- Carrying banners against the budget cuts and green T-shirts, which have become the emblem of the protests, tens of thousands of people marched again through the center of Madrid. Students and teachers' unions, as well as several association, had organized the demonstration coinciding with the eighth day of strikes in the public schools of Madrid since the school year began last September.
A budget cut of 80 millions of EurosLast July the administration of Madrid communicated to the public high schools the adjustments they were going to implement in education for the next school year.
The objective of this measure, justified by Madrid government for the economic crisis situation in Spain, was to save 80 million of euros in public education.
- The reaction was quick. Most of the teachers’ unions, as well as the associations of students and parents expressed their opposition to these measures and announced protests against what they called an attack to public education.
In response to the rejection raised by these measures, the educational authorities of the Community of Madrid accused the teachers of not wanting to work two hours more per week. The Advisor for Education and Employment, Lucia Figar, said in September to the public TV TELEMADRID: "There have been not budget cuts, but a political strike (...) Twenty hours of lessons per week is a reasonable measure in a Spain of five million of unemployed. "
However, associations of parents of students, such as the FAPA Giner de los Rios, argued that due to the announced budget cuts, and those implemented in the last two years, public education would have run out of 6,000 teachers, among other consequences.
- On the other hand, argued the FAPA and other groups, the Community of Madrid would have increased to 90 millions of Euros per year tax deductions for families with children in private school.
Two months of conflict
After more than two months from the beginning of the school year, the negotiations between the parties in conflict haven’t started yet. Teachers report that the administration is unable to hold talks with them, but on the other hand reprisals have been taken against those teachers who expressed publicly their position against the budget cuts.
- In response to these new mobilizations, the president of the Community of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, declared in an interview with the Spanish radio Cadena Cope, quoted by the news agency Europa Press, that people who are mobilizing in the streets against the government policies on education aren’t "representative": "Those who are mobilized and calling for this strike and doing all kinds of sitting, camping in schools, etc., are union members, many of them syndicalists."
Intellectuals support # mareaverde
A group of intellectuals led by the poet Luis Garcia Montero and writers like Almudena Grandes, Juan Jose Millas, Antonio Muñoz Molina and Elvira Lindo, among others, signed last September 3 a manifesto in support of public education.