Option in teaching – 06/23/2022 – Opinion

There is no simple and quick solution for public basic education in Brazil, but in recent years there have been meritorious initiatives in places as diverse as Ceará, Espírito Santo, Goiás and Pernambuco, which have shown good progress in MEC assessments. And there is room to experiment more.

In this context, the proposal from São Paulo to authorize the third sector to manage part of the municipal schools is welcome. A bill with this content is being processed by the City Council and could be approved in the coming weeks.

Under the proposal, the contracted social organizations (OSs) would be free to define the pedagogical project and teaching methodologies in the units under their management. They would also gain autonomy to assemble the team of professionals, being able to hire people from outside the network, without public tender.

The use of OSs is not exactly a novelty in São Paulo’s domains. It has been a reality for several years in health; in education, has already been used in day care centers.

Therefore, the risks and advantages of the non-profit private entity model are known.

Contracts need to be closely monitored, as there are records of abuses, including cases of corruption. It is also necessary to pay attention to the quality of the hired professionals.

Best of all, the SOs are able to operate with more agility and less limitations than the public authorities.

Obviously, it is not a question of replacing the structure of schools managed directly by the municipality, with teachers who have taken public examinations, by the third sector. It is worthwhile, indeed, to introduce a little diversity into the ecosystem. The official network, as it is structured today, accumulates problems.

A glaring example is teacher absenteeism. Between paid absences and sick leave, about 10% of teachers fail to show up every day. There are no known rates even remotely similar in the private sector.

Either working for the municipality is very bad for health, or a culture of receiving without working has been created, which is harmful to public coffers and unfair to students. Introducing alternative models would at least help to expose the problem.

However, you should not write a blank check to the city hall. It is necessary that the proposal be discussed in depth by the councilors of São Paulo and that extra precautions be added to the project and subsequent regulations.

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