Soledad Acuña: Tell me what criticisms and I’ll tell you what the …

The debate opened by lthe statements of the Minister of Education of the government of GCBA, Soledad Acuña, on the over-ideologization of teachers and militancy in the classrooms, whose roots would be in teacher training institutes, has in addition to a dictatorial resonance, a stale smell. The rapid support in the media of a former Minister of Education of the government of Let’s change and from a specialist, it is even more surprising, because the aggressive bet is redoubled, without political doubts. Hence the argument from the need for neutrality and the desire for plurality does not seem genuine.

To substantiate criticism of the alleged “indoctrination” In public schools and universities, past and present examples are used, which They are always linked to the left and Peronism, as if political liberalism and neoliberalism did not have political-ideological interventions as has been crystallized and documented in the previous government, with an oscillating language between optimism of joy, social contempt and the repressive offensive. A precedent of reaction from the same former minister was in 2017 due to the treatment of the Maldonado case in teaching cards. It insists with relish in the challenge of students and teachers of public schools and universities and union representatives.

In the current notes, which seek to endorse the minister’s sayings and not simply open a debate on an always interesting topic, going back to the case of the reading books of the second Peronist government is a remanufactured classic, already studied by the historiography of the education. In the interwar period, the introduction of political content in school books brought together nationalist governments of various kinds, liberals and communists. We are far from that stage in which political leaders resorted to a state political pedagogy with doctrinal content, in the midst of the struggle for hegemony as Antonio Gramsci analyzed from prison. To question the presence of the political debate in Argentine public universities, and to maintain that the idea of ​​university and that of populism repel each other (sic) supposes to ignore that university traditions are embodied and are not an abstraction, from reformism to here, passing through left-wing thinking in its various variants and national-popular thought, and also through democratic and non-fascist liberalism.

Undoubtedly, political identifications are at stake in the secondary and university student movement, which has played a key role in confirming a public culture mobilized around the great political, social and cultural debates of democratic Argentina, since the fight for human rights, the democratization of the right to education, demands and demands related to gender and sexuality and the care of the environment. But also in teachers at various levels, who with pride and effort, have guaranteed school and academic continuity, with all the difficulties of the case, some that undoubtedly correspond to the governments. If thinking about education in a political key, and even more in a policy key, is to indoctrinate, I offer to that thought that tries to imagine and influence better education scenarios, with more rights, historical awareness and reflexivity. To his health, a few days after the day of the militancy.

The relationship between education and politics is an old topic of debate in the field of social sciences and in pedagogical thought. It has drawn on the works of authors from Europe, the United States and Latin America, to review and problematize this relationship. Those who are scandalized and claim neutrality and educate for freedom are not unaware of some of these works, but what is at stake are political-ideological discrepancies. The underfunding of the public schools in the city of BsAs would be a scandal for any of those intellectual figures, as well as the recession of food for poor families in the midst of a pandemic or the exposure of a high school student in the media to do marketing of the return to classes, violating all their rights; also ask families to make complaints to teachers and use virtual classes as a space for domestic surveillance. Radio silence on these very serious issues; the exit is on the tangent of indoctrination as if we were in fascist Italy.

In recent years, the German intellectual Axel Honneth, in the face of neo-fascist tendencies and threats to democracy in Europe, defended the idea of ​​the school as a space for democratic education and as a cooperative community, disagreeing with the claim of neutrality of obsessed neoliberal thought with individual performance and with defensive multiculturalism of cultural identities. It claimed a new relationship between pedagogy and political philosophy. The pedagogue Henry Giroux, in another writing characterizes higher education as a democratic public sphere, in which to train in an ethical and political sensitivity and develop critical analytical skills, in the face of the state of war imposed by the Donald Trump government.

Question the critical thinking and open discrepancies that teaching sectors have had with the educational policies carried out more than a decade ago by the PRO in GCBA, or of student sectors and teachers of public universities, dissident with the orientation of the previous national government, reveals an authoritarian component. Tell me what criticisms and I’ll tell you what you lack. It also applies to all the words of the minister, whose departure should be promptly decided by the Buenos Aires chief, who claims to always listen to neighbors.

* Professor at the UBA and Researcher at CONICET


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