School segregation increases in Spain

Revista de Educación (No. 381) has just published the article entitled “Impact of the economic crisis on school segregation in Spain” written by F. Javier Murillo and Cynthia Martínez-Garrido

The aim of this research is to determine the evolution over the last 15 years of school segregation of a socioeconomic nature and by national origin in Spain and the Autonomous Communities. The results show that school segregation has increased in Spain.

The authors conduct a special exploitation of the available data from the PISA study from 2000 to 2015 and estimate four segregation indexes: Gorard index, Dissimilarity index, Hutchens index and Isolation index. Socioeconomic segregation is calculated for 25% of students with families of lower socio-economic and cultural (Q1) and 25% higher (Q4), and segregation by national origin is considered as a minority group for students born abroad.

The results indicate that school segregation by socioeconomic level has decreased slightly from 2000 to 2012, and has increased strongly until 2015 (3.1% for Q1 and 3.6% Q4). The school segregation by national origin, accompanied by the increase in the percentage of foreigners, has decreased since 2000 in an important way until 2009. Then there has been a stagnation despite the growth of the percentage of immigrants.

These results, let us confirm that there is evidence of the impact that economic crisis has into the increase of the school segregation in Spain. This impact stemming the decrease trend since 2000. A greater effort must be made by the educational administrations to terminate this state of affairs. They should strive to pursue the decreased trend that already existed before economic crisis came. The differences founded between the Autonomous Communities let us know that the public education policy can help to develop an equitable educational system, or it can serve to heighten social inequalities.