between Macron and teaching staff, a complicated relationship

1:15 PM, Apr 8, 2022

Two days before the first round of the presidential election, and in a campaign that has been overshadowed by the health and international situation, presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron is accelerating to defend his record and present his new program that should put education at the center of attention. “School of the future” experimented in Marseille, return of sports and mathematics, autonomy of institutions, salary increase against a “pact”… The head of state lists his proposals. But his track record has left traces within National Education. “It is a disaster for us in every way”says Michaël Marcilloux, Co-Secretary General of the CGT Educ’action.

“At the end of this five-year term, we will have a weakened education system,” notes Catherine Nave-Bekhti, Secretary General of Sgen-CFDT. For the two representatives, mistrust grew between the teaching staff and their supervising ministry during this mandate. And the attractiveness of their profession is still just as low. In March, in a poll conducted by Harris Interactive, nearly three-quarters of the 25,000 primary school teachers interviewed by the SNUipp-FSU union said they “displeased” of their current professional situation, and 23% “Not satisfied at all” of their situation.

Overdose Reforms

Among the destabilizing factors, the multiplication of reforms. Between Parcoursup, the revision of general and professional secondary schools, the new baccalaureate or even the Blanquer law for a “school of trust”“While the campaign team told us in 2017 that there was no revolution in the school, there were finally many reforms”, explains Catherine Nave-Bekhti. The overflow was also disadvantageous for management, which nevertheless supported a number of ideas. “The school has been destabilized by the proliferation of novelties, leading to professional burnout among staff, said Bruno Bobkiewicz, director and general secretary of SNPDEN-UNSA. There was no support for the change and this caused a number of difficulties. † And to add, the delta pointing between “study time” and “political time”“It would have been interesting to temporize. †

Also read – Education: what the candidates offer

For Catherine Nave-Bekhti, therefore, some of these reforms have not been sufficiently successful. “There were elements that the government and the minister wanted to do very hard very quickly, very quickly without considering the consequences”she explains, taking the high school reform as an example. “When the teachers had to help the 10th graders choose their specialties, they didn’t even know the existing ones and the programs weren’t written: we sent people to work blindly,” adds the general secretary, who also deplores the abolition of TPE for freshmen. Ditto for the secondary vocational school reform, where the resources have been “misled” and the work “insufficiently spun” between the Ministry of Labor and the National Education on Apprenticeships.

In the first grade, the doubling of classes in CP and CE1 in a priority education network was also an interesting idea on paper, but the unions regret its implementation. “The posts to introduce this have been taken elsewhere, leading to other overcrowded classes in other schools, different levels of difficulty…. With constant resources, this is a concern”, says Michael Marcilloux. Other collateral damage: the end of the device “more teachers than classes”founded in 2012 and abandoned by the new majority.

More generally, the requested additional resources were not given, according to the co-secretary of the CGT Educ’action. “We have had to deal with a refusal to create much-needed posts, especially after the pandemic, and with teaching staff who are still among the bottom tier of the lowest paid teachers in Europe. † Another bad relationship: orientation. “During this five-year term, as before under Sarkozy’s, we have a ministry that speaks, but does not think, and implements the means to allow the teams to work on support and orientation”adds Catherine Nave-Bekhti, of the Sgen-CFDT.

Pandemic and Jean-Michel Blanquer

The five-year term was of course dominated by the Covid-19. The establishments were closed for more than two months: an earthquake for National Education. A pandemic that acted as a “more revealing” and a “supercharger” difficulties already encountered for Catherine Nave-Bekhti. “Rather early in the five-year term, we noticed a very strong gap between a minister who had confirmed that he would not govern through circulars, with a ministerial line of communication based on trust, and at the same time a way of steering that is very compelling, even more in the first degree. During the first incarceration, we had the impression that the chain of command, which had been strongly reinforced, had completely evaporated.”

The government opts for communication with the general public, for internal communication

Michael Marcilloux even mentions a “contempt”, in particular from Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer: “He used the term ‘absenteeism’ to refer to the absence of teachers, who are themselves ill or have to deal with children. And all this little music crystallized out as the crisis unfolded. † The sequence of protocols wears off, reaching its peak in January, when the minister announced the final instructions in an interview with the minister. Parisian published the day before the start of the school year, from his holiday spot in Ibiza. Pillar of the government of Emmanuel Macron, holder of the record for longevity rue de Grenelle, the minister was not unanimous among the staff of National Education.

Read also – Inclusive school: why the problems persist despite progress made under Emmanuel Macron’s mandate

“We have gone through many different protocols with the feeling of inability to really move forward with the anticipation and time required for implementation, nuance Bruno Bobkiewicz. The government has opted for communication with the general public, over internal communication. But in passing, we got those who were going to implement the protocols in trouble. We thought it was a lack of attention. Although I don’t think it was the intention on principle.”

Announcements of concern

Amid the presidential campaign, candidate Macron’s announcements are also raising concern. “The recruitment of teachers, by the heads of institutions: it is not for ussays Bruno Bobkiewicz, SNPDEN-UNSA. Because apart from specific profile functions, this can only contribute to the imbalance of facilities. †

We are afraid that it goes even further in the case of the status of teaching staff

Another unclear topic, the “a pact offered to all teachers with, for those who accept it, new missions and correspondingly increased salaries”registered in the program. “A division between new and old who would accept a new pact, whose concrete contours we do not see, which would have a reappraisal and the others do not. When we talk about the missions, we get a list that corresponds to what is in the professional reference of all teachers and what they do today without sufficient recognition, it is not understandable to us “explains Catherine Nave-Bekhti, who, however, notes interesting elements about autonomy, but waits for the rest.

“Autonomy was already his common thread in 2017responded for his part Michael Marcilloux, of the CGT Educ’action. We are afraid that the status of teaching staff will go even further.” In case of re-election, his union plans to mobilize ” immediately “.

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