For more than two hours, a hybrid public hearing debated the problems of implementing the civic-military school model in Rio Grande do Sul, this Monday (4th). Proposed by MPs Luciana Genro (PSOL) and Sofia Cavedon (PT), the event took place within the scope of the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Commission of the Legislative Assembly. In a tense atmosphere, respect was requested several times as some protesters interrupted the speeches of the guests, especially those that were against the program of the civic-military schools.
Opened by the chairman of the Collegiate, deputy Beto Fantinel (MDB), the hearing was conducted by deputy Luciana Genro, who explained that the topic was a demand from the 39th nucleus of the CPERS Union, through professor Neiva Lazzaroto. The nucleus is the author of a public civil action pointing out the unconstitutionality of the model of civic-military schools.
“I was very concerned about a report on a TV program that showed what has been happening in schools where the model is already being implemented. A model that brings a very authoritarian view of civility that is out of step with the reality of students”, pointed out the parliamentarian. For her, the civic-military model does not respect the autonomy of schools or pedagogy from the point of view of the needs of a democratic school that provides an education that has plurality.
Proposed by the government of Jair Bolsonaro, the National Program for Civic-Military Schools (Pecim) establishes as management guidelines the principles set out in the military colleges. The proposal is to implement 216 schools of this model across the country, by 2023, 54 per year. Pecim is an initiative of the Ministry of Education (MEC), in partnership with the Ministry of Defense, created by Decree 10,004. On the MEC website, the program is presented with a management concept in the educational, didactic-pedagogical and administrative areas, with the participation of the school’s faculty and support from the military.
So far, according to the State Department of Education (Seduc), the state network has 12 institutions selected for the program, including Alexandre Zattera, in Caxias do Sul, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, in Alvorada, and Oswaldo Aranha, in Alegrete, in addition to two at the municipal level, located in Bagé and Uruguaiana. Recently, the state school Visconde do Rio Grande, in Porto Alegre, approved the model, with more than 80% of votes.
Hearing marked by intense debate
After the opening made by the deputy Luciana Genro, it was time for the debate between pros and against the model of civic-military schools. In addition to the speakers, protesters also occupied the space. The hearing was suspended, and resumed shortly thereafter.
Starting the debate, professor Neiva Lazzaroto, a graduate of the CPERS nucleus, explained that her union nucleus was contacted in early December by professor Cinthia Bordini, about the process of implementing the model at the Visconde do Rio Grande school. “We visited the school four times, which led our group to file a public civil action and request this hearing”, he explained. In his assessment, the civic-military schools contradict the entire defense of the public, secular and historically defended school and entities and sectors linked to education
She recalled that, in September 2019, Bolsonaro issued the decree creating the model, with the “purpose of improving education”. However, she highlighted that this model has the presence of retired military monitors. “All communities seek security, but we asked ourselves why not guarantee safety for all schools and their surroundings? Why the presence of a monitor who does not have pedagogical training like us educators had. This is one of the questions we asked, “he said.
In his speech, he acknowledged violence in schools, however, he stressed that it is mainly the result of the brutal worsening of the economic crisis that the country is going through. “For us, the military is to fulfill the role of the military, security, it is to have security for everyone. We are giving privileges to some of the schools that make the adhesion”, he criticized. She said she is not against resources such as those announced by the national program, but it should be for all schools, which suffer from infrastructure problems, professional insufficiency and lack of adequate pedagogical conditions. “We think that the civic-military school is a model school that contradicts the whole constitutional spirit,” she added.
Deputy Lieutenant-Colonel Zucco (Republicans), president of the Parliamentary Front of Civic-Military Schools, began his speech by emphasizing that the model “has no party”. According to him, 40% of the deputies of the Assembly signed the creation of the Front. He highlighted that the project establishes as a prerequisite the approval of the school community, using as an example what happened at the Visconde do Rio Grande school. “On average, about 90% of parents, mothers, guardians, students, directors, teachers and employees wanted to adhere to this school model. No one is doing anything thank you,” he pointed out.
Also according to him, of the approximately 2,400 state schools, not even 1% are adhering to the model. He said that the foundation of the monitors’ work is the Proerd (Educational Program for Resistance to Drugs and Violence). “The accusation of militarization of the civic-military schools, distorting the program, implying that blind obedience emanates from it, denotes prejudice against people who are military. This program is actually a social program,” he defended. He pointed out that there is no interference by the military in the curriculum of schools. “We want to have a civic-military model throughout RS, in all those municipalities that mayors, councilors, and the community so desire,” he said.
The director of Escola Visconde do Rio Grande, in Porto Alegre, Ingrid Coutinho, confirmed that it was the school community that, by voting in assembly, opted for the implementation of the civic-military school program. “Every time we talk about this model, the word Bolsonaro comes in. I am a person, in my individual terms, who do not vote for Bolsonaro. But in the role I play as a director, I have an obligation to respect everyone’s opinion and, above all, the community that decided for this program”, she stressed.
In his statement, Alex Saratt, acting president of the union that represents educators from the state public network, CPERS Sindicato, highlighted the complete opposition to the implementation of civic-military schools. “This is not only an ideological position, but for other issues that interest us, starting with pedagogy”, he highlighted, pointing out that pedagogy is a social and human science.
He also recalled other ongoing initiatives, such as non-partisan school and homeschooling, which change in format but have similar content. “We need to reaffirm democracy everywhere, because here there is a defense of the civic-military school of those who, for example, vote in the National Congress or in the Legislative Assembly policies against education, who withdraw funds, who do not pay the floor, who massacre so much educators and learners. It is very easy to make the speech of civility when, in practice, at the first opportunity, they attack the public school, its workers and those who depend on it, who only have the social opportunity for personal development in the public service of education”, he stressed.
The state coordinator of the civic-military schools, Marcelo Borella, said that if the program were really unconstitutional, the debate would not be within the scope of the audience in the state, but at the national level. He stated that the project is supported by the Brazilian Federal Constitution, pointing out article 206. According to him, item III broadly supports the implementation of this model, as it says that education will be provided based on the principles of pluralism of ideas and pedagogical conceptions, with coexistence of public and private institutions.
According to him, the highest rates of development of basic education (IDEBs) are in military schools. About the project, he said that it is not militarization of schools. “The Brigadier is there with his monitoring role. He doesn’t need to be a pedagogue to be a monitor, if he were to teach, yes,” he pointed out.
Former teacher at the Visconde do Rio Grande school, Cinthia Bordini, pointed out that the project is not based on pedagogical or statistical studies. “It only has an ideological and archaic factor and it is a deception to compare it with a military college. The schools that have the highest rates are also the military and federal institutes. What the research proves is that the schools that receive the most money have the best results, in this case the civic-military schools are not. This project persecutes those who think differently, I myself was harassed to leave the Visconde do Rio Grande state school, even though I work at EJA, which is not part of the program. In seven years at this school, I was never threatened to exercise my role,” she argued.
in his assessment, people are deluded by the idea of what a military college is. “In addition to some being seduced by the offer of uniforms, others are by the offer of R$ 650 thousand. No school should submit in exchange for funds that it is already entitled to. 72% of Brazilians trust teachers more than the military to work in schools”, he pointed out.
During the debate, state deputy Lieutenant-Colonel Zucco (Republicans) left the audience and invited the protesters in defense of the model to also withdraw.
In the resumption of the hearing, deputy Sofia Cavedon (PT) highlighted the characteristics of a democratic and plural school. “To renounce this horizontal, democratic, plural school, this school that does not standardize, is to renounce the achievement of education as a right for all”. For her, the State should invest in public and democratic schools, in highly valued teachers and training space and time.
In turn, deputy Eric Lins (PL) defended the implementation of civic-military schools. For him, one of the objectives of the model is to regain the authority lost by teachers in classrooms. “There is no interest in interfering with pedagogy, as it is part of the freedom of teaching and the way the teacher teaches. What is sought is the ultimate goal, that teachers effectively teach”, he said.
Councilor Comandante Nádia (PP) and councilor Jonas Reis (PT) also spoke out. the lawyer of the 39th Coordinator of CPERS, Jefferson dos Santos Alves; the former teacher at the Visconde do Rio Grande school Matheus Hernandes; former Porto Alegre Secretary of Education Esther Grossi; the student Pedro Feltin; professors Felipe Adami, Aline Lemos, from Faced/UFRGS, among others.
Watch the full hearing below:
*With information from the Legislative Assembly News Agency
Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul
Editing: Marcelo Ferreira