The Minister of Education of the city of Buenos Aires, Soledad Acuna, answered harshly to criticism from trade union sectors and Kirchnerists for his statements about school re-engagement and considered that it is the attack by those who “militarized the closed schools”.
In dialogue with LN+, Acuña said that it was not necessary to provide a clarification for having stated that there were children “lost in the corridors of a villa” and that “it was too late” to go out and look for those who had distanced themselves from education. He emphasized that what he intended with the phrase was promote discussion about lack of national statistics regarding the number of children who have lost their connection to school since 2020, when the pandemic hit the country.
“I think It is the reaction of a political sector that feels guilty for having militated against the closed schools, that defends the poor, but excluded them for two years from the possibilities of development that education provides” he claimed.
Without mentioning them, the Buenos Aires official targeted leaders of the CTERA union and the Frente de Todos, who accused her of “discriminating and classist.” He considered that the attack he received is the only way they have, “to a truth that is known.”
In this sense, she pointed out that the same ones who questioned her “did not fully listen” to the interview she gave to Radio Rivadavia where she made those statements. “I mentioned all the policies that we made in the city of Buenos Aires since July 2020 to attain 98% re-engagement of those students who had lost contact with the school”, he added.
And deepened: “I showed that there were no official data on national matters and that there is much to do. And that if we do not recognize the truth, first saying the numbers, recognizing with evidence what is missing, we are not going to take action on the matter”.
Asked specifically about his statements, Acuña asserted that he did not say that the boys “were lost”, but referred to the complexity of reconnecting an adolescent or a child who has lost contact with the educational system after two years.
“After two years, it’s much harder to take a boy back to school. It is for the boy, for the social worker who works in the process, and obviously, for the educational institution to accommodate him. I did not say that it should not be done, I said that it was more difficult, that it is late, because it is like more expensive, it is more complex”, he deepened.
In this sense, he referred to the position of the government of the city of Buenos Aires on face-to-face attendance during 2021. “That is why we insisted that every day counts. Of course you always have to try, and of course the school is the place”, he pointed out.
Likewise, she raised the tone of the debate by asking for explanations from those who accused her. “All those who were offended, tore their clothes and were scared by my phrase, tell me specifically where you think those guys are”, he raised.
Horacio Rodríguez Larreta’s minister emphasized that in vulnerable neighborhoods, in the worst stage of the pandemic, isolation due to covid-19 infection was community, and that forced, he affirmed, many boys to remain “in the street or in the corridors of the town”.
“That meant that it was safer to be in the hallway than at school. That’s what those who militated the closed classrooms said. And now they are scared because we say that they end up in the informal market, working at ages that do not correspond or that they are victims of drug trafficking,” he defended himself.
And I add: “Ask the neighborhood leaders, the villero priests, the evangelist pastors where are the children who do not go to school. The one who gets scared is because he wants to deny reality, we want to fight it, transform it.
The controversy arose after, in an interview with Radio Rivadavia, the head of the Buenos Aires educational portfolio stated that, in some regions, “it is too late” to aim for school reintegration because those boys, “who are not went looking for it on time” because their information was unknown, “they fell” into drug trafficking, they are “lost in the corridors of a villa” or they had to go to work.
“They lost their own faith in the opportunities to study. Today, obviously, we have to try, but it is much more difficult than if decisions had been made two years ago.Acuña added about the students who today are outside the educational system.
After that, the minister criticized the national government: “We do not have data that allows us to know effectively how many [estudiantes] They fell and he didn’t go looking for them in time either.” Acuña assured, instead, that in July 2020 in the City “We already had the list with the name and surname and address of each student who had disconnected from the school, there were 6,500”.
Knowing her sayings, teachers’ unions and also referents of Kirchnerism who maintain a critical position of the Buenos Aires government vehemently questioned her. The general secretary of UTE, Angelica Graciano, stated that it was a “highly discriminatory and classist” statement. The trade unionist told Télam that “as head of the Ministry of Education [Acuña] You’d have to wonder what they’ve been doing all this time because, from what they’ve said, they haven’t missed a single day of school.”
Another of those who went to the Acuña crossing was Robert Baradel, general secretary of Suteba, who considered that his statements “reflect that the macrismo despises public education and has a classist and discriminatory conception.” “They show themselves as they are: they despise public education and the popular sectors. It is not too late to go look for the boys,” said the union leader in statements to Télam.
Who raised the glove in the Front of All was the national deputy Leander Santoro, who lashed out at Acuña on Twitter. “Larreta has good ministers, but this is not the case with Education. The worst that can be had in such a core area”, commented the legislator. And closed: “If he thinks that way, imagine how he manages”.