FIGAROVOX / INTERVIEW – The choice of the executive to subject home education to prior authorization is tantamount to a hidden ban, says Jean-Baptiste Maillard, Secretary-General of “Education for Freedom”.
Jean-Baptiste Maillard is the Secretary-General “Freedom education», an association for the defense of parents who have chosen home education for their children. Published September 1 Homeschooling: fundamental freedom (ed. Artège, € 18.90).
LE FIGARO. – The Constitutional Council has given the green light “separatism». You will now require prior permission from the state to educate your child at home. And the reasons for obtaining it will be limited, despite the reservation of the Constitutional Council’s interpretation. Why do you think this is a “blow to democracy”?
Jean-Baptiste MAILLARD. – Parents are their child’s first educators. As soon as we reject this principle, as the government does, we put our finger in a trap that is everything but democratic. I note that the countries with the greatest restrictions on domestic education are China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. On the contrary, countries like Ireland have the right to choose home education enshrined in their institutions.
Under the guise of an ideology, according to which there should be nothing outside the school, the executive contradicts a number of international conventions: the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, but also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which explains that this is the so-called it is up to parents to choose the education of their children.
As stated by about twenty international researchers, specialists in home education, in an open letter to the journal other education, home education clearly demonstrates the power of democracy.
All the leading French researchers of radicalization replied that there were no figures on radicalization in the context of home education.
Another problem is the reasons given by the government. During his speech in Les Mureaux on 2 October 2020, Emmanuel Macron announced his decision to curb domestic education in the fight against fundamentalism. However, this is not based on any basis. I spent many days talking to the most important French researchers about radicalization, and everyone told me that there were no figures about radicalization in the context of home education. A senior official at the head of the Institute of Advanced Studies of the Ministry of the Interior also agrees with this observation.
Draft opinion of the Council of State, on which Le Figaro he concluded, he concluded that the article on home education was unconstitutional. The final version has been significantly modified. You are interested in this turnaround.
Why has the Bergeal report been changed? Who changed their conclusion? This is a democratic question. No one has an answer at this time. In addition, two other Directorate-General for Education reports focusing on the outcomes of children at home were not published. Why? Many MEPs continued to ask them for the Minister of National Education and, contrary to what Jean-Michel Blanquer claims, they are still not available. MEPs had to blindly vote for an article in the separatist law on the subject without knowing it.
Ten years ago, only 3,000 children were educated at home. In the years 2020-2021, there were 62,000 of them
You write that home education gives excellent results “to make national education green with envy”. Are there any studies to support your claims?
In France, we do not have much prospects for home learning outcomes, as this phenomenon is relatively new. Ten years ago, only 5,000 children were educated at home, compared to 62,000 in 2020-2021. In addition, there are not many studies, as few researchers are interested in the subject, with a few exceptions, such as Philippe Bongrand, a doctor of sociology at the University of Cergy-Pontoise who has a home school laboratory.
And then, National Education does not facilitate research, as evidenced by these two reports of the Directorate-General for Education, which are still in the drawers. Nevertheless, they contain a lot of information about the success of students. According to the Senate, which apparently had access to these documents, common knowledge base checks are successful for 98% of children educated in the family.
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It should be noted that if the results are not met, academy inspectors may already require parents to enroll their child in school. We are therefore forced to turn to Anglo-Saxon countries, especially the United States, where home-based education has been around for a long time and involves more children: six million people have already used home-schooling. In some states, such as Alabama, this percentage has doubled since the pandemic to 12% of children educated at home. Scientific research, more advanced than in France, shows that in the vast majority of cases, these children do better than those who go to school. They strive for higher education, find valuable work and are committed citizens. We also see that many young people get a doctorate very soon.
If you think home education has convincing results, how can the government’s reluctance be explained?
It is an ideological blockade that goes against the global trend, as home education is developing in all countries of the world. For example, the Brazilian National Assembly had to work on a bill in June to liberalize this education system because Brazil realized its appeal. Elsewhere, partnerships are emerging between families who opt for homeschooling and schools. Some countries even provide subsidies to households, such as Russia. Globally, the development of home education is the most important social movement in the last half century, says an American researcher in the field of pedagogical sciences who works for the State Department.
Today, the government is going against the flow of this development, which raises questions for a party that considers itself progressive. However, with the development of telework, this trend will accelerate, it is necessary.
Some point to a lack of student evaluation. Are the checks sufficient?
Checks are only 70% complete. This is a real problem, especially as the number of children educated at home explodes as a result of the health crisis and the use of a health card. At the beginning of the school year in September, there could be 100,000 of them.
If controls are insufficient, it is not because of families, but because of administration.
If controls are insufficient, it is not because of families, but because of the administration, which is not doing its job well enough. In addition, the National Union of Inspectors of the Academy said it was against the bill to ban home education and demanded more resources. One of the two reports from the Directorate-General for Education also showed that only 50% of the checks at the town hall were carried out.
Thanks to the authorization regime, which frames the family upbringing that Emmanuel Macron and his government want, and which I call the hidden ban regime, all children will have to be checked by all children between 2022 and 2023 by inspectors as well as town halls, and funds are now in place. not enough.
Who are the parents who have chosen this way of teaching and why do they do it?
Their main motivation is to respect the rhythm of a child who has an overloaded school rhythm. Homeschooling allows the child to adapt to his needs, mood and centers of interest. It also allows you to go much further in certain subjects. This respect for rhythm is also reflected in the absence of homework in the evenings and on weekends, leaving more time for outdoor activities.
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Is this model applicable for all children? What about their socialization?
The child must be motivated and fulfilled. Some children, victims of bullying or suffering from school phobias, choose home education themselves, which then becomes a lifeline. This educational model is generally not designed to last throughout schooling.
The older the children, the less they use home education.
One in two children returns to the school system one year after being educated at home, and the older the children, the less they resort to home education: only 13% of children educated at home are still at home. 2% for high school. However, there are children who complete the entire schooling in this way and they are doing very well!
I would add that children brought up in a family are just as well socialized as those brought up. Naomi Aldort, a world-renowned specialist in home education, explains that globally “in terms of socialization, children are educated at home in front of their peers at school». Researcher Richard G. Medlin claims that “Research shows that domestic students develop into versatile, socially integrated adults and become responsible citizens who are beneficial members of society.».
Educating your child at home usually requires one of the two parents to give up their professional activities. Many French people cannot afford it …
Families are mostly affiliated with the CAF (89%) and almost half have a family quotient of less than 1000. Thus, contrary to popular belief, home education is not reserved for the wealthy elite, it is accessible to modest households. It is the most affordable method of teaching your own children.
However, it is true that he remains a financial victim. My wife had to give up her salary so she could educate our child at home, we had to leave Paris and move to the provinces. And our way of life has changed radically.
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