In March, the enrollment period for the 2021-2022 academic year opens, and the Government’s intention is that the Lomloe (Organic Law for the Modification of the LOE) – better known as the Celaá law – then get going.
EL PAÍS dissects through six protagonists (three parents and three teachers) the eighth educational reform of democracy, which affects 8.2 million students and, like all of them, was born preceded by a great fight and without a pact of the major parties .
The great objective of the Celaá law is to achieve an equity in the school that does not exist .
Today nine out of 10 children without resources and eight out of 10 children of immigrants are enrolled in public school, despite the fact that it instructs 67.1% of the students (the concerted one for 25.5% and the private one for 7.4 %).
Even the always cautious Andreas Schleicher, director of the PISA educational quality tests, reproaches the scenario: “The private sector in Spain has become a way of segregating students by their social context, but it does not seem very effective when it comes to raise education, at least according to PISA results ”.
The Government considers that subsidized education (paid for with everyone’s taxes) should pitch in more. Among the NGOs fighting to undo the ghettos is Save The Children,where the psychologist Sara Adrián works, who coordinates the Puerto Rubio Resource Center for Children and Adolescents (CRIA) in Madrid.
In this bright and colorful space, a group of teachers and social workers attend to a hundred children whose parents cannot help them with their homework due to their poor training or insufficient knowledge of Spanish.
School aid is “essential” for these minors. The so-called “summer forgetfulness” translates in his case into an academic setback of one month. While wealthy students learn by traveling, disadvantaged students use up those hours of embarrassment by watching television.
If a child does not pay for the supplementary class, they have to leave the classroom in 10% of the subsidized centers of seven communities analyzed in a report commissioned by the parents of the public school (CEAPA) and the employer’s private school (CICAE) .
In Madrid, assures the consultant, it occurs in 28% of the contracts. Whether or not the figure is exaggerated, the truth is that this discrimination is experienced in the classrooms, and that is why some NGOs successfully demanded that the Government remove the paid activities of the school day.
“We are in contact with the dozen centers – public or concerted religious – in which they study and they tell us where they are lacking, what duties they have,” says Adrián, who would like some schools to get more involved.
All students come from the Madrid City Council Social Services. The psychologist calls for more resources for the centers maintained by the State without distinguishing their ownership. During the pandemic, the NGO left the boys a tablet to be able to follow the classes, he says, and many cannot return it because the ones promised by the Administrations have not arrived
Madrid is the second region in Europe that segregates the most in schools (also in public ones).
For what is this? “To the geographical segregation of social groups, but also to the establishment of a single area for the choice of center, standardized tests, the promotion of subsidized centers or the differentiation between bilingual and non-bilingual centers in English”, it is stated in a recent article in the Ibero-American Journal on Quality, Efficacy and Change in Education.
For this reason, the law provides that the proximity to the center prevails when enrolling a child. Each autonomy will set for each school a quota of students with special needs ―the ratios will be lower in sensitive areas―, there will be “living places” for enrollment during the course (often for immigrants), it will not be possible to assign public land to build a school private or admissions processes will be more transparent.
The religious concerted education has mobilized its entire arsenal against the Celaá law, and the first battalion are always two of these schools -Tajamar (boys) and Los Tilos (girls) -, which lock just two kilometers from the center Save The Children, all three in the working-class Puente de Vallecas district of Madrid.
Opus Dei inaugurated Tajamar in 1958 among rubbish heaps at the express wish of its founder, Jose María Escrivá de Balaguer, who wanted to give school to part of the 12,800 marginalized children in the neighborhood, according to his website.
Pablo Táuler, father of nine children and president of the school’s Ampa – which teaches a highly reputed FP – insists that the center does not segregate. “Almost all the students [2,000] are from the neighborhood. The son of an EMT driver, a taxi driver … and 20% is an immigrant.
There are Chinese, Venezuelans, some Syrians … ”, he says, although he acknowledges that some of it comes from other areas with more purchasing power (Moratalaz, Vicálvaro or Rivas). The children of families without means, however, do not move from the neighborhood and that is why the law ends with the single zone, it rewards proximity to the house.
“Why do they force me to go to this fishmonger below my house if I like the one beyond?”, Criticizes Táuler, 46, a professional in the financial sector, the “authoritarianism” of the law.
This father, who misses more consensus in the processing of the law and that it was not gestated after the pandemic, assures that in Tajamar “only” you have to pay a monthly fee of 114 euros and there is aid for the needy (ranging from 220 euros to 560 per course).
“We have discussed it with the school, there are scholarships, whoever has only 10 euros to put that in,” he says. However, on the web there are many other concepts to pay. For example, in primary education, 30 euros are broken down as monthly expenses for each subject for which one more hour is received per week (up to six subjects are offered), 20 for tablet management, 10 for “online communication”, 30 of kidscare (telemedicine) or 50 of “inter-assessment”.
The Government wants to stop this drain of money —they are irregular and highly popularized quotas, which families are also tax-deductible, although it is prohibited— but it is a fact that the concerted one is under-financed.
The Catalan Government estimates the imbalance at 145 million euros. Faced with this budget deficit, the law proposes that a commission evaluate the economic decline and take it into account in future Budgets.
The PP, which like the PSOE has tiptoed through this thorny issue when it governs, came to set up a negotiating table with the one agreed in 2011, but no one sat there until 2018, with Isabel Celaá as minister.
Táuler defends the separation of the sexes in the classroom. The development of women, he maintains, is prior to that of men, and these two speeds do not coexist well in class.
“Boys and girls do not share space, but they link outside,” explains the father, as their buildings are attached. The Government believes that these centers discriminate and in order to “promote effective equality between men and women” it intends to take away the concert, but it seems very complicated.
The Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court have not seen segregation in their sentences before previous attempts in Andalusia, and that is why the Socialists did not include the measure in the draft, but they have ended up yielding to the insistence of Podemos.