Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Apartheid A La Madrileña

Here's the recipe for traditional Madrid style educational apartheid. First take one school, let's call it "San Roque", whose pupils are mostly of gypsy or immigrant origin. The school has reasonable facilities and even a bit of spare space for more pupils. Then take another school just 300 metres away, we'll call this one "Cristóbal Colón", where the pupils are mostly of Spanish (non-gypsy) origin. This second school is crowded and lacks key facilities such as a library. What to do about such a situation? San Roque offered to take excess pupils from Cristóbal Colón but such a mixture wouldn't work for the Comunidad de Madrid - most definitely an unequal opportunities administration. So the solution adopted is to put the gypsy and immigrant kids into the cramped school without facilities, and therefore leave the other one free for the Spanish kids. Swap the names of the schools and problem solved.


trebolín said...

Down-town Barcelona was already de facto public schools = darkies & church schools = whities, and has now completely barred newcomers from normal schools. But Barcelona is run by the socialists, so that's OK. Did Corbacho steal Rajoy's policy or was it vice versa? That's a hard one for youse PSOE propagandists.

Midnight Golfer said...

Holy carp, you weren't even exaggerating!

I tried to post the article to Digg, but it said that the url had been flagged by other users as being abusive or spam. What The Fish?!

Graeme said...

@ trebolín

No, its not ok if it happens in Barcelona and I'm no fan of Corbacho. However, this case goes beyond the two-tier separation between concertados and public schools to introduce that discrimination directly into the public school system. BTW, my understanding was that newcomers are not barred from normal schools in Cataluña, I thought the proposal was to separate them for an induction period. A proposal which has been sharply criticised from the left too.

@ midnight golfer

I'm certainly not a spammer and if I'm occasionally abusive it's for a good cause - so I can't explain why Digg behaves that way.

trevolín said...

Both school admins approved of the SR/CC swap:

Loads of organisations who generally support the PSC believe the Catalan remedy is segregationist:

Differences in achievement between autochtonous and allochtonous students in Catalonia are abnormally high:

The situation is particularly bizarre since Latin American children, who already speak the lingua franca, are being sent to immigrant schools principally to learn a language which teenagers on the verge of leaving school apparently regard as the third most important language for jobseekers, behind Spanish and English.

The PSOE still has its let-em-all-in fringe, as the PP still has 50s national-catholic nutters, but my impression is that mainstream thinking is broadly similar in the parties. Anyone who thinks Madrid is uniquely hard on gypsies or immigrants needs to travel a bit.

Graeme said...

The fact that the consejos of the schools approved it doesn't make it ok, do the consejos of the schools you find problematical in BCN object to the situation? Is that what makes the difference?

Your second source only backs up what I already said about it - that there are people on the left who object to the proposed policy. Nevertheless the policy is not about barring all newcomers from normal schools. Also, whether you agree with it or not, the long term objective of the policy is not segregationist.

I'm not sure that I've argued that Madrid is "uniquely" hard on the segregation, although the latest figures on the concertados/public divide for immigrant children suggest it is one of the worst when you take into account both the high proportion of pupils that attend such schools in the region and the clear preference shown by the regional government for concertados over the public system. Let's just say it doesn't set an example worth following.

The argument about the "let them all in fringe" isn't even relevant, we're talking about people who are already here - and in the case of the gypsies it's been some time,

John (pending name change..) said...

Trebolin, it is true that some have criticised the Catalan policy you mention, but many immigrant groups have applauded it. As Graeme says, the policy will not divide the schools children attend by origen, but will instead provide some assimilation for a period usually of around one term.

This policy is intended to facilitate the entrance of children from Pakistan, China, and other countries with very different cultures and languages into the public school system, not exclude them from it. If you feel there is a better way of doing this, then there is a debate to be had, but the objective is clearly desirable.