Offer all students the same school

A look back at the round table organized on September 24, 2022 at the Maison de l’océan in Paris, during the 76th Congress of the FCPE. An exchange with the parents of students, who had equal rights in terms of theme.

Do all students benefit from the same school offer in France? Are central government and municipalities doing everything they can to ensure that everyone has a successful school career? The answer is unfortunately all too familiar, and it is no! Four experts in the field attended the FCPE’s 76th Congress to take stock of these educational inequalities. A very pessimistic assessment that nevertheless allowed FCPE parent representatives to identify possible means of action.

The first speaker to speak, Agnès Florin, Professor Emeritus of Child Psychology and Education at the University of Nantes, focused her comments on the rights of the child. In particular, she recalled some figures from the summary prepared for UNICEF in 2021 after consulting with 23,500 young people aged 6 to 18. Enshrined in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, the right to express oneself is far from being respected. When asked “Do you have the right to express your opinion about your school? », 41% of them answered no. 71% of them also experience at least one type of deprivation: 25% have no access to extracurricular activities, 20% have no balanced diet.

It was then the turn of Rémi Rouault and Patrice Caro, social geographers at the University of Caen, to give us their analysis of educational gaps. Eloquent supporting cards. Rémi Rouault pointed to a disrespected first right, namely to receive education close to home, as 5% of the school population does not have a kindergarten in their municipality. A choice for proximity that is also not guaranteed in vocational education.

The so-called unity of the national education system is clearly divided when the educational expenditure of the communities is also considered. For example, in 2010, the municipality of Gravelines awarded EUR 5,800 per pupil per year, while certain municipalities in Lozère awarded less than EUR 300. The last important element mentioned by Rémi Rouault: the amount of financial aid granted to students in difficulty. Government spending on tax exemption for private tuition is ten times greater than the budget allocated by the state to support students in priority education*.

Patrice Caro, for his part, tried to show that local governments (departments and regions) were major players in educational inequality through their investments in school transport, construction and renovation of institutions. The overseas departments and regions are most affected by this lack of allocated resources.

Finally, Josef Schovanec, philosopher, writer and high-profile autist, won the audience by exposing the way students with disabilities are still viewed today: “How can we ensure that learning places are not excluded? to give their place to people who are considered different, but who can live up to the great ideals of the school like no other? If you know what happened on 1er In September 1715 you are certainly entitled to an autistic chocolate diploma. Because it is the death of Louis XIV. This is an example of learning that certain child profiles will succeed, and due to bad luck, it is precisely these child profiles that are driven out of learning the fastest. »

According to him, one of the keys to transforming the school would be a change of prism. “In my opinion, disability should be viewed from a social rather than a medical angle. We have this very annoying reflex of always wanting to reduce the other person to some form of medical reality. As if the so-called special people depended on specialists, specialized places. This is very surprising because, however, we can observe in a fairly comprehensive way that the course of a pupil who is said to be “in a situation of disability” mainly depends on the social framework that was presented to him during these early years. We cannot emphasize enough the decisive importance in the careers of people who would be different from the family, social and professional environment. »

*See page 7 of the presentation to download in the Resources box.

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