In the twentieth century, the characteristics of the Italian school system still retained traces of legislation that had accompanied unification (Casati Law, 1859) and the rise of fascism (Gentile Reform 1923). By the turn of the millennium, significant changes were taking place. New reforms, affected the entire education system , from elementary schools through to university. The rapid sequence of educational reforms followed on from the crisis of the political majority. The term “Second Republic” indicated the downfall of the Christian Democrats who had been in power, almost continuously, for four decades, from the end of World War II, it also referred to the collapse of the Communist Party vote as well as the emergence of new moderate and conservative right groups. In March 1994, elections brought media magnate Silvio Berlusconi to power as Prime Minister, with his Freedom Pole coalition. With this change came a new era for schooling and educations reforms featured prominently in public debate, particularly during electoral campaigns. The first aim of my paper is to present the way in which the new political forces use the theme of school reforms as an ideological tool of propaganda and an evidence of their power. It will emerge that right party desires new populist and free-market oriented change in education (“less State and more society”). On the opposite, the left coalition wishes to extend education to larger number of adolescents and expand opportunities without distinctions. I use newspaper, party political electoral programmes and commercials for election campaigns as the evidence on which I base my analysis. I argue that paradoxically, in the last 20 years, words like autonomy, competition, evaluation, standardization, meritocracy and federalism have become common in the rhetoric of both right and left parties. So a new research question emerges: “Why are both the right and the left using the same vocabulary and using similar rhetoric?” In the field of educational policy, behind this media exposure which was fed from both the right and left, economic considerations prevailed over the choices driven by cultural factors. Ministers of Education had to give way to Finance Ministers who were concerned to innovate while reducing public spending, for example, by limiting school hours, increasing the number of students per class and limiting the number of teachers. So schools have also witnessed the rise of new powers over the last twenty years. A global educational culture has emerged based on principles of efficiency and flexibility and more receptive to the needs of politicians and economic and financial markets, rather than those of pupils and families. Agendas of the European Union and other international organizations (the World Bank, UNESCO, OECD) have prevailed over the goals of municipal, local and national authorities. My paper has been built upon a historiographical tradition that produced valuable research in Italy in the past. It will go beyond the ‘Pillars of Hercules’ of the 1990s, attempting a provisional historical evaluation of the relationship between power and the school that I hope will be useful for an international comparison.
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|Titolo:||Power and educational reform in Italy during the "Second Republic" (1992-2012)|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.2 Abstract in Atti di convegno|