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A public school pays for a declining birthrate, while a subsidized school barely closes

The declining birth rate in recent years is a reality that is already affecting schools, especially elementary school. But it’s a different reality depending on which schools you look at. While both public and subsidized private networks are experiencing similar declines in students, state centers are closing; Private individuals supported by public funds hold sway.

This is reflected in the statistics of the Ministry of Education. Since the 2017-18 school year, public centers have had 7.06% fewer students in primary school, while private subsidized schools have seen a 7.45% drop, according to data compiled by the CCOO in an annual report in which it analyzes the principle of the school year. However, this loss of students resulted in public schools closing 2.51% of units (classrooms), while private charter schools closed only 0.13%.

In absolute terms, public schools today have 202,094 fewer students than six years ago, between the second cycle and primary school, and 102,265 in private subsidized schools. The numbers are equivalent given that Roughly, there are twice as many students in public than in private. But the difference in the number of closed classes is increasing sharply: 3490 classes were closed in public schools, 72 in private ones.

When broken down into stages, the situation is even more different at the beginning. Regarding students, the scenario is the same in both networks, the loss is more than 5%. But while the public lost two out of every hundred classes, the private added new classes. Only 0.5%, but it adds up in the closing context. “The data is so amazing, it’s disproportionate,” said Hector Adsuar, CCOO superintendent of public schools.

In the words of Francisco García, Secretary General of Education of the CCOO, three communities stand out for this “privatization bias”: Andalucia (5.9% fewer public classrooms), Asturias (-5.73%) and Extremadura (-6.63%). Those that had the best results in this respect are La Rioja (4.9% more public classes), the Balearic Islands (4.3%) and Castilla-La Mancha (3.4%).

According to Hector Adsuar, most of the closures are in rural schools where subsidized centers cannot reach because these schools are too expensive (few students) and not profitable. Thus, Adsuar explained that this different behavior is due to the “covering” of educational concerts. “A public school, as soon as it has a decline in students or a forecast of a decline, closes classes. But in a private concert, if you have a current agreement, no matter what happens, nothing will be cut. “This has nothing to do with the free choice of families,” he assured.

“It is unacceptable that this circumstance is used as an opportunity to dismantle the public network,” Garcia said. “This should be used as an opportunity to reduce ratios, improve focus on diversity and improve issues related to teachers’ working conditions that have a greater impact on quality, such as weekly teaching hours,” he added. Garcia argued that the CCOO is not framing the issue as “one network against another.” We only ask that public institutions not be closed.”

A third of the boosters were lost to COVID

The CCOO also analyzes in its report the evolution of teachers in public schools in recent years and how the various competitive examination processes that took place this year have been conducted with uneven results.

According to the CCOO, communities lost 11,027 teachers hired in dual classrooms due to the pandemic, a figure that represents about a third of the 33,323 hired. “A missed opportunity to make this reinforcement structural,” the union lamented. In this section, the community of Madrid stands out, responsible for the loss of almost half of these teachers (5,634 teachers).

The CCOO believes that the decline in birth rates, and therefore the number of students, can be used to the benefit of the system. Their proposal in this regard involves targeted reduction of ratios (counting students with special educational needs as two when determining ratios in their groups), improving attention to diversity in therapeutic pedagogy (PT), hiring more specialists in counselors and staff. to improve well-being and coexistence. In total, according to the organization, 84,915 teachers will need to be included in the system according to the multi-year plan.

Three objections, three results

In addition, the report details this year’s competitions, which coincided with three parallel programs: Ordinary Retirement Replacement, Extraordinary Stabilization, and Extraordinary Merit Competition. The latter two are moving towards the intermediate 8% of the system agreed with Europe. (it exceeded 20% until the opposition in 2023).

According to the CCOO, a total of 16,158 new seats have been called between stabilization and replacement, but another 18,360 seats need to be called to reach this 8%. In addition, García and Adsuar explained that the three processes had different behavior, based on the fact that each of them had its own system.

Conventional replacement through the traditional method left 15.93% of seats unfilled, emergency stabilization calls barely 0.75% and merit competition 1.21%. Leaving aside the merits contest (which is only a summary presentation), the difference between the two adversarial processes is mainly that the eliminative nature of the first test in the extraordinary case, which the traditional method has, has been removed. The result: unallocated seats dropped to virtually zero, results that in the eyes of the CCOO would justify the removal of this elimination test from these processes.

Source: El Diario





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