the new high school

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By LUIS FELIPE MIGUEL*

A form of precarious education for the poorest

The “New Secondary School” was one of the setbacks imposed by the 2016 coup. We know that labor rights were lost, the economy was denationalized and the State's social policies were asphyxiated (with the spending ceiling), everything was approved at the touch of a bell. box, without discussion with society or even in Congress. With education it was even worse – the change came through a provisional measure, issued by Michel Temer in 2016 and converted into law in 2017.

Despite all the propaganda, the “New Secondary School” soon showed what it is: precarious education for the poorest.

Under the pretext of giving “flexibility” to students, the “New Secondary School” empties the basic education of those who undergo it. History of Brazil, for example, no longer exists. In general, disciplines aimed at forming critical thinking and active citizenship were excised. In its place, content related to “entrepreneurship” and “marketing” enters. The reform appears to be perfectly in line with the spirit of neoliberalism.

The announced “flexibility” is a lie, since the overwhelming majority of schools offer almost no alternative “training paths”.

In practice, education is segregated, offering the children of the working class an “adequate” education for the subordinate positions they are destined to exercise – and reserving broader horizons for the heirs of the elites. A columnist for the magazine Veja, at the time, was sincere: it was about restoring “the traditional formula of professional training for the poor and classical education for the elites”.

On paper, the “New Secondary School” represents the ideal of business foundations that promote education, such as the one named after the Lojas Americanas vulture. A good school to form a competent and docile workforce.

In reality, it led to the absolute precariousness of teaching, with professors being displaced from their areas of competence to teach bizarre subjects. How about exchanging Sociology for a “Homemade Brigadier” course, Chemistry for “Mundo Pet” or History for “RPG”?

As I said Fernando Cassio, professor at UFABC, “Yes, there is enough evidence to say that the New Secondary School aims to simplify the formation of a mass of young people for a precarious and platformized contemporary labor market, crystallizing inequalities of opportunities between rich and poor”.

The government has been talking about improving the New Secondary School, as if its problems weren't fundamental. It is a demonstration of the penetration of business foundations for the promotion of education in the MEC commanded by Camilo Santana.

It is necessary to revoke the reform – and start a real discussion, with wide participation of educators and students, about the secondary education that we want for Brazil, egalitarian, emancipating and with quality. This is what is expected of a government committed to democracy and social justice.

*Luis Felipe Miguel He is a professor at the Institute of Political Science at UnB. Author, among other books, of Democracy in the capitalist periphery: impasses in Brazil (authentic).

Originally posted on the author's Facebook page.

 

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