“The struggle for freedom of dwelling schooling has solely simply begun”

FIGAROVOX / TRIBUNE – Article 49 of the Republican Principles Act, which tightens the conditions for exemption from home education, is due to appear in early February. Jean-Baptiste Maillard, on behalf of freedom of education, is calling on the government to abandon this measure.

Jean-Baptiste Maillard is the Secretary-General Freedom education», an association for the defense of parents who have chosen home education for their children. He publishes Homeschooling: fundamental freedom (ed. Artege, 2021).


At first glance, home education concerns only a small number of children: last year there were 62,000 of them. And yet it is a fundamental freedom that all parents may one day need, as we saw during the first birth. Homeschooling, also known as family education (IEF), was then ordered by all. Families were certainly not prepared for this, parents forced to juggle between the distance work and the time-consuming investment that this guide deserves. Although many of them found it difficult to endure this “suffering” choice, which others often matured for several years, many nevertheless experienced this first experience of happiness and even wanted to continue it. In countries where home education is developing, it would therefore increase by 30 to 40% from 2019.

On October 2, 2020, the President of the Republic, in his own words, made a “radical” decision: to drastically limit this fundamental freedom to health imperatives, that is, to children who cannot go to school at all. disability. This is without counting on the mobilization of families who have received support in all the seats, including the presidential party. We have been granted exemptions for families for two years in our home education, which is far from satisfying us. The law was approved by the manu militari and promulgated in August 2021. However, the Constitutional Council issued a reservation of interpretation concerning the best interests of the child. Today, however, we learn that the alleged separatism of these families was really just a pretext of the government.

More than 98% of children educated at home meet the expectations of the common core of knowledge. Better: in the last year studied, only 0.09% of these children are banned from retraining and none of them are radicalized or separatized.

Jean-Baptiste Maillard

Until then, every two years, the Directorate-General for School Education (Dgesco) has drawn up a report on home education. But after the presidential ax, the last two reports remained locked in their vault for more than eleven months, until the law was passed. The official requirements of the sittings did not change anything. Without access to these reports, the National Assembly was forced to vote blindly, which was a real violation of the democratic debate. What do these reports say? More than 98% of children educated at home meet the expectations of the common core of knowledge. Better: in the last year studied, only 0.09% of these children are banned from retraining and none of them are radicalized or separatized. They thus contradict what National Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has always been trying to bring to the collective imagination through television shows: school at home would be a dangerous breeding ground for separatists. Defamation, defamation, something will always remain … MP Grégory Labille, very active in defending this freedom during the legislative process, asked the Minister on this subject on 21 September. On October 5, he was followed by another opposition MP, Marc Lefur. These Members make it clear that these reports are not “Allusion to any separatist or sectarian drift”. And ask Jean-Michel Blanquer if he counts “Reconsider its position in the light of its conclusions”. We are still waiting for the Minister’s answer. Today, MP Patrick Hetzel and Senator Max Brisson joined them, this time in their deep fears of highly restrictive decrees that escaped into the press. They ask the real reasons why the law passed this law: when will there be a moratorium?

As the survey shows Homeschooling, fundamental freedom1, the best researchers specializing in radicalization from our research institutes, from the CNRS to the Strategic Research Foundation to the Institute of Advanced Studies of the Ministry of the Interior, all confirm that no personality supports this thesis of radicalism. Emmanuel Macron’s statement that he wanted to restrict the freedom to raise his family for this reason during his speech in Les Mureaux was therefore unfounded. When will mea culpa be for our families who felt offended?

These reports reveal the incredible success of home education, which is enough to make national education fade. They thus prove the extent to which family upbringing deserves to be supported and materially supported by the ministry, as in many countries. A real laboratory of pedagogical innovation, a breeding ground for academic success, home education is a rapidly growing phenomenon worldwide. For researcher Patricia Lines, a member of the United States Department of Education, a former professor at Havard, “The rise of home education is one of the most important social trends of the last half century”. Only one country in the world is trying to limit it solely on Jupiter’s whim: ours. Is En Marche an anti-progressive party, otherwise it is a necessary social evolution?

Free choice of families, the priority of parents in raising their children are too important for their electoral interests to suffocate Emmanuel Macron.

Jean-Baptiste Maillard

Vault Dgesco still conceals the number of children who have been declared to have been educated at home since the beginning of the 2021 school year. . But as in the case of Malbrough, Trinity will happen. On January 24 in Parisianthe ministry still avoided the question: “No statistics available since the onset of the health crisis”. Why such opacity when these numbers come naturally from academies? This lack of transparency is anything but Republican. Are we defending 100,000 children today after the president wanted to ban this fundamental freedom? It would be a real mess. But the free choice of families, the priority of parents in raising their children, are too important for their electoral interests to suffocate Emmanuel Macron.

For a year and a half, Jean-Michel Blanquer decided to ignore the arguments of the national family education associations, rejected the dialogue, practiced a valid passage, and did not listen to any member of the opposition or members of the presidency. neither Defender of Rights Claire Hédon, the National Advisory Commission on Human Rights, the National Union of Inspectors of the Academy, nor the members of the Council of State in their first opinion (Bergeal report) or the historian of secularism Jean Baubérot, whom the President often quotes, nor the Chief which he felt existed in the committee “No direct link between withdrawal from the community and increased family education”. Who did the minister actually listen to? And we saw a good little president soldier stuck in a carabiner. He did so again, in January, by almost secretly submitting decrees implementing the Republican Principle Act to the Council of State, without fear of associations representing children with disabilities. The National Advisory Council for People with Disabilities voted on a very unfavorable opinion on 21 January, regretting that it was possible to declare that a child with a disability was “Impossible to attend school”. It criticizes draft decrees that run counter to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Constitution. And what about the 700,000 children in France who are harassed every year and for whom home education is often the only real escape route? It will be necessary to obtain the written consent of the school head, who may be a judge and a party. Finally, from September 2022, it will no longer be possible to remove children from school during the year, which will no longer allow parents and the teaching staff to adapt in the best interests of the child to the changing situation. As for the Board of Appeal in the event of a refusal of commission, the draft decree stipulates that it is chaired by the Rector of the Academy and will be composed exclusively of members appointed by him, all members of the National Education System, without any involvement of national home associations. education or associations for handicapped children. Is this really equality and justice in our republic? Without abandoning this new hidden ban regime, heavy family litigation can be expected from the beginning of next school year.

Let us not forget that freedom is part of our republican motto. The struggle for this fundamental freedom of home education has only just begun. That’s a fair reason: sooner or later he will win.

Jean-Baptiste Maillard

Tens of thousands of families continue to urge the government to abandon the measure. Indeed, we can still get together and give up this controversial, disproportionate and unfounded desire to place home education under the supervision of full control, which is very different from the freedom regime. It remains unacceptable that Emmanuel Macron and his government used separatism to ban this fundamental freedom of parents in choosing family upbringing. If we do not give up the publication of the decrees, we will continue to wage cruel political and legal battles that will face this challenge. Let us not forget that freedom is part of our republican motto. The struggle for this fundamental freedom of home education has only just begun. That’s a fair reason: sooner or later he will win. This has been confirmed these days by David Lisnard, President of the Association of French Mayors: “Freedom should be the rule, but our freedom regime has become an authorization regime”. It’s time to go back to that.


(1): He and his wife Marie are also the authors of a large survey on home education, Homeschooling, fundamental freedom published by Artège editions in September 2021.


The tribunes were also signed by the following national associations:

Armelle Borel, UNIE (National Union for Children and Adults Education and Development).

Laurence Fournier, ELLM (School Is Home) team

Julie Larcher, Félicia Federation (Freedom of choice in education and learning)

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