Monday, June 5

503 million for schools that segregate by sex

It is not Francoism, it is not Afghanistan, and it is difficult to believe and impossible to explain. The Community of Madrid in the 21st century promotes segregated education and finances 51,687,221 euros in the 2022/23 academic year for 17 ultra-religious schools, the majority of Opus Dei, according to information obtained from the Ministry of Education. When we are outraged by the discrimination against women or shocked by the news about gender violence, we must ask ourselves: why does it happen? The ideas that support machismo have their origin in the patriarchal model and in the situations in which it is reproduced. One of them is the sexist and segregating school model. That is to say, the lack of a true coeducation so that boys, girls and young people develop their abilities, acquire the same values ​​and relationships of respect without predominance of one gender over another. Educating in equality is a matter of justice and human rights.

The LOMLOE intends to avoid segregated education. In its Additional Provision 25 of article 83, it states that concerts that do not ensure coeducation and that segregate by sex will not be financed. In fact, there are a number of autonomous communities that are already applying it. This is the case in Catalonia, Navarra, Asturias or Cantabria. The Constitutional Court has endorsed the withdrawal of funding to the centers that segregate, rejecting Vox’s appeal.

In this, as in other educational issues, the most recalcitrant is the Community of Madrid. He approved a decree in 2021 to extend the duration of these concerts to ten years and in 2022 he imposed the so-called “master law” of education. This has as its main axes to skip the state educational law, to maintain this type of concerts, to give public land to private companies so that they do business with education, and to put obstacles to inclusive education.

The issue is not only Ayuso’s reactionary insubordination to continue weakening public education and confronting the central government. We are facing pedagogical nonsense, religious prejudice and economic waste.

Pedagogically, segregated education does not contribute anything. In educational centers, in addition to teaching knowledge, students are educated, socialized and accompanied in the moral development of the students. If coeducation promotes equality and tolerance, sexism is encouraged in segregating schools. The study The pseudoscience of schooling by genderpublished in the magazine Science, he concluded that there was no academic improvement, but that stereotypes crystallized. Separating students by gender is equivalent to another type of segregation and generates prejudices and role differences.

Beyond the propaganda bargain that one wants to make, segregated schools are mediocre, even though they are elite centers that select students and lead the exclusion rate. In the ranking of 650 schools in the Community of Madrid, these centers appear in a poor position on the list: the vast majority are below average.

This type of teaching is based on a patriarchal and anti-egalitarian model. It is not science, but prejudice, and it is out of our time. They are the expression of absurd fears charged with sexual repression. The defenders of what they call “differentiated education” come to suggest that it is the way to avoid early sexual relations and pregnancies. They alarm about a situation that is flatly false. The bottom line of the matter is the obsessions of a rancid sector of Catholicism that denies equality, coeducation and affective-sexual education.

It is also debatable that families’ freedom of choice is unlimited and allows them to indoctrinate in values ​​contrary to equality and human rights. In fact, these types of schools hardly exist in the most developed countries: they are few, in countries that are not very exemplary in terms of equality, and always private. A sectarian and patriarchal conception and a segregation that goes against social cohesion or equality cannot be financed with public money.

This transfer of public resources to schools for the rich with segregated education is not acceptable. They are exactly 503.5 million euros wasted since the 2010-11 academic year. An atrocity. It is even less admissible that it be carried out in a context of weakened public education and mistreated teachers in the Community of Madrid, a community that, being the richest, invests half the average in Spain in education.

With this money, and already doubling the investment to the average level of Spain, a general drop in the ratio and the construction and completion of 55 public educational centers that the Government of Díaz Ayuso refuses could be addressed. It would make it possible to meet the demands of the Madrid teachers who will go on strike on May 26 to recover the 35-hour day, 11 pm and 6 pm school hours in primary and secondary schools, the hiring of teachers and the equalization of salaries to the rest of the State (Madrid is in the penultimate level and a Basque teacher earns 400 euros more per month). And, of course, putting an end to the excessive bureaucracy that, as a high school classmate of mine said: “You have to see what they make us work, so that we don’t work on our own.”

The central government must ensure compliance with the laws, in this case the LOMLOE, and ensure that the right to coeducation that reflects the plurality of the society in which we live is guaranteed in every center supported by public funds. Teachers and the educational community must continue to mobilize to defend public education that is inclusive and of quality. And if the purpose of education is to make us better, the citizens must reject with their vote on May 28 these policies contrary to the common good.

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