The Madrid president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has caused an earthquake with her new model of scholarships for non-compulsory education. Criticized by the public and censored by the central government, this aid also has the rejection of the concerted schools, which have gone to complain to the national PP because they consider that Madrid “has failed to comply with its electoral program” by renouncing its promise to extend the concert until Baccalaureate and, in exchange, implement for both concerted and private centers a formula similar to the school check that Vox champions.
The system allows not only families with low incomes, but also those with medium and high incomes, to be able to enjoy this aid. The threshold has tripled in relation to the previous call, in such a way that for the next course an average family income per capita of up to 35,913 euros is established, which means that, in the case of a couple with a child, they would have the right a scholarship if they enter up to 107,739 euros. It would be up to 143,652 euros for couples with two children or up to 179,656 euros for those with three children. The aid is between 2,000 and 3,750 euros per year depending on income, which helps to pay a good part of a registration fee that in the non-contracted stage of the Baccalaureate does not fall below 400 euros per month.
Beyond the debate that has been opened about whether public aid should be universalized or focused on families with few resources -Minister Pilar Alegría sees “absolutely unfair that the tax money of the working class is dedicated to high incomes”- , the measure has aggravated the hidden war between the private and the concerted in a context of loss of students due to the fall in birth rates.
The concertada is disappointed with Ayuso, and so it has been transferred, in addition to complaining to Genoa, because, instead of establishing the concert in the Baccalaureate, as the electoral program says, it has opted for these checks / scholarships that parents can spend in the center they want. What is the difference?
“They are two very different models,” indicate sources from the Catholic Schools employers. «The concert guarantees certain limits and controls: it means receiving public funds in exchange for the school submitting to the same requirements as the public one. On the other hand, the check or the scholarship does not have this control. The concert has a duration and a legal structure, it is regulated by the Lode, the Loe and the Concert Regulations. But the check or the scholarship do not appear in the legislation and they give it to you or take it away from one year to the next. Direct aid is subject to budgetary availability and, therefore, to economic and political fluctuations. It is to implant an ultraliberal model that causes instability in the entire system.
They compare them with Pedro Sánchez’s aid to gasoline, predicting that they will cause a general rise in prices that “will harm everyone, especially the weakest.” “It is a dangerous solution that mainly benefits elite private schools. Ayuso has been sneaked in by the private employer and Vox », he denounces.
Sources from the Madrid Ministry of Education defend, on the contrary, that “the most benefited will be the families of the concerted that, when they reach the Baccalaureate, they find it difficult to pay the fees.” They also argue that the lowest incomes are going to be the first to access scholarships and that the money budgeted (43.5 million euros compared to nine million in the last call) is distributed giving priority to families with fewer resources ( estimates that 18,000 students of the 46,000 enrolled in Baccalaureate will benefit). But they do not deny that this aid was a transfer to Vox during the negotiation of the Budgets. In fact, yesterday this match claimed responsibility for it.
“It has always seemed to us that the concert is the best financing model because it guarantees an objective admission process with price control and accountability,” says Alfonso Aguiló, president of the Spanish Confederation of Teaching Centers (Cece). The same is the opinion of Begoña Ladrón de Guevara, president of the Confederation of Parents of Students (Cofapa): “It guarantees the stability of the system.” Other educational sources see little future for these scholarships: “We will have to see if they are maintained in the next courses.”
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