Novas educación

Novas xerais sobre educación

Noam Chomsky: The Assault on Public Education

Noam Chomsky: The Assault on Public Education

Public education is under attack around the world, and in response, student protests have recently been held in Britain, Canada, Chile, Taiwan and elsewhere.

California is also a battleground. The Los Angeles Times reports on another chapter in the campaign to destroy what had been the greatest public higher education system in the world: "California State University officials announced plans to freeze enrollment next spring at most campuses and to wait-list all applicants the following fall pending the outcome of a proposed tax initiative on the November ballot."

Similar defunding is under way nationwide. "In most states," The New York Times reports, "it is now tuition payments, not state appropriations, that cover most of the budget," so that "the era of affordable four-year public universities, heavily subsidized by the state, may be over."

Community colleges increasingly face similar prospects – and the shortfalls extend to grades K-12.

"There has been a shift from the belief that we as a nation benefit from higher education, to a belief that it's the people receiving the education who primarily benefit and so they should foot the bill," concludes Ronald G. Ehrenberg, a trustee of the State University system of New York and director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.

A more accurate description, I think, is "Failure by Design," the title of a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, which has long been a major source of reliable information and analysis on the state of the economy.

The EPI study reviews the consequences of the transformation of the economy a generation ago from domestic production to financialization and offshoring. By design; there have always been alternatives.

One primary justification for the design is what Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz called the "religion" that "markets lead to efficient outcomes," which was recently dealt yet another crushing blow by the collapse of the housing bubble that was ignored on doctrinal grounds, triggering the current financial crisis.

Claims are also made about the alleged benefits of the radical expansion of financial institutions since the 1970s. A more convincing description was provided by Martin Wolf, senior economic correspondent for The Financial Times: "An out-of-control financial sector is eating out the modern market economy from inside, just as the larva of the spider wasp eats out the host in which it has been laid."

The EPI study observes that the "Failure of Design" is class-based. For the designers, it has been a stunning success, as revealed by the astonishing concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent, in fact the top 0.1 percent, while the majority has been reduced to virtual stagnation or decline.

In short, when they have the opportunity, "the Masters of Mankind" pursue their "vile maxim" [ all for ourselves and nothing for other people," as Adam Smith explained long ago.

Mass public education is one of the great achievements of American society. It has had many dimensions. One purpose was to prepare independent farmers for life as wage laborers who would tolerate what they regarded as virtual slavery.

The coercive element did not pass without notice. Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that political leaders call for popular education because they fear that "This country is filling up with thousands and millions of voters, and you must educate them to keep them from our throats." But educated the right way: Limit their perspectives and understanding, discourage free and independent thought, and train them for obedience.

The "vile maxim" and its implementation have regularly called forth resistance, which in turn evokes the same fears among the elite. Forty years ago there was deep concern that the population was breaking free of apathy and obedience.

At the liberal internationalist extreme, the Trilateral Commission – the nongovernmental policy group from which the Carter Administration was largely drawn – issued stern warnings in 1975 that there is too much democracy, in part due to the failures of the institutions responsible for "the indoctrination of the young." On the right, an important 1971 memorandum by Lewis Powell, directed to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the main business lobby, wailed that radicals were taking over everything – universities, media, government, etc. – and called on the business community to use its economic power to reverse the attack on our prized way of life – which he knew well. As a lobbyist for the tobacco industry, he was quite familiar with the workings of the nanny state for the rich that he called "the free market."

Since then, many measures have been taken to restore discipline. One is the crusade for privatization – placing control in reliable hands.

Another is sharp increases in tuition, up nearly 600 percent since 1980. These produce a higher education system with "far more economic stratification than is true of any other country," according to Jane Wellman, former director of the Delta Cost Project, which monitors these issues. Tuition increases trap students into long-term debt and hence subordination to private power.

Justifications are offered on economic grounds, but are singularly unconvincing. In countries rich to poor, including Mexico next-door, tuition remains free or nominal. That was true as well in the United States itself when it was a much poorer country after World War II and huge numbers of students were able to enter college under the GI bill – a factor in uniquely high economic growth, even putting aside the significance in improving lives.

Another device is the corporatization of the universities. That has led to a dramatic increase in layers of administration, often professional instead of drawn from the faculty as before; and to imposition of a business culture of "efficiency" – an ideological notion, not just an economic one.

One illustration is the decision of state colleges to eliminate programs in nursing, engineering and computer science, because they are costly – and happen to be the professions where there is a labor shortage, as The New York Times reports. The decision harms the society but conforms to the business ideology of short-term gain without regard for human consequences, in accord with the vile maxim.

Some of the most insidious effects are on teaching and monitoring. The Enlightenment ideal of education was captured in the image of education as laying down a string that students follow in their own ways, developing their creativity and independence of mind.

The alternative, to be rejected, is the image of pouring water into a vessel – and a very leaky one, as all of us know from experience. The latter approach includes teaching to test and other mechanisms that destroy students' interest and seek to fit them into a mold, easily controlled. All too familiar today.

© 2012 Noam Chomsky
Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate

truthout, 04/04/12

OECD and World Bank differ in educational policy views - blogger (04 April 2012)

OECD and World Bank differ in educational policy views - blogger (04 April 2012)

Publicly funded choice mechanisms in education help overcome school failure and reduce inequities, according to a new study on school choice and equity by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The results of this study mark a “showdown” between two main global institutions - the OECD itself and the World Bank (WB), says the blog of Karen Mundy, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and Co-Chair of the Canadian Global Campaign for Education.

In stark contrast with the OECD conclusions, Mundy explains, recent WB reports advocate for “private provision as a magic bullet for improving educational outcomes”. This is perfectly illustrated by the so-called System Assessment and Benchmarking Education for Results (SABER), a new support programme for public private partnerships in education promoted by the WB as part of the new Education Strategy 2020.

Equal opportunities are key

Mundy showcases the example of Chile, where national policies support private schooling through an extensive voucher system. This allows the State to pay private and municipal schools directly based on student attendance. “For the (World) Bank, privately provided schools continue to be described as likely to improve the quality of learning outcomes for children, despite the limited evidence that they’ve supported better learning in Chile. How come?” states Mundy.

She continues: “We should all question how two global public institutions can derive such very different policy conclusions from evidence.”  

Flexibility, competitive environment and autonomous schools are some of the key ideas highlighted within the WB reports, whereas the OECD study emphasises the principle of equal opportunities and fair access to education.

“My Chilean colleagues have, like the OECD, concluded that achieving good quality education for all is less about choice, and more about good teachers,” Mundy concludes.

To read the full report, “School choice and equity: Current policies in OECD countries and a literature review”, please go here

To read the SABER World Bank report “Framework for Engaging the Private Sector in Education” please go here

Internacional de la Educación, 04/04/12

Education International: New Worlds of Education: Challenging hostile ideologies in the crisis

Education International: New Worlds of Education: Challenging hostile ideologies in the crisis

The economic crisis is being used to justify the complete deregulation and privatisation of public services in order to reduce costs. Widespread cuts in expenditure on public education are damaging both quality and equality of access to education, as well as undermining the status of teachers and teaching. Read more in the latest edition of Worlds of Education!

Read about the EI analysis of the crisis and solutions teacher trade unions have to offer!

Some highlights include:

  • Turning the crisis around: Hope for change from Global Trade Unionism; by Jim Baker, Council of Global Unions
  • Spain: public education under attack; by Mar Candela, Education International
  • Ohio: the battleground for workers’ rights, by Staci Maiers, National Education Association (NEA), USA
  • Multinational’s tax avoidance schemes undermine quality public services; by Guntars Catlaks, Education International
  • European educators campaign against the crisis; by Claude Carroué, Education International

Click here to download the full PDF edition.

Internacional de la Educación, 03/04/12

'Tijeretazo' en becas educativas y ciencia

'Tijeretazo' en becas educativas y ciencia
El Gobierno recorta en becas a pesar de su promesa de no tocar esta partida

El recorte en programas educativos alcanza el 22% y afecta, sobre todo, a las becas, con una reducción superior al 11% cuando el Gobierno ha prometido, en reiteradas ocasiones, en que no se iba a tocar la cuantía de las becas.

La inversión pública en I+D se reduce un 25% y esto supone que los científicos en España contarán este año con 2.000 millones de euros menos, la mayor caída de los últimos años.

El lunes el ministro Wert anunciaba una reducción del 70% a las becas de idiomas en el extranjero para profesores, un recorte sin previo aviso para la partida de ayudas al estudio, pese al compromiso del Gobierno de "no tocar" las becas

Además, la investigación sanitaria también ve reducida su asignación en más de 80% ciento (de 27 millones a 5). Y en total, el Ministerio de Sanidad sufre un recorte del 7% y destaca que se eliminan las cuantías destinadas al Plan Nacional sobre el sida. Los fondos desinados a la inmigración se recortan más de un 65% debido a la desaparición del Fondo para la Integración del Inmigrante.

Las ayudas al cine sufren un recorte del 35%

El Instituto de Cinematografía y Artes Audiovisuales -el ICAA, que centraliza el montante presupuestario dedicado al cine- fue financiado en 2011 con 113 millones de euros; en el año 2012 dispondrá de 71,06 millones, un 37,1% menos. De entre todas las partidas, la más significativa es la correspondiente al Fondo de Protección a la Cinematografía, que pasa de los 77 millones de euros... a disponer de apenas 50 millones. En conversación con la Cadena SER, el presidente de la Federación de Asociaciones de Productores Audiovisuales Españoles (FAPAE), ha precisado a qué se acaba destinando ese dinero: "La gente no sabe que los dineros que llegan a las productoras lo hacen tres años después de hacer una película. Con el presupuesto de este año se van a pagar películas estrenadas en 2010, muchas de ellas rodadas en 2009", aclara Pedro Pérez.

Cadena Ser, 03/04/12

Melissa Benn: Who owns your child’s school? The rise and rise of edu-business

Melissa Benn: Who owns your child’s school? The rise and rise of edu-business
Faster than we recognise, schools are becoming profit centres. The buildings, the teaching, the cleaning, the exam results are all ways to make money. But who benefits? Not the poorest, argues Melissa Benn.
Melissa Benn is a writer and campaigner. Her latest book School Wars: The Battle for Britain's Education is published by Verso.

Brooke House Sixth Form College in Hackney -  known as BSix -  has come up with an inventive new wheeze ? to break down the inequalities of access to higher education. It has spent thousands of pounds creating a replica of an Oxford don’s study down to the colours of walls, antique furnishings and polished wooden floors. The so-called Red Room has been built in order to familiarise underprivileged youngsters, who aspire to top universities, with the lush furnishings of privilege.

Age-old assumptions underlie the BSix initiative – namely, the perceived superiority of certain elite institutions, in both the secondary or higher education sector. But recent moves ? , a mere 30 miles away in Luton, Bedfordshire, more accurately indicate the new direction of our education system.

Here, the Barnfield Federation, a group that already runs a chain of academy schools, has declared an interest in running one or more for-profit further education colleges, taking advantage of a permissive clause in the 2011 Education Act.  Surplus cash generated by the ‘business’ will be used to pay a dividend to shareholders. 

Welcome to the rampant, and rapid, privatisation that now characterises the English education scene. As we move away from state provision of state education, the remnants of a universal comprehensive system are being dismantled and replaced by new providers at every level.

Eton in the East End

To take one small example:  private schools are increasingly encouraged (a process begun under New Labour) to set up, or take over, failing schools, often with mixed results. At the Isle of Sheppey academy, sponsored by Dulwich college, truancy figures were recently reported to be the fifth highest in the UK.

More recently, there has been sharp protest at plans ? by Eton College and several other leading public schools, to run a super selective sixth form college, entitled the  London Academy of Excellence,  in London’s East End.  According to Eddie Playfair, head of  nearby Newham College:

‘The rhetoric is that this is a lifeboat coming to save the poor. A lot of effort will be wasted in competition which could be spent on improving education and sharing good practice and developing what students really need.’

Professor Stephen Ball of the Institute of Education, a leading authority on the steady march of ‘edu-business’, describes it as a ‘ratchet process’ in which each new government circular or Education Act has opened up a fresh business opportunity.  As Ball told me when I interviewed him for my recent book School Wars: The Battle for Britain’s Education ? , there have been 35 such moments since 1988, each one encouraging the private sector to take over, and sell back to schools, a range of services, from meals to building improvements, to the examination system and inspection services. Over time, a plethora of bidders has become consolidated into a few, established, providers. The result is that, while during the 1990s there were 120 different companies involved in the inspection of schools, this had shrunk to seven by 2003. It has now dwindled to just three.

As Ball shrewdly observes, the term  ‘privatisation’ does not do justice to the complex interconnection being formed between state and market. We are seeing a general “corporatisation” of schooling itself - covering everything from the importing of private sector management techniques to the dominance of entrepreneurial and aspirational narratives and values within the classroom.

Take Amey ? , typical of companies operating in the education world. It markets itself as a leading provider of “more effective and efficient public services”. It employs more than 11,000 staff, works in more than 200 locations in the UK, trumpets a range of education related services,  including ten major education partnerships. It boasts of contracts for services ranging from schools improvement and special educational needs to the delivery and management of new schools, encompassing cleaning, catering, janitorial, security and building and grounds maintenance.


However, the company’s website does not make reference to Amey’s ill-fated sponsorship of one of the early city academies, Unity City Academy in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, one of the poorest areas of England, which opened in 2002. By 2008, only 12 per cent of its pupils were getting five good GCSEs and the company eventually withdrew from the school.

Worldwide, the education market is estimated to be worth more than £100 billion. It has increasingly attracted the interest of philanthropic billionaires, such as Bill and Melinda Gates in the United States, and, here in the UK, Arpad Busson, the London-based French financier who founded ARK, one of the more successful educational chains in England.

Education has also attracted the interest of multinational corporations such as Pearsons, owners of the Financial Times and the Penguin Group, and of Rupert Murdoch’s global empire, News International. Pearson Education employs around 37,000 people and is based in more than 60 countries. This company recently bought up educational businesses in Brazil, India and the US. It has contracts with five English academies for textbooks, as well as providing pupil assessments, teacher training and software. Pearson has also expressed interest in the new boom area of English education - helping to run new free schools and academies. 

Since coming to power in 2010, the Coalition has accelerated the break-up of state education, and encouraged a range of semi-private providers to enter the system. Free schools were initially presented by Tory ministers as a form of parent power, but most of the new schools are in fact being run by an eclectic mix of charitable and third-sector organisations, religious groups,  and, increasingly, private providers and the rapidly expanding academy chains.    

Take Oasis ? , one of the largest academy chains, with 14 academies already open and more in development. As Henry Stewart reports on the Local Schools Network ? website, between 2006 and 2010, the revenue received from government by the Oasis chain grew from £3 million to £70 million. The revenue of  ARK ? , which runs 11 academies in London, Birmingham and Portsmouth, increased from £3 million to £117.5 million. In 2009-10,  the income of E-ACT ? , another academy sponsor, grew from £15.5 million to £60 million. Its head, Sir Bruce Liddington, former Schools Commissioner, was reportedly paid more than £280,000 a year, in the last year when accounts were available. (The finances of these chains are no longer published.) All these groups are highly regarded by government in policy debates and have considerable influence on the development of government thinking and practice in education. The views of local authorities, on the other hand, are largely ignored.

Profit centres

The idea of ‘for profit’ schools is now widely discussed in the media and various policy arenas. In Spring 2011, the Adam Smith Institute ? proposed the introduction of for-profit free schools, claiming it the only solution to dealing with a rapidly expanding primary age population. In January 2012 Policy Exchange ? came up with the more emollient sounding  ‘John Lewis’ or social enterprise model, in which key stakeholders share the profits: the origins of the Luton sixth form college proposal mentioned above. 

The economic logic of privatisation is clear: with drastic cuts in public spending, forced on government by the bankers’ crisis in 2008,  putting public services out to market appears to save the tax payer, while enabling shareholders to  earn a share of the profits. What it does not do is ensure equitable provision.

Proponents argue that it is the poor who will ultimately benefit from such changes. Bill Gates told the 2008 World Economic Forum that this was ‘creative capitalism, an approach where governments, businesses, and non-profits work together to stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or gain recognition, doing work that eases the world’s inequities.‘ 

Professor Ball notes wryly of this approach in a forthcoming article in FORUM ? , (Vol 54, No 1, 2012):  ‘Here, then, profit becomes a force for good, at exactly the same time as it brought the western financial system to the brink of collapse.‘

How these policy developments will promote the interests of poorer children remains questionable.  An independent analysis ? of 23 of the 24 free schools that opened their doors in September 2011 revealed that these schools had a significantly lower percentage of children on free school meals (a good indication of deprivation) than neighbouring schools. And recent analysis by the Local Schools Network ? , featured in The Observer ? and now confirmed by researchers at the House of Commons, has shown that the much-trumpeted sponsored academies do less well in terms of results than the relentlessly traduced community schools serving similarly disadvantaged populations.

Given the relentless drive to privatisation of our schools by the current Coalition government, their poor performance remains a surprisingly well-kept secret.

opendemocracy, 03/04/12

David A. McDonald & Greg Ruiters (Eds.): Alternatives to Privatisation

Alternatives to PrivatisationDavid A. McDonald & Greg Ruiters (Eds.): Alternatives to Privatisation
Public options for essential services in the Global South

Publisher: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group - Africa Edition by HSRC Press
Pages: 520 pages
ISBN: 978-0-415-88668-0

A book for all practitioners, unionists, social movements, and analysts alike, whom are seeking reliable knowledge on what kinds of public models work and their main strengths and weaknesses. 

In the ongoing debates about privatisation, it is often argued that those who oppose private sector involvement in service delivery do not present concrete alternatives. There is some truth to this claim, springing in part from the deep impoverishment of debate since the onset of neoliberalism, which pronounced that “there is no alternative” to privatisation. This also needs to be seen in contrast to the 1930s, and the post-World War II period when there was a strong sense of the limits and dangers of excessive domination of society by unfettered markets and private sector service provision and much greater scope for understanding the limits of capitalism and the use of state powers to ensure social integration and secure basic needs and wants.

Yet in the recent past, with the limits to privatisation and financialization becoming more apparent, a burgeoning field of enquiry around alternatives has emerged, albeit in a fragmented and inconsistent way. Social movements have developed powerful rhetoric – such as “another world is possible” and “there must be alternatives” – but with little detail on how alternatives are constructed, to what extent they are reproducible, and what normative values might guide them (if any). The literature and practices that do speak directly to “alternatives to privatisation” tend to be highly localised and sector-specific and lacking in conceptual and methodological consistency, leading to interesting but somewhat variegated case studies.

This book is an attempt to help fill this analytical and empirical gap by synthesising existing work and generating new conceptual frameworks, which directly address questions of what constitutes alternatives, what makes them successful (or not), what improvements have been achieved, and what lessons are to be learned for future service delivery debates. The analysis is backed up by a comprehensive examination of initiatives in over 50 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It covers three sectors – health care, water/sanitation, and electricity – and is the first global survey of its kind, providing a more rigorous and robust platform for evaluating alternatives than has existed to date and allowing for better (though still challenging) comparisons across regions and sectors.

Although our research focuses on particular sectors in particular regions, the findings are relevant to other services and to other parts of the world, at least in broad conceptual terms. Information of this type is urgently required by practitioners, unionists, social movements, and analysts alike, all of whom are seeking reliable knowledge on what kinds of public models work and their main strengths and weaknesses.

To this end, the book is intended as a first step in a multipronged research process. The findings presented here offer a preliminary review of the scope and character of “successful” alternatives in the different regions and sec- tors investigated, while at the same time providing a testing ground for conceptual frameworks and research methods. Subsequent research will provide more fine-tuned case studies in sectors and regions identified from this research to be of particular interest, with a focus on key themes that have emerged from the studies (such as the trend towards remunicipalising water services and the tensions inherent in corporatised service delivery models). The book is therefore a starting point, not an endpoint, and is intended to act as a guide for our own future research as well as a catalyst for others.

The orientation of the research is academic but has involved activists, unionists, social movements, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from the outset. As with previous research by the Municipal Services Project,1 the involvement of frontline workers, service users, policy makers, and others has been an essential part of the design and implementation of research, as well as of outputs and outreach. The perspectives and practices brought to the table by these various groups, based in various regions and sectors, complicate the traditional academic process, but the outcome is much richer for it. The book has thus been written to be academically rigorous but also to be accessible to policy makers, analysts, unionists, activists, and others familiar with the debates on privatisation and its alternatives. Not all chapters will resonate with all readers, but the intention is that the book will help advance our understanding of alternatives to privatisation in general and stimulate further research in this critically important area.

The book has been divided into three sections. The first looks at concep- tual questions around the nature of the state in service provision, the role of labour and social movements, gendered outcomes of different service mechanisms, and the ways in which neoliberal practices and ideologies construct and constrict the push for alternative delivery systems. The second section is an empirical review of alternative models of service delivery broken down by region (Asia, Africa, and Latin America) and sector (health care, water/ sanitation, and electricity). In this latter section, regionally based research teams were asked to identify as many “successful” alternatives as they could find in a given region and sector, categorise them according to predefined Introduction 3 typologies, and evaluate their achievements based on a set of normative criteria. The book concludes with a chapter that summarises the findings of the research and points to future directions for study, policy, and activism.

Details on the book can be found at the following:

The book will also be published in India by Leftword Books, and will soon be available in Spanish at the MSP and TNI websites.

José Carlos Bermejo Barrera: El orgullo de ser profesor

José Carlos Bermejo Barrera: El orgullo de ser profesor

Todas las profesiones poseen una ética propia, definida por el conjunto de derechos y deberes que sus miembros han de tener para cumplir las funciones que les son propias. Nadie ejerce una profesión para sí mismo, sino para los demás. Una profesión es un compromiso entre quien la ejerce y la sociedad en la que vive. Y ello es especialmente cierto en el caso de la profesión docente. Un profesor es el encargado de transmitir los conocimientos del presente para el futuro, contribuyendo así a mejorar la vida colectiva, a la que se debe. Y si ese profesor es un funcionario, pagado con los fondos públicos, ese compromiso todavía ha de ser mayor.

No se puede enseñar lo que no se sabe y para saber enseñar hay que saber aprender; por ello en la Europa del siglo XIX se crearon las “universidades de investigación” en las que sus profesores comenzaron a enseñar a los demás los conocimientos que ellos mismos crearon. Fue ese el gran siglo de las universidades, aunque no fuese así en España. En él tenemos a grandes profesores que fueron a su vez creadores de las nuevas ciencias, como Liebig y la química orgánica, W. Wundt y la psicología, C. Bernard y la fisiología. En esas universidades y en las del siglo XX, con matemáticos como Henri Poincaré o Kurt Gödel, físicos como A. Einstein y W. Heisenberg y grandes filósofos como G.W.F. Hegel, F. Nietzsche o el propio I. Kant, que fue rector de su propia universidad, todo el mundo tenía claro que el prestigio de una universidad y el de sus profesores es el mismo. Un profesor se debía a su universidad y su prestigio derivaba de su saber, siendo reconocido por sus pares y por la sociedad en general, sin necesidad de exhibirse, e intentar engañar a incautos con su ciencia de la “curricología”. Hubo profesores, a la vez modestos e importantes, que por el carácter poco mediático de sus conocimientos no estuvieron bajo las candilejas. En la universidad de Santiago podríamos poner el ejemplo de dos grandes juristas, A. D’Ors y C. Barcia Trelles.

La universidad ha de servir para transmitir el conocimiento. Si no lo transmite y sólo lo crea no es una universidad, sino otra cosa. Por ello sus profesores han de saber cuál es su misión esencial, sean o no creadores de conocimiento. Un profesor ha de estar orgulloso de serlo, de saber cuál es su misión. Sus conocimientos serán valorados por sus pares y no necesita exhibirlos como si fuesen las lentejuelas de su traje académico. Porque un profesor quiere ser un profesor.

Un profesor no quiere ser unas veces concejal, otras director general, otras conselleiro, otras gestor de no se sabe qué. Su misión no es saltar de cargo en cargo, dedicar lo mejor de su tiempo a la intriga académica y convertirse en un verdadero maestro de la acaparación de fondos a costa de sus compañeros, sino aprender creando el conocimiento y enseñándolo. Una universidad no es un show en el que todo el cuerpo de baile querría ser vedette, sino un proyecto colectivo al servicio del bien común. El orgullo de sus miembros sólo puede emanar de eso y sólo por eso pueden defender su autonomía. Si la mayoría de ellos cree que enseñar es un lastre en su curriculum y la universidad un medio para sus fines, la universidad, incapaz de gobernarse, acabará perdiendo su autonomía, y sus profesores serán gobernados por una nueva jerarquía, que ya está en trámite.

Antonio Viñao: El asalto a la educación: privatizaciones y conservadurismo

Antonio Viñao: El asalto a la educación: privatizaciones y conservadurismo

Cesiones y ayudas a los centros privados y la financiación de estos sin control legal conviven con importantes recortes en el sector público. Detrás se esconden las políticas conservadoras que persiguen una educación segregacionista y desigual entre grupos sociales. ¿Saben lo que se hacen? Por supuesto, dice el autor: todo responde a un plan para desmantelar el derecho social a la educación.

Manifiesto en defensa de la enseñanza pública y los servicios públicos en el marco del estado de bienestar

Manifiesto en defensa de la enseñanza pública y los servicios públicos en el marco del estado de bienestar

Las decisiones que están adoptando la mayoría de los gobiernos de recortar el gasto social, a través del empeoramiento de las condiciones de trabajo y de la destrucción de empleo público, ponen en riesgo el Estado del Bienestar, patrimonio de todos, al que apenas los ciudadanos españoles nos hemos ido acercando estos últimos años.

El Estado del Bienestar tiene su base en la existencia de unos servicios públicos de calidad, universales, accesibles y que respondan con eficacia a las necesidades de las personas, sobre la base del principio de igualdad. Sin servicios públicos no pueden atenderse las necesidades de la ciudadanía en el mundo actual.

Tras cuatro años de profunda crisis económica, se sigue argumentando que, para salir de ella, se requiere una reducción del gasto social y una minoración de los sistemas fiscales y, en definitiva, una menor presencia de la actuación de los poderes públicos y una menor inversión en los servicios públicos. El resultado es evidente: cada vez estamos peor. Ese no es el camino.

Además, todos los expertos indican que el gasto en Educación es la mejor inversión posible para el futuro de los pueblos, y más aún en un país como el nuestro, que llegó tarde al desarrollo de las sociedades europeas avanzadas y que, hasta hace pocos años, tenía muy graves carencias educativas, incluso en la formación básica de la ciudadanía.

Los recortes en la educación pública están viniendo tanto por el empeoramiento de las condiciones de trabajo del profesorado (reducciones salariales, aumento de la jornada laboral, recortes en otras prestaciones como los complementos en situación de baja por enfermedad, etc.) como por la adopción unilateral de medidas de aumento de la ratio, de la disminución de grupos, de la desaparición de los diversos programas de ayuda y refuerzo al alumnado, etc., lo que está provocando el recorte de las plantillas de los centros y una fuerte reducción del profesorado interino. Además se acaba con la jubilación anticipada, se congelan las ofertas de empleo público docente y se reducen gravemente las partidas para gastos de funcionamiento de los centros educativos y las destinadas a infraestructuras y equipamiento.

Ni los años de bonanza ni la actual crisis económica han afectado a todos por igual. En los años buenos, mientras muchos se enriquecían, los docentes y los profesionales del sector público educativo tuvimos unos crecimientos retributivos modestos. Los que realmente se beneficiaron entonces son los mismos que ahora pretenden hacer cargar todo el peso de la crisis sobre los empleados públicos. No podemos aceptar ni los recortes salariales ya aplicados, ni los nuevos que pretenden aplicarnos, ni el empeoramiento de nuestras condiciones laborales, que además van a impedir que más de 50.000 universitarios recién titulados se incorporen en los próximos años al sistema educativo público. Se está condenando al paro más absoluto, al subempleo o a la emigración a varias generaciones de jóvenes formados en nuestras universidades. No podemos callarnos cuando estamos despilfarrando la mayor riqueza de nuestro país, su capital humano, el mejor formado que nunca hemos tenido en nuestra historia.

Actualmente la enseñanza pública llega a todos los rincones de nuestro país, desde la isla más pequeña hasta el pueblo más aislado de las montañas, desde el centro de las ciudades hasta sus barrios más alejados, es decir, allí donde nunca será rentable para la iniciativa privada. Es la que asegura la escolarización de toda la población allá donde esté.

La enseñanza pública acoge a todo el alumnado, sin ningún tipo de discriminación ni de selección previa.

La enseñanza pública ha impulsado el avance de nuestro país en esta última etapa histórica y ha sido clave de nuestro contrato social, porque ha sido la mejor garantía del derecho constitucional a la educación.

En definitiva, la enseñanza pública es la única que garantiza la igualdad de oportunidades, la cohesión social, la superación de las desigualdades de origen, la vertebración de toda la sociedad en un objetivo común y el progreso individual y social de todos, no de unos pocos.

Consideramos que los servicios públicos de interés general son fuente de desarrollo económico, creación de empleo, prosperidad y cohesión social.

Defendemos la gestión pública directa como mejor fórmula para procurar el acceso universal a los servicios públicos, de favorecer la equidad y calidad de los mismos, incluyendo su acceso en las mismas condiciones en el ámbito rural, de garantizar y tutelar el ejercicio efectivo de los derechos subjetivos a la salud, a la educación y a la atención social, así como de evitar desviaciones en la gestión mediante la adecuada acción inspectora.

Por ello, entendemos que hay que financiar adecuadamente la enseñanza pública, hay que protegerla de los recortes presupuestarios y de las consecuencias de la mala gestión de la crisis económica.

El mantenimiento de las políticas sociales y de igualdad es un principio y un derecho irrenunciable. La evolución de los estados democráticos en Europa ha estado vinculada al desarrollo del Estado de Bienestar Social, conocido como el Modelo Social Europeo.

En España la población empleada en el sector público es inferior al 10%, mientras que la media en la UE-15 alcanza el 16%. NO es verdad que, como norma general, en España sobren empleados públicos. Las medidas de ajuste, contención del gasto público y tasas de reposición muy restrictivas están provocando un mayor deterioro y destrucción del empleo público. Por ello exigimos la convocatoria de amplias ofertas de empleo público en todas las comunidades autónomas.

El gasto social destinado a mantener y mejorar la red pública educativa, además de la sanitaria y del resto de servicios sociales, es la mejor inversión que las administraciones públicas pueden hacer para favorecer la salida de la crisis.

Madrid, 13 de marzo de 2012


Christopher Bonastia: Why the Racist History of the Charter School Movement Is Never Discussed

Christopher Bonastia: Why the Racist History of the Charter School Movement Is Never Discussed
Touted as the cure for what ails public education, charter schools have historical roots that are rarely discussed.

As a parent I find it easy to understand the appeal of charter schools, especially for parents and students who feel that traditional public schools have failed them. As a historical sociologist who studies race and politics, however, I am disturbed both by the significant challenges that plague the contemporary charter school movement, and by the ugly history of segregationist tactics that link past educational practices to the troubling present. 

The now-popular idea of offering public education dollars to private entrepreneurs has historical roots in white resistance to school desegregation after Brown v. Board of Education (1954). The desired outcome was few or, better yet, no black students in white schools. In Prince Edward County, Virginia, one of the five cases decided in Brown, segregationist whites sought to outwit integration by directing taxpayer funds to segregated private schools.

Two years before a federal court set a final desegregation deadline for fall 1959, local newspaper publisher J. Barrye Wall shared white county leaders’ strategy of resistance with Congressman Watkins Abbitt: “We are working [on] a scheme in which we will abandon public schools, sell the buildings to our corporation, reopen as privately operated schools with tuition grants from [Virginia] and P.E. county as the basic financial program,” he wrote. “Those wishing to go to integrated schools can take their tuition grants and operate their own schools. To hell with 'em.”  

Though the county ultimately refused to sell the public school buildings, public education in Prince Edward County was nevertheless abandoned for five years (1959-1964), as taxpayer dollars were funneled to the segregated white academies, which were housed in privately owned facilities such as churches and the local Moose Lodge. Federal courts struck down this use of taxpayer funds after a year. Still, whites won and blacks lost. Because there were no local taxes assessed to operate public schools during those years, whites could invest in private schools for their children, while blacks in the county—unable and unwilling to finance their own private, segregated schools—were left to fend for themselves, with many black children shut out of school for multiple years. 

Wert asegura que sobran un 13% de titulaciones y anuncia una próxima reforma universaria

Wert asegura que sobran un 13% de titulaciones y anuncia una próxima reforma universaria
Anuncia una reforma basada en la "excelencia, internacionalización y movilidad"
Wert avanza que se creará un consejo de expertos independientes para la reforma
Las enseñanzas de grado crecieron un 43% y los alumnos se ha reducido un 15%

El ministro de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, José Ignacio Wert, manifestó este lunes en el Senado que es necesario racionalizar "la oferta de títulos", ya que consideró que "tenemos que olvidarnos de que todas (las universidades) tienen que ofrecer de todo".

En su intervención, citó datos de la Conferencia de Rectores de Universidades Españolas (CRUE), según los cuales existiría más de un 13% de excedente en la oferta académica actual. 

Wert anunció  "una profunda reforma universitaria basada en la excelencia, la internacionalización y la movilidad", durante su comparecencia ante la Comisión de Educación del Senado.

A su juicio, lo conveniente es que cada universidad se especialice "en lo que mejor se le dé", ya que "si todas hacen lo mismo" nunca serán excelentes en nada. En este sentido, dijo que si bien no hay ninguna universidad española entre las mejores del mundo, algunos departamentos sí se encuentran entre los mejores de su sector.

El ministro anunció también la pronta formación de un consejo de expertos independientes, que estudiarán dicha reforma y la racionalización de recursos. En su opinión, "la descentralización territorial y administrativa ha favorecido que se descuide la necesaria coordinación" que asegure una gestión eficiente de los recursos.

Los datos de la CRUE revelan un 13% de exceso en la oferta de grados, que asciende al 30% en el caso de las humanidades, al 25% en las carreras experimentales y al 20% en las técnicas, detalló Wert. Durante el curso 2008-2009, un total de 370 enseñanzas no consiguieron matricular más de 20 alumnos, insistió el ministro.

Wert declaró, finalmente, que las enseñanzas oficiales de grado han aumentado un 43% mientras que el número de alumnos se ha reducido un 15%, y apuntó que en muchas carreras el ratio de estudiantes por aula es inferior a los 55 que recomienda la UE.

"Carta de derechos educativos básicos"

El ministro también ha anunciado que elaborará "una carta de derechos educativos básicos" para asegurar que todos los alumnos puedan acceder a una educación de calidad, con independencia de la comunidad autónoma en la que residan.

Wert, quien calificó de "injustificadas" las diferencias en el rendimiento académico entre comunidades autónomas. A juicio de Wert, esta divergencia en resultados es mucho mayor de la que parece compatible con los requisitos de equidad que marca la Constitución.

Como ejemplo citó las importantes diferencias entre comunidades que se registran en cuanto a inversión del PIB por alumno, fracaso escolar -39% en el peor de los casos y 10,6% en la autonomía con mejores resultados-, abandono escolar temprano-(37% frente a 11%-, índice de alumnos excelentes -que oscila entre algo más del 6% y aproximadamente el 2%- o al número de aprobados en los exámenes de PISA. En ocasiones puede haber "hasta un curso de diferencia", subrayó el ministro.

Según Wert, "son más las diferencias entre comunidades de las que cabría esperar" y ello podría suponer "una seria quiebra del principio de igualdad de oportunidades".

Por ello, dijo que se reforzarán "los mecanismos de cooperación y coordinación", fundamentales, aseguró, para "garantizar la mínima homogeneidad requerida en un sistema educativo descentralizado como el español.

Con todo, el ministro quiso dejar "muy claro que en absoluto" está "en contra de la descentralización educativa", pero sí abogó por "la necesaria coordinación para evitar esta diferencia de resultados, que no parecen deseables". "Debemos abandonar la relativa relajación que nos ha llevado" a esta dispersión, apuntó.

No quiso citar autonomías

Wert precisó que en ningún caso citó autonomías concretas para "evitar interpretaciones políticas" y admitió que "Ceuta y Melilla (cuyas competencias corresponden al ministerio) están a la cola de todos los indicadores".

"Por ello, estamos estudiando la mejor asignación de recursos y la búsqueda de soluciones y remedios para esta situación tan especial", destacó.

Finalmente, adelantó que un grupo de trabajo del ministerio se ocupa ya de la redacción del futuro Estatuto Profesional del Docente que, según el ministro, ha sido muy bien recibido por los principales sindicatos del sector.

"Este texto regulará el acceso a la carrera docente, reconocerá de forma oficial la figura del profesor como autoridad pública y buscará atraer a los mejores a la docencia mediante una carrera profesional más atractiva basada en la movilidad", concluyó.

RTVE, 05/03/12

Compétences et résistances

Náutre école

Compétences et résistances
Náutre école, nº 29
Numéro commun avec la revue Émancipation sur la notion de "compétences"

Dave Hill: Fighting neo-liberalism with education and activism

Dave Hill: Fighting neo-liberalism with education and activism

This is a revolutionary period in world history. The collapse of finance capitalism, the bankers’ bailouts across the globe, the continuing bankers’ bonuses, and the intrinsic problems of finance capitalism have, under current `bourgeois’ parliamentarist rule, resulted in ordinary families, workers and communities,`paying for the crisis’. All this, while the national and international capitalist classes and organisations impose austerity capitalism on a reeling public and public educational, social, health and welfare systems. This `austerity capitalism’ has led to an eruption of discontent-against political, economic and financial dictatorship, through the Arab Spring, the indignados in Spain, the Occupy movements throughout the world, and the million strong protests against the 13 Feb 2012 austerity programme enforced by the international capitalist `troika’ (European Central bank, International Monetary Fund, and the European Commission) on the Greek people.

These developments raise questions about the nature of bourgeois capitalist parliamentarist democracy as much as they do about the nature and morality and cruel impacts of capitalist economy -- of life under/within capitalism. They also raise questions about social and economic inequality, meritocracy, equality and egalitarianism, and the role of education and of political activism. 

A question that must be asked is how does the socio-economic and political system of a country work in complicity with the corporate media and how does this impact the school system? There is no automatic mechanistic and deterministic relationship between an economic structure, such as the capitalist economic structure and resulting social relationships on the one hand, and society’s social and political structures on the other. But there is a relationship, even if not mechanistic and unproblematic. There is resistance, at various levels, by individuals, by groups, in what is a permanent `culture war’ between the ideas of the ruling capitalist class and their mouthpieces, and resistant, counter-hegemonic individuals and groups, such as students, critical intellectuals, and organizations such as workers’ organizations (though many have been `incorporated’ into the system).

José Gimeno Sacristán: Educar por competencias, ¿qué hai de nuevo?

José Gimeno Sacristán: Educar por competencias, ¿qué hai de nuevo?
José Gimeno Sacristán, Catedratico de Didactica y Organizacion Escolar, Universidad de Valencia

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