Next week, on Tuesday, the Sejm will deal with the draft amendment on education superintendents, informed the Minister of Education and Science, Przemysław Czarnek. On Tuesday, the Association of Polish Cities called for the rejection of the draft amendment to the Education Law. The project was criticized during a public hearing organized in the Sejm by opposition clubs on Monday.
The minister of education and science, Przemysław Czarnek, at the beginning of the meeting of the team for the professional status of education employees, informed about the procedure of the so-called lex Czarnek, i.e. the draft amendment strengthening the role of the education superintendent.
– On December 14, the chairwoman of the (parliamentary – ed.) Committee on Education (Science and Youth – ed.) Appointed first-reading work on our curatorial project, which you called lex Czarnek – said Czarnek, addressing trade unionists.
The project is called lex Czarnek
The draft of this law was adopted in mid-November by the Council of Ministers. It strengthens the role of the education superintendent as the body exercising pedagogical supervision, including in the field of control and enforcement of post-inspection recommendations, as well as the organization of classes in schools by associations and organizations.
“The government wants to strengthen the role of the school superintendent as the body exercising pedagogical supervision. The conditions for the functioning of schools and institutions will also be improved, which will have a positive impact on the development of students. The awareness of students and parents about the content of activities conducted at school by associations and other organizations will also increase. The decision about the child’s participation in these activities will be up to the parents “- stated in the communiqué after the meeting of the Council of Ministers.
The communication indicated that the need to increase the effectiveness of the pedagogical supervision authority is evidenced by numerous signals from school superintendents, parents, teachers and from teachers’ unions.
“Most often, these signals concern information about illegal activities that adversely affect the quality of education and the conditions for the development of students and pupils” – it was indicated.
Association of Polish Cities with an appeal to reject lex Czarnek
On Tuesday, the Association of Polish Cities called for the rejection of the project. “The draft amendment to the Act on Education Law adopted by the government, known as Lex Czarnek, which will soon be debated by the Seym, is an attack on a free, self-governing, open and modern school. local government and social organizations conducting activities for education, attack Polish schools. They violate the rights of parents, children and youth, deepen inequalities, hinder the work of teachers and teachers, and consequently lower the quality of Polish education “- reads the statement of the Association of Polish Cities, sent on Tuesday Polish Press Agency.
“Local government officials, teachers’ unions and associations as well as social organizations have long opposed attempts to politicize Polish schools. They are also joined by parents who will soon lose their influence on the content conveyed to their children at school. and ‘virtues’ in line with the party line. There will be no room for modernity, for own opinions, for searching for an individual path of development, for showing the complexity and diversity of the world. There will be fear, intolerance, disregard for the rights and needs of the individual “- say in ZMP.
ZMP on depriving local government units of influence on the organization of the school network
“The new regulations allow for arbitrary dismissal of school principals by school superintendents and replacing them with obedient officials. The curator representing the minister will be able to immediately (2-3 weeks) ‘terminate the appointment of the headmaster without the possibility of appealing against this decision. Parents will find out about the suspension of the headmaster. after the fact and they will not be able to do anything about it “- argues the Association of Polish Cities.
The union also criticizes the plans to introduce penalties of up to three years in prison for the headmaster of the school / institution for “exceeding the powers or failing to fulfill the obligations related to supervision over minors, which is detrimental to him”. Local government officials point out that the provisions regulating the director’s liability already exist – the head of an educational institution pursuant to Art. 231 §1 of the Criminal Code, he is responsible for violating his powers as any public official.
Amendments to Art. 89 of the Education Law, in turn, will, according to the ZMP, result in interference by the pedagogical supervision authority in the organization of the school network, the running of which is the own task of communes, poviats and voivodships. The current wording of these provisions clearly defined what legal criteria the local government should take into account when making a decision, for example, to close a school. Disputes were often brought to courts, which agreed with communes and poviats bearing full social and financial responsibility for the functioning of public education.
“The new provisions are general, which will enable full discretion and free interpretation by the body that does not bear any responsibility for the consequences of its decisions. This means a complete deprivation of local government units of any influence on the organization of the school network” – points out the ZMP.
“The curator will be able to block classes in civic education, ecology and human rights”
Regarding the issue of the presence of social organizations at school, the union reminds that currently their activities at school are under the control of the principal, the school council and the parents’ council. According to the project, at least two months before the start of classes, the headmaster will have to obtain a positive opinion from the curator about the program and materials for additional classes.
Administrative procedures lasting more than two months will effectively discourage schools from using this form of cooperation with social organizations, the ZMP predicts, emphasizing that parents, teachers and students will lose the right to choose a complementary educational offer. “Whether and what it will be like will be decided by the probation officer subordinate to the ministry. If there are sex education classes at the school or a discussion on the constitution, the director may lose his job or even go to prison. The probation officer will be able to block civic education classes, of ecology, about human rights, which at the request of the parents the teacher will want to organize at school “- we read in the union’s position.
ZMP also emphasizes that local governments – cities, communes and poviats – take full responsibility for the functioning of education in their area, and also co-finance it. The government bill – argues the union – deprives them of any influence. According to its representatives, the centralization of education means financial and organizational problems of local government units (the self-government will not open a school in a new housing estate if it is forced to maintain an almost empty school in the periphery), the inability to create local educational programs for students, a difficulty, and in many cases even making it impossible to cooperate with social organizations (e.g. mental health, climate change, equality education, anti-discrimination). Centralization also means a lack of flexibility in the selection of educational materials, the method of teaching, for example in the choice of supplementary readings – local government officials indicate. “That is why we are asking you, Parliamentarians and MPs, to block the work on the projects lex Czarnek and lex Wójcik and reject harmful changes in the law. The prepared amendments cancel the hope for building a modern 21st century school that our children deserve” – sums up the Association of Polish Cities . He also encourages to join the nationwide social campaign “Free School”.
Allegations against the project at a public hearing “
Lex Czarnek means the return of education to the times of the People’s Republic of Poland, hits parents and the local government, means depriving Polish youth of educational opportunities – such accusations were made against the project of the Educational Law during a public hearing organized in the Sejm by opposition clubs.
Main photo source: PAP / Rafał Guz