The deputies of the PP began, they were immediately seconded by those of Vox and then some of those from Ciudadanos discretely joined. Standing, clapping, banging on the seats and chanting “freedom, freedom!” So for more than two minutes. The noise of the protest from the right was mixed with the great applause that had erupted in the seats opposite. The image condensed the climate in which Congress approved this Thursday the new educational law that replaces the Lomce: the same ideological confrontation that has marked all the norms to regulate education in Spain for almost four decades. For the left, a “modern, equitable and inclusive” law. For the right, a “sectarian” artifact, a “scoundrel” that “generates confrontation and hatred.” The initiative obtained 177 votes in favor (PSOE, Unidas Podemos, ERC, PNV, Más País, Compromís and Nueva Canarias), by 148 against and 17 abstentions. La Lomce obtained four more votes in 2013, but only the PP supported it, then with an absolute majority.
Minister Isabel Celáa, during the debate on the educational reform law. The deputies of the PP and Vox shout “freedom, freedom!”
He only had a minute of time and had to read at full speed, with that ordinary air that he has not lost yet after a year in politics. The deputy with the fewest votes in the Chamber, Tomás Guitarte, elected at the head of the citizen platform Teruel Existe, had the opportunity to open the session and in his short speech managed to convey a very graphic lament: “We started the work with enthusiasm, we thought that this time it would be possible. But we have found ourselves with the same ideological polarization, that the impossibility of understanding about education has lasted for two generations, that party agendas prevail, that languages separate instead of uniting, that fallacious arguments raise social borders ”. Shortly after, still in the turn of the little ones, Inés Sabanés, from Más País, went up to the rostrum and lamented: “Every time we discuss education in Spain, we end up talking about languages and religion.” Both Guitarte and Sabanés were premonitory.
“It is a historic day,” repeated some speakers. Anyone would say it looking at the appearance of the Congress: the blue bench, only occupied by the Minister of Education, Isabel Celaá, who attended the clash impassively; the opposition leader, Pablo Casado, absent – he entered a moment with the debate almost finished and left immediately – and without a trace of the spokesman of the third party of the Chamber, Santiago Abascal. Outside the Congress, some 200 parents of students from private schools made their protest heard, also shouting “freedom.” They collected signatures against the law and passed through there to stamp his Pablo Casado; the leader of Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas, as well as the parliamentary spokesperson for Vox, Iván Espinosa de los Monteros.
What the pandemic had divided, education has reconciled. The center-right parties, so divergent for months, once again acted as a single bloc to oppose head-on the project that will bury the no less controversial Wert law. It was kind of like crescendo semantic to see who found the most terrifying expressions. Sergio Sayas, from Navarra Suma, gave the aperitif: “It is the greatest attack on education in our democratic history.” When Marta Martín, from Ciudadanos, got up on the rostrum, she raised her hands, turned them slightly and announced: “We are going to vote not with both hands like this.” In a tone against the Government that had not been heard in Ciudadanos for a long time, the deputy said that the law is the result of “willful arbitrariness” and contemplates “Stalinist programming.” Martín warned that his party will appeal it to the Constitutional Court and the European Commission.
The PP is also willing to carry a “task of historic dimensions” on its back. “We will use all the instruments at our disposal to stop this authoritarian drift,” announced the popular Sandra Moneo, for whom the law goes beyond modifying educational regulation: “it certifies the breakdown of our system of freedoms and of our constitutional pact.” no more no less. With certain nuances, the center-right groups agreed in their criticisms: the suppression of allusions to Spanish as a vehicular language ―which had been introduced for the first time in the Wert law–, what they understand as a punishment for concerted education and, therefore, for “freedom of choice”, and the supposed disappearance of special education, which the promoters of the new norm vehemently deny. Joaquín Robles, from Vox, added one more argument: sexual education. “They cheat irresponsible sexuality and try to take the innocence from our children,” he denounced angrily.
Together with the two government parties, both ERC and PNV gave their support to the law, the only one that has broken the right-left division, in addition to Más País and Compromís. The representatives of the PSOE and United We can regret the “hoax campaign” on the content of the rule. They argued that their sole purpose regarding concerted education is to end “those privileges that the right makes pass for freedom”, according to the representative of United We Can Javier Sánchez Serna, who stressed that the “elitist and retrograde model of the Lomce will be put to an end. ”. “The right defends freedom only for those who have resources,” agreed the socialist María Luz Martínez Seijo, before returning the accusations of “indoctrination” that the right was throwing at him: “And isn’t that shameful and regrettable indoctrination? doing with the children reading manifestos in the patios of the subsidized schools? “
“This is not our law,” ERC and PNV warned at the outset. But they supported it because it repeals the previous rule and contains “advances”. Montse Bassa, from Esquerra, valued that “linguistic immersion is shielded”, a conclusion not shared by the other two Catalan independence groups, Junts and the CUP, neither of which backed the reform. Neither did EH Bildu nor the BNG, who demanded more of their own powers and, like Junts, abstained. Not the Cantabrian regionalist José María Mazón, a regular ally of the Government, who alleged opposite reasons: he understands that Castilian is cornering and that is why he voted no, like the deputy of the Canary Islands Coalition Ana Oramas. “There is no elimination of Spanish, it is perfectly guaranteed,” Minister Celaá reassured in the courtyard of Congress, “with great emotion” after attending the debate.
Tomás Guitarte opted for abstention. The voice in the Congress of empty Spain values the improvements made to the rural school. But “deeply desolate”, this architect who a year ago entered politics hopes that one day there may be a great pact on education in Spain in order to join.