“Together for the School” – under such motto, on September 4, on the first day of the school year in Poland, teachers, parents and non-governmental organizations jointly protested against the education reform in front of the Ministry of Education in Warsaw. Despite the enormous social opposition, the reform of the Polish education system was passed by the Parliament with the votes of the Law and Justice (PiS) in December 2016. None of the laws introducing this reform were subject to social consultations at the time of its inception. In addition, comments on that law and remarks put forward by parents, teachers and local authorities were not included in the legislative process. The last chance to stop the reform was a referendum initiative, but despite the fact that nearly 1 million signatures were collected, it was ignored by PiS. The reform came into force at an accelerated pace, without the proper preparation time for either schools or teachers. Out of the many negative effects of this reform, it is worth mentioning that thousands of teachers have lost their jobs and parents have lost theirs trust that the school is properly educating their children. However, most of this reform will affect children who will lose 1 year of general education, learn in overcrowded classes without textbooks and with a program that carries a huge load of ideological indoctrination.
Speakers, who represented different organizations, spoke out against such a reform. The President of the Association of Polish Teachers, Sławomir Broniarz, spoke on behalf of teachers; Dorota Łoboda from the movement Parents against Education Reform spoke on behalf of the parents. Other speakers included Iga Kaźmierczak (Citizens for Education), Artur Sierawski (No to Chaos in School), Maria Swietlik (Campaign for Democracy), Jan Guz (National Alliance of Trade Unions), Kazimierz Szufnik (Committee for Defence of Democracy).
During the demonstration, an initiative entitled “Together for School” was announced. It aims to monitor and inform about the negative consequences of reform and to develop and prepare the reform of education after the fall of the PiS government. The Committee for Defence of Democracy (KOD) also participates in this initiative.
Representatives of the Committee for Defence of Democracy of the Mazovian Region participated in the protests under their flags. A tent was set up, where people could receive various materials about KOD. They can also sign a petition, the legislative initiative titled “Let’s save the women”. KOD region Mazovia also prepared the stage from which speakers were speaking.