circumstances/events that can help us to recompose the historical analysis of Brazilian education in the period, and to fill in some gaps of understanding for the apprehension of the listed themes. Movement that we consider essential in the current era of erasure of memory and cultural destruction by far-right governments.

Following the teachings of my advisor, I am convinced that the history of an institution is important in the intellectual and moral formation of its professors, students and employees (Beisiegel, 2003, p. 357). And that, according to our purpose, such contextualization will contribute to the understanding of the definition of the first orientations of prof. Florestan to his students, assistants and collaborators in the field of educational research, whose legacy – of which he was the guardian – shaped the paths of the sociology of education in Brazil.

When revisiting the history of USP and my work unit, FEUSP, it is possible to observe that some institutions contributed to the definition of the first orientations of educational research. Chronologically, the former and ephemeral Institute of Education appears first, which in turn points to its origins in the Escola Normal Secundária in Praça da República. Then, there is the decisive presence of the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters, created in 1934, within the scope of the founding process of the University of São Paulo, to constitute the backbone of the new university. The Regional Center for Educational Research (CRPE) in São Paulo, organized in 1956, and the College of Application of the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters (2), created the following year, complete the list of the most important ones.

The Decree of foundation of the University of São Paulo (State Decree nº 6.283, of January 25, 1934) created the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters and determined that the Faculty of Law, the Polytechnic School, the “Luiz de Queiroz” School of Agriculture, the Faculty of Medicine and the Institute of Education (Antunha, 1974, p. 85).

In a study on the foundation and reform of the University of São Paulo, prof. Heládio Antunha (1974, p. 98-99) informs that the Institute of Education partially carried out an old project to create a college of education in São Paulo. The discussion about the convenience and possibility of creating a higher school of specialized pedagogical studies and improvement for teachers and school administrators, or “pedagogical improvement of teachers and dissemination of general culture” dated back to the first years of the second decade of the century.

The author follows the course of the Institute of Education from its origins, still as a middle-level course at Escola Normal da Praça, to higher education. In 1931, a State Decree created the Pedagogical Institute at the former Escola Normal da Praça, an Improvement Course, as a technical preparation body for inspectors, teaching delegates, directors of establishments and teachers of the normal course. This Pedagogical Institute, transformed in 1933 into the Institute of Education, would be incorporated, the following year, into the University of São Paulo. The process ended with the extinction of the Institute of Education and its conversion, in 1938, into the Education Section of the Faculty of Philosophy, transformed into the Pedagogy Section, later the Department of Education, which worked at FFCL as responsible for the Pedagogy course and for the pedagogical training of degree courses, until the 1970 reform.

The first occupants of teaching positions at the Institute of Education were former teachers of the normal course at Escola Normal da Praça. Among them were, in the words of Antunha, “some of the most expressive and most respectable figures of São Paulo education”. Fernando de Azevedo, Almeida Júnior, Noemy da Silveira Rudolfer, Roldão Lopes de Barros, Milton da Silva Rodrigues, among others, linked the concerns and educational studies now carried out at the Faculty of Philosophy to the tradition of studies and reflections that marked the first decades of the century at Escola Normal da Praça. It is worth highlighting, as pioneering expressions in defining this tradition of studies, the contributions of Antonio Sampaio Dória, Manuel Bergstrom Lourenço Filho and Fernando de Azevedo, all of them characterized as “educators of educational renewal” and directors of Public Instruction in the State of São Paulo.

When the Institute of Education was incorporated into the University of São Paulo, Fernando de Azevedo was already one of the most prestigious educators in the country. He had been responsible for teaching reforms in the state of São Paulo and in the Federal District, and had written, alongside Anísio Teixeira and other educators, the “Manifesto of the Pioneers of New Education”. Soon after, he would have an important role in the founding of the University of São Paulo, where he would work to define the guidelines for educational research, occupying the chair of Sociology I, at the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters, in which prof. Florestan Fernandes was his assistant, without having been his student. Subsequently, Florestan will become assistant to prof. Roger Bastide, of whom he was also a student, and will replace him in the chair, after completing his Habilitation and Bastide's return to France.

In studies on the concepts that guided the creation of the new university, special importance is attributed to the idea of ​​building the University of São Paulo based on a Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters, responsible for cultivating all branches of knowledge, promoting the teaching of non-utilitarian subjects, carrying out scientific research and higher studies “of a disinterested nature”, holding basic courses in subjects common to other university institutes and collaborating in teacher training. As Heladio Antunha (1974, p. 87) observes, in those initial moments of implantation, “the peculiar conception of the objectives and integrative functions of the Faculty of Philosophy is what gave the São Paulo model its own and unmistakable characteristic”.

In this regard, in his critical writings about the university, Florestan Fernandes several times points out as one of the central problems the difficulties arising from professional colleges or isolated higher schools, lamenting that “in the Brazilian intellectual heritage there is no effort to create integrated universities, something that happened in Spanish America” (3).

According to Florestan Fernandes, when the idea of ​​a university arises in Brazil, it refers to this isolated superior school from which active resistance is made to the creation of an authentic university, preventing the first attempt to create a university in the federal district in the 1920s. of 1920. On the other hand, it will “deteriorate the attempt to implant USP, making it very difficult for the appearance of an authentic university” that will remain “nominal and merely legal” for several years, coming to exist only through FFCL, “which it is an anomaly and occurs in the largest higher school that Brazil has ever had”. This circumstance may have delayed the creation and subsequent reform of the university in Brazil, a reform that took place in the 1950s in the Iberian countries, but which only took place in Brazil in the 2020s, “as an internal movement, of professors, that is, of some USP professors, mainly from FF, who were naturally powerless to take the project forward in the conflict” (Fernandes, F., 273, p. XNUMX).

From the point of view of forming research orientations, perhaps the most important decision on the organization of the new school was to hire foreign professors to start, at the Faculty of Philosophy, “without the impediments of the chair system, the study of disciplines not yet consolidated in the country” (Antunha, 1974, p. 45). The legacy of the French university mission thus made it possible to deepen the construction of a tradition of research and higher studies at the university, with the consequent formation of a new cadre of intellectuals and specialists.

As Martins (1998, p. 35) emphasizes, the founding of USP and the hiring of French professors favored, contradictorily, the creation of an environment conducive to research, to the debate on the paths taken by Brazilian society and its dilemmas. Education was conceived, from the beginning, as a major instrument for the dissemination of a scientific and critical awareness of society, an instrument for social change through the action of educators. The vigor of the idea “of education as the main mission” is found in the works of Fernando de Azevedo, Antônio Candido, Florestan Fernandes and teaching researchers who succeeded them, such as Luís Pereira, Maria Alice Foracchi, and Celso Beisiegel, among others.

The centrality of education in the studies carried out in that period is largely due to the creation of the Regional Center for Educational Research in São Paulo (CRPE/SP), in 1956, as part of an ambitious project by Anísio Teixeira, then director of the National Institute of Pedagogical Research – INEP, with the explicit intention of placing the social sciences at the service of the educational reconstruction of the country. In addition to a Brazilian Center for Educational Research (CBPE), five regional centers were created in the states of São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais, Bahia and Pernambuco. The Regional Center of São Paulo was installed through an agreement signed between INEP and USP, represented by the departments of Pedagogy, Sociology and Anthropology of FFCL (4). Under the agreement, the departments were responsible for nominating the director and members of the Board of Directors. In practice, almost all researchers were or had been linked to the Faculty of Philosophy. From the perspective of the agents and institutions involved at the time, the Center could be seen as an extension of the Faculty of Philosophy (FERREIRA, 2001).

In an article on the production of knowledge in the sociology of education, Celso Beisiegel recalls that the CRPE/SP, committed above all to the reconstruction of public schools in the country, contributed in many ways to the expansion of educational research: it intensified relations between researchers from São Paulo and from other states, especially those equally contemplated with the installation of regional research centers, expanded the field of action of intellectuals and researchers already linked to the educational field and, at the same time, was an important channel for insertion of questions of education among researchers from other departments at the University (Beiseigel, 2013, p. 596).

It should also be noted that, as it was initially made up of young people, almost all recent graduates or still students of the FFCL's undergraduate courses in Pedagogy, Philosophy and Social Sciences, the CRPE functioned as a training ground and subsequent recruitment of researchers to other schools of higher education in the field of education. A good example is Florestan Fernandes' own involvement with education issues, largely explained by the sociologist's intense participation in the discussions that preceded the creation of educational research centers. The works presented at the Symposium on Brazilian Educational Problems, coordinated by Fernando de Azevedo, the first director of CRPE – SP, and by Anísio Teixeira, president of INEP, exemplify the statement: he got involved in the discussion about education and its problems in society a significant contingent of university intellectuals (Ferreira, 2001).

Anísio's repeated statements about research centers as instruments for the country's educational renewal found, about twenty years later, the ideals already advocated by the educator alongside the "Pioneers of New Education" in the Manifesto of 1932. The Manifesto contained positions undeniably advanced. For educators committed to building a fairer education system, respecting the differences in time and situation, much of what he defended continues to be valid, either as a statement of values ​​and objectives to be achieved or as guidelines for carrying out educational research. (Beisiegel, 2003, p.359).

The rapporteur himself understood it as a watershed for public opinion and for educators between two currents, “that of conservative thought, if not reactionary, and that of renovators” (Azevedo, 1958, p. 55). This renewing orientation was present, among many other items, in the affirmation of the purposes of the new education, as “a categorical, intentional and systematic reaction against the old structure of the educational service (...)”, a new education that, “no longer serving the class interests that it has served, (...) ceases to constitute a privilege determined by the economic and social condition of the individual, to assume a “biological character”, with which it organizes itself for the collectivity in general, recognizing every individual as right to be educated to the extent of their natural aptitudes, regardless of economic and social reasons” (Azevedo, 1958, p. 64).

As a result of the defense of this right of each individual to their integral education, the State was obliged to consider education as an eminently public social attribution, which must be carried out with the collaboration of all social institutions (Azevedo, op. cit., p. 66). This conception of education defended secularism in teaching, free education extended to all official institutions and compulsory education, which should progressively extend to the age of 18, an age reconcilable with productive work.

Among many other aspects of great interest for reflection and educational research, the Manifesto, as pointed out by Beisiegel (2003, p.360), dealt with the central question of planning educational reconstruction, which meant promoting the continuity and integration of teaching in all the degrees and stages of teaching. The primary school should be articulated with a unified secondary school, without dualisms, with a common base of three years, “ceasing to be the old school of a social group”. Complementarily, he defended a broad, integral reform of the organization and teaching methods throughout national education, from kindergarten to university, which would point to the student's creative activity as core.

The seminal conceptions about education debated and defended by Florestan Fernandes in the development of the Regional Center for Educational Research will guide his decisive action in the Campaign in defense of the public school, in the elaboration of the first LDB, in 1961, and his political insertion as a federal deputy, in the struggle by the Citizen Constitution of 1988, and the elaboration of the LDB, in 1996, whose final version would not get approved.

In his statement to the program “Memória Viva da Educação Brasileira”, an INEP initiative in 1989, later published under the title “Os dilemmas educational. Past and present in perspective”, Florestan Fernandes publicly honors Anísio Teixeira “as the greatest pedagogue” of the group of renovators, “pioneers of educational reforms”:

He was the greatest and only pedagogue and he tried to transfer pragmatism in education here, which was not a venial sin, because Dewey's disciples, in the USA, put education at the service of transforming communities. And what Anísio Teixeira intended was to create in Brazil a type of school that would express our human reality, that would be able to function as a dynamo in the creation of a civilizing process that would break with the past once and for all.

In another relevant passage of his testimony, Florestan argues:

“I must say that the importance of Inep and the importance of Anísio Teixeira are two things so closely linked that Inep's previous past has disappeared, it has faded into our historical memory. Inep identified with Anísio Teixeira himself. He embodied the ideals of transforming education that Anísio Teixeira defended. And, I must say, that Anísio Teixeira saw the problem of education in a very broad perspective. He did not think of education in strict terms, of a segregated activity, isolated from the world, but he and other colleagues of the generation thought of Pedagogy, Philosophy, which are matters, so to speak, intrinsic to the very nature of the educational act. But they thought of Sociology, they thought of Biology, Psychology. Therefore, they had a grandiose architectural perception, which they tried to implement, for example, at the Institute of Education in São Paulo, in the organization of the Didactics course at FFLCH and, at the same time, and this is very important to emphasize, I carried out this analysis regarding Educational Sociology, the work of Fernando de Azevedo, but what can be done in relation to Anísio Teixeira with greater relevance”.

And he will be even more emphatic: “So, the meaning of Inep is as important as the development of the Week of Modern Art or the foundation of the University of São Paulo. It is an innovation that had roots in our deepest realities, that went to the insoluble contradictions, within a capitalist society, of Brazilian problems and that, therefore, could trigger a process of change within the country of immeasurable scope”.

It concludes, however, with a caveat: “But what fuels change and resistance to change is always a political position in class relations. What does a class intend to conserve in its situation of interests and in its system of values? What do you want to change…? It is necessary to equate and answer this question that is placed above a transformation that would take place within the space of the capitalist social order. (…) For Fernando de Azevedo as for Anísio Teixeira, due to the influences of Dewey, the change would be progressive, because it would unleash the potential of modern civilization, which the bourgeois classes did not spread, did not accelerate, on the contrary, smothered. And this happened not only in Brazil, but throughout Latin America … And it was only where there was external pressure, from the bottom up, that the bourgeois classes opened up to the great historical reforms”.

Such considerations are in line with the analysis of dependent capitalism, refined in the struggles against the dictatorship. It is possible to perceive that Florestan Fernandes' reflection tends to qualify the question of development, questioning in its very foundation, the supposed developmentalist solutions for underdevelopment. Florestan discusses and denies the developmentalist proposal of the need for “national union” to enable the acceleration of development, a development that, after all, he understood as being internationalized and reproducing dependent capitalist relations, which caused underdevelopment itself. His reflection thus tends, as Cardoso (2005, p. 33) indicates, to qualify the question of development in broader and apparently more fluid terms of social change, pointing to the need to distinguish between any social change and structural changes. Thus, he shifts the discussion from the predominantly economic field in which the ideology of development is preferably situated to the field of social and political relations. As seen, in the quoted passage, it becomes crucial to identify who is interested or not in this or that change, this or that “development”. In this movement, Florestan places the problem of classes and class struggles at the solid core of his concept, and as it could not fail to happen, he discusses the terrain on which these struggles are fought, when the problem of intellectuals is posed.

In one of the seminars on Brazilian educational problems, held at the CRPE in 1959, and later published in his essays on general and applied sociology under the title “Applied science and education as factors of provoked cultural change”, Florestan Fernandes analyzes in detail the attributions of social scientists in society and defends their participation alongside educators – as he calls teachers of public basic education schools – to develop rational practical modalities for dealing with educational problems:

For Florestan, it was of fundamental interest to associate educators and social scientists in projects that would definitively contribute to the discovery of suitable, economical and quick means of rational intervention in the structure and functioning of the Brazilian educational system. It involves severe financial burdens for a poor and destitute country, including a school network to deal with emergencies. However, it opens up encouraging prospects, as it allows for articulating the solution of educational problems with effective knowledge and control of the factors responsible for the state of pauperism, underdevelopment and institutional imbalance in Brazilian society” (Fernandes, F., 1971, p. 193)

In this way, for him, “(…) the specialized knowledge provided by social scientists would give educators the possibility of subjecting educational problems to a kind of rational control that corresponds to the requirements and targets of educational reconstruction itself, which does not it may be subordinated to other models of intervention, if not those involved in the cultural change provoked” (op. cit., p. 212).

In addition to the fundamental requirement of method, of the social sciences acting to expand the theoretical building itself, the important thing, for Florestan, consisted of the contribution of the social sciences to the knowledge of education in the country, to “place education within its historical axis” (Fernandes F., 2020, p.346).

This perspective will guide the engagement of Florestan and his students, as well as other professors and researchers at FFCL-USP, in the production of research on educational problems, studies that bear “a systematic practice of scientific research” (Beisiegel, 2013, p. . 566), who can be considered pioneers in the field of sociology of education. Among them, necessarily, the works of Fernando de Azevedo, Antonio Candido, Florestan Fernandes, Marialice Mencarini Foracchi, Luiz Pereira and Celso de Rui Beisiegel.

The book educational sociology (AZEVEDO, 1954), completed in 1940 by Fernando de Azevedo, is, as observed by Beisiegel (2013, p. 594) one of the significant milestones in the affirmation of the discipline. Next, Antônio Candido's essay on  Differences between countryside and city and their meaning for education refers to the thesis entitled Contribution to the study of rural education problems, presented in collaboration with José Querino Ribeiro (1952) at the IV Normalist Congress of Rural Education, held in São Carlos, in 1951, whose more elaborate version was published in 1957 in the first issue of the magazine Research and Planning, from the São Paulo Regional Center for Educational Research. According to the author himself, his studies were based on works such as the german ideology, by Marx, L'homme des revolutions politiques et sociales, by Lefebvre, as well as in analyzes by Sorokin, Zimmerman and Galpin on rural and urban sociology (SOUZA, 1957). Another article by Antônio Candido, The structure of the school, result of “the sociologist's effort to contribute to the work of the educator” (Beisiegel, 2013, p.594), was published in 1963 in the collection Education and Society, organized by Luiz Pereira and Marialice Forachi.

Although she died early (1972), Marialice Mencarini Foracchi (5) developed an important contribution within the framework of a sociology apprehended as an instrument of knowledge aimed at social transformation, devoting herself, following Florestan's guidance, to studies on Karl Mannheim's contribution to the sociological analysis of education and, later, on the student as a social category and the meaning of youth movements in the contemporary world. your books The student and the transformation of Brazilian society and Youth in modern society, in addition to the collection of texts The social participation of the excluded (1965, 19722 and 1982) were and continue to be references for studies on youth in Brazil, to the extent that the sociologist, while remaining linked to the issues of her time, “can recognize and incorporate into her reflection the emergence of questions still today central to the debate on the condition of youth and on modern society” ( Augusto, Maria H. Oliva, 2005, p. 12).

Luiz Pereira (6) will also dedicate himself, in his first years of university activity, to the development of research in the field of education. As a researcher at the Regional Center for Educational Research in São Paulo / CRPE-SP, he developed an original study on performance and deficiencies in Brazilian primary education, whose results were presented at the Symposium on Brazilian Educational Problems, organized by CRPE-SP. In that study, school evasion and dropout were already understood as social problems, “an expression of the more global situation of delay and poverty of the popular classes and of national underdevelopment” (Beisiegel, 1999, p. 356-7).

The specialization monograph in sociology and the doctoral thesis at FFCL, respectively, The school in a metropolitan area e The Primary Magisterium in class society, defended in the 1960s and 1961, present the results of a pioneering sociological investigation on the attributions of public schools and the condition of their teachers in a changing society, using the case study methodology for in-depth analysis of a primary school in an area worker housing on the outskirts of Santo André. The study of the teaching staff introduces and problematizes primary teaching as one of the ways of inserting middle-class women into the economically active population, inaugurating the fertile debate on work and the female condition, that is, on gender or sex relations in the teaching work, within the scope of labor relations.

One can also note here the expression of the studies carried out at the time under the supervision of Florestan Fernandes. In the presentation of the academic edition of the monograph, Florestan Fernandes (1960, p. II) points out that

“(…) his contribution takes as a unit of investigation a working-class community in highly industrialized areas of the country. We can therefore count on a very productive empirical and practical reference system. How does the primary school operate in a proletarian neighborhood? How is school education valued in the cultural horizon of a heterogeneous population and in an incipient process of professional classification in industrial society? What are the psychosocial and sociocultural obstacles that have been preventing, within the schools themselves, the adjustment of school institutions to the educational needs of the social environment?”

In the anthology of studies on sociology of education, Education and Society, organized by Pereira and Foracchi in 1963, the purposes of “rigorous delimitation of the field to be investigated” include a section aimed at debating the issue of “the relationship between education and socio-economic development” located “in the perspective of the underdeveloped world” (p. 359), with the inclusion of Brazilian authors such as Anísio Teixeira, Celso Furtado and Florestan Fernandes; Latin Americans, such as Victor Urquidi, and the Swede Gunnar Myrdal (7), focused on the debate on the sociological concept of development.

In the introduction to the theme, stating the need to face education (understood as a global social process and not just in its schooling form) “from a new angle” and “the role of the sociologist be redefined in terms of greater breadth, responsibility and audacity”, Pereira and Foracchi (1963:359) emphasize “that education and development should not be thought of as independent processes, which are only associated by impositions of the historical circumstances of the present”. And they argue: “although the subject itself seems modern and up-to-date, social progress has never failed to present definite educational dimensions. If that hadn't happened, we wouldn't even be able to understand the meaning of education in the modern world, that is, its factor of social reconstruction”.

His analyses, at that time, focused on the relationship between education and development, which included the problem of the discrepancy between school organization and the needs of a society in a “process of industrialization and democratic modernization”, differed from those that relied on functionalist approaches. of the theory of human capital, which, as Aparecida Joly Gouveia (1985, p. 4) observes, “would have a significant influence” on academic research at the time.

Already in 1965 – after the military coup and the period of developmentalist hopes ended – in the study Work and development in Brazil, by “situating the qualification of work in the expansion and consolidation of capitalism in contemporary Brazilian society”, Luiz Pereira defines the “dynamic relationships between educational institutions and inclusive social structures”, as the central problem of Brazilian pedagogical thinking, formulating the hypothesis that in the growing process of bureaucratization and rationalization of school organization (as opposed to the traditionalist one), the role of the State, businessmen and educators tended “to an ever greater instrumentalization of school institutions”. The economics of education consisted of theorizing this instrumentalization, “concerned with the profitability of expenditures made or achievable with education”, which appears, then, conceived as “an instrument for the production of 'human capital', schools as companies ou 'locii' of this production”. The “approach, treatment, conclusions and recommendations” about the relationship between education and underdevelopment-development are always in line with the 'economics of education' (8): “people are not taken care of, but the workforce; it is not a question of the constitution of historically determined men, but of the elaboration of a necessary factor of production – workforce at the various levels and types of technical qualification. And so we find the predominant economicist technicality in its abstract character, in the formulations on the subject and in its insufficiency”.

And, he concludes: “[the economy of education] presupposes men adjusted to the capitalist social-economic formation – and it is in this direction that the contributions of social scientists (especially sociologists) predominantly go, while they behave as technicians regarding the psychosocial factors, inherent to the 'common' man, less suitable or insufficient for development (capitalist development) (p.290-3)”.

In my view, each of the members of Florestan's group reacted in their own way to the political transformation of the country and the university brought about by the 1964 coup d'état. Prof. Florestan, particularly, will record in his future work, especially in The bourgeois revolution in Brazil, the insurgency and the depth of the ongoing changes, opting, as Martins (2013, p.126) points out, for a radical interpretation that would indicate “the possible new historical trends of Brazilian society”.

And that was also Luiz Pereira's choice. His production, even affected at times by the harassment of Althusser's structuralism, never failed to represent the complex intellectual tradition, inherited from Florestan, the understanding of the historical singularity of the Brazilian social formation. As an advisor, he insisted on the contributions of the problematizing readings of Marx's thought, developed by Antonio Gramsci and Henri Lefebvre, as indispensable to the understanding of the contemporary capitalist State and the specificities of our peripheral society. He died prematurely, without having the necessary time to update and give his last analyzes the vigor that the new historical reality under construction would surely infuse them.

On the other hand, I see the classification that separates Luiz Pereira's initial production, focused on the sociology of education, from his later work, characterized by studies considered as belonging to the sociology of work, as mistaken. I think that similar to the research carried out by Pierre Naville in the 1950s and 1960s, his studies can be seen, in large part, as “chapters of a sociology of education” insofar as they take as their object not only school education, but , in a broader sense, the relationship between education and work. The notions of division of labor, knowledge and qualification are at the center of his analyzes that seek to apprehend processes, movements, and to “relate training processes with those of the hierarchical organization of work” (Tanguy, 1986, p.110). Incidentally, it is important to state that, in the process of academic segmentation of knowledge, both the sociology of education (transformed for a long time into a school sociology) and the sociology of work (focused on company relations, the use of the workforce, to labor management policies, employment policies) ended up ignoring the importance of issues related to workforce training. Contrary to what some say, Luiz Pereira's work breaks with this separation, and this is one of the legacies that his advisees received, in accordance with Prof. Florestan Fernandes: the presupposition of totality and the dialogue between dialectics and other disciplines (10).

As far as Prof. Celso de Rui Biesiegel (11), in line with Florestan Fernandes and other professors from that generation that helped to develop and consolidate sociological theory in Brazil, the work of theoretical reflection developed by him is closely related to the set of his social activities and professionals (12).

It was “a long journey”, as he characterizes it. As a student of the graduation course in Social Sciences, at the former Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of USP, he was a student of Fernando de Azevedo, Antonio Candido, Maria Isaura Pereira de Queiroz, Ruy Galvão Coelho, Egon Shaden, Octavio Ianni and Florestan Fernandes , in whose classes and, mainly, in the “fighting spirit and example of Florestan Fernandes”, from whom he was supervised, he found “the most general orientations and main guidelines for action” that he tried to follow throughout his professional life (Beisiegel, C. de Rui, 2009, p. 244).

At the invitation of Florestan, in 1957, Celso Beisiegel joined the institutional staff as an intern in the Social Studies Division of the Regional Center for Educational Research (CRPE), in São Paulo. In those years, he occupied the chair of Sociology I at the FFCL, accompanying Florestan “on his wanderings” in the campaign in defense of public schools. During the period, he also exercised secondary and normal teaching in the State of São Paulo, directing a state night gym on the outskirts of the Capital and worked at the State Fund for School Construction (Fece) of the Action Plan of the Carvalho Pinto government, returning to I work in the Educational Guidance sector at CRPE, at the time directed by Maria José Garcia Werebe (13). It was during this research training that he met two former students of Paulo Freire, in Recife, who led him to work in Vila Helena Maria, Osasco, where the União Estadual dos Estudantes carried out a pilot experience with the Paulo Freire method. And, shortly after the military coup in 1964, another adult literacy experience with the Paulo Freire method was developed in Ubatuba, on the coast of São Paulo, with the participation of the Regional Center for Educational Research (CSV, 2009, p. 125).

On that occasion, after threats and persecutions during the hardest years of the civil-military dictatorship, he was assigned to the discipline of Sociology of Education in the Pedagogy course at the newly created Faculdade de Educação USP, remaining in this role until his retirement in 2005.

If the critical content of classical and modern sociology was confronted, in the expression of Florestan Fernandes (1980, p. 112), “with the expanding class society”, such as Brazilian society, which bears accentuated social, economic, political inequalities and cultural, such concerns will be seminal in the studies and research developed by Celso on the relationships between social changes and educational changes. In the educational sociology that it will build, with an emphasis on the historicity of the social, priority will be given to the themes of the democratization of public schools, the expansion of educational opportunities and the quality of teaching, in their relationship with popular social demands and State action. In this scope, the analyzes initially focus on “the practices of popular education”, the teaching of illiterate young people and adults and literacy campaigns.

His master's thesis – Political Action and expansion of the school network – , the doctorate – State and popular education –, and free teaching – Politics and popular education: Paulo Freire's theory and practice -, a rigorous study of the Paulo Freire method, are considered classic references in the area, as well as, in his production as a whole, the rich and enlightening analyzes related to the concept of popular education and the indiscriminate use of the notion of populism to characterize the political participation of called popular sectors. In this direction, articles such as “Reforma and the quality of Teaching” or “Education and society in Brazil after 1930” are important sources for studying the transformations of public education in Brazil in the second half of the 2009th century (Spósito, M., 242 , p. XNUMX). His work, of notable relevance and relevance, gave rise to the constitution of a fertile line of research in the Sociology of Education in Brazil and, in particular, at the University of São Paulo.

In line with Florestan, I learned from Prof. Celso and his vehement defense of public education that the presence of the popular classes in public schools is the “starting point for improving the quality of public education”, which are them, the popular classes, the subjects and the hope of overcoming the challenges inherent to its effective democratization!

The 1964 coup and the intellectuals: social scientists and education

The 1964 coup and the governments of the business-military dictatorship that followed it made it impossible to continue the research project of Florestan's group , Economy and Society in Brazil  and the project under development at CRPE, transformed INEP into a mere resource intermediation agency, deactivated the centers and dismantled its training and research institutes, making it difficult to preserve the institutional memory and its deeper historical evaluation (Souza, Moraes, Zaia, 2011, p. 383).

The relocation of FFCL, from Rua Maria Antonia, to the then distant Cidade Universitária, in Butantã, accompanied by the purge and exile of several professors, and the closing of Colégio de Administração, with the arrest of some of its students and professors, as was the case of prof. Maria José Garcia Werebe, are landmarks of the historical rupture, of the violence and hopelessness of the new times.

With regard to the educational field, one of the structural principles of the university designed by the University Reform of 1968 was, alongside the departmental regime, the faculty of education. Its organization – as a faculty, center or department, as the case may be – resulted from the induced fragmentation of the faculties of philosophy, science and letters at universities. Following this orientation, from 1970 onwards, the former Department of Education of the Faculty of Philosophy was transformed into the current Faculty of Education. Its first director, Laerte Ramos de Carvalho (14), in agreement with the Rectory of USP, absorbed the set of buildings and equipment of the CRPE-SP (deactivated in 1974) and all the personnel for the new Faculty.

We agree with the evaluation of LA Cunha (1992) regarding the harmful consequence of this institutional segregation of the pedagogy section of the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences (FFLCH), that of promoting the loss of the positive effects made possible by the interaction with other transformed sections in other faculties, schools and institutes, in particular philosophy, history, social sciences, psychology, communication, letters.

The moment of political emptiness and theoretical impoverishment coincides with the institutionalization and expansion of graduate programs in the 1970s, which constitute the new locus the production of educational research. The expansion in the number of professors and the diversification of studies was accompanied by a trend towards research specialization among members of the areas.

The political conditions for the implementation of the 1968 university reform did not favor the academic production of the sociology of education either, placing sociologists under widespread suspicion and preventing the development of more critical analyzes of Education, contrary to the purposes of the administrators advised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In this process, Marxist approaches began to occupy even less space in the Social Sciences departments of Universities.

Since his essays on the importance of a militant sociology, aimed at transforming Brazilian society, as in The Brazilian educational dilemma, published in 1960, Florestan is aware of the difficulties in building a society focused on “the best critical-social aspirations” (Leher, 2005, p.221). Referring to the new moment experienced by the University, the contradictions and challenges faced during the dictatorship years, Florestan (1988, p. 351) states:

Contrary to what happened in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, the mark of success does not consist in turning and producing inwards, but in 'winning' abroad. The university adheres to internationalization, shifting the critical confrontation with society to the ideal and abstract plane, losing density and substance, as if history from within was extemporaneous and marginal. (...) The cultural revolution is no longer the historical target and the ambition to invent original knowledge, to solve the universal system of science, art, philosophy, education and technology is lost in the meanders of a camouflaged colonialism, which circulates on the right, center and left.

In addition to repression of intelligentsia promoter of civil disobedience and open opposition, Florestan observes, in the same direction as Antonio Gramsci's studies, that in the process of organizing and maintaining power, the dominant classes cannot do without the creation of intellectuals from the existing order. In the centers of production and dissemination of knowledge, these intellectuals “operate agreements, conventions and intense propaganda in (and about) the school system” (Leher, 2005, p.224). Indeed, as Florestan ponders in his book “Circuito Fechado”, from 1977:

The militarization of power found (and continues to find) increasingly broad and strong support, rather than opposition from intellectuals. A large majority were (and continue to be) openly in favor of the proclaimed 'revolution to save the social order'. This sector took advantage of the situation to expand military repression and political oppression, openly or covertly, in the spheres of intellectual activities. Other more or less large sectors would like to do things in a “civilized way”, without extreme violence and injustice, especially at the level of “intellectual freedom”. However, these sectors also saw the situation in terms of “class interests”, seeing exceptional measures against intellectuals as a necessary price and accepting some repressive roles to “preserve institutions” or to “protect those that could be defended”.

And he reiterates, in an even more exacerbated way: “I myself saw myself forced into an isolation that was not imposed by the dictatorship and I could verify, thanks to it, that institutional repression and dictatorial oppression instilled in intellectual circles venoms against which our faulty cultural tradition had no antidote. For me, protected by isolation, it was easier to see the political error that the more or less rebellious university professors were committing. They located the enemy inside the State, fighting quietly (or openly, when the occasion offered) against the dictatorship, at all levels where they could challenge it. They left aside, however, the dictatorial components and potential fascism existing within USP, thus respecting all “trade colleagues”. Now, these did not make the same mistake. They took advantage of their enormous relative advantages against the “radicals” and “communists”, making their survival difficult and their development extremely difficult” ( Fernandes, 1986).

For Florestan, the absence of an institutional culture of university autonomy would also have made it impossible to confront the ideology of development, the wave of greater resources for universities, and favored adherence to the military government. In an article published ten years later, in 1988, in Folha de São Paulo, he stated:

As in 1936 and 1962 onwards, with clearly marked emphases in 1964, 1968-1969 and, covertly, after reaching the Achilles heel of reaction (in particular from 1984 onwards), the crisis of power assailed all positions and all decision-making channels, which allowed it to maintain and increase the ground it occupied within USP. These facts are notorious. Critical resistance has always had a weak, self-defensive position, and knows that creative thinking in science, philosophy, the arts, pedagogy and technology progresses in permanent conflict with retrograde cultural elites, who convert their capacity for fire into a negative factor, of regression or of cultural stagnation. Hidden behind their posts, disguised under many masks, they foster mediocrity and simultaneously destroy creativity. Because they see themselves as the champions of a misunderstood private initiative, of historically dead privileges and the patronage of particularistic interests of the liberal professions, which are inexorably reduced or expelled from the university when it grows in the right direction. Rhinos flourish in the meanders of a university that has modernized unevenly; and they only survive under the condition of crushing innovative teaching, original research, progressive education and the democratic organization of USP (F. Fernandes, 2020, p. 143-144)

It is in this context that we can place the distance between social scientists and educators, as well as the disappearance of themes related to school education and public education policies as objects of study in social science research. It is possible to note, even today, despite successful or unsuccessful efforts on the part of teacher training programs in a significant number of Public Universities, that the relative lack of interest in educational problems has, in a certain way, persisted among social scientists. It is enough to point out, in the area of ​​sociology, the small number of programs that develop lines of research that include issues related to education and school education.

By intervening in the university, the dictatorship interrupted or mutilated the commitment of science to society, of education focused on the possibilities of transforming Brazilian society, which resulted in the rapid impoverishment of sociological thought, in the abandonment of method perspectives, definition of themes and great problematizations characteristic of the founding group, “essential to give continuity to the establishment of a Brazilian sociology, a rooted sociology, supported by the group's own theoretical creativity and methodological research, as prof. Florestan” ( Martins, 1998, p. 46).

It is in this direction that it becomes possible to sociologically apprehend the thematic disqualification of educational issues, that of education being considered "out of fashion" in sociological studies in departments of social sciences, following the historical neglect of the local dominant classes with the public school - be it she has primary or higher education – as reaffirmed by the current measures at the federal and state levels of government necropolitics.

Regarding the sociology of education in education faculties, in a critical assessment carried out at the end of the 1990s, Celso Beisiegel (2013, p. 605) assesses that, despite the “perspectives open to the interdisciplinary action of different specialties”, there was “ a possible dilution of the discipline in specialized studies; the progressive abandonment of school and teaching subgroups as objects of investigation; the difficulty of inserting the school and, especially, the teaching-learning process in the research perspectives of specialists trained in the social sciences”, among others.

Such circumstances, in turn, may contribute to situating the “forgetfulness” of the names of Luiz Pereira, Celso Beisiegel and a few others in the celebrations of the centenary of the birth of Florestan Fernandes, as well as the relative silence that covers the fundamental works of Luiz and also Maria Alice Foracchi, among other professors of the former chair of Sociology at FFCL-USP.

This silence, however, which points, moreover, to “the deliberate lack of institutional continuity” (Martins, 1998, p.53), cannot be confused and interpreted as an absence of theoretical relevance of Luiz Pereira's work in the production sociology of education. On the contrary, its importance is expressed both methodologically, in the introduction of fertile research procedures in fieldwork, such as case studies and the life histories method, for example, and in the choice of problems and objects of investigation, whether those focused on the institutional analysis of the school, on teaching as a female activity, on the social and sexual division of school work, or on the relationship between education and work. And the same can be said about the incidence of Foracchi's works. Undoubtedly, both left numerous followers in the field of sociology of education.

Celso Beisiegel, on the other hand, will continue his militancy in the educational field in the space of the Faculty of Education and carry out research on questions suggested by the set of new circumstances and historical possibilities of the social reality repressed by the dictatorship, continuing the theoretical work of the founding group and enriching it through work considered, today, a reference in the field of history and sociology of education in Brazil.

In conclusion

It is important to emphasize that Florestan Fernandes never ceased to be concerned with the contribution of the social sciences to the educational field, just as he will resume and update the importance of education in the process of transformation of Brazilian society. The focus now turns to the authoritarian state and the radical conception of the intellectuals' performance, keeping consistency with his assessment of the Brazilian reality after the military business coup and the consequences of AI-5.

In a more recent text, dated 1989, at the end of the work on drafting the new Constitution, he resumes the discussion of the attributions of intellectuals and, particularly, of researchers in the areas of social sciences and their necessary political commitment to public education:

a country on the periphery, with uneven capitalist development, needs education to reduce inequalities, to eliminate iniquities, to create a pedagogy for the oppressed, as Paulo Freire said. The social sciences are of fundamental importance. They can serve the dominant classes, they can serve the intermediate classes, they can serve the subordinate classes.

Florestan recalls the important role of renovating educators and the experience of the National and Regional Centers for educational research: “the social sciences were the channel that served for the pioneers of New Education, first, and the educators who came later had the ambition to expand biological research, psychological research, sociological research, economic research, etc. to place this knowledge within the reach of a higher-performing school”.

However, “it is clear that there is a monopoly on knowledge in a class society. Without breaking this monopoly, it is difficult to make participation in the knowledge produced accessible to all classes in confrontation. At this point, Brazil has undergone profound changes over the last 30 or 40 years... but it is important to demonstrate that the social sciences, starting with F. Azevedo and especially after him, contributed to a new vision of educator education... It is very important here that education ended up being placed in that prominent position, which allows us to say that it is the requisite for all other revolutions or social reforms – within the order and against the existing order” ( p. 347- 8).

In the interview provided to the Language and Literature team (Walnice Galvão, Alfredo Bosi and José Carlos Garbuglio), in 1984, Florestan Fernandes reiterates the assumption of the autonomy of thought at the University, “which means creating the premises of autonomous cultural production, of knowledge original. That was the core of my position in the late 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and continues to be today.”

According to Florestan, for the university to be truly transformed, it would be necessary to break the chains of dependent capitalism and the protagonists capable of undertaking this rupture would be the working classes (Leher, 2005, p.229): “the revolution does not take place within the university. . (…) We have to establish essential controls over our environment and, on the other hand, it is necessary to link, at various levels, the activities of these groups that produce original work at the university to the activity of other sectors of society”.

Florestan adopts a notion of ideology, also defended by Gramsci, in which he recognizes the effectiveness of knowledge elaborated in everyday life, in political struggle, in resistance processes. And for this reason, subordinate classes can constitute social forces that fight and resist exploitation. As Leher (2005, p.229) argues, this conception is not lateral in Florestan's work. On the contrary, “it maintains that the action of the intelligentsia it can only be really effective 'in' the working class as a militant intellectual”. The alternative is:

“(…) the alliance with the popular masses, the working classes and the trade union vanguard of the proletariat with the purpose of creating the bases for the democratic revolution and the reactivation of the national revolution – if they do not mobilize as protagonists of these two concomitant revolutions, the intellectuals will remain on the margins of history”.

But, if the intellectual is to leave his own specific world to take on society's problems and the interests of other classes, "a very strong mass movement" is necessary. In his absence, “the link between the intellectual, the class struggle and the organized political movement is missing, causing him to gravitate freely in space”.

And this movement requires a new type of intellectual. And if this new intellectual and his social attributions were not foreseen in the university reconfigured by the military civil government and are not even foreseen in the current operational university, where the instrumental rationality was taken to the last consequences, on the other hand, dialectically, the social struggles, they themselves, give them a concern with the method and rigor of their work (15). According to Florestan Fernandes, it is with method that intellectuals should contribute to the critique of dominant ideologies and, at the same time, to think about ways of organizing the struggle in favor of socialism. Among the strategies is the education of the Brazilian population.

Taking as an assumption the Marxist conception “that knowledge cannot be separated from the transformation of the world, from the transformation of the person and society”, Florestan (2020, p.351) considers education a “requirement for all other revolutions and reforms social – within the order and against the existing order”. For him, “an educational revolution … is a reform as profound as agrarian reform”, it can “shake the social structures of the country”.

The historical premise of this educational revolution is “the creation of a new society, in which social equality with political freedom prevails”. And, for that, one of its main requirements is the project of “necessary education for the working class”. In this direction, against all the dualisms that structure the capitalist school, as Anísio Teixeira positioned himself, and in the Gramscian perspective of the unitary school, of integral human formation (15), Florestan Fernandes argues:

The worker needs to know the world, explain the world, transform the world and, for that, it is not enough to give training in the work situation, technical schooling. He needs, including, if possible, to cover all levels of education. (…) The worker needs an education that transforms him into someone capable of maintaining an offensive position in class relations (2020, p.354).

Education cannot, therefore, be dissociated from the movement of the working classes. If, in Brazil, the proletarian parties were not able to build the party schools, it is imperative that each party defines its position on public education. It is the organized popular social movements and leftist parties “that can really raise the problems of education at the level of those who are oppressed, excluded, semi-free workers”. For Florestan: “(…) Workers will not be able to correspond to their active roles in the fight for the transformation of Brazilian society if leftist parties do not overcome this phase of identifying the great problems of education with outdated flags. The great problems of education are not limited to watchwords. These are objectives that we have to face, realities that we have to transform, and the parties need to prepare for that, relying on the teachers, counting on the students, counting on the students' families, counting on the employees. It is imperative to generate a community of interests capable of galvanizing a process of profound educational and social change” (2020, p. 355).

*Carmen SV Moraes is a professor at the Faculty of Education at USP.


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  1. An exception is made to the collection organized by Maria Arminda Arruda, “Leituras e Legados”, from 2010, where an article by Florestan, written in 1960, “Education as a social problem”, is among the others.
  2. Interview with the Portuguese Language and Literature Team, originally published in Language and Literature,Revista do Departamento de Letras FFLCH-USP, n. commemorative 1981-1984, p. 75-114.
  3. The College of Application of the FFCL, created on March 13, 1957, by agreement signed between the Faculty of Philosophy and the Secretary of Education of the State, the College, as a center of experimentation and pedagogical demonstration, aimed to promote tests of pedagogical renewal of the high school; provide internships for observation and teaching practice, develop studies and pedagogical investigations of professors and students of the Faculty of Philosophy; and improvement of secondary education teachers (USP, 1966, p. 42). The College of Application maintained a Pedagogical Guidance Service and an Educational Guidance Service, coordinated by Maria José Garcia Werebe, which attended to the teaching practice of undergraduate students and the practice of educational guidance to students of the Pedagogy course. The services were responsible for the pedagogical and educational guidance of the College's students and promoted studies and research in their respective fields. Many teachers in the Faculty of Education, especially in the Department of Teaching Methodology and Comparative Education, were recruited from among the faculty of the College of Application (Beisiegel, 2003, p. 363).
  4. At the second International Meeting of Ministers of Education, held in 1956, the Brazilian government assumed the commitment to organize Courses for Specialists in Education for Latin America. Through INEP, the MEC entrusted the CRPE-SP, in 1957, with preparing them. From 1958 onwards, the institution organized courses that lasted 9 months and were attended by professors from different Brazilian states and from all countries in Central and South America. The CRPE-SP continued to carry out this task and its students received scholarships from the Organization of American States/OAS and the MEC. During this period, between 1958 and 1968, through its managers (teachers – researchers), the improvement program elaborated and coordinated 4 Seminars and 9 courses on topics related to educational management and supervision, “preparation, application and evaluation of plans and study programs for primary education”, “specialist in education for Latin America”. The seminar “Training in Educational Research”, between 1962 and 1965, offered 128 scholarships, and the course “Educational and Social Research”, in 1968, 11 scholarships (On this subject, see Ferreira, M., 2008).
  5. Marialice Foracchi (1929-1972) was a professor and researcher at the former chair of Sociology I at the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters – USP, directed by Florestan Fernandes, and at the Department of Social Sciences at the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences, which succeeded it due to the reform the university underwent in 1969 ( Augusto, MH Oliva, 2005, p. 11).
  6. Luiz Pereira (1933 – 1985) was a student of the Pedagogy course at FFCL at USP between 1952 and 1955. He began his professional activities as a professor of sociology, history of education, social and civic education and history of Brazilian civilization in private normal schools in Sao Paulo city. Between August 1957 and May 1959, he was a research assistant at the Regional Center for Educational Research in São Paulo. In 1958, he began a specialization course (master's degree) in sociology, under the guidance of Florestan Fernandes. In May 1959, at the suggestion of Florestan Fernandes, he took over the chair of Sociology and Sociological Foundations of Education at the State Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Araraquara. In April 1963, he transferred to the chair of Sociology I at FFCL at USP. In 1965, he obtained the title of Habilitation in Sociology I, which allowed him to hold a Prof. Together, a role he began to exercise in 1972 (Fávero, 2002, p. 731; Beisiegel, 1999, p. 356).
  7. Reading the works of Luiz Pereira, and then, a little later, those of Luiz Antônio Cunha (1977) and Gaudêncio Frigotto (1984), constituted important references in the theoretical challenge to the economicist approach to education and its assumptions. Gramsci was, without a doubt, alongside Marx, the author most used at the time by researchers on the subject, in the struggle against both the theory of human capital and reproductive approaches. Luiz Pereira (1977:86), for example, considers it “important to emphasize that, especially with Gramsci, the conception of (dominant) superstructure was 'revolutionized', by systematically distinguishing in it the repressive apparatus of the State and the ideological apparatuses of State – thereby breaking, more than other classics of historical materialism, with the distinction posed by liberal ideology: the differentiation between State and Civil Society in terms of the conception of the former as an instance…”.
  8. In this regard, see Martins, JS 2013.
  9. An intern at the Regional Center for Educational Research (CRPE), Celso de Rui Beisiegel assumed the chair of Sociology I at the FFCL in 1957, transferring to the newly created Faculty of Education in 1969, where he remained until his retirement in 2005. He then occupied, successively, in the following years, the head of the Department of Philosophy of Education and Educational Sciences, the vice-director and director of FEUSP, and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
  10. The text on the trajectory of prof. Celso Beisiegel was presented in the posthumous homage paid to the dear master, at FEUSP, in 2018, during the ceremony attributing his name to the unit's library. Later, part of the text was published in Revista da ADUSP, in n. 2018 special that honored the university professors who died in the period.
  11. Maria José Garcia Werebe (1925-2006) joined the Pedagogy Course at the University of São Paulo – USP in 1946 and, shortly after completing it, she was invited by Professor José Querino Ribeiro to be his assistant at the faculty. In 1949, she obtained a scholarship to France, where she deepened her training at the Childhood Psychobiology Laboratory, created by Henri Wallon. Returning to Brazil in 1952, she was approved as a professor by the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of the University of São Paulo, with a paper on the Langevin-Wallon project for the reform of French education, and taught in the Pedagogy course until 1969. active participation in the campaign in defense of the public school and in the creation of the USP College of Application in 1957, where undergraduate students began to do internships. She made a valuable contribution to the innovative pedagogical experiences undertaken there and, under her responsibility, the Educational Guidance Sector of the Pedagogy Course was expanded, as well as the Specialization Course in the area obtained great recognition. Persecuted by the dictatorship, she was forced to leave Brazil and settle in France, where she worked under the direction of René Zazzo, having been hired as a researcher at the Center National de la Recherche Scientifique – CNRS -, where she remained as such until she retired in 1990. Carried out work missions for UNESCO and the UNFPA in numerous countries in Africa and Latin America, as an expert on sexuality and family planning. She is the author of a classic work on education in Brazil: Greatness and miseries of education in Brazil, published by Difel in 1963, the 5th edition in 1986. In 1994 Ática published the text again, now with updated data, with the title Thirty years later: greatness and miseries of education in Brazil (Research Notebook. vol.37 no.131 São Paulo Maio/Ag. 2007)
  12. In this regard, see Leher, in Fávero (org.), 2005, p. 211-245 and Cardoso, ML , Fávero ( ed.), 2005, p. 7-40.
  13. Laerte Ramos de Carvalho had been director of CRPE-SP, from which he left in 1965 to take over the intervention of the University of Brasília, at the invitation of the military government, where he remained until 1967. In 1969 he became the first director of the newly created Faculty of Education at USP.
  14. It is important to note that one of the main initiatives aimed at organizing the proposal for a unitary school through the integrated curriculum, with a focus on the educational principle of work, carried out in São Paulo during the period, were the Vocational Gyms, under the coordination of Prof. Maria Nilde Mascelani, popular educator of great stature, whose formation was strongly influenced by Florestan Fernandes. The Vocational Gyms were closed by the dictatorship, their educators arrested, and, like the CRPE, their memory was erased.


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