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Homeschooling, will the government backtrack?

Compulsory education from 3 years old and by extension, the end of home schooling. This is one of the flagship measures of the bill against separatism, renamed “law consolidating republican principles” which must be presented on Wednesday, December 9, in the Council of Ministers. But will the government have to backtrack on this aspect, after its examination by the Council of State? According to The Parisian, the highest French administrative body, has, in a draft opinion, retested the measure, judging it “Unconstitutional”. And suggests its withdrawal.

The text provides for the switch, except in special cases, from an obligation of instruction – which until now could therefore be practiced at home – towards an obligation of schooling, from 3 to 16 years old, in a school, public or private. Government’s argument: the fear that “home schooling” sometimes hides “underground” schools, which do not always separate religious and school education and may expose the child to family indoctrination and to values ​​opposed to those of Republic.

→ DOSSIER. Find our complete file on the separatism law

So much for the intent note. What would “catch” on the side of the Council of State? According to The Parisian, who had access to the working text of the proceeding, some advisers – not all – believe that the abolition of homeschooling would be “Unconstitutional”. In particular because it is not established “That the parents’ motives would derive significantly from a desire for social separatism or a challenge to the values ​​of the Republic”. Under these conditions, a global ban is considered “Unjustified and disproportionate”.

A measure deemed contrary to freedom of education

An opinion shared by the constitutionalist Anne-Marie Le Pourhiet. It would be “Take a club to crush a mosquito!” “, said the lawyer, joined by The cross. “Parents who use home schooling do so mostly for educational reasons, because their children are uncomfortable in the current system, or for health or geographic reasons. To prevent some deviant behaviors – which exist – everyone will be housed in the same boat ”, she regrets.

However, continues the lawyer, a “Legal arsenal already exists to punish clandestine structures. Let’s apply it before we create anything else. In any event, the lawyer judges the measure “Liberticide”, because contrary to the freedom of education, “A fundamental principle of the Republic”.

Announced in early October by Emmanuel Macron, this abolition of “home schooling” in any case arouses protests from families (50,000 children concerned), who demonstrated on December 5 and 6. “50% of families drop out of school for periods of less than a year, assures Alix Fourest, member of the association Libre to learn and to instruct otherwise. Home instruction is declared to the town hall. We are checked every year by the academy inspectorate ”. In short: families are in the nails.

Reinforced controls to avoid abuses

In fact, the controls of national education have been strengthened in recent years in order to avoid abuses in the face of growing – although marginal – recourse to this mode of instruction. In the event of failure or refusal of control, orders for re-schooling are issued. But “The bill targets situations which, in normal times, already go under the radar”, denounces Alix Fourest. A general ban on family education would therefore be futile and “Unfounded”, for the associative activist, who, joining the reservations of the Council of State, questions an obvious correlation between family education and radicalization.

The advice of the Council of State, if confirmed, is never more than advisory. “If the government ignores, the risk is censorship of the text by the Constitutional Council », Comments Anne-Marie Le Pourhiet. Without certainty, “Council of State and Constitutional Council are not always on the same wavelength”, warns the lawyer.


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