E. Borne announces school reform

“We are continuing the overhaul of the school that has begun in the past five years”. During the government statement on July 6, before the National Assembly, the Prime Minister outlines what the reform of the school will be: revaluation but “new pact”, “transformation of the school”, local contracts, apprenticeships in secondary vocational schools. Elisabeth Borne also confirms the pension reform. And it sounds like the return to budgetary rigor… Although the government is advocating consultations, it has no intention of giving up on any of its projects, even if they are clearly rejected as the “new pact”.

Consult without giving up

“More than ever, we will carry out any reform in close cooperation with the trade unions and employers’ organizations. We need them and they know that they will find in me a frank, constructive and determined interlocutor”. Elisabeth Borne began her general policy statement with the promise of consultation and listening. But without giving up any reform of E Macron, which will be a difficult exercise.

The primary school…

The prime minister placed first in continuity with JM Blanquer’s reforms. “Our school is the one that reinforces fundamental knowledge: reading, writing, counting, respecting and grasping new knowledge such as computer coding,” she says. Recently, P Ndiaye had also recalled the basics, but without including the “respect others” dear to JM Blanquer. Government education policies remain anchored in conservative discourse on school.

And of the new pact

It is in this continuity that it announces new reforms. Like E Macron, E Borne links the upgrading of teachers to the transformation of their status. It does this by specifying the changes. “We will increase their salaries and build together with them the evolution of their profession. With them we will have to make a new pact, answer the question of replacements, go further for individualized aid, adapt their training, support collective projects ” . The new pact should therefore, as E Macron has already suggested, include taking over new tasks, such as replacements, by teachers. And their acceptance of the “collective project”, that is, their recruitment by the director or head of the establishment.

The new management of the school

The Prime Minister also confirms the proliferation of local contracts. “It would be an illusion to believe that the solutions would be identical everywhere and in all areas. True equality means adapting our action to the local situation and the needs of the pupils. The “Marseille en grand” plan, launched by the President of the Republic last year paved the way”. This poses a serious threat to the maintenance of a priority education policy. And there too there is a gap in the words of P Ndiaye who announced the meeting of a priority education working group.

Finally, the Prime Minister confirms the start of a consultation with “the entire school community, associations, elected officials” in September. These meetings, which should take place at the level of schools and institutions in order to define a school or institution project together with parents and elected officials, should be the lever to break through the resistance of teachers.

E Borne also confirmed the policy pursued in secondary vocational education: “we are going to extend learning success to secondary vocational education”. Finally, she announced the extension of the Cultuurpas from 6th grade. A positive measure that can help teachers organize cultural outings with the collective share of the Pass.

The announced return to fiscal rigor

The budget part of E Borne’s speech, on the other hand, marks a turning point. After months of “all it takes” and then election manifestos whose budget announcements were very optimistic, E Borne is announcing fiscal discipline. On this ground, the roadmap has been given by the Court of Auditors from June 2021

“Due to the ongoing war, our economic situation has darkened,” the prime minister said. “Our growth prospects are deteriorating. Interest rates are rising. Our public finances need to get back into balance.” France is a long way from this balanced budget.

And E Borne specifies what government policy will be by invoking “fiscal responsibility.” “A statement of general policy is a moment of truth. A moment of sharing also the limitations we face. The facts are clear. Because of the war that lasts, and as everywhere in Europe: – our economic growth will be weaker than expected – inflation will be higher – and the debt burden will increase Our objectives are also clear: in 2026 we must start decreasing debt. By 2027 we must bring the government deficit below 3%,” she said. she takes back the timetable set by the Court

Assuming a government deficit of 9% in 2021, we measure the effort needed to return to 3% while starting to reduce the debt volume. The prime minister promises to achieve this through growth (in free fall for now) and “good governance” without raising taxes. E Borne even announced the abolition of 8 billion corporate taxes in 2023. Solving this equation seems to mean a sharp fall in public spending (“good management”), a term that is rather incompatible with the promised revaluation.

Liberalization under discussion

We understand better the announcement of the enforcement of the pension reform. “Yes, we will gradually have to work a little longer. Our country needs a reform of its pension system. It will not be uniform and will have to take into account long careers and hardships. It will have to ensure that it is in the ’employment of seniors’ Will pension funds be used to support businesses and the return to public accounts orthodoxy?

This liberal drive was pointed out by Boris Vallaud, chairman of the PS Group in the Assembly, in his response to E Borne. “We will not run with you a liberal program and project that does not belong to us…. We have denounced the Malthusianism of your education policy, guided not by the ambition to accommodate everyone, but by the concern that everyone in his place … We are not elected to implement the liberalization of public schools”.

Francois Jarraud

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