Home Education: the Right to Home Educate is Upheld by the Senate but Remains Under Threat.

Paris 8 April 2021

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On Tuesday 6 April 2021, the freedom of choice to home educate was upheld by senators in plenary session. By 225 votes to 114, they chose to maintain the declarative system and refused the introduction of a system of authorisation endorsed by the government (Article 21 of the bill confirming respect for the principles of the Republic) (1).

With this vote, the senators sent a clear message to the government executive and showed their attachment to freedom of educational choice, a right protected by the constitution, of which home education is one of the pillars.

They also heard the Minister of National Education describe the removal of Article 21 as “provisional”. The government therefore probably plans to impose its political vision by returning to the front at the Joint Committee stage, and subsequently the final vote in the National Assembly, where the presidential party has a majority.

Refusal to endorse “collective punishment” and generalised suspicion of families.

Like many deputies from all parties (2), the senators denounced the suspicion aimed at home educating families.

They underlined the disproportionate interference with freedom of education that a system of administrative authorisation would constitute: “This text is liberticidal […] No justification is given either in the impact study, or in the various hearings. . “

The system of authorisation has been called a “collective punishment”, the effect of which is “to reverse freedom of education” by making prohibition, rather than freedom of choice, the rule.

Does not oppose the rights of children and families

The Civil Code affirms that parents are the primary guarantors of the interests of their children (Article 371-1 relating to parental authority (3)). One senator with knowledge of the home education system stressed that home education “is not doing what you want with your children, it is doing the best for your children.”

School is not the only possible means of socialisation, emancipation and education. Contrary to prejudices, home educated children are highly socialised (4). According to the results of the checks carried out by the National Education Department, the right of a child to receive an education is respected in more than 98% of cases, demonstrating the involvement and the ability of parents who make this choice to assume their responsibility towards their children.

Fostering educational diversity for the benefit of children

Home education is on the rise all over the world. The French government regards it as a form of “separatism” while in other countries the phenomenon is explained by the growing interest of families in forms of education in which the learner is more active in the learning process.

This type of education also benefits the school system, for which it acts as a “outlet”. Home education is thus a useful and complementary alternative to school as an institution.

Such an already tightly regulated freedom should be preserved

As home education is already very strictly regulated in France, the existing provisions should be applied. Recognising that citizens have the capacity to work in the best interests of their children means maintaining the freedom to home educate without additional constraints for families.

We urge parliamentarians not to reintroduce, in either the Joint Committee or the National Assembly, Article 21 and its regime of prior authorisation, despite the stubbornness of the executive.

There is no rational element to justify restricting this form of education, which guarantees an educational diversity essential to the richness of our democracy.

In order to respect the principles of the Republic, it is absolutely necessary to preserve the right and the freedom of children to be home educated.

Signed

LEDA, LAIA, UNIE, CISE, Liberté Éducation, Félicia, the Pi Courses

Notes and reference :

1- The administrative authorisation system proposed by the government in article 21 of the bill reinforcing respect for the principles of the Republic, aims to restrict home education (reread the letters from the heads of cabinet, the Minister of National Education and the Prime Ministerhttps://blogs.mediapart.fr/coordination-inter-asso-ief/blog/190321/lettre-au-premier-ministre-pour-le-libre-choix-de-linstruction-en-famille). It was deleted in the Education and Culture Committee of the Senate on 15 March, 2021. The government and some senators tried to reintroduce it through amendments during the plenary session of the Senate on Tuesday 6 April. Voting details : http://www.senat.fr/scrutin-public/2020/scr2020-101.html

2- https://blogs.mediapart.fr/coordination-inter-asso-ief/blog/240221/vers-la-scolarisation-obligatoire-au-pays-de-la-liberte

3– Article 371-1 of the Civil Code: “Parental authority is a set of rights and duties whose purpose is the best interests of the child. Parents should until the age of majority or the emancipation of the child, protect them concerning safety, health and morality, to ensure their education and allow their development, with due respect to their person. “4- Reread the questions and answers in our documentary file and the testimonies of families and professionals:  https://droit-instruction.org/2021/02/02/dossier-documentaire

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Heading Towards Compulsory Education in the Land of the Free?

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25 FÉVR. 2021 PAR COORDINATION INTER-ASSO IEF BLOG : LE BLOG DE COORDINATION INTER-ASSO IEF

Article 21 of the billRespect for the Principles of the Republic, adopted after the first reading by the parliamentary deputies, establishes a system to ban home education by default. We are now counting on senators to remove this bill. France must remain the land of the free.

On 11 February 2021, during the full examination of Article 21 of the bill “Respect for the Principles of the Republic” many deputies from all parties defended the freedom of educational choice.

In complete contrast with the equilibrium which had resulted from the Jules Ferry Laws (1882) which made education – rather than schooling – compulsory, Article 21 aims to force parents to send their children to attend school establishments, from the age of 3 years onwards, unless they obtain an authorisation issued by the education administration.

The freedom of Choice to Home Educate: a Freedom that Transcends Political Divisions

It is the members of parliament who are viscerally attached to quality education – because they are sensitive to the needs and development of children – who have been the most fervent defenders of the freedom of choice tohome educate: “This educational diversity is an asset and allows the best interests of the child to be taken into account”, “The victims of this law will be children”, “This article will create conflicts and cause suffering for families, when they need serenity in the face of educational choices which are sometimes imposed on them by the circumstances of their child”. (1)

They emphasised the dangers of a regime of request and authorisation, which would subject educational freedom, still constitutionally protected, to administrative discretion: “For many families, a system of authorisation will be a regime of prohibition”, “We know very well that [this prior authorisation] will be granted with variable geometry”, “Because freedom of education is a fundamental principle, because concretely, families have organised their entire lives according to this form of education, the free choice of parents cannot be called into question by the legislator”, “ The authorisation system is very restrictive”, “ You opt for prior discrimination rather than an objective check ”.

Thank you for these words which reflect the reality at ground level.

Why Create Problems Where There Were None by Opposing Two Complementary Options?

Home education is a demanding choice and one which will always remain in the minority. It concerns only 0.5% of children of compulsory school age in France. In the interests of children, it plays a complementary role and is useful outlet valve for the school system.

The relative increase in the number of home educated children in recent years is mainly linked to the lowering of the age of compulsory education from 6 years of age to 3 years of age (Law For a School of Trust of 2019), to the current health situation, and can also be explained by the interest of some parents in innovative education. This increase follows an historical trend and is observed in many democracies. According to education science researchers, it is made possible by “elevating the level of education of the population” which is in particular thanks to generalised access to countless digital educational resources via the Internet (2).

As they grow up, the vast majority of home educated children choose to join school (85% of home educated children are only educated at kindergarten or primary level), often playing a driving and beneficial role for the class group. (3). The situation would be totally different if education within school establishments were imposed on these children.

Why not simply let the two modes of educationeducation at school andhomeeducation – continue to freelycoexist?

Government Incoherencies

The government is totally incapable of explaining how such a restriction of education freedom would be justified. Where are the figures? The government has been unable to demonstrate how it would be of no effect whatsoever with regard to the struggle against radicalism.

The National EducationMinister was forced to resort to convoluted words, in consummate Newspeak: “All freedoms need a framework and this framework is even the guarantee that we are indeed dealing with a freedom. “(1). On the other hand, the letter from his chief of staff, dated the same day, 11 February 2021, is very clear: “Article 21 of the bill proposes to restrict the possibility of having recourse to home education. This would involve moving to a system where each family […] would have to obtain authorisation based on a restricted list of reasons, to the exclusion of any other motive in particular political, philosophical or religious. “(4)

Ms Lang, who was still opposed two years ago to such an authorisation system with the support of the Minister (5), for her part clarified: “With this article, we assume our will to persuade [rather to force, editor’s note] all parents send their children to school” (1). A curious concept of educational diversity…

The returning deputy Ms Brugnera, tried to reassure the worried majority MPs, suggesting that the system would be very permissive: “We expect parents to explain the reasons for their choice based on a fairly long list in order to respond to the full diversity of possible motivations”. (1)

But she refused to engage in a more precise way vis-a-vis the deputies asking her if the boredom of a child at school would be considered as an admissible reason (G. Labille) or to answer the question: “How can you assure us that the National Education Department, which absolutely wants all children to attend school, will not prevent the parents concerned from choosing home education? […] An inspector, a pedagogical adviser or any national education official will answer that the school is already adapted to each child. Likewise, if I say that I want to respect my child’s physiological rhythm, I will be told that this is what school does by working based on skill!” (A. Thill) (1).

Ms Brugnera was content to refer to “a decree in the Council of State, which will contain the list of these national criteria” in a supposed attempt at being less vague (1). How is it possible to legislate in an informed manner withoutknowing the impact the adopted measures would have on families? Ms Thill seems to have got it right, anticipating the words of the Ministry which already indicates to us in a peremptory manner in its letter of 11 February: “The French school is a benevolent school which takes into account the development of the child. It shows all the flexibility necessary to take into account the needs of each child”. (4) Countless testimonies from families show that this is unfortunately far from always being the case.

Blocked Procedure

Despite the courageous vote of 77 deputies from all parties (including 10 LREM) in favour of the removal of Article 21, a majority of 186 deputies (including 152 LREM and 28 Modems) voted against its removal (6).

Is this related to the adjournment at the beginning of the consideration of Article 21? Or related to voting instructions and other barely concealed intimidation tactics? (7) The tabling of a last-minute government amendment rejecting the need to request an authorisation at the start of the 2024 school year for home educating families in 2021-2022 and satisfying the pedagogical control? Note that with this amendment, the government recognises that there is no real urgency to restrict home education to combat Islamic radicals.

Ms Brugnera clarified: “We may even find that the 62,000 children in home education today are in compliance with the measures of the bill” (8), a statement in total inconsistency with the government’s desire to reduce this number. Indeed the government impact study anticipates the compulsory re-schooling of 29,000 children …

Like many parliamentarians, we warn: the restriction on home education provided by Article 21 has no place in a bill aimed at strengthening a respect for the principles of the Republic!

Distrust and Coercion Concerning Parents, Instrumentalisation of the Best Interests of the Child

Members of all parties are concerned about the parental responsibilitytowards their children being called into question: “What bothers us is that basically, Minister, you consider that the State is the only one to know what is good for a child, the only one to be able to assure their education”, ” This article leads to relinquishing the parents of their responsibilities and hurts the families who made the choice of home education. The Government considers that their choice is not legitimate and questions it as if it was not a good choice. “

Let us remember the very coercive nature of Article 21: parents who wish to educate their children in the absence of state authorisation incur a sentence of 6 months in prison, a fine of 7,500 euros and the intervention of social services.

The principle of the best interests of the child cannot be invoked to justify a violation of their rights. Several MPs noted the government deviation of using the notion of the best interests of the child against parents “in a preventive manner, in case the best interests of the child are not respected. In our law, until now, it was used ex post […] Are you aware of how you are building a new legal relationship to parents? You create a right of mistrust ”(P. Hetzel).

At the same time, several amendments giving concrete priority to the best interests of the child were rejected by the government.

Mobilisation Continues: We Call on Senators to Preserve the Freedom of Choice to Home Educate.

Article 21 – the first paragraph of which establishes a system banning home education by default – constitutes a major setback denying a part of the identity of France, where the main freedoms are not subject to prior censorship but rather with subsequent control.

However, the bill was adopted during the first reading by the deputies on 12 February 2021 by 80 votes (including 57 LREM and 18 Modem) against 23 and 8 absences (9).

We are counting on the senators to remove Article 21 from the project of law “Respect for the Principles of the Republic”. It is not only a question of protecting a fundamental freedom, but also of preserving educational diversity, essential in a lawful state.

France must remain a country of freedom.

L’association LED’A

L’association LAIA

L’association UNIE 

L’association CISE

Le Collectif FELICIA

Le Collectif EELM

L’association Liberté Éducation

Enfance Libre

Notes and References :

1 – Reports of complete sessions: https://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/15/cri/2020-2021/

2 – https://www.cairn.info/revue-francaise-de-pedagogie-2018-4-page-5.htm

3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPS5e5ej5qo&feature=emb_logo

4 – Letter from the Chief of Staff of the Minister of Education to the LAIA Association for the IEF inter-association dated 11 February 2021 accessible here: https://droit-instruction.org/wp-content/uploads/2021 /02/mailMEN-1.pdf

5 – As part of the examination of the bill “For a School of Trust” (2019), Mr. Blanquer, National Education Minister gave the same unfavourable opinion as the rapporteur Ms. Lang to an amendment proposing such authorisation: “Freedom of education is a principle of constitutional value. Introducing prior authorisation would run counter to the principle of educational choice”. Mr. Blanquer, a Doctor of Constitutional Law, clarified: “We have already had a similar debate when examining the so-called Gatel law. The arguments supporting our proposals are therefore known”.

6 – https://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/scrutins/detail/(legislature)/15/(num)/3395.

64 amendments to remove Article 21 had however been co-signed by 188 deputies from all parties.

7 – The Minister of National Education called on parliamentarians to vote against the deletion of Article 21: “If you are a republican, and if you want to apply the rights of the child, you must vote against these removal amendments and therefore for Article 21”.

Mr. Euzet (Modem deputy) also tried to convince his colleagues to sacrifice the freedom of education: “I wish to launch a solemn appeal to the members of the majority – or of its borders – who would have a hand which trembles at this time to face the upcoming public ballot vote […] I want to reassure them […] Of course, the right to home education is a fundamental right […] There are rules in society which mean that everyone cannot be authorised to do everything as it sees fit. To live together, we have to accept a certain number of sacrifices”.

Finally, we noted Ms. Bergé‘s thinly veiled intimidation efforts: “I’m glad we’re having a public ballot on these removal amendments because I believe it will allow us to identify the people who are showing […] culpable complacency”.

8 – https://www.lemonde.fr/politique/article/2021/02/12/retirer-son-enfant-de-l-ecole-et-de-la-societe-est-une-forme-de-separatism_6069710_823448.html

9 – https://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/scrutins/detail/(legislature)/15/(num)/3399

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Project of Law to “Respect the Principals of the Republic” and restrict the freedom of home education: the home education associations demand a moratorium

Published on the 5th Januar 2021

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In France, as in numerous other democracies, education is compulsory, not schooling1. Beginning the 18 January 2021 in a special commission of the National Assembly, the bill to “Reinforce the Respect of the Principals of the Republic” retains, in Article 21, the principle of compulsory schooling for all children from 3 to 16 years old, making the free practice of home education conditional to prior administrative authorisation2.

Parental authority questioned by the French State

Despite the unfavourable opinion of the Council of State, Article 21 of the bill still translates a desire for the general abolition of the freedom of choice of home education, which is nonetheless a form of freedom of education which has been recognised in France since the Jules Ferry Laws (1881-1882). Disregarding any respect for parental authority and individual freedoms, the state aims to impose its own vision of the best interests of the child, even if this means going against the will of the parents, under threat of heavy penalty (six months imprisonment and a 7500 euro fine)2.

According to the government impact study, currently approx. 30,000 home educated children, may no longer be able to benefit from this type of education. In addition, parents and children wishing to home educate in the future would be prevented from doing so.

This project is all the more shocking as it is not based on any objective data: home educated children are neither radicalised, nor asocial, quite the contrary2.

For rational decision-making respectful of the democratic process

On the 30 December 2020 we submitted a request to the President of the Republic that a moratorium be decided on the restrictive provisions on the freedom of home education for the following reasons3:

  • the lack of relevant study to evaluate such reform which was highlighted by the Council of State in their recommendation4

  • the inadequacy of the parliamentary procedure implemented (emergency procedure) considering the multiple legal and social implications that the adoption of this text would imply

  • the constitutional obstacles that this reform faces, in particular:

    1. A fundamental freedom can not be subject to prior administrative authorisation, in which case it is no longer a freedom

    2. When guaranteeing individual freedoms, only the judicial authority is competent, to the exclusion of the administration, to decide against the will of the parents and in the best interests of the child.

In requesting a moratorium, our aim is to enable parliamentarians to act in full possession of the facts, on a base of rationality, once the nature and the impact of such a reform on home educating families has been properly clarified by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE)5 and where appropriate, by additional studies.

There is no reason to require parliamentarians to validate such sensitive provisions to restrict the freedom of education with such urgency, without first gathering the necessary impact study elements for informed decision-making and particularly since the law on the “School of Trust already drastically strengthened the supervision of home education in 20196.

L’association LED’A L’association UNIE Le collectif EELM

L’association LAIA Le collectif FELICIA Enfance Libre

L’association CISE

Presentation of the Signatory Organisations and Contacts

The Association LEDA (Les enfants dabord – Children First), created in 1988, regroups more than 1300 member families who home educate their children. The association exists to provide information on home education, to defend this right and to enable meetings to facilitate the sharing of experiences and information. www.lesenfantsdabord.org/ Contact: libertedelinstruction@lesenfantsdabord.org / 0689987526 ou 0670100140 ou 0608950100

The Association LAIA (Libres d’Apprendre et d’Instruire Autrement – Free to Learn and Educate Otherwise) represents approx 450 member families throughout France. The association has existed for 14 years and publishes the only magazine dedicated to home education in France, the quarterly “Les Plumes”. Contact: contact@laia-asso.fr /0699338996 ou 0671938772 ou 0695955526.

The Association CISE (Choisir d’instruire son enfant – Chose to Educate Your Child) is an association in support and defence of home education, encouraging parental education which is diverse, progressive and responds to the needs of the child to enable them to become an enlightened and responsible citizen. www.cise.fr Contact: therese.pour.cise@gmail.com / 06 84 94 66 28.

The Association UNIE (Union Nationale pour l’Instruction et lEpanouissement – The National Union for Education and Fulfilment) in invested in mutual aid and cooperation between families. Open to all for whom education is done with respect for the development of the child. UNIE provides advice and assistance to 5300 member familles and to 12,000 Facebook group members. association-unie.fr. Contact: Armelle – unie.association@gmail.com / 07 68 47 76 40.

The Federation FELICIA represents local associations and more than 4400 member families of the group https:// www.facebook.com/groups/fedefelicia/, to defend the freedom of choice of education and learning. https://www.federation-felicia.org / contact@federation-felicia.org / 06 19 10 37 88.

The Collective l’Ecole est la Maison (EELM – School is at Home) represents and defends formal home education. Source of proposals for a proper supervision of family education. www.lecoleestlamaison.blogspot.com. Contact: Laurence Fournier – lecoleestlamaison@gmail.com / 06 62 92 84 70.

Enfance Libre – Free Childhood a movement in defence of the autonomy of families with regard to education. Prioritises facilitating children’s access to public and political speech. www.enfance-libre.fr. Contact : mouvement.en- fance.libre@gmail.com

1« Compulsory education may be provided in either public or private, establishments or schools, or within the family (…) » (article L 131-2 of the Education Code).

2Reread our common stance: « Il faut sauver linstruction en famille » (14 décembre 2020) https://droit-instruction.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201214_PositionCommuneArticle21_vf.pdf

3Letter to the President of the Republic (30 décembre 2020) : https://droit-instruction.org/demande-de-moratoire/

4« This suppression in not supported by reliable elements and documented by reasons, conditions and results of the practice of home education: the elements we have, show that this reality is very diverse. However the government plan could, according to the indicators of the impact study, lead to the compulsory schooling of three quarters of currently home educated children » (CE, Avis from the 9 December 2020)

5On the 22 December 2020, we also asked the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) to make a decision on this sensitive issue in order to enlighten decision-makers before any infringement of this fundamental freedom occurs (https://droit-instruction.org/saisine-du-cese/)

6 Before the Senate on the 18 June 2020 the Education Minister himself recognised: «This freedom of home education […] really has a powerful constitutional basis which one can only recognise and which I think is positive […] There was a need for more supervision, and that is what we did [with the law on the School of Trust in 2019] [] In terms of legal principles, it seems that we have reached a certain stage which is the right one.»

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Home Education: an Inadequate, Inconsistent and Insulting Impact Study

16.12.20 by LED’A

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“Insufficient” warned the Conseil d’Etat. The Impact Study of the project of law to ban home education is filled with empty words and outdated concepts under the guise of being in the best interests of the child…to confine them up for their own good.

The association LED’A (Les Enfants d’Abord – Children First) is not in opposition to the school of the Republic which unites us. We do not oppose school. We just choose to do without school. Like any public service, we want to have open access to it if, and only if, we need it or want it. As the name of our association and as our philosophy statement suggests at “Les Enfants d’Abord” (Children First) our activity is motivated by the best interests of children and the respect of these individuals in every regard. There is no president in our ranks and we are better for it. We operate true horizontality. Children, as soon as they are able to raise their hand, are able to vote. Their voices have the same weight as those of adults, regardless of whether they understand the question they are voting on or not.

Obviously operating in this manner often raises a few eyebrows.

At LED’A, a child is not just a child, they are first and foremost an individual. Someone who is able to decide for themselves and experience freedom in order to reach autonomy. So how could we force our children to join the ranks of an industrial education system when we are specifically organised and volunteer to create “home made”, made to measure education for those we consider most. To what end? Although not opposed to school, we are not blind. We can see more and more teachers providing home education for their own children so that they not be beaten down by a system that they themselves have inside knowledge of. 700,000 children are bullied each year. This should be the great national concern of the government. Just as children with disabilities wishing to be educated within the classic system are home educated by default due to lack of resources and willingness of public authorities.

Artificial Socialisation or Natural Sociability.

Contrary to government claims packed full of cliché, at LED’A home education never rhymes with confinement. The government wish to impose freedom on everyone from behind the school gates, the relaxation of an hourly bell, surveillance cameras at the entrance, the benefits of socialisation of children all the same age, packed by groups of 30 into an enclosed space, with only one adult as person of reference. All to be graded. Such an artificial form of socialisation, which has become the norm, is equally inept. In contrast, our children live their lives alongside their parents in every activity that life has to offer. Meeting other children and adults alike without every asking their age. These are simply people with whom they can play, exchange, experiment and learn all throughout their life…without grades. Specialists have shown and we are also fully aware that our children are hungry for knowledge and learn naturally. It is irrepressible and intrinsic. To deny them the right to learn at their own pace, the end of home education in elective form, would be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights of which France is a signatory. International standards in terms of human rights cannot be undone. This is called the ratchet effect. In an attempt to respond to this the government speaks of the right to an education being in the best interests of the child. And discredits the family who is, until proof of the contrary, the first social space and place of confrontation with the other. Above and beyond supra national conventions and regulations applied to democracies, one unalterable principle remains: natural rights or inalienable rights. The rights of a child who does not belong to their parents and even less to the state. At LED’A we believe that the people best placed to accompany a child in their existence are those who have know them from birth.

Some Statistics:

  • 0.4% of school aged children are home educated.
  • 700,000 children are victims of school bullying each year (14 times more)
  • 50.7% of home educated children are male
  • 49.3% are female
  • No figures exist on children “under the radar” or “phantoms of the Republic”
  • In 2019, according to the government, 179 children were removed from school or home educated with a view to radicalisation. This is 0.59% of the 30,486 home educated children not in the CNED program. A mere 0.00149% of the 12 million children in the education system.
  • In 2016 to 2017, 92.8% of home education inspections were deemed satisfactory by the National Education Department. Only 7.2% of those remaining were followed by a second inspection.

Quotes:

“Cases of children exposed to a risk of radicalisation and identified during the inspection of education at the family home are exceptional.” Excerpt from the Vademecum written by the National Education Ministry p.38.

“On a legal level, I think we have reached a good balance” J-M Blanquer, 18 June 2020, under oath, before the Senate Commission “Combat Islamic Radicalisation”.

The LED’A Media Team is available to reply to requests for exchanges on particular points of law with the aim to enlighten their readers on the Impact Study presented by the government.

Les Enfants D’Abord,

www.lesenfantsdabord.org

équipe média media@lesenfantsdabord.org 

contact-international@lesenfantsdabord.org

https://www.facebook.com/LesEnfantsDAbordInstructionEnFamille

https://www.instagram.com/lesenfantsd_abord/

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Progetto di legge confortante il rispetto dei principi repubblicani (articolo 21): bisogna salvare l’educazione parentale!

14th December 2020

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L’articolo 21 del progetto di legge confortante il rispetto dei principi repubblicani punta a sopprimere la libera scelta d’una delle modalità d’istruzione: quella familiare.

Questa restrizione della libertà senza fondamento oggettivo é contraria ai diritti fondamentali.

Riassunto (Punti chiave) della posizione comune

  1. In Francia l’istruzione é obbligatoria, non la scuola. I genitori hanno la possibilità di delegare l’istruzione dei loro figli a un’istituto scolastico, o d’istruirli in seno alla famiglia.
  2. L’educazione parentale é una libertà fondamentale ancorata nel diritto francese da un secolo e mezzo. In pratica essa concerne solo il 0,4 % dei bambini in età scolare, ma gioca un ruolo importante nella resilienza del sistema scolastico francese.
  3. Il 2 ottobre 2020, nel contesto dell’annuncio di un progetto di legge sui “separatismi”, il presidente della repubblica ha annunciato di volere vietare l’educazione parentale  e rendere la frequentazione scolastica obbligatoria per tutti i bambini tra i 3 ed i 16 anni a partire dal prossimo anno scolastico (2021/22).
  4. L’articolo 21  del progetto di legge confortante il rispetto dei principi repubblicani depositato all’ Assemblée nationale il 9 dicembre 2020 conferma questa volontà. In caso di mancato rispetto dell’obbligo scolare si incorre una pena di 6 mesi di prigione e 7 500 euro di ammenda. Si ricorda che, in Germania, la legge ha reso la scuola obbligatoria (a partire dai 6 anni e non dai 3) sotto pena d’imprigionamento nel 1938.
  5. La valutazione d’impatto della misura é deficitaria e piena di accuse che contraddicono l’insieme degli studi in scienze dell’educazione fatti sul soggetto dell’istruzione parentale.
  6. L’obiettivo del governo é di ridurre drasticamente il numero dei bambini istruiti in famiglia, sottomettendo l’esercizio di questa libertà ad una autorizzazione prealabile.
  7. Una   derogazione all’obbligo scolastico  sarà ottenibile unicamente su autorizzazione dell’autorità statale competente, per un solo anno, e sotto condizioni molto restrittive.
  8. Tra i motivi che possono essere invocati figura un doppio vincolo che stigmatizza certi bambini e lascia spazio all’arbitrarietà e alla discriminazione di certi genitori: “L’esistenza di una situazione particolare propria al bambino, sotto riserva che le persone che ne sono responsabili giustifichino la loro capacità a assumere l’istruzione parentale nel rispetto dell’interesse superiore del bambino”.
  9. Con questo progetto di legge lo Stato aumenta il suo dominio sulla sfera privata, sostituendosi ai genitori per imporre la sua visione dell'”interesse superiore” del bambino.
  10. Vietare l’educazione parentale non é la risposta all’esistenza di forme clandestine d’indottrinamento fuori dal controllo dello Stato: il governo prende di mira il bersaglio sbagliato. Questo attacco dispoporzionato alla libertà educativa é denuniciato unanimamente.
  11. Rivelatore dell’incoerenza delle giustificazioni avanzate dal governo per giustificare questa misura, un nuovo elemento linguistico, la paura di una “forma di separatismo sociale” ha fatto apparizione nella valutazione d’impatto del progetto di legge. Eppure i bambini istruiti in famiglia e i loro genitori sono perfettamente integrati alla società.
  12. Gli studi scientifici mostrano che i bambini istruiti in famiglia sono particolamente autonomi e capaci di addattarsi facilmente al sistema scolastico prima e al mondo del lavoro poi, quando scelgono di ritornare a scuola o di fare una formazione.
  13. Se queste restrizioni fossero adottate, circa   30 000 bambini  attualmente istruiti in famiglia non potranno più esserlo con certezza, ed é a volte la sola soluzione per dei bambini che soffrono a scuola a causa di un profilo atipico che non costituisce per forza un handicap riconosciuto, o in caso di disfunzionamento istituzionale.
  14. Vietare l’educazione parentale tranne su derogazione costituirebbe un attacco ad una libertà che non sarebbe né adeguato ne proporzionato, e che genererebbe molte sofferenze e una perdita di possibilità per il nostro paese.
  15. Difendere la libertà educativa e la diversità educativa , é anche difendere lo Stato di Diritto.
  16. Contiamo sui deputati e senatori per sopprimere l’articolo 21 dal progetto di legge punto e basta. E’ liberticida e innecessario.

Parigi, il 14 dicembre 2020

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Bill to Uphold the Principals of the Republic (Article 21): Home Education Must be Saved.

14th December 2020

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Article 21 of the bill to uphold the principals of the republic aims to eradicate the liberty to choose one of the modalities of educational freedom: Home Education.

This objectively unfounded restriction of freedom is contrary to fundamental rights.

Summary (Key Points) of the Shared Position.

  • In France education is compulsory, not schooling. Parents therefore have the possibility to choose to either delegate the education of their child to a school structure or to home educate.
  • Home education is a fundamental right anchored in French law for 150 years. In practice this concerns a mere 0.4% of the school aged population but greatly contributes to the resilience of the French school system.
  • On the 2 October, during an announcement on a bill on “separatism” the President of the Republic announced his desire to ban home education and make school attendance compulsory from the return to school in 2021, for all children aged 3 to 16 years.
  • Article 21 of the project of law upholding the principals of the republic presented to the National Assembly on the 9 December 2020, confirms this intention. In the event of non compliance with compulsory school attendance, a penalty of 6 months in prison and a fine of 7,500 euros is incurred. As a reminder, in Germany schooling became compulsory in 1938 under penalty of imprisonment, for children 6 years upwards not 3 year olds.
  • The Impact Study which carries the project is poor and full of allegations contradicting the body of research in Education Science on the subject of home education.
  • The aim of the government is to drastically reduce the number of home educated children by subjecting the use of this freedom to a pre-authorisation.
  • An exemption from compulsory school attendance would only be obtainable by authorisation from a recognised state authority, for one year only and under very restrictive conditions.
  • Invoking the reasons for exemption which could mean a doubly stigmatising constraint for certain children and leaves space for arbitrary decisions and discrimination against certain parents. “The existence of a particular situation specific to the child, provided that the persons responsible can demonstrate their ability to provide home education while respecting the best interests of the child.”
  • With this bill, the state increases its domination of the private sphere, replacing parents, to impose its vision of the “best interests” of the child.
  • Wanting to ban home education is not the answer to the existence of clandestine forms of indoctrination outside the control of the state: the government has the wrong target. This disproportionate interference with freedom of education is unanimously denounced.
  • Indicative of the inconsistency of the justifications put forward by the government to justify this measure, a new language element, the fear of a form of “social separatism” made an appearance in the Impact Study of the bill. Home educated children and their parents are however perfectly integrated into society.
  • Scientific studies show that home educated children are particularly independent and capable of easy adaptation to the school system and the working world if they choose to return to school or follow a path of training.
  • If the restrictions were adopted 30,000 children currently home educated could no longer be. Home education is often the only solution for children suffering at school due to an atypical profile which does not necessarily constitute a recognised handicap, or in the event of institutional dysfunction.
  • Banning home education with the exception of certain exemptions would constitute an infringement on public freedom, neither suitable or proportionate, generating much suffering and a loss of an asset to the country.
  • Defending freedom of education and educational diversity also means protecting the law of the land.
  • We are depending on the members of parliament and senators to entirely remove Clause 21 from the bill. There is no place for liberticide.
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Home Education and Numbers Pulled from Nowhere: The Separatist Loto

9th December 2020

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Regardless of the life choices concerning home educated children we must, now more than ever, save the soldier Macron from any political setback.

Defamation, defamation and still there’s more.

Yesterday in Le Monde, Castex said, “In French law, the principal is compulsory schooling, a principal with assorted exceptions”. The Prime Minister is lying. Correction: “In French law, education is obligatory, not school”. A lie hammered out by the ministers still leaves a trace. During legislation, partial and one sided visions mount up and in the end, a climate of suspicion is created. This is known as ‘a priori’. Home education cannot avoid this mechanism. Since 1998 and Ségolène Royal at the Ministry of Education, the rhetoric used to stigmatise home education remains unchanged. At that time she said, “Every year, several thousand children escape the School of the Republic”. As though they were escapees, as though they were guilty of something. As if the freedom they enjoyed was not a justice they deserved. The vocabulary chosen tends towards a prison environment, which is the next step. At this time, she waved the red rag at the sectarian grip said to hold some 6000 children. That is all. La Miviludes (Mission Interministérielle de vigilance et de lutte contre les dérives sectaires) found no such trace.

In 2007, in the law on “Delinquency Prevention” proposed by a President for whom the prosecution requested 4 years imprisonment, 2 of which were suspended on the 8 December 2020, the so-called Administrative Inquiry from the Town Hall is extended to children enrolled in correspondance courses. The parallel drawn between correspondance courses and delinquency is insulting. Yet it is acceptable. This represents a mere minority within a minority.

In 2011, still at work, the government of President Sarkozy cause an uproar. They pushed for generalised registration of children from kindergarten age onward. It was to be used to identify ‘at risk’ children throughout their education. In face of the tumult it provoked, the bill was abandoned. A certain J-M Blanquer was the inspiration behind it.

With the Exception of 5000 Children…

Today, therefore, following the insulting shortcut in the Mureaux speech which moves from separatism to banning home education, as though a logical consequence to eradicate an evil, a new number is born, with this text is before the Council of Ministers. There are claimed to be 5000 children affected by cases of Radical Islamism. This figure is plucked from nowhere since the Conseil d’Ètat warned the government of the disproportion of the proposed law, the weakness of the Impact Study and especially the unconstitutional nature of such a liberticide measure. So the language elements propose 5000 children. Is that 5000 children in state school or 5000 in home education? It is a lot and creates a stir and is precise when we change the number of home education registered children, which goes from 50,000 in October to 62,000 in December 2020. It is surprising that before the Senate Enquiry Commission in June, J-M Blanquer under oath, said that radicalisation cases concerning home education were “exceptional”. Not a careless statement as the same was said in the Vademecum on the subject. Who to believe? The minister who is in the grip of a scandal with his ministry said to have created a fake union and used the apparatus of the state for partisan purposes. The judicial future will tell the tale. But for our children it matters little to us to be historically correct, we claim freedom as the immediate rule. Like Clémenceau, one of the most ardent defenders of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who fought injustice draped in the reason of the state, we affirm: “If there were ever a conflict between the Republic and freedom, the Republic would be in the wrong”. Was the Tiger a separatist?

Les Enfants D’Abord, équipe média media@lesenfantsdabord.org 

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An Authoritarian System of Authorisation to Replace a Democratic Freedom

BRUT 4th December 2020

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For Macron to keep his head held high, the government are working on a system of authorisation to corral home education.

The parliamentarian writing the law appreciate this.

It’s almost Sarkozy. News is diffused, a law is made. Or rather, when deal with an exception, we change the rule. In this manner the head of state pulled the same scenario out of his hat on Friday during a live broadcast on the BRUT news channel (at 1hr 05mins). He speaks of little girls veiled from head to toe, educated collectively, while being home education registered. We are asked to take his word on the matter and specifically believe his comments that the current legal regulations on home education would be incapable of handling such a situation. The republic is in danger and legislation urgently required.

Except that this is untrue.

Children registered as home educated are among the most regulated in France. Firstly they are subject to a double registration each year; with both the local town hall and also the Education Department. Then there are assessments of their progression at least once every year. Not to forget that it is strictly forbidden for families having chosen this mode of education to form groups to educate their children. These are called de facto schools. This act is prohibited by article L131-5 of the Education Code and punishable by the Penal Code article 441-7 with a one year prison term and a 15,000 € fine.

Blanquer to the Rescue.

Obviously the way to combat separatism is not through banning home education. This is a smoke screen created to convince public opinion that the government have a strong grip when dealing with terrorism. In passing, a doubt is insinuated over Muslims and Islamic Extremists, in order to feed right wing voters. On the political field collateral damage does not matter, a mere 25,000 minors affected even without counting the phantoms of the republic. The government does not care.

The opinion of the Conseil d’État on the bill to combat separatism remained very discrete on Thursday evening to the extent of fleeing during the week and warning the government of the ineptitude of this prohibitive measure. The Conseil d’État will give their final opinion on Monday the 7th of December 2020. Then we shall see whether the Conseil d’État is still a guarantor of our institutions. The foot soldier Blanquer, Doctor of Constitutional Law, who has known from the beginning that the proposed measure is unconstitutional, was call upon during the 16 hour deliberation at the Palais Royal, to save the day for Emmanuel Macron. To try to avoid a major political setback. Macron himself said that Blanquer: “He has been (working) with the Conseil d’Ètat and will continue with the parliamentarians”. His task is to “anticipate the real exceptions which correspond to the situations which people are living”. With a miserly hand, he will reinvent educational freedom.

The Inspectors of the Academy Against this Project

In any case, he will need to be inspired, as the arguments to defend this freedom which, according to Blanquer are based “on a strong constitutional foundation”, 58 mins, find the unexpected support of the Inspectors of the Academy. The revue du syndicat fine tooth comb the measure declared by Macron from pages 7-10 in the best possible way. Inspectors of the Academy who could not have been suspected of being pro home education, invite the president to show proof of subtlety and reflection. And to avoid the amalgamation of home educating families and radicalisation. The Human Rights League could not have said it better. This unwavering guardian of fundamental freedoms, spoke out clearly in favour of educational freedom of choice. If the madness of banning home education passed the vote of parliamentarians from both chambers, without referral to the Constitutional Council, the Human Rights League, reserves the right, as do we, to call on that noble institution. Even if it means offending Macron’s certitude.

Les Enfants D’Abord,

équipe média media@lesenfantsdabord.org

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