28 SES 02, Some New Perspectives on European Inequalities
Parallel Paper Session
The common or comprehensive school model appeared in educational policies and debates in Italy between the end of the 50s and the beginning of the 6os, when attempts were made to put into ordinary laws the norms set out in the republican constitution (1948). According to these norms, the duration of compulsory schooling was to cover a period of “not less than eight years”. The debate led to the reform of 1962, which not only prolonged compulsory schooling but also introduced a “scuola media” (middle school) for all, with a three-year course after the end of “scuola elementare” (primary) instead of the three pre-existing streams: “scuola media”, “scuola di avviamento professionale” (starting vocational school) and post-elementary classes. Italian reformers of the period drew inspiration from the Swedish experience and socio-pedagogical literature - for example, the works of T. Husen - founded on principles of social equality of opportunity. These ideas had developed among political left-wingers (socialists and communists) and labor unions in Italy from the period in which the Resistance movement opposed the Fascist regime and as they continued to flourish following the birth of the Republic, they were gradually embraced also by Catholics and Catholic schoolteachers’ organizations. The aims of the reform were threefold: inclusion through expansion; equality of opportunity; the cultural unification of the country. Our paper proposes to assess the results of the reform fifty years on, analyzing whether and to what extent its aims have been achieved and with which side-effects (for example, impact on learning), also by adopting a comparative perspective. This analysis comes at a time in which the debate surrounding educational policy in Italy has seen the emergence of heavy criticism directed at the “scuola media”, which is considered to be the “weak link” in our national system. It is held to be responsible for the marked decrease both in efficacy and equity, which has been registered between the final years of primary school and the first years of upper secondary school by the IEA and OECD learning tests. According to those critics, this drop in the quality of learning is the result of an unrealistic and utopian quest for equality in the “scuola media”, and therefore questions not only the ways in which the reform was carried out, but the philosophy of the common school itself. Today, the justification of a “scuola media” remodelling through “counter-reforming” policies inspired by a meritocratic and elitist ideology is also attempted by adopting this interpretative hypothesis. The principal aim of the analysis we present here is to verify such a hypothesis. Our investigation forms part of quantitative sociological studies on educational inequalities, and will refer to the twofold concept of equality proposed by F. Dubet: égalité des chances and égalité des places or résultats. It will be based on the theoretical hypothesis proposed by supporters of comprehensive education and confirmed by the results of many empirical research, that the longer duration of the common school mitigates the influence of social origin on students’ scholastic choices.
-Barone C., Luijkx R., Schizzerotto A. (2010), Elogio dei grandi numeri: il lento declino delle disuguaglianze nelle opportunità di istruzione in Italia, POLIS, XXIV, 1, Aprile 2010, Bologna, Il Mulino -Benadusi L., 2001, Equity and Education in Hutmacher H., Cochrane D., Bottani N. In pursuit of equity in education, Boston/London, Kluwer Accademic Press - Benadusi, L., & Bottani N. (a cura di). (2006). Uguaglianza ed equità nella scuola. Milano: Erickson. - Benadusi L., Giancola O., Viteritti A., 2008, Scuole in azione tra equità e qualità, Pratiche di ricerca in Sociologia dell’Educazione, Milano, Guerini e Associati - Bourdieu P. e Passeron, C (1970) La Reproduction. Éléments d’une théorie du système d’enseignement, Paris, Éditions de Minuit - Dubet F. (2010), Les places et les chances. Repenser la justice sociale, Paris, Seuil - Duru-Bellat M. (2006) L’inflation scolaire. Les désillusions de la méritocratie, Paris, Seuil - Ganzeboom, H. e Meraviglia, C. (2009) Long Term Trends in Inequality of Educational Opportunity in Italy: Birth Cohorts 1899-1980. An Analysis Using Uniform Association Models with Heterogeneous Linearly Constrained Scalings, relazione presentata al seminario «Inequality of educational opportunity in Italy», Milano. - GERESE (Groupe Européen de Recherche sur l’Équité des Systèmes Éducatifs), 2005: “L'équité des systèmes éducatifs européens. Un ensemble d’indicateurs”, Service de pédagogie théorique et expérimentale, Université de Liège. - Giancola O., 2009, Performance e diseguaglianze nei sistemi educativi europei, Napoli, ScriptaWeb - Husen T., (1986) The Learning Society Revisited. Oxford, UK, Pergamon Press. - Manzo, G. (2009) La spirale des inegalités, Parigi, Presses universitaires de Paris Sorbonne - Schizzerotto, A. (a cura di). (2002). Vite ineguali. Bologna: Il Mulino. - Westerbeek, K. (1998) Educational Stratification in Italy: Reforms, Expansion and Equality of Opportunity, in «European Sociological Review», vol. 14, n. 1, pp. 113-145.
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