On 30 December 2020, the Organic Law amending the Organic Law 2/2006 of May 3rd on Education was published on the Spanish Official Journal, after a relatively short procedure, in the general framework of the current public health crisis. This new law introduces several measures in favour of public education at the expense of concerted education, i.e. private social initiatives partly sustained with public funds. This would directly limit the right of choice of families between various pedagogical options, especially regarding confessional religion.
Serious concerns regarding the respect of the rule of law and the democratic legitimacy of this new legislation
Tabled in the midst of the State of alarm motivated by the pandemic, and adopted at the same time as the 2021 Budget, the timing for changing such a crucial legislation appears problematic. Moreover, the new challenges of online schooling and sanitary restrictions must be cautiously addressed, and would have needed the consultation of experts and civil society on the matter, especially parents and family associations. It is to be regretted that those who know the best children’s needs have been completely left out of the procedure.
A violation of parents’ responsibility as primary educators
This proposed law not only goes against the continuous jurisprudence of the Spanish Constitutional Court, but also neglects the fundamental responsibility of parents to choose their children’s education in accordance with their ethical, pedagogical and religious convictions, as stated in Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Article 10 and 14 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
A violation of children best interests to access quality education
This law would also penalise the access of children to education, as it would mean to progressively dismantle a successful long-standing system of public financial support to non-State schools. Every child is different and needs to be given the most appropriate environment to grow emotionally, mentally and academically, which starts with a pluralism of pedagogical options.