Education, the last battlefield in Ayuso's crusade against the Government

First it was the word, more or less aggressive statements against "indoctrination" and the supposed lowering of the requirement. Then came the facts: a very specific law to defend the concerted herea decree to boycott the Lomloe over there, an instruction with the same purpose over there. Now, the threats: "We are going to carry out a detailed and urgent review of all the books in the Community of Madrid (...) and we are going to request the withdrawal of all those texts that contain sectarian material."

The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has definitively taken to the hills against the Government of Pedro Sánchez and the Ministry of Education of Pilar Alegría. She is not doing so well: talking may not have consequences, but acting does. The Justice has suspended in a precautionary way in the last week a decree and an instruction to the centers for invading State powers (and going against the Executive's designs embodied in a law). Both had the same objective: to hinder the implementation of what is known as the Celaá law.

Any issue is likely to serve as a battlefield, even if reality itself leaves you in a bad place. For example, Madrid protests because the Government allows students to pass the course with failed subjects when 14% of its students get their ESO certificate without all the subjects passeda figure worse than that of six other autonomous communities.

Another front: the curricula of the Ministry, of which it was said that they indoctrinate and that they have tried to amend with the development that each autonomous community must do (the Government prepares a general curriculum with 60% of the contents and it is up to the communities expand it in the remaining 40%.

The Ministry of Education announced that it had withdrawn some thirty concepts that the Government had included in the Baccalaureate by indoctrinators, including terms such as "resilient citizenship" or "climate emergency". "There are paragraphs that I, as the Minister of Education, do not understand what they say," explained Enrique Ossorio speaking of the curriculum. Alberto Corsín, a researcher at the Center for Human and Social Sciences of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), replied on social networks after the announcement: "Of the 30 educational concepts that the Government of Ayuso has decided to eliminate from the Baccalaureate curriculum for ' indoctrinators and ideologies' I have counted at least 27 that the CSIC identifies among the 'scientific challenges' of the future in its recently published White Papers", wrote on Twitter.

The reality, on the other hand, is that those 30 concepts were not withdrawn because it is not in the hands of the Community of Madrid to change a Royal Government Decree –the legal form in which educational curricula are carried out–, even if announcing it makes headlines.

But the regional government sends letters to Europe lamenting the ideologization of the curricula. Kyriakos Tsirimiagos, head of unit at the European Committee of the Regions, has had to read one in which the counselor explains that "the Government led by Pedro Sánchez has approved new educational curricula, binding on the regions, in which that an important part of learning and the acquisition of skills has been replaced by ideology, something contrary to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.Even the Council of State has openly questioned these curricula for their lack of specificity [esto es cierto, afirmó que eran "complejos y abstractos"] and because of his ideological bias [esto no lo dijo el Consejo]giving reason to the complaints that we have been making from the Community of Madrid". And that also makes headlines.

The very last element on which to percuss is the reform of the university law. The counselor Enrique Ossorio was in charge on Thursday of making public his discrepancy with the project after the meeting of the General Council of University Policy. The arguments of the head of education will surprise few who follow Madrid's politics: "It protects the politicization of campuses", explained the person in charge that the PP uses schools as places from which to charge against the Government while prevents Minister Montero from intervening in an act on 8M. "It hurts quality and excellence," she added, although his management is being criticized for the approval of private Universities with unfavorable reports from the Ministry and rejected by the rectors of the public ones.

Now it's time for the textbooks. In its campaign against Sánchez, the regional government has managed to confront the National Association of Book and Teaching Material Publishers (ANELE), which has also been accused of indoctrination. Ayuso explained on Wednesday that his government "is going to work to end the training [en el 'sanchismo'] that the Ministry of Education intends towards all children, especially, as we have seen these days, with textbooks" and announced an order to the education inspectorate to remove all those "that contain sectarian material".

The Madrid president has found a follower for this idea: the day after her announcement, the Murcian Minister of Education, Mabel Campuzano, former representative of Vox, announced that she would do the same in the region to ensure "ideological neutrality".

The Government reacted to Ayuso's announcement by explaining the obvious: the books are made by publishers based on the curricula, both from the central government and from the regional ones. In addition, the law already provides that the administrations control what is published in the books, precisely because they do not do it. Article 153 bis of the Lomloe says: "The supervision of textbooks and other curricular materials is the responsibility of the educational administrations and will constitute part of the ordinary inspection process carried out by the educational Administration on all the elements that make up the process of teaching and learning, which must ensure respect for the principles and values ​​contained in the Constitution and the provisions of this law". Which books are used in each class is a decision made at the school level, starting with the choice of whether or not to use books, which are not compulsory.

After 20 years without its own educational law – the entire 21st century, it has not had one since it holds the competences in Education – or skipping it to give free plots to build private schools, the regional government felt the need to have one right after Lomloe was passed. The objective of the Madrid norm is to shield the concerted school, which was threatened by the state law. Thus the Master Law was born, which directly goes against several precepts included in the Lomloe promotion of the public school, designed to favor the private supported with public funds: in Madrid all students "have the right to a school place supported with public funds", says article 5 in a subtle but key change to include the concerted school as guarantor of school places, a role that Lomloe reserves for the public school.

All this – approving the Master Law, launching and having two Lomloe implementing regulations suspended, trying to boycott the Government's curricula, charging against the Universities Law and against textbooks – has happened in four months. The next front that is foreseen may be the Teacher's Statute, a task in which the Ministry of Education is embarking. There are 17 months left in the legislature.



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