Frog Marched Back to School

Regulations relating to procedures to issue

authorisation for Home Education have been released.Regulations pertaining to the procedures to issue Home Education authorisation, n°2022-182, n°2022-183 and n°2022-184, have just been published (February 15, 2022) (1) and confirm fears already expressed by associations and families of more than 65,000 home educated children (IEF) when the draft regulations were published in the press at the beginning of November.With disregard to the content and form of work of representatives from non governmental bodies, the government has returned its notes, flouting, among other things, the recommendations of scientists, human rights and international convention defenders and at the expense of children’s best interests.Home education associations who sounded the alarm on the measures, are determined to take action and intend to assert the ‘reservation of interpretation’ issued by the Constitutional Council concerning implementing the regulations.They stress their bitter observation of the government’s failure in education policy and the contempt for all families, regardless of whether the children practice home education or attend school. Denying the issues encountered in schools and the deplorable management of the health crisis in state school establishments, the government is responding to citizens in search of solutions by removing escape channels from an already sinking ship.The association LED’A calls for a real consultation on home education and profound reform of the education system based on education science studies, professionals in the field and society in general.

Indignation, a sense of contempt and anger at the working methods of the government

Despite the regulations being expected on 1 February 2022, the government had to backpedal following the passing of the draft regulations before the National Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities, which denounced the actions of the ministry and issued an unfavourable opinion, specifically noting illegal measures (2).We denounce the modus operandi of the government: contempt, authoritarianism, lies, manipulation of opinion, amalgamation and withholding information.Throughout the legislative process, no figures were provided to support the claim of religious radicalisation within home education.The ministry of education systematically refused to communicate reports carried out by the DGESCO (3), finally agreeing to make them public, a couple of days following the publication of the law.

LED’A denounced the massive improvisation in the drafting of the regulations (4). Uncoordinated work, devoid of clear direction and logical foundation, an anthology of measures pitted against families and baring no relation to the spirit of law. We have alerted deputies and senators in order to question the education minister on these texts, we are still waiting for answers to questions put to the government (QAG). Home education associations having expressed their desire to participate in the reflection on the decree, were met with inadmissibility.

Abusive, unfounded and discriminatory measures that go against the best interests of the child and the reservation issued by the Constitutional Council

The regulations ignore the obligations laid out in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the recommendations of human rights defenders relating to the respecting children’s voices.

The regulations completely miss their target and impose conditions more restrictive than the law:requirement of the person in charge of the instruction to have the baccalaureate diploma or equivalent, solely applicable for families falling into the 4th categoryWe call for the withdrawal of this measure. Discriminatory, unfounded and not provided for by law.

Limitation of the filing of applications for authorisation to a restricted calendar period running from March to May. This for administrative purposes yet at the expense of the best interests of the child, while a significant proportion of young people are removed from school throughout the calendar year for various, very real reasons, not provided for in the ‘exceptions’: harassment, phobia, malaise, intensive practice projects, projects involving itinerancy, etc.

We ask for the withdrawal of the deadline for submitting authorisation applications, as well as the possibility of removal from school during the year without condition. This was not at all envisaged by the law, and has no link whatsoever to religious radicalisation.Composition of the appeals unit which makes it both judge and jury. As it stands, it is a simple body for validating DASEN decisions, which will only waste precious time for families. We request :

Equal representation with representatives of home education associations, parents of pupils, parents of children with disabilities and young people.

An extension to the time limit for appealing decisions of refusal to a period of 2 months instead of the 8 days mentioned ;

Certain requirements relating to the pedagogical project “rhythm and duration of activities” which, because of their incompatibility with many pedagogies, unjustifiably interfere with education freedom ;  Obtaining the opinion of the director of an education establishment in the event of a violation of physical or moral integrity in order to be able to withdraw a child from school in an emergency situation, will have consequences for the health of the child who will be waiting for an appointment and an acknowledgment of their status as victim which often does not come.

This abusive wording, unrelated to religious radicalisation issues, reveals the inconsistency underlying this law, which we have constantly denounced: an ‘a priori’ authorisation system is ineffective in detecting deviant projects which “separatist” would openly share their plans with Education Department? Only properly carried out checks can bring clear facts to light. Owing to this, we find it difficult to find criteria consistent with the objectives.Moreover, because of the disproportionate constraints, these measures could even have the opposite effect by provoking a certain number of families to disregard the law (see the studies by Rebecca English and the Australian senate (5)).As a reminder, the Constitutional Council, which had validated the authorisation scheme by sweeping away external contributions, had however issued a ‘reservation of interpretation’ concerning the application of the regulations by considering that the methods and the decision of issuance of the authorisation should exclude any discrimination. We will not fail to ask the judges to study the question with regard to these measures.

The school failure of the National Education Department (MEN)

LED’A, an actor in the field and defender of freedom of educational choice for more than 30 years, can only draw the bitter observation of the failure of the government’s policy in the field of education, and the manifest nonchalance with which the lives and development of the children of France are considered(6).

Home educating families – families of school children: same contempt

The testimonies sent by the families to their elected officials, during the fight against article 49 (cf. article 21 of the PDL) have highlighted the paths of fulfilled children who learning at their own pace, with respect to their needs but for some, it was an opportunity to deliver darker testimonies on their school experience, situations and individual testimonies of suffering, young people, abused by a school system that does not keep its promise in terms of inclusion, right to education, equality, and sometimes even security; remaining based on coercion, competition, heteronomy and authoritarianism.The explosion of the home education figures is in part due to the lowering of the age of compulsory education to 3 years, in 2019 and now to the health crisis. This also reflects the loss of confidence of whole sectors of the population, in particular the middle class, which does not necessarily have the means to offer its children private school education, and which no longer wants to see its children pay the price of school drop out.

Retrograde, bureaucratic and formal management of education which goes against major societal evolution and the principle of the best interests of the child

The recourse to home education also testifies to a growing evolution in our society, hand in hand with new knowledge in terms of the child brain development and education science. Dropping out of school shows many young people are rejecting of educational methods imposed by policies that are disconnected from the realities on the ground. Parents are becoming more and more aware of this which is a positive evolution in parenthood.More recently, the various health protocols imposed on families, have forced them either to resolve themselves or to choose to drop out of school.Home educating families are not anti-school but they are all resolutely FOR their children, whether families home educating as a life choice or those who do it by default to escape a suffocating and failing school system. Home education is a stop valve, to deprive families of it testifies to a refusal to question the policies of the Education Department (MEN) and to deny the reality lived by families. It is also depriving France of a pool of educational experiences.

The best interests of the child, a variable adjustment !

This illegitimate restriction of home education and the resulting consequences are all the more intolerable to us as they result from Jupiterian decisions and methods, replicated even within the MEN where Minister J.-M’s friend and adviser R. Senghor refuses any dialogue or consultation with the parties concerned, withholds information (see DGESCO reports), calls to order elected officials of the French Republic who would question these decisions at voting time.The regulations impose the idea that education is a matter for professionals or people with resources sufficient to “exempt” their children from the national school system. On the other hand, it does not seem to be a problem for the government that teachers can teach without diplomas because of staff shortages (7). A shortage probably in itself fuelled by the lack of resources allocated to education.

For a real reform of the education system

We refuse to allow our children to be held hostage to electoral ambitions based on politics of fear.We demand the repeal of articles 49, 50, 51 and 52 and the suspension of the regulations!We invite the government and candidates for the presidential elections to engage in real consultation, including the associations of parents of students and home educating families, to rethink the place of home education and in general, the question of education in France.

#touchepasamonief  #IEFavecousansbac 

Notes : (1) n° 2022-182 du 15 février 2022 relatif aux modalités de délivrance de l’autorisation d’instruction dans la famille (https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/jorf/id/JORFTEXT000045174568), n° 2022-183 du 15 février 2022 relatif à la commission devant laquelle sont formés les recours administratifs préalables obligatoires exercés contre les décisions de refus d’autorisation d’instruction dans la famille (https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/jorf/id/JORFTEXT000045174607) et n° 2022-184 du 15 février 2022 relatif à l’instance départementale chargée de la prévention de l’évitement scolaire(https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/jorf/id/JORFTEXT000045174618 ) (2)  https://www.lesenfantsdabord.org/decret-avis-defavorable-du-cncph/(3) malgré une pétition (8), une action en référé mesures utiles, et même une injonction de la CADA. Il aura fallu saisir une deuxième fois la CADA pour qu’ils nous soient enfin communiqués. Ces rapports montrent que pour 2018-2019, seulement 32 enfants instruits en famille ont fait l’objet d’informations préoccupantes, soit 0,09%, sans préciser l’issue de cette IP, et ne font aucune mention de radicalisation (9).  (4) https://www.facebook.com/310368175707202/posts/4750652038345438/ (5) Association LEDA (2021). Dossier pour les parlementaires “des chercheurs et auteurs internationaux soutiennent l’instruction en famille”. Page 21 https://www.lesenfantsdabord.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Dossier-des-chercheurs-internationaux-sur-lIEF.pdf(6)  J.-M. Blanquer était déjà en le directeur général de l’Enseignement scolaire (Dgesco) de Luc Chatel  (7) https://vocationenseignant.fr/devenir-enseignant-sans-diplome/(8) pétition https://www.mesopinions.com/petition/enfants/ief-transparence-chiffres/124352https://www.mesopinions.com/petition/enfants/instruction-famille-merite-transparence-exigez-rapports/148061(9) injonction de la CADA https://association-unie.fr/notre-association-attaque-le-ministere-de-leducation-en-justice/