Home Education: Macron’s Provocation Before the Second Vote
The association Les Enfants d’Abord (LED’A), files an appeal against home education regulations.
The presidential candidate, visibly confident despite the electoral stakes, once again allows himself to stigmatise the hundreds of thousands of voters concerned by home education (IEF-Instruction en Familie) prior to the second ballot.
On April 11, 2022, the day after the results of the 1st round of voting, when faced with a mother in Denain in Haut-de-France, Emmanuel Macron declared that Home Education is « a radically different social choice”.
The association LED’A protests this particularly divisive and separatist way of presenting home education and deplores the attitude of Emmanuel Macron, who persists in such an outrageous, shameless and slanderous posture which has marked the entire process of the debates resulting in the recent Law No. 2021-1109 Confirming Respect for the Principles of the Republic.
Mr Macron, a few months ago said, “In some of my remarks, I hurt people. […] That, I won’t do again” seems to have a short memory.
It is in this tense context, and within the framework of the window for filing authorization requests, on April 15, 2022, the association LED’A filed, an action for annulment, as well as an interim suspension before the Council of State, to denounce the regulations implementing the law of August 24, 2021, the application of which already announces the deleterious consequences of a process established without consultation and denies certain fundamental legal principles.
For over thirty years, LED’A has worked to defend the freedom of educational choice. The association has been combative on many fronts. After the speech by E. Macron in October 2020, LED’A reiterated its commitment, denouncing the amalgamation made between home education with separatism and defending the freedom of education choice without condition of parental resources, diploma, pedagogy, placing the child at the very heart of this choice of education method. This commitment is still at the heart of the requests and appeals made and filed by the lawyers Spinosi and Sureau working on behalf of the home education associations.
LED’A deplores the attitude (refusing any dialogue) adopted by the National Education Minister since the beginning of this process. The stubborn manner has resulted in a shoddy text, far removed from the reality of home educating families, and on certain points manifestly illegal.
A Forced Agenda for Home Educating Families and the Administration.
These decrees, drafted without consulting the home education associations, were published on February 15, for a filing window opening on March 1 and ending on May 31. LED’A has already denounced the content of the regulations in its press release of 19/02/2022.
The grounds for authorisation to home educated remain unclear and are more restrictive than the law itself. LED’A, through their lawyers, denounces in particular:
- the discrimination against families according to the grounds of authorisation
- the requirement of the baccalaureate for the 4th as one ground,
- the appeal commission, who form both judge and jury
- the obligation to present a detailed report from the head of the school establishment in the event of: request to home educated during the course of the school year for reasons of physical or moral harm to the integrity of the child,
- the impossibility to home educate during the year except for very limited exceptions,
- absence of a clear framework for the assessment of each condition of authorisation, causing heavy legal uncertainty for families.
Similarly there was no consultation with the DASEN (Department of Education). Unable to agree on the interpretation of the texts, or even to be able to assume assessment of the families in the allotted time, make the families pay the heavy consequences of this agenda carried out at full speed.
The Education Minister must answer for their amateurism by correcting the text with the feedback from the field following many questions from home educating families, which the administration and the DASEN, are unable to answer.
1 Communiqué du Conseil National Consultatif pour les Personnes Handicapées
3 Enquête de l’association Libres Enfants du Tarn https://libresenfantsdutarn.com/2022/04/02/demandes-dautorisations-la-cacophonie-des-dsd en-de-france/
A Reminder of the Stormy Legislative Process
On October 2, 2020, on the occasion of the speech at Les Mureaux on the theme of the fight against separatism, Mr. Macron announced, to everyone’s surprise, a wish to ban home education. An article from the Parisian4 informs that this decision surprised even the Minister of National Education himself who had declared before the Senate Committee in 2019 that a situation of legal balance had now been reached on the subject of education, with the law ‘For an Education of Trust’, which had further tightened the home education framework at that time.
During the parliamentary debates that followed, not one substantiated argument was found to validate the thesis of separatism put forward by the President (the director of the territorial intelligence services claimed to have found no link between home education and separatism, the report of the Senate of July 2020 also reached the same conclusion), which had aroused huge mobilisation on the part of parliamentarians (see the column by Cédric Villani in Le Monde5)
Despite requests from home education associations and a referral to the CADA, throughout the legislative process the ministry refused to publish the DGESCO’s reports on home education and finally did so after the vote on the law and the opinion of the Constitutional Council (CC). The reports, that the ministry had not wished to reveal, confirmed the absence of any link between home education and separatism.
While the Constitutional Council had received a historic number of external contributions, home educating families hoped that the safeguards would still work, but the Constitutional Council aligned itself with the presidential will, issuing only a reservation of interpretation for the drafting of the regulations: « it will be up to the regulatory power, under the supervision of the judge, to determine the procedures for issuing authorisation for home education in accordance with these criteria and to the competent administrative authorities to base their decision on these criteria alone, excluding any discrimination of any kind whatsoever.”
« A Radically Different Choice of Society”
The repeated amalgamation of home education with radicalisation is made without the slightest proof and without data, and contradicts all the official reports (Senate, Dgesco), and the opinion of the experts interviewed (the head of the Central Territorial Intelligence Service of the Police, before the special Commission: “It is extremely complicated, for me, to make a direct link between the increase in community withdrawal and the increase in home education.”)
Home education has been recognised as a right in France since the Jules Ferry Law of 28 March 1882. For the majority of families who have made this choice, it is a temporary solution, lasting a year or even less, chosen to cope with an attack on the interests of the child (school drop out, bullying, phobia, etc.).
For a certain number of families, home education represents the only secular and free option in the face of such emergency situations. Parents who make this choice are not in positions of social ideology, but in situations relating to the best interest of the child.
Apart from this singular choice, they live, work and exercise their citizenship in society like everyone else.
We question this process of stigmatising families who make a legal and controlled choice, with the aim of imposing a government ideology. Is this worthy of a great democracy? Prohibiting and stigmatising home education is part of an electoral cynicism that makes it possible to seduce the right (separatism) and the left (one school for all).
Preserving the best interests of our young people should remain outside all political calculations.
Faced with the absence of debate and dialogue, we would like to address the following questions to candidate E. Macron :
Mr Macron, how radical is it to educate your child within the family when they are harassed by their classmates or teacher? Need we remind you that 700,000 children in France are victims of school bullying according to a parliamentary report of October 2020?
20 students died as a result of bullying in 2021 according to the association HUGO 7!
Mr Macron, how radical is it to educate your child within the family when the State, whatever it says (concerning disability), does not provide the necessary means to support young people who have special education needs?
Should we remind you of the continued and increasing anger of the AESH (Special Needs Educators) 8?
https://www.education.gouv.fr/non-au-harcelement-campagne-2017-le-harcelement-pour-l-ar reter-il-faut-en-parler-5084 Source enquête victimation 2015 – DEPP
Mr Macron, how radical is it to educate your disabled child when the Inclusive School Project is a failure 9?
Mr Macron, how radical is it to educate your child within the family when French educational and pedagogical choices are ranked at the bottom of the table of OECD countries and reveal that they result in increased inequalities according to the PISA studies: The results also show that France favours the success of an elite, of the children who succeed the best, while it is less and less capable of helping the least privileged children progress 10.
The choice of society or a society of choice… success through diversity !
Opposing your choice of society we propose a society of choice, a society of equity, where each child would have access to a quality education, suited to them, different when necessary to that of their neighbour. Equality in the right to education would therefore consist in offering a diversity of educational choices to enable each child to find the education which suits them best, rather than a single program that flouts the needs of some to the benefit of others.
During this time of choice for millions of voter parents, we invite the candidate E. Macron to show openness, moderation and a democratic spirit, to take into account the voice of children, to ensure that the administration is at the service of citizens and does not seek to subject their life choices to its censorship and its organisational constraints, and finally to listen to all those who suffer from its educational policy in general, and have taken to the streets during his tenure.
Association Les Enfants d’Abord Le 15 avril 2022