School freedom threatened

School freedom threatened

The Spanish school system presents serious problems. High rate of school failure, poor quality, lack of discipline and appreciation of effort, discouragement of teachers, excess of pedagogicalism, are just some of them. However, all these deficiencies are but symptoms caused by a more serious and fundamental evil: the lack of freedom.

The school is an institution whose purpose is precisely to educate free people, and train them with the maximum possible freedom. Nevertheless, since ancient times, there are those who have seen in the school the perfect place to turn people into mere pieces at the service of political power. The Spanish educational system has been accumulating, layer after layer, impositions contrary to the freedom of the people. The current system is actually the result of the laws and the mentality that they have imposed on the socialists. It is a system in which there are many people doing things against their professional vocation, their intellectual and linguistic preferences, their religion and even their deep convictions of conscience.

In the linguistic dimension, the imposition is brutal and evident. In Catalonia, more than half of the population, those who speak Spanish, cannot educate their children in their mother tongue. Spanish speakers are subjected there to a real political persecution. Moreover, something similar, although not so extreme, happens in other regions, such as the Basque Country, the Balearic Islands, Valencia and Galicia.

In the economic dimension, we are not doing much better. Public funding is always directed to the school centres, with the consequent subordination of these ones to the payer. Schools do not serve students and families freely, but to the hand from which the grant comes. When it comes to choosing between the interests of families and those of the government, there is no doubt: who pays is the boss. Consequently, families and students are severely restricted in their freedom to choose a school whose line could be acceptable to them.

The academic dimension offers new unjustifiable ties to our contemplation. Many are the students who would prefer, from the age of fourteen, a more practical and career-oriented education. However, they are constrained to continue with peers who have very different interests at least until the age of sixteen. As inevitable consequences come disconnection and boredom for each other, if not directly obstruction of activities and indiscipline. They are the perverse effects of excess impositions.

Finally, I will refer to the ideological dimension. The current social-communist government is trying to impose, against the opinion of a good part of society, families, students and many teachers, deeply ideological curriculum. It tries to impose on the school the gender ideology, a social-communist vision of society and an anti-religious vision of the world. Students are examined on their ideology and feelings. They are urged to adjust their morals and language to what the government understands as "politically correct." All this despite the fact that the Spanish Constitution expressly states that "no one may be forced to testify about their ideology, religion or beliefs" (art. 16).

With this invasion of the life and people moral consciences, the Spanish school does nothing but persevere in its already traditional tendency towards the annulment of freedom. Article 27 of our Constitution says: "The public powers guarantee the right of parents to ensure that their children receive religious and moral training that is in accordance with their own convictions." This article is now being flagrantly breached. Parents are being deprived of the right that this article proclaims. Our current government is making educational freedom difficult if not impossible. In fact, the government itself pretends to assume the religious (in reality, antireligious) and moral orientation of the children, taking this role away from the parents. The current minister of education, the socialist Isabel Celáa, has publicly and formally declared, "We cannot think in any way that children belong to parents" (January 17, 2020).

It is of no surprise, then, that indiscipline, violence and failure increase, while quality decreases. A school system that is oriented in the opposite direction to what should be its main purpose, the formation of free people, cannot yield better results.

In order to reform the school in an sound direction, it would be necessary to guarantee linguistic freedom equally everywhere, put funding in the hands of families by means of some form of school voucher and enhance freedom of choice of school centre. We would have to favour the freedom of teachers by liberating them from the dictatorship of pedagogicalism and bureaucratic asphyxia, as well as to favour an early choice of educational itinerary for students. In addition, of course, any attempt at ideological imposition must be nipped in the bud. In short, what we need in Spain, and perhaps in many parts of the world, is a comprehensive law of educational freedom.

Alfredo Marcos

University of Valladolid (Spain)

The material complements the project: Laboratory of Religious Freedom. Realized on its own.

Autor: Mateusz Ruta
Date: 22 February 2022
Financed from the means of the Justice Fund, administered by the Minister of Justice.
Pro Futuro Theologiae Foundation
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Pro Futuro Theologiae Foundation
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