Keywords: Legitimacy Gap; School Crisis; Priorities of School; Teachers' Features.
Some of the most important institutions, especially school, are clearly in crisis. What are the sources of this crisis? This article assumes that the Italian higher education system suffers a 'legitimacy gap': a dissonance between co- and extra-curricular activities publics believe school promotes concretely and what they expect (or prefer) school to do. Drawing from a research project in Piedmont on processes by which social and political actors earn legitimacy and credibility in a knowledge-based economy, the article firstly focuses on young people's (aged 18-25) representations of school and teachers; secondly, it explores the perceptions of congruence between various aspects of school performance and young people expectations for conduct appropriate to it. Even though school is believed to be able to work, the analysis shows four different "legitimacy gaps", one related to teachers and three to school as institution. Future research on these themes is warranted.