Entre as propostas de PSD e CDS no campo da Educação, há uma que me deixa “com a pulga atrás da orelha”.

De resto é uma das propostas que ciclicamente são lançadas para o debate e que tem no director do Público – José Manuel Fernandes – um dos seus grandes paladinos em Portugal: trata-se da Livre Escolha da Escola.

Ainda há poucos dias atrás fiz referência a um dos últimos textos de JMF sobre o tema da livre escolha e, não por acaso, constatei que Paulo Portas e Manuela Ferreira Leite resolveram pegar também nessa bandeira.

Pois recorrendo mais uma vez a Stephen P. Heyneman, passo a citar um texto seu sobre o assunto e as implicações que pode ter:

In sum, if the assumption behind school choice that families should have the sole right to determine the education of their children were applied, it might exacerbate the educational problem it purports to fix. However cumbersome, inefficient, and unresponsive to parental interests the urban public school system in North America has become, it is wise to remember that at least it does not teach sedition against the constitution. It does not teach disrespect toward specific ethnic or religious groups. It calls neither for crusade nor Jihad. It does not include in the curriculum materials which would increase political tensions with countries to the north or to the south. None of these are part of the educational dilemmas in the public schools systems, but they are very much a part of the school choice dilemmas outside the U.S.

Using economic criteria to drive public policy has a limit. There are more expensive problems than an inefficient and cumbersome public education system. In the absence of effective regulation, considered normal elsewhere, it is possible for ethnic, religious, and racial groups to teach disrespect for the rights of their neighbors. In so doing, it is possible that schools may make a contribution in exactly the opposite direction from their stated public purpose.  That is, instead of contributing to a civil society, they may be used to exacerbate social tensions. Instead of helping to create a consensus over public welfare and the public good, they may contribute to civil unrest and social instability. In these circumstances, schools can lay an intellectual foundation which leads to social breakdown and, in extreme cases, civil war. It is certainly true that parents in Yugoslavia may have more school choice than do parents in the United States, but that is not necessarily a virtue.

Stephen P. Heyneman, “International Perspectives on School Choice,” 2008 in Mark Berends, Matthew G. Springer, Dale Ballou and Herbert J. Walberg (eds.) Handbook of Research on School Choice. Mahwah (New Jersey): Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers