During this presidential campaign, it rained attacks on the only school. President-elect Macron and the majority are multiplying the announcements announcing future offensives against him. The far-right candidates, even more brutally, make no secret of their historic project: to return to the school of yesteryear, that of selection and social classification from an early age. These multiple attacks in favor of the employers’ demands and against equality lead us to reaffirm our commitment in favor of the single school, and to prepare ourselves to build mobilizations to defend it. SUD education leads claims a truly unique and emancipatory university for all students.
Multiple attacks on a single university
On Wednesday, March 31, the president-candidate responded to a restaurateur who complained about not finding a worker: “We need to make these trades better known. these trades “. This intervention corresponds to elements that were given in the Macron program: “Know before to choose better after: all children will discover, from 5th to 3rd, various trades, including technical and manual trades.” To implement this early guidance, the principle advanced by the majority, through MP Anne-Christine Lang in a column published in The world of February 21, 2022, is again that of the “base school”, which brings together school and university, which announces in passing a flight of the statutes of school teachers and qualified teachers. How do you think, as most people say, that this is about equalizing technical and manual knowledge? Faced with the improvement of comprehensive learning, we fear, on the contrary, that it is a question of implementing an early orientation level, reconnecting with the selection of the end of primary school that prevailed until 1959 and thus put an end to it. to the logic of the single college.
On the far right, the same logic is assumed, but more radical. In his program, Eric Zemmour writes that “the single school has produced a gap that is detrimental to all students, good or mediocre.” He therefore announces that he is simply launching “the end of the single university.” Marine Le Pen, meanwhile, still in her program, aims to “strengthen the early guidance of students,” and believes that “the only university is a machine of failure.” The announcements are clear: the far right is the selection in the service of the employer, it is the mortal enemy of the public school.
Bulle: End the declining myth of falling levels!
The idea that “the level is going down” is not based on any reliable empirical study. On the other hand, the differences in “level” between students are widening, as well as the differences in success between students educated in the public and private sectors are widening for the benefit of the private sector. Thus, without offending the followers of catastrophism and the declining discourse on the school, it is not the level that goes down, it is the inequalities that are widening.
The establishment of the unique school, a progressive conquest constantly cut
Until 1959, secondary education was divided into three parallel axes, which followed a partition corresponding almost exclusively to the social categories of origin of the students:
- higher primary education, which followed the certificate of studies, and was taught from 6th to 3rd
- Baccalaureate, from 6th to 12th grade
- learning centers
After several successive reforms (extension of compulsory schooling to 16 years in 1959, creation of secondary schools in 1963), the Haby Act created the single school in 1975. It gathers the different currents that is between the end of primary education and the 3rd year of primary education. Then, the university degree replaces the higher technical degree. Immediately, the terms of the debate we are currently in were set in motion: on the one hand, the supporters of school democratization, on the other, the contemptuous of the “race to the bottom”. It is clear to what extent this is a knot of tension, as opposed to radically different views of the school: for its part, SUD education has chosen its side, that of school democratization.
The history of the single college since then is essentially that of a questioning of its principle, if in fact it has ever been implanted (there have always been devices parallel to the general curriculum). Since the publication in 1982 of Louis Legrand’s report entitled (erroneously) “For a Democratic College,” the attacks have multiplied. In the mid-1980s, the 4th and 3rd technological years were established (repealed in 1998), a new level of orientation that renounced the principle of a common education for all until the end of compulsory schooling. : to prove their uneven character, only 5% of their numbers came in second. Other systems followed the same path, such as the gradual creation of SEGPAs (in their current form from 1996) or the different modalities of 3rd classes aimed at professionalization (such as the current 3rd preparatory-pro classes).
This is the same debate that presided over the reform of the school in 2016. Under the guise of adapting teaching to the choices of students, it confirms in fact the inequalities in access to training cycles, through the ‘autonomy left in the use of the hours of margin. Privileged colleges have access to intellectual paths, others the emphasis on the discovery of trades. This reform, fought by SUD Ensenyament, has now faded. However, the questioning of the single college is more current than ever.
SUD Education claims a truly emancipatory single university for all students
Whoever wants to drown his dog accuses him of rage. This expression, which applies to successive government policies relating to all public services, can be applied to the single college. To end the disgust of the users and staff of the single school, it is best to make it incapable of achieving its initial goals: to give all students access to a common education until the end of compulsory schooling. And yet we must not be caught in the trap: the challenge is not to give up this principle, but to demand the means to fully implement it. The same reasoning applies to other areas of school education, such as inclusive schooling.
Therefore, the urgency is to reduce the number of students per class. In fact, in our university classes we have to deal with very heterogeneous audiences. In order to be able to differentiate the classes, to take care of the students correctly and to carry out the essential tasks of follow-up outside the classroom, it is necessary to reduce the number of students. SUD Educació demands a maximum of 20 students in ordinary class, and 16 in priority education.
The second aspect is teamwork. Indeed, the follow-up of students in difficulty requires a cross-sectional view of all the actors in charge of teaching. On the other hand, the implementation of projects, systems or pedagogical practices common to a class requires that teachers be able to exchange regularly. For this reason, SUD Educació demands that three hours be set aside from the regulatory service obligations for consultation between teams.
Third, we must fight inequalities between establishments. Indeed, as long as these are so pronounced, it is impossible to consider that the school is truly unique on the scale of the territory. For this, SUD Educació claims two levers. The first is the deployment of an ambitious priority education policy, aimed at compensating for inequalities through additional resources for the most difficult schools. The second is the end of school dualism, which would allow the integration of private education into the map of public education, and thus put an end to the flight of students from the most privileged families outside public schools.
Finally, projects aimed at creating a continuum between school and university must be rejected. This is really just the Trojan horse of creating courses within a single college. In addition, it is a blow to the statutes of school teachers and secondary school teachers. It denies the specificities and knowledge, both pedagogical and disciplinary, of both. This project is periodically carried out, starting with Blanquer’s, to implement, in its so-called “For the school of trust” law, the Public Establishments of Fundamental Knowledge (EPSF). This project was strongly opposed by the staff, and for the time being had been abandoned. We bet the squad won’t let it go, and will fight this project again.
Let’s mobilize to defend the unique school, and conquer working and learning conditions that allow the emancipation of all!
For SUD Ensenyament, the urgency is that the staff should not be seduced by the retrograde projects proposed in various functions by various political forces, arguing that the current system is malfunctioning. On the contrary, our shared observation of the difficulties we are facing should lead us to resume the offensive, around two slogans:
-We are fighting against retrograde projects to undermine the unique university!
-We fight to achieve the necessary means to allow the emancipation of all students, within the framework of a truly unique school!