The restriction of family instruction (IEF) was the surprise announcement of President Macron’s speech on 2 October. Four months later, she appears to have become Bill’s Achilles heel ” reinforcing respect for the principles of the Republic ”. Article 21, which replaces the declarative system with an authorization device for families wishing to educate at home, was the subject of a long and bitter battle, Thursday, February 11, in a very crowded hemicycle.
→ DEBATE. Separatism: should home education be limited?
For more than four hours, the elected representatives of the right and left opposition attacked a project which, according to them, infringes on a fundamental freedom of education, during the general discussion on article 21 and then the defense of the very many deleting amendments. Among these, one was tabled by twelve LREM deputies, a sign that the measure is sowing trouble within the majority.
The article seems to focus on him criticisms that we hear about many other aspects of the bill, whether it is associative life or the system of worship. Under the pretext of preventing situations of Islamist drift, the reform will penalize all families who choose this mode of education.
Elected officials assailed by worried families
Communist André Chassaigne counted, in his Auvergne constituency, 60 cases of pupils in family education out of 35,000. And in all these situations, “Things are going well” assures the chosen one. “You punish all parents”, protests the UDI Grégory Labille who says he has received 300 in his constituency, since the Mureaux speech. Like him, elected officials were assailed by worried families.
→ CHRONICLE. Law on separatism: with the school
The testimonies follow one another, evoking the situations of children suffering at school, victims of bullying or school phobia but also the case of “Military families” or those expatriates who return to France and keep the distance education mode. “You chose a power hammer to crush a fly”, criticizes the first secretary of the PS, Olivier Faure, while the former Marcheur Cédric Villani believes that the law “Misses the mark” and “Introduces suspicion and anxiety into families”.
Faced with these waves of criticism, the majority are trying to oppose their realism in the face of a rapid deterioration of the situation. Francis Chouat, deputy for Essonne, testifies that in his department, home schooling increased by 40% in 2020 and this figure exceeds 60% in two most sensitive municipalities. His colleague Christophe Euzet (Agir) ensures that the phenomenon is increasing by “Exponentially” in connection with “The evolutions of the Arab-Muslim world”.
More politically, the Minister of National Education denounces the inconsistencies of the left, which finds itself no longer defending secular schools but freedom of education. “A landmark abandonment”, attack Jean-Michel Blanquer. As for the right, the minister is disturbed to see it constantly accusing the government of laxity and of not giving it support when it “Takes a problem head-on.”
Last minute amendment
Badly received in public opinion, the reform of home education seems to be tirelessly caught up with by the effect of the inaugural announcement, when Emmanuel Macron proclaimed compulsory schooling for all children at Mureaux, with exceptions linked to specific reasons. , especially health. Since then, the text has been widely amended, in particular following the opinion of the Council of State. To respect the principle of free choice, the majority added a paragraph providing, among the reasons that may be invoked by parents, “A particular situation specific to the child”.
→ INVESTIGATION. End of home schooling: an attack on fundamental freedoms?
A formula, according to the rapporteur Anne Brugnera (LREM), which will cover all the situations of families who teach at home. Other amendments were adopted in committee to give more guarantees to parents and others will still be adopted in session (395 had been tabled in total on Article 21).
On Thursday, the Minister of Education entered at the last minute an amendment postponing the application of article 21 to the start of the 2024 school year for families who already have children attending school at home. Should this be seen as a sign of feverishness? In any case, the majority has not finished defusing criticism on this aspect of the law.