More than 100,000 teachers will strike tomorrow affecting 1.4 million students across Andalusia. The strike is in response to changes in the education system, which now gives families greater freedom to choose which schools their children go to. However, according to most public school teachers, the changes are set to benefit the ‘concertados’ at the expense of public schools.
Concertados are semi-private schools, usually affiliated with a religion, and receive subsidies from government funding, as well as contributions from families. However, many parents prefer to choose a concertado over a public school, because of higher education standards, religious affiliation, etc, without paying high private school fees.
But now that parents have more right to choose where their children are educated, and no longer limited to stay within a certain distance of their home, many teachers believe families will choose concertados over public schools, creating more demand for concertado school places, and therefore access to more public resources and funding. They deem the changes to be ‘an attack’ on the public education system, creating more inequality. In fact, socialist senator, Fernando López Gil, likens the reforms to a ‘direct missile against Andalusia’s public education’.
The teaching unions have also criticised Andalusia’s Councillor for Education, Javier Imbroda, for ignoring the education communities’ recommendations and suggestions. They believe the changes do not benefit public schools in any way and want him to withdraw the new rules that apply to the school admission system for the 2020/21 academic year.
Tomorrow’s strike is organised by the public school platform (Plataforma Andaluza por la Escuela Pública), which includes teaching unions CSIF, ANPE, USTEA, CCOO, UGT, the parents association of Andalucia, Codapa, as well as the student body, FdE.