June 22, 2020 – Josep Miró and Ardèvol
On the one hand, the Generalitat’s education department, led by Josep Bargalló of ERC, has not stopped throughout the legislature colliding and creating problems with charter-private schools and seeking the short-term liquidation of the differentiated. The way to do it is not a secret: create new demands and limitations that economically strangle this type of schools, chronically underfunded by the administration. They want them to develop the same demands as public ones, but with 60% of their funding, while creating restrictions on parental fees to cover the total cost. At the same time, the Department is dedicated to acquiring charter-private schools that are already with water around their necks.
The pandemic and the new economic hardships on citizens, when the wounds of the previous crisis are not completely closed, create a very difficult scenario due to the economic effort that families require to take their children to the school of their choice.
But, more dangerous than all this is the Celaá education law inspired by the most radical vision of the PSOE, the Zapatero-Sánchez, with the support of Podemos, because if it is approved as it is now, it will be a devastating blow to the rights of parents and for the right to free choice of center. Once again the government in power and despite the educational crisis that Spain has suffered for decades, caused largely by continuous changes in law, the Sánchez government returns to business as usual, an ideological law approved by a short majority, driving away all consensus idea. The school has thus become a politicized and controversial area, quite the opposite of what would be necessary.
The new bill will not give parents the right to choose the moral and religious education of their children, which the Constitution establishes. From this and “the best interest of the minor”, declare the State as guarantor of this interest, and pass over the parents in the educational field, being reduced to nothing. The state wants to have exclusivity in the education of children, but the consequences and responsibilities are the parents. Brutal.
The law corners the charter-private schools, which means 25% of the school places in Spain and 33% in Catalonia. To do this, the law aims to eliminate the concept of “social demand” that guarantees the possibility of opting for a charter-private school and imposes burdens such as the obligation to distribute students for “socioeconomic reasons among the charter-private schools”. As these receive via benefit a contribution from the state that is much lower than the real cost of the place, the fact of introducing a student body that cannot assume these payments means making the economy of many centers unfeasible.
The underlying problem is conceptual. Public school in Spain means state school and, in practice, school of the current government. Just because it is public does not mean that the state itself is responsible for managing it directly, as is the case with many other public services, some strategic as transport and telecommunications. But, the school is seen as an instrument of indoctrination. And this points to another serious problem of the law.
The law reintroduces with a new name the controversial “education for citizenship” of the Zapatero era. Now it will be called “civic and ethical values, and the minister has already announced that the gender perspective, a very divisive issue in the education of minors, will be one of the main elements of the new education. Religion is also reduced to the minimum expression and without alternative matter, so that the center can develop activities that discourage going to the religion class, for example reinforcement in English.
All these events, due to the lack of academic demand, because you can get a high school diploma with fail, and get a degree in ESO without having all the subjects passed, is a certain way of covering up poor school results, but a disaster facing the training of our young people, increasingly removed from the culture of effort.
In fact, this and other issues, practically all, are the consequence of a certain political correlation: that of the PSOE-UP in Madrid with the support of all the nationalist left, from Bildu in the ERC with the invaluable support of the PNV, who lives protected within their confederal bubble, and they were very indifferent to what happens in the rest of the “confederation”, and in Catalonia where the hegemony of the radical Left is clear in the field of ideas, and where the PSC does not act as a counterweight to that because his only practical guide is to reach the maximum centers of political power, with the only limit of not going into contradiction with Sánchez’s PSOE. In short, the country works in the direction of the political majority, and all the others allow themselves to be dragged, despite the fact that, in theory, in beliefs, they are in clear disagreement , but Ah! It is the socialists who do it …
The cultural and moral battle that frames issues such as the family, the rights of the parents, the freedom of school and its conception as a public service is lost and, therefore, financed by the administrations without political interference. The conclusion is clear: either there is a cultural and also a political battle, or this will be a country increasingly inclined to live in the hands of an inefficient ideological state, and which understands that freedom consists in taking place in the terms it indicates.