The unrest that is starting to swell in Paris could seem almost indecent to the vast majority of families who, elsewhere, often have only one or two choices of high school for their children. But it says a lot about the importance given today to educational paths, even to school strategies, and to the sensitivity to questions of social inequalities in a capital which is seeing its middle classes flee. What worries many parents of students: the reform of the school map and Affelnet software, officially unveiled by the rectorate on Friday, March 5.
Until now, each young person, at the end of third, could apply with the same chances whatever his address in a maximum of ten high schools among the twenties or thirties of his district, Paris being divided into four zones grouping together several central districts and peripheral devices. From now on, no more districts: the assignment always takes place according to the number of points totaled by the candidate, taking into account very largely the geographical parameter but each future high school student is invited to prioritize the establishments among the five which constitute his “sector 1” . Five establishments in which he has priority and which must be located within 25 minutes of transport from his home.
“Every end of the year, we experience this psychodrama”
“Last year, when I arrived at my post as rector, I was surprised by the number of complaints, around 2,000 for 14,000 students”, justifies Christophe Kerrero, former chief of staff of Jean-Michel Blanquer. Most of these requests, he says, come from parents who regret that their child cannot attend a high school near his home.
“Every end of the year, we experience this psychodrama”, deplores the rector, convinced that this system makes Paris “The most segregated academy in France”. It has, he insists, resulted in a hierarchy between the 44 high schools. “Some, over-attractive, are over-staffed, while others have become relegation high schools”. Some establishments in the center accommodate more than 90% of students who in 3e had more than 15 on average, where the least demanded, generally located on the outskirts, have less than 5 or 10% of students with such an educational level.
“Strengthen the leading group and pull a whole class to the top”
The rectorate’s bet is to reduce the pressure on the establishments which have hitherto been the most in demand, which could thus educate a small number of less successful students, and to assign less reputable, or even so far largely ignored, high schools to schools. young people more comfortable with learning. “A bet that makes sense because a few good students are often enough to strengthen the leading group and pull a whole class upwards”, estimates Didier Georges, academic secretary of SNPDEN, the main union of school leaders.
The objective of increased school diversity is coupled with a desire to strengthen social diversity, supports the rectorate. Scholarship holders will continue to be assigned separately, with now a “target” of between 14% and 35% depending on the high school. The abolition of the districts should make it possible to facilitate their reception in the districts of the South and the West of Paris, rather privileged, promises Christophe Kerrero
“Assigned to residence”
It is especially the families of the outlying districts, in particular in the always popular East Parisian, who are stepping up to the plate. Until now, a non-scholarship student educated on the edge of the ring road had a priori, with equal marks, as many chances of entering a prestigious high school in the center as another young person living nearby. Now, any such application appears illusory.
“Our children see their choices limited. They find themselves under house arrest! “, laments, in the 20e district, a mother who enrolled her daughter in the college in her neighborhood, classified as priority education. “I played the game of public school and social mix. But social diversity also means being able to send your child to a high school in the center of Paris ”, she believes.
“The argument of proximity only applies to those who have a good high school close to home”, abounds an elected FCPE of his district, convinced moreover that the reform will contribute to “Recreate, on a smaller scale, level high schools”.
No longer possible to apply in the public and private sectors at the same time
The debates have been lively in recent months within the Parisian FCPE, before it finally contests the reform of Affelnet. A reform of which it had however been at the origin, in a way, denouncing in the summer of 2020 a system at the end of its rope. At the time, at the end of the first round, the algorithm had, in fact, left 668 young people unassigned.
Was it necessary, however, to put everything back flat to avoid such a quack? In fact, double candidacies, in the public and the private sector, played a role. Until now, some families, while having registered their child in the private sector for the second, applied despite everything on Affelnet, in order to be able to then arbitrate, according to the public high school designated by the algorithm. Result: in 2020, 550 students had not completed their enrollment in the assigned public high school. Same thing in September, where many students enrolled in a public high school did not show up, ultimately preferring the private one. From now on, any student already benefiting from a place in the private sector for the second will no longer be able to apply on Affelnet.