When the president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Carlos Mazón, chose José Antonio Rovira, one of the people in his closest confidence for the position of Minister of Education, he was fully aware of the strong profile and firm convictions – and a Spanish speaker – that he chose for one of the hottest portfolios when the right governs. And if not, tell the now mayor of Valencia, María José Catalá, the last Minister of Education who suffered, more than a decade ago, the last general strike.

A general strike like the one called yesterday by the Platform for Public Education – which brings together teachers, unions, mothers’ and fathers’ associations and students – on a day that took thousands of people out of the classrooms and onto the streets. The protest denounced the cuts in public education, the implementation of the single district, the paralysis of the Pla Edificant or the future approval of a law that, the organizers understand, “corners the Valencian.” By the way, Rovira was one of the main protagonists of the slogans shouted by the protesters, who demanded his dismissal.

The figures to assess the success of the call are diverse. The platform calling for the protest celebrated the monitoring of the strike in educational centers and quantified that – until 3:00 p.m. – it had been 71% in the province of Valencia, 69% in Alicante and 65% in Castellón. 

These data are far from those provided by the Department of Education, which reduced them considerably. According to the department directed by José Antonio Rovira, only 14,980 teachers (21.45% of the 69,840 called to strike) joined the demand. By province, the protest was highest in Valencia (22.81%), lowest in Alicante (20.44%) and below 20% in Castellón (19.74%).

All in all, what became clear yesterday is that the agreement between the parties is more than complicated and that the confrontation in the classrooms will mark the legislature of the new PP and Vox government. The controversial educational freedom law will be approved before the summer, although its full implementation will not occur until the 2025-2026 academic year, so the debate about its benefits and failures will drag on for the bulk of the mandate. It is possible that the rule will end up in court and, furthermore, it will not be easy to comply with the linguistic will of each and every parent in schools with limited units and with groups that must be more or less balanced.

In the morning marches, the organizers demanded that the regional government “react”, but aware of the difficulty of fulfilling this request, they already pointed out that “perhaps in the coming weeks there would be more protest actions.” As Councilor Rovira has stated these days, it does not seem that the PP has any desire to change the direction of its educational policy. Mazón already placed a person capable of withstanding the challenge of unions and leftist parties in the position. And the PP, and obviously also Vox, are comfortable in that role of fighting teachers and unions. The left mobilizes, but the right endures the challenge and counterattacks.

As an example of all this and of this desire not to give in even an iota, yesterday the person in charge of Education declared that the strike, which he has always described as political, was “a failure.”