Minister Barbara Nowacka “removed Rota from the curriculum”? We checked


According to a message distributed online, the Minister of Education, Barbara Nowacka, “removed ‘Rota’ from the curriculum.” Internet users who believed did not hide their outrage. So we checked whether the current core curriculum includes works by Maria Konopnicka, including “Rota”.

The management of the Ministry of National Education plans to slim down the core curriculum in Polish schools. The work of expert teams continues every January 4 she confirmed in an interview with Adrianna Otręba from TVN24, Deputy Minister of Education Katarzyna Lubnauer. Meanwhile, information is spreading on social media that the first changes have already taken place. “Communist B. Nowacka, the Minister of Education, removed Rota from the curriculum. Why do you think?” – he wrote On January 10, an anonymous user of the website X (original spelling of the posts). He attached a graphic to the post with the content of Maria Konopnicka’s “Rota” and her portrait.

Misleading post published on X on January 10, 2024

The entry has been viewed over 26,000 times. times. It was liked by a thousand users and over 660 shared it. Many Internet users discussed the alleged decision of the Ministry of Education. Some sought its reasons: “Too patriotic for leftists”; “Old communists always make the same mistake, the older they are, the faster they lose sight of reality, Nowacka too, let her throw it out, what is forbidden always spreads the fastest and people learn it the fastest”; “It doesn’t surprise me that much, but I can’t understand applauding this type of actions by those among the lemmings who deeply believe that they are patriots and Catholics”; “Maybe because Konopnicka was a lesbian”; “It’s strange because her grandparents and maybe her fathers had no problem with Rota. The communists in the Polish People’s Republic liked it.”

Some commenters, however, did not hide their outrage: “Scandal…”; “Parents should stop their children from attending school classes as a form of protest and that would solve the matter”; “They are taking away our values ​​and national identity! The moral and spiritual triad of Poland ‘God, honor, homeland’ does not exist for them.”

Others asked about the source: “I can’t find information anywhere about removing Rota from the curriculum. Can I ask for a link?”; “Please tell me this is a joke…”; “do you have any source?”; “Can I have some confirmation that this isn’t a fake?”; “Any source for this information?”

Some Internet users claimed that the author of the post was false. “Because you totally made it up?”; “Fake news”; “Liar”; “Please don’t embarrass yourself. This can be easily checked by just looking at the textbooks for the 6th grade. The reading canon cannot be changed during the school year”; “I wonder how she could change the program during the school year? Work on new programs for schools has not even entered the conceptual phase yet. Another post for idiots,” commented X users.

So what’s the deal with “Rota” in the curriculum?

Nowacka has not changed the core curriculum yet

What is curriculum, mentioned in a popular post? “The curriculum (…) is a description of how to achieve the goals of upbringing and education as well as the teaching content established in the core curriculum for a given educational stage. The curriculum may also be created and implemented for educational activities for which no core curriculum has been established” – they explain authors of the “Guidelines with an annex for creating teaching programs and lesson plans”, which in 2018 was published by the Center for Education Development (ORE), a teacher training facility run by the Ministry of Education.

The definition of ORE shows that it is the basis for the curriculum core curriculum. This second one is “a uniform legal act for all schools of a given type throughout the country, established by the Minister of National Education.” It contains “a set of educational objectives and teaching content, including skills described in the form of general and specific requirements regarding knowledge and skills that a student should possess after completing a specific educational stage.” The Polish language core curriculum also includes song lists.

Barbara Nowacka was sworn in as Minister of Education on December 13, 2023. Before the publication of our text, there were no regulations of the current ministry that would change the regulations on the basis program. There are two such current regulations: the first – from 2017 – concerns the core curriculum for preschool education and general education for primary schools; a year later there was a regulation for general secondary schooltechnical school and second-cycle vocational school.

The latest regulation on the core curriculum for preschool education and the core curriculum for general education for primary schools is from February 6, 2023and regarding the core curriculum of general education for general secondary schools, technical schools and second-cycle vocational schools – z August 28, 2023. At that time, Przemysław Czarnek was the Minister of Education and Science.

There was no “rota” in the core curriculum from the beginning, there is a “selection of poems”

“Rota” is a poem by Maria Konopnicka, as well as a patriotic song. The text is there in open access. As we have established, none of Konopnicka’s works are included in the core curriculum for preschool education and general education for primary schools. However, the selection of poems by Maria Konopnicka is included in the core curriculum for general secondary school, technical school and second-cycle vocational school. It is on the supplementary reading list.

Let’s be clear: the teacher is obliged to discuss in each class two books selected by him from the ministerial list of supplementary readings (in whole or in part). A selection of Konopnicka’s poems has been on this list since the beginning of the current core curriculum for general secondary school, technical school and second-cycle vocational school, i.e. since 2018. Subsequent regulations of the Minister of Education did not change this. IN August 2021 the minister divided supplementary readings into basic and extended ones – point no. 22: “Maria Konopnicka, selection of poems” was included in the first list.

We asked the Ministry of National Education to comment on the claim about the alleged removal of “Rota” from the curriculum, but we did not receive a response until the publication of the text. However, the statement that “the Minister of Education removed ‘Rota’ from the curriculum” is false, because since the transformation of the Ministry of Education and Science into the Ministry of National Education and the assumption of the minister’s portfolio by Barbara Nowacka, no regulation on changing the core curriculum has been issued, and even in the existing “Rota” included there was no.

“There are many more interesting texts for young people – including poetry – than Konopnicka”

How do teachers today view the discussion of “Rota” or other poems by Konopnicka? Aneta Korycińska, a Polish teacher at one of Warsaw’s high schools and an educator known online as Baba od Polski, notes in her response to Konkret24 that “Rota” is not on the reading list. “It only contains a selection of Konopnicka’s poems, which means that there are usually some poems in the textbook and then they are discussed in accordance with the topic of the lesson,” she informs. When asked how a teacher chooses texts from the supplementary reading list that she wants to discuss with students, Korycińska answers by giving three criteria: “a) they fit the topic of the lesson and shed a new, unusual look at a given issue; b) they refer to the present day/a situation important for school community; c) there are many more interesting texts for young people – including poetry – than Konopnicka.

As the educator emphasizes, in secondary school, the choice of texts discussed (apart from the textbook) rests with the class or teacher. “Usually, the choice of text is determined by whether its analysis will allow for many discussions during the lesson, whether it will be a commentary on the discussed reading/topic/issue or whether a given text will allow for a better understanding of contemporary times – events that are important at a given moment for the country and the world,” he states. “Konopnicka in secondary school is a figure who is talked about when learning about the era of positivism, she is the creator of short stories, we are interested in her biography, not necessarily her poems – although these can also be mentioned, especially ‘Rota’ with its cultural reception and being exploited by political movements famous for their homophobic narrative, without being aware that Konopnicka herself was a non-heteronormative person,” adds Korycińska.

Main photo source: Zbyszek Kaczmarek/REPORTER/EastNews/

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