One year after the first attempt, the Government has again approved its educational reform in the Council of Ministers. This second attempt -The first one was symbolic, it was the same day that the courts were dissolved after calling elections- It should be good for Congress to finally pass the law aimed at replacing the LOMCE, the norm that approved the PP alone and that despite being “dead,” as all political groups said, has enjoyed its good seven years of life.
The Minister of Education, Isabel Celaá, explained after the Council of Ministers that one of the main objectives of the law is that there is no segregation of students, that the greatest effort must be in the 0-3 cycle and that “teaching personalized will be the heart of the law “(with what funds and measures ?, teachers ask themselves).
Although the political circumstances have changed since the law was passed last year, the Government has submitted the same text to avoid the process required by any bill prior to its approval, such as the period of allegations and the mandatory reports of the corresponding public bodies and that would delay the project several months.
It will be during the parliamentary process when the changes proposed by the different political groups are debated. The Government will have to give satisfaction to some of them, since, as will happen throughout the legislature, it needs support: in all likelihood of the same parties that gave it the endowment.
The Executive must move quickly if he wants the law to come into operation for the next course. The deadlines required by the parliamentary process of an organic law such as this already call into question that Education will be able to approve it in time for it to enter into force for the 2021-2022 academic year. A law needs about three months for the entire trip, and schools begin planning the next course by May. Already at this time it is doubted that there is time: if the debate is entangled in Congress or Senate, it will not arrive in time.
Minister Celaá has set the objectives of reducing drop-out and approving the rate of graduates, for which she will make the repetition and itinerary structure more flexible for students. Religion will lose weight, the curricular division between Ministry and Autonomous Communities is readjusted and a couple of elements of the concert system will be reviewed, such as the concept of “social demand”.
These are some of the main changes proposed by the new law.
Itineraries and stages
Starting from the bottom, LOMLOE wants to boost children’s education. Although this stage is not mandatory, Spain already borders on full schooling in its second cycle (from 3 to 6 years) and the Government wants to expand the offer in the first. The new law recovers the educational nature of early childhood education that the LOMCE cut to go towards a more welfare model. The centers must meet minimum requirements and develop a pedagogical proposal to teach the stage, Celaá recalled. They will not be car park.
In Primary Education the cycles are recovered. This means that instead of having six more or less independent courses, they are grouped in pairs, forming a kind of everything that will be evaluated together at the end of each one, in the even courses. A subject of Education in civic and ethical values is also incorporated in the third cycle (5th and 6th). The minister explained that the breaking of cycles in the LOMCE “has meant a very undesirable increase in repetitions.”
In Secondary one of the major changes of the law will be made, with the objective of reducing dropout and increasing the degree: the itineraries and the two different ways of qualification established by the LOMCE are eliminated, and the curricular diversification programs return.
The itineraries are an element introduced by the Wert law that basically consisted of referring students with academic problems in 2nd of the ESO to the so-called PMAR, alternative programs that led to a parallel route of the Secondary School and that ended up in a different degree from the ESO. The LOMLOE recovers the LOE Diversification programs, which allow the modification of curricula for 3rd and 4th ESO students, so that they obtain the same degree as the others.
In Baccalaureate the main novelty is that, exceptionally and with favorable reports from the educational center, Students can take it in three years. Celaá’s idea is that this last stage, not obligatory, can be similar to the university and if a course is not passed, you only have to repeat the pending subjects and not all of them. But a special permit will be required.
It is also introduced at this stage to obtain the title “for compensation”. This means that a student can take the Baccalaureate even having a subject suspended, also in an exceptional way and after a report from the center.
Admission and repetition of course
Changes in student management are one of the main novelties in the law. On the one hand, the Government wants to reduce the repetition rate, currently around 30%. For this, several measures are established. In Primary, the mentioned creation of stages will imply that it can only be repeated at the end of them (in the even, 2nd, 4th and 6th courses). In Secondary it is contemplated that students can pass the course exceptionally if those responsible for the center consider that these suspensions will not prevent the student from continuing their studies normally. The Baccalaureate can be done in three or overcome with a suspense, as mentioned.
Admission is another element that changes. The LOMLOE establishes that the educational administrations (that is, the autonomous governments) may distribute the students among the schools in their network (public and concerted) to avoid the segregation of the students for socio-economic reasons. In this way we want to avoid the creation of ghetto schools with high proportions of poor or immigrant students, a very Madrid issue, for example.
Concerted school: does not prohibit segregation by sex
The concert system will also have some changes. But they will be in matters minors, Celaá does not question the existence of the network and Podemos seems to have renounced that battle. The main modifications in this area come from the elimination of the concept of “social demand” that the PP introduced and will also prohibit the conclusion of schools that segregate by sex.
With the first measure you return to the system before the LOMCE. When he passed his law, Wert established that it would be the “social demand” that would decide whether the newly built centers would be public or private with a concert. That is, if many families requested it, based on unknown parameters, the school would be arranged. With the LOMLOE, it will be the State that plans the network of centers to ensure the offer of places.
What has not yet been included in the law is the announcement of the Government to withdraw the concert to the centers that segregate their students by sex. It has been repeatedly announced by Minister Celaá and is included in the Government agreement – and even the PSOE himself denounced this situation, also introduced by the PP, before the Constitutional Court, which validated the measure – but has not been transferred to the law.
The bill also states that, within one year of its approval, the Government will present a normative proposal that regulates initial and permanent training, access and development of the teaching career. Minister Celaá has already explained that her idea is to make a kind of teaching MIR that includes a year of practice for teachers before joining the full profession.
This measure of moment just passes from the announcement of Celaá. Education has not explained whether these practices will be remunerated or who they will affect: are they for all teachers, only for those of the public …?
The Executive wants to give a spin to the contents taught in schools. To do this, it will create a Curriculum Development Institute, in collaboration with the Autonomous Communities, that will permanently review the curricula. The idea of the ministry is to reduce the contents of the subjects, which over the years and the laws have grown to the point that it is difficult for them to end up in class.
In addition, LOMLOE will also change the distribution of classes. The LOMCE established a system whereby the Ministry of Education established a series of core subjects, common to all, and the Autonomous Communities had the ability to choose the electives and those of free configuration. Now he will return to the LOE: Madrid will decide on 65% of the subjects (55% if they have a co-official language).
The subject loses weight. The LOMCE made it gain importance by including it among the subjects they counted to calculate the average grade, which has implications when applying for a scholarship, for example. Celaá the devalue Now, by establishing that it will not count again for the average. In addition, the subject will continue to be mandatory for schools, but optional for students.
The mirror subject (the one that students who did not want to do Religion) should also be eliminated under the argument that “the election of some [estudiar Religión] cannot be the obligation of others [tener que estudiar una asignatura más]”, explains Celaá. What has not been clarified is how this will be articulated, because students who do not attend it cannot have dead hours in the middle of the day, and putting it at the end would imply organizational problems for the centers, such as keeping them open more hours or that the teachers of Religion have to work outside their day.