In the distribution of competences defined by the Constitution, it is up to the municipalities, with the technical and financial cooperation of the Union and the States, to maintain the early childhood and elementary education programs. Thus, this year’s elections have great relevance for the future of education, since the voter will choose at the polls who will implement educational policies in the municipality for the next four years.
If all this would be more than enough reason for a responsible vote in municipal elections, the current circumstances, with the many challenges related to the pandemic of the new coronavirus, potentiate the effects of the choice that the voter will make in the ballot box. In order to qualify this debate, Todos Pela Educação launched the “Educação Já Municelhos” initiative, which, among other measures, presents a series of recommendations on educational policies focused on municipal management. The initiative is a deepening of the “Educação Já” agenda, launched in 2018, with the objective of subsidizing the government with diagnoses and solutions for the fundamental issues of education.
In the document aimed at the local sphere, Todos Pela Educação presents an unprecedented analysis of the municipalities according to their evolution in the Basic Education Development Index (Ideb). The results indicate that, contrary to what is sometimes thought, the mayor can be decisive for the quality of education.
Between 2015 and 2019, 23% of Brazilian municipalities (1,300 out of 5,570) were stagnant or fell back on the Ideb of the Early Years of Elementary Education. Regarding the Final Years, 22% of the municipalities (1,270) were in this situation of stagnation or setback. It is interesting to note, however, that, in the same period – corresponding to a single electoral mandate -, 413 municipalities advanced more than one point in Ideb in the Early Years and 518 achieved similar progress in the Final Years. In a short period, adequate educational policies can make a difference in a municipality.
When dealing with short-term recommendations, Todos Pela Educação warns that the prolonged suspension of classes has wide and lasting negative consequences on basic education, which requires immediate measures to resume face-to-face activities and reduce the impacts of the pandemic on the community. school. At the same time, it is necessary to work on medium-term actions aimed at improving teaching. It is not enough to return to the situation prior to the pandemic. Even with all current limitations and problems, a good mayor can and must make sustainable improvements to the education system.
These educational improvements must manifest themselves in three points: the access of children and young people to school, the adequate trajectory between grades and the learning of all students at the right age. “After all, it is not enough to be in school and pass the year – you need to learn,” recalls the document by Todos Pela Educação. On all three of these points, progress needs to be made over the next four years. For example, among the richest 25% of the population, more than half of children between 0 and 3 years old are enrolled in daycare centers. Among the poorest 25%, this percentage does not reach 30%.
“Even though there has been an important evolution in recent years, there is still a lot to be done in the learning of students in elementary school”, says the document. In this scenario, it is essential that public managers understand the evolution of Ideb in their municipality in recent years and form an accurate diagnosis of the challenges of their education network. Only then will it be possible to establish specific objectives for the local reality – very different among the 5,570 municipalities – and to implement the measures appropriate to the concrete circumstances.
There is no alternative way for the development of the country. It is necessary to educate children well. Hence the importance of electing competent and honest mayors, who are really committed to education. Therefore, the electoral campaign’s agenda must include basic education, in a mature debate, supported by evidence.