22 January 2010

education in my neck of the Italian woods

While the Italian education system is still on my brain, I thought I'd share a bit about some recent changes in one way education is being done in my neck of the Italian woods.  Up until this year, parents in the big city (not really big, admittedly) nearby had lots and lots of choices as far as public education goes.  In fact, a parent could pretty much choose whatever public school he or she so desired for his or her munchkin.  Zoning as we know it did not exist here. (In other areas of the country?  I've no clue of the rules in other areas;  I did learn recently that this most recent change is for here only.)

I'm not sure of the criteria people use in choosing schools, but I can imagine that several things are considered, including the almighty schedule, and quite frankly,  in homes of two working parents, where the babysitter grandparents live. Certainly academic reputation plays a factor in the choice, and after visiting a few elementary schools, I know that the mensa matters, a lot.  Remember:  not all schools follow the same schedule, with dismissal at varying times on varying days. 

However. . . .

The person in charge has decided to change that up a bit.  This year school registration is centralized and  students are being forced to attend a school within their residential zones of the city. It's being called "una revoluzione."   At any rate, the motives of the powers that be are twofold:  encourage neighborhood schools and ensure that no class has more than 30% stranieri (with some exceptions in areas with high immigrant populations.)   Are we witnessing  a bit of integration happening before our eyes?  I am excited to see how this all plays out . . . very, very curious. 

Of course, this local issue, coupled with other changes dictated by Italy's education minister, are the reasons that the little semi-private schools have been bombarded with more requests than in years previous --  the reason it is, in this year, nearly impossible to get a spot (or so they tell me.)

The Young One, it appears, has a spot. Whew. Maybe. We hope. We think. They've taken our registration fee.  It's a Monday thru Friday, full day school with (almost) convenient hours not far from our workplace. Nuns run the show, but they are accountable in some ways to the state. Ahh. . . a Catholic education, just like her Momma.

Read Italian?  You can find the article here.  More than once I've received the advice to read things of interest in Italian to get better with the language;  nearly every day I get a local newspaper (a teacher's perk: free newspapers in education, even in Italy) and scan the headlines for things of interest.  Journalism is not the same the world over, I can assure you.

mensa - cafeteria or lunchroom
stranieri - foreigners
revoluzione - revolution

1 comment:

  1. In Milan, where I grew up, and here school attendance has always been according to zoning (elementare and media). For those who want their children to attend a school in a different zone or comune, there's a waiting list (even when there are no schools in the comune di residenza, as it is in our case).