Statement vs. Authorization. The debate around family education lasted more than three hours in the Senate on Tuesday as part of the examination of the bill on separatism. In its text, the government stipulates the creation of a system of prior approval by the rector’s office if the family wants to use home education. The right-wing and center-right senatorial majority preferred to preserve the principle of the declaration until now. Therefore, the committee deleted Article 21 of the draft law, which was also confirmed by today’s meeting. However, senators have strengthened controls on this family directive. The growing number now affects around 60,000 children.
“Challenging the freedom of education”
“The framework for the use of home education calls into question, from our point of view, the freedom of education, which is based on public schools, private schools with or without a contract and home education,” argued LR rapporteur Stéphane Piednoir, who asks “about the real connection between separatism and family education. No real study has been done by the Ministry”. However, the rapporteur “thinks” “that it is necessary to make some additions while maintaining the declarative system”.
Therefore, some amendments were adopted to strengthen control, such as a time limit for submitting the declaration or the commitment of families to practice teaching mainly in French. What surprised the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer: “We can take these amendments as a confirmation of the first version of Article 21,” he said, “it is a posthumous honor in Article 21”. Provisionally, because the deputies will be able to re-introduce it later. “You are in the process of creating an a posteriori authorization regime,” adds PCF Senator Pierre Ouzoulias. “We remain in the declaratory mode,” answered LR Senator Max Brisson, but “we are also in the logic of control because we are responsible”.
“Family education is not judged through this law,” assures Jean-Michel Blanquer
Jean-Michel Blanquer tried to defend the spirit of the measure as adopted by the National Assembly. “Homeschooling, homeschooling is not judged through this law. On the contrary, like many freedoms, it is specified by law,” argued the minister. Condemning the “caricatures”, he assures him: “We never had the goal of ending education in the family. However, Germany, Sweden or Spain do this.
Jean-Michel Blanquer on family education
He intends to conduct a “dialogue” with “the world of families, which we listened to and which mobilized a lot”. Therefore, the text allows for “expansion of exceptions”. But “our goal is dishonest family education that serves separatism.” The minister adds:
There is good and bad upbringing in the family.
“Yes, education in the family represents a problem and represents a problem of separatism not only within the framework of Islamist radicalism, but also sectarianism,” says the Minister of National Education.
“We know that more than 60,000 children are being educated in families, we know that this number has exploded in 10 years, we know that it coincidentally explodes in territories where there is separatism,” adds Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, who condemns the double game on the right: “We pretend not to see it to satisfy other groups who pretend this law applies to them when they don’t. And we do a kind of political calculation around it.”
“You are depriving a large part of families of their freedom”
Center right is more music. “Yes, there are deviations from family education”, but in Article 21 “you are robbing a large part of families of their freedom” and “playing a game for the Islamists”, estimates Nathalie Delattre, senator of the RDSE group. Home education can also be justified “for health reasons, disability or for autistic children who cannot enter a public school, due to the lack of an adapted classroom”, adds Colette Mélot, senator of the Les Indépendants group.
“I would not want children in the republic to go to Koranic school instead of being educated, but it is up to you to propose means to avoid this excess without challenging basic freedom,” urged LR Senator Philippe Bas , who “thinks that the freedom to teach as a family is seriously affected by this text”. See:
Philippe Bas on home education
“Article 21 comes from the will of the president, who said that home schooling must be abolished,” recalls Bruno Retailleau, president of the LR group, during a speech at Les Mureaux in October 2020. During this speech, the head of state said that he wanted to “severely” limit this method of teaching. For Bruno Retailleau, “this article is ill-conceived” and “ill-targeted”, like the entire bill, “too accommodating when it needs to be firm” but “liberticidal when it is an attack on liberties without justification”. “.
“The indignation of the senatorial majority, which has a variable geometry”
RDPI (LREM) senator Nadège Havet, on the other hand, emphasizes that “5,000 children would be off our radar today. This is unacceptable.” She is surprised by the “double standard” of the senatorial right after the “hardening” of the text last week. Socialist Eric Kerrouche also mocks the “indignation of the senatorial majority, which is variable in geometry”. He adds:
It is not possible to build a nation on separatisms, whatever they may be: religious separatism, but also social or elitist separatism, or the fact of separating ourselves in order to remain among ourselves, with our own valuable system.
David Assouline, also a PS senator, is surprised that the right mobilizes more “on Algerian flags at weddings” than on this topic, “it’s almost a moment of truth about what motivates each other”.
Communist Cécile Cukiermanová also underlines the injustice towards parents who “have no other solution because they have to work and cannot stop for six months or a year to go to school.” “Teaching in families does not support the socialization of the child, the learning of citizenship,” adds the socialist Jacques-Bernard Magner.
“What I’m hearing there is utter nonsense! »
“We cannot caricature this side of the chamber and say we will be lax on separatism and radical Islamism. What I hear here is complete nonsense! LR Senator Laura Darcos answers. What Olivier Rietmann, the rare LR senator to defend the authorization regime that the government wants, did not appreciate. “I was wondering if I was being a bit stupid. And I was thinking when I talked about the ban on family education, “joked Olivier Rietmann. “We talk about PMA without a father, but what about a child without a boyfriend? asks the LR senator from Haute-Saône, who defends the need for “the school of the republic that saved me, in relation to my special family situation”.
Despite a certain dialogue of the deaf, Jean-Michel Blanquer still tried to convince of the usefulness of this text, not without responding to the attacks, especially that of LR Olivier Paccaud, who sees in the measure a “collective punishment” unjust. “I’m going to talk to you about off-topic copying, and there are many times when we’re off-topic,” the minister begins, asking: “Let’s stop pretending we’re off-target. I kept saying it wasn’t.”