The Constitutional Court will have its hands full dealing with a flood of appeals against the controversial reform of Spain’s Education Law, the seventh since the restoration of democracy, with the regions of Catalonia, the Basque Country, Andalusia, Asturias and the Canary Islands, as well as the main opposition Socialist Party (PSOE), to file suits before the deadline of March 10 set for doing so.
The new law, known as the LOMCE, the architect of which is Education and Culture Minister José Ignacio Wert, allows for the injection of public grants into schools segregated according to sex, sets minimum hours for the use of Castilian Spanish in Catalan classrooms and establishes religion as a school subject that will count toward students’ academic records.
The law sparked widespread protests among the teaching community and parents and was rejected by all of the opposition parties in Congress. The segregation of schools according to sex is one of the main complaints of the Socialists’ 70-page-long suit, which was drawn up by a group of legal experts headed by constitutional law professor Gregorio Cámara. “All of us who can do so are going to the Constitutional Court without blushing as I’m sure one PP-controlled region or another would have liked to do,” Mario Bedera, the Socialists’ congressional spokesman on education, said.
“They haven’t left us any other choice,” the education commissioner in the Asturias regional government, Ana González, said, adding that the avalanche of complaints reflected the central government’s unwillingness to negotiate.
The Popular Party administration has devolved responsibility for education to the country’s regions. One of Catalonia’s complaints is that the regional government is obliged to pay for the education of children in Castilian Spanish when there is no suitable provision in the public sector in the region under which Catalan is the main language of instruction.