«Merit is giving opportunities to those who don't have any. Never silence books and presentations»- Corriere.it

«Merit is giving opportunities to those who don't have any.  Never silence books and presentations»- Corriere.it

Of Marzio Breda

The head of state celebrates don Milani: school of all and for all. Roccella's thanks

«A coherent and inconvenient witness for the civil and religious communities of his time». This is how Sergio Mattarella defines Don Lorenzo Milani, adding that, yes, it was also "a sign of contradiction, stinging". Others, divided between devotion and condemnation, have classified him among the rebels, revolutionaries, heretics, prophets, due to the challenges with which he anticipated the urgency of changes that came after him and only in part. For example, limiting ourselves to the sphere of the Church, the reforms of the Council. A crucial role recognized to him after a long Vatican interdict by Pope Francis, who bowed at his grave in 2017. And yesterday, on the centenary of his birth, by the President of the Republic. Who, remembering him as "a great Italian" especially as an educator, summarizes his "pedagogy of freedom" with a dry reflection.

"School belongs to everyone," she says. "School should be for everyone." Principle which, applied to the double role - of religious and citizen - of Don Lorenzo, endowed with "a very strong sense of politics", means that "if the Gospel was the fire that drove him to love, the Constitution was the lay gospel of he. “I learned that other people's problems are the same as mine. Sorting out together is the policy. To get out of it alone is avarice'». And Mattarella adds: «His school tried to instill the desire to learn, the willingness to work together with others. He was trying to establish the habit of using the critical spirit. Without ever withdrawing from the confrontation or claiming to silence someone, least of all a book or his presentation ... ». A nod to the case of Minister Roccella, contested and silenced recently at the Turin Book Fair. In fact, she thanked the head of state, with a message that reached him while he was still in Barbiana.

And you have to go right up here to understand where what Giulio Nascimbeni told about the Courier as "the wonderful scandal of teaching" by don Milani. It is a small village in Mugello where, between the 1950s and 1960s, the priest had been exiled from the Florentine Curia. Here, in the classroom where he gathers the peasants' children, after a few brief experiments carried out elsewhere, he develops the dream of a school as a "place of promotion and not of social selection". Concept full of modernity, for the president, "ahead of those who lingered in models that differed from the constitutional provisions".

Engine of his ideas of justice and equality it is precisely the school, understood as a "lever to combat poverty". The school - he argued - "to know, to learn above all the language, to be able to use the word". Because «the world - said Don Milani - is divided into two categories: “It's not that one is more intelligent and the other less intelligent, one rich and the other less rich. A man has a thousand words and a man has a hundred words." Here is the point: «We start with different heritages, but poverty in language is a vehicle for complete poverty, and generates further discrimination».

This is the meaning of Letter to a teacher
, a book written by Don Lorenzo with his boys (while the disease that would have killed him at 44 was advancing) and imposed itself everywhere with a disruptive force. Above a door of the courtroom, the priest put up a sign on which he wrote the phrase "I care", that is, "I care, I care about it" (later adopted by many, including Obama). "The motto of those who reject selfishness and indifference," syllables the head of state. And this explains why, while studying, the pupils kept pace with the least of them, giving them time without the obsession with "merit", rampant today. A term that the president underlines, because «merit is not the amplification of the advantage of those who start already favourite. The merit is to give new opportunities to those who don't have any, because it's right and so that Italy doesn't lose precious talent if they find the possibility to express themselves, as everyone must be guaranteed».

Therefore, faithful to his idea of ​​the state-community that she is close to Don Milani's feelings, Mattarella insists. An elitist school "that selects, destroys culture. It takes away the means of expression for the poor. He takes away the knowledge of things from the rich".

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May 27, 2023 (change May 27, 2023 | 21:08)

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