Esteban Álvarez, 61, has represented the directors of the Madrid secondary school at the head of the Adimad Association for the past three years and does not mind speaking out despite the possible consequences. First, he assured EL PAÍS that there will be a cut of 1,000 teachers in Madrid’s institutes over the next year, since the administration has informed each director by email. And then he was outraged by Enrique Ossorio, Minister of Education and Vice President, who came out to deny this news, It is interested information that comes “from the left and the unions”. Álvarez is “fed up with people being shamelessly lied to”. That’s why he speaks again. The directors, he assures, are employees of the administration itself and their only job is to provide public education. To refute Ossorio, he provides his own data, actually sent to them in writing by the Autonomous Community of Madrid, so that they can take stock and plan for the coming year. If he gets in trouble for it, he says, he doesn’t care. The directing collective is angrier than ever.
The left is lying again to confuse the people of Madrid. But this is the reality: in the school year 2022/23 we will increase the number of teachers in Madrid classrooms. pic.twitter.com/iVRBoG8S7i
— Enrique Ossorio (@eossoriocrespo) July 26, 2022
Questions. Education Minister Enrique Ossorio assures that next year there will not only be fewer but more teachers. who lies here
Answer. Our data comes from the results of a survey of the heads of the centers. In the best or least painful case, we can speak of a reduction of 800 teachers. But they are around 1,000. The counselor can say whatever he wants, but while we’re discussing evidence, he’s not providing any data. You can’t deny reality and lie to everyone every time. The trouble is, it’s already becoming a habit: that’s what happened with the President’s promise [Isabel Díaz Ayuso] about what the decline in the “number of students per classroom” ratio should remain and what we later saw is that he started last year as a freshman year of primary, which means he won’t get to high school for another seven or eight years, if at all. And that was when the students’ scores were the best in the entire historical series, with just five or six fewer per classroom. And when we told them about this matter, they told us that they were very sorry but there was no budget.
P He also said that this message comes from the left and the unions. But in reality, part of the directors themselves, who are officials of the Madrid administration. Why do you think he blames the left or the unions?
R They are used to denying reality and there is nothing like blaming others for their unacceptable choices. It is best to deny them.
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P Within the group of directors there are people of all worldviews. How does an association like Adimad deal with disputes with the administration?
R The truth is that at Adimad, since its inception, there have always been directors of all sensibilities and we have always maintained our independence and autonomy. The only thing that guides us is the defense of public education, our students and their families. They even formed an association of related directors, known only for being the barn of future positions on the council. Too bad there isn’t something for everyone. Public education in Madrid educates the vast majority of students with educational needs. These students request a range of policies and even specific programs. The necessary teaching staff is not a whim, but a necessity if, as it is said, the educational success of “all students” is at stake. The treatment from the education administration is quite disheartening for those of us who work in it on a daily basis.
P When and how were you informed of the number of teachers you will have next year?
R The quota was emailed to the centers on July 6 and 7. It reported the number of groups of students assigned to the center and the total number of teachers mentoring them. The leadership team had until late morning on Friday 8th to specify the specific areas of expertise of the teaching staff based on the needs of the Centre.
P Is there usually scope to increase this quota for the upcoming course, as the ministry defends?
R There is no margin. To say that the quotas will be increased in September is to ignore the workings of the system, which is particularly serious from the consultant himself: the computerized assignment of teachers without assignment or interim is public and published, and the distribution of quotas is done by the directors, but the total number is what it is.
P Is there a lack of communication or is the Autonomous Community of Madrid not aware of the needs of the centers?
R We have asked that the support teachers we had on the last two courses funded with Ministry funds to attend to the students and the needs of the centers be retained. They ranged from 1.5 to 2 per center. At least a portion of them have been retained because they are very necessary to properly serve our students. We must remember that we have one of the largest numbers of students per classroom in Spain, 80% of students have educational needs and, in short, many needs that we have to take care of.
P And what did they answer?
R. That it wasn’t possible because the community didn’t have the resources.
P Why are the public’s professionals so outraged by the grants given to students from private centers?
R We have had staff cuts for 11 years, except for the last one due to Covid when we had government funded support teachers. However, in the 2021/22 academic year, when this teaching staff was retained in all municipalities, it was only removed in Madrid in December. Maintaining these 1.5 or 2 support teachers per center during this course would have meant between 15 and 20 million euros. Well, the gift card budget increase is 65 million. After years of cuts, we already suspected that it was not true that there were no resources, but that there was a lack of will to devote them to an important issue such as public education. Now we see. And in the end, the public’s students and families will pay a portion of those checks.
Many communities are returning to their pre-crisis school days. In Madrid, the quotas and lessons set by a royal decree law that is no longer in force continue to apply…. Whenever in Madrid an improvement was requested both in the public centers and in the working conditions of the teachers, the answer was negative and always for budgetary reasons. These gift vouchers show that the reasons are not budgetary, but of a different nature. And this is what infuriates us most: students and families in public education are being denied essential resources and are turning to other causes that they are now trying to justify.
The worst thing is that they also question the “always” agreed doctrine. It is a model change that seeks neither justice nor excellence for all, but only for the few: for those who have the financial means. We put ourselves in a pre-constitutional scenario.
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