I. The Big Can
On the 14th of January I went to Avenida da Liberdade. The day before, the Minister of Education’s statements had angered my well-known patience.
In abstract, in a scenario that will only exist in his distant vision of reality, he declared that the teachers were practicing illegal strikes and that the inspection would take care of the situation. I am not even a union member, but I found the argument so fallacious – in practice there are some unions (if they exist, it is not yet known) that practice some less legal acts, I do not know, it cannot lead you to conclude that teachers are a rabble that acts outside the law – and so ethically reprehensible that I took to the streets. Coming from a government where minister yes, minister no, secretary of state yes, secretary of state no, is suspected of corruption or personal benefit in the exercise of office or favoring family members and where there is no separation between government and family. -me.
And the minister has fallen into another fallacy, appealing to the pity of public opinion: the teachers are on strike when he is still in negotiations.
To what exemplary governance does the minister belong to come and give us moral lessons? And when is it appropriate to strike? In this class they are tried a lot, but we don’t earn enough to be able to perform them. This time there is exhaustion and it is widespread. And, as the people say, we are nothing but poor people. But what the minister cannot and must not do, if he wants to be ethical at least, is not to speak to public opinion or just to a part of the school, the parents. Teachers and assistants are part of the school, just as important as the students. The students are not heard, although in this strike, the teachers are also heard, neither the assistants nor the teachers. But is the minister only the minister of the fathers? How strange, at the very least another fallacious act called the appeal to popularity. It is understood: the parents are more, they choose the Government.
In the middle I went on strike. The minister was not present at the meetings and was represented. And this is how the democracy that so much appeals to be taught in schools is not respected. Missed. He, who is already a representative, sent a representative of the representative, at the limit, anyone could be in his place. What Minister João Costa seems to be forgetting is that he is everyone’s minister, not just parents. And if parents (associations) are worried, and they have reason to be, their concern should not only be felt with the absence of teachers in classes on days of occasional strikes. Ministers and parents should be concerned about much more serious and systemic aspects than these road accidents.
After all, has any parent association expressed concern for the well-being of teachers? With the programs in place and with the reduction of teaching to the essentials (so dubious, in so many circumstances)? Did any association express indignation with the fact of having children without classes for a whole year, or almost, in various subjects? Has any association already told the minister that it does not want its children to learn from anyone with an unknown background or without any preparation for the pedagogical role? Has any association ever told the minister that it does not understand the way in which children are evaluated and the difficulty in keeping up with the obtuse language with which the school communicates with its students and with them?
For decisive matters, parents and their associations are not heard. Why? Because everyone has benefited from this system that exchanges the number of approvals for the quality of teaching. This has to be said. Have these associations shown themselves indignant against parents who mistreat teachers? It’s the big can of both. The minister asks us for the ethics that he does not have towards teachers – he only governs for parents – and parents continue to have a chart of interests that bets on the easiest and most linear. The minister gives them what they ask for. It must be easier for any teacher to compensate, in terms of learning, two or three classes than the structural gaps of one year, or more, without consolidated learning. I say, but I don’t understand anything about ministries.
II. The great reversal of values
On the eve of the February 2nd strike, the President of the Republic declared that if the teachers continued this insubordination, they would run the risk of public opinion turning against them. Let’s see if we understand each other, teachers don’t have to please public opinion, they are not elected. Teachers took tests to be teachers. They were formed by universities. An enlightened public opinion is with the teachers, it is not fooled by all kinds of commentators.
Mr. President of the Republic, teachers do not want the majority of public opinion in their favor to teach and see their careers valued. Teachers want to have social and economic recognition for what they do each year for students, in public schools and for the democracy that the rulers mistreat. Will the teachers do minimum services? You should know they’ve been doing maximum services for years. About this, if I have the opportunity, I will write another day to clarify public opinion. More overtime ask the parents – the parents who are the public opinion that worries so much have already thanked us for so much we give?
Well, your concern must have been something else, it must have been to understand and see up close – who knows in an open presidency – what the life of a teacher is and ask an impartial entity, really exempt, for a critical analysis of the system. Do you think it’s normal for a teacher not to earn to pay rent? Do you think it’s normal for government officials not to worry about us even when there are 150,000 of us on the street? Do you think it’s normal for 150,000 teachers to be dissatisfied? And your concern is public opinion?
To me, excuse the humility of the vision, it seems to me that you are seeing the problem backwards or trying to make us feel bad. You know, what do we expect from you? We hope that he will do to the Prime Minister, and in relation to the teachers, what he did when he threatened to resign if we were given back our service time. And if I threatened him that I would fire him because he was dealing with, there are two legislatures, education with an unprecedented disrespect and education being one of the pillars of democracy? Look, it doesn’t suit you to let the minister and the prime minister mistreat us as if we were unbearably insubmissive. Invite them to treat us with respect and dignity. Neither the questions nor the values are inverted. And the question is: how to change an unworthy and unfair system to a fair system for students and teachers?