Constitutional Court upholds the agreement for differentiated education

A recent ruling of the Constitutional Court recalls that choosing a gender-differentiated education cannot imply disadvantages when subscribing to concerts.

Enrique Carlier-February 13, 2016-Reading time: 2 minutes
Demonstrators in favor of differentiated education in front of the Palace of Justice.

The Constitutional Court (TC) has rejected by means of several rulings the appeal filed, at the request of the Andalusian government, by the High Court of Justice of Andalusia (TSJA) against the General State Budget for 2013, which included an allocation of public funds for the ten centers of differentiated education in that Autonomous Community.

The sentence of the High Court has not yet resolved the merits of the issue -nor has it even entered into it-, which would be to pronounce once and for all on whether it is unconstitutional or not to establish concerts with schools that adopt the differentiated educational model of not mixing children of both sexes in their classrooms. The TC has simply ruled that, according to the legislation in force -what the Organic Law for the Improvement of the Quality of Education (LOMCE) states in its article 84.3- "In no case shall the choice of gender-differentiated education imply for families, students and corresponding centers a less favorable treatment, nor a disadvantage when signing agreements with the educational administrations".

The LOMCE is being, therefore, an ally of those ten schools in the face of the manifest intention of the Junta de Adalucía -somewhat obsessive and exaggerated for only ten schools, I would say- not to concert any center of differentiated education. Because, although in 2012 the SC had allowed the Andalusian government not to renew the concert to the twelve centers of that educational model that existed then in the region, the approval of the LOMCE -and specifically of the provision 84.3 of the so-called Wert Law- substantially modified the legal situation. The Spanish government, taking into account that precept, fixed in the General State Budget the items corresponding to those schools of differentiated education, included in the economic module of distribution of public funds for the support of subsidized educational centers.

The Junta de Andalucía then reacted by urging the TSJA to present a question of unconstitutionality before the TC, whose pronouncement is the one we now know.

The ruling does not assess whether it is constitutional or not; it simply states that at the time the TSJA presented the issue, the LOMCE was already in force, which prohibits discrimination against centers of this type of education.

In light of this ruling, the TSJA must resolve the appeals of unions, parents and centers against the 2013 order of the Board that denied the concert to the ten centers. While the appeal was being resolved, the TSJA has granted in these years several precautionary measures to these schools so that they could maintain the concert. The Junta de Andalucía, however, appealed these precautionary measures before the Supreme Court, which again ruled in favor of the differentiated centers with a decision in which it considers that the funding of this pedagogical model is not contrary to the principles of UNESCO and is protected by the LOMCE.

The schools are Ángela Guerrero, Ribamar, Altair, Albaydar, Nuestra Señora de Lourdes, Elcható and Molino Azul (all seven in Seville); and Zalima, Torrealba and Yucatal (in Córdoba).

The authorEnrique Carlier

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