Education was not at the center of the first-round campaign, although each candidate had proposals on the subject. Nor is it one of the themes of the second round. Although…
Because the vote (or not …) of teachers must not be ignored. However, this is what Emmanuel Macron seems to be doing, multiplying the provocations against them. Thus, the very idea of a “Republican front” is even more complicated and leads to difficult decisions for everyone.
A first-round debate without ambitions
Educational issues stood out very little in the campaign. The proposals did not live up to the stakes and the challenges. Educational populism and demagoguery were at the forefront of the right, with the inevitable “fundamentals”, the “re-establishment” of “authority” and the questioning of the single school. There is also the defense of the myth of meritocracy. On the left, the question of the revaluation of teachers’ salaries was raised. Apart from a few proposals (Jadot, Hidalgo …), there was little to be found in pedagogy and content, but rather a conservation of what already existed with more “means”.
I have often insisted on the need to “disguise” the school before “rethinking” it. But it would be illusory to think that the unconditional and essential improvement I am campaigning for would be enough to make the school better and more efficient. It also has to evolve but it has become very difficult.
The Blanquer cannonball
Needless to say, the school is traumatized today. We have been so mistreated by Jean-Michel Blanquer’s authoritarianism and his technocratic contempt that the very idea of reform or change is unbearable to many. Although a few articles today are beginning to focus on this point, we can say that the press and public opinion have not really taken the measure of the damage caused by these five years of tenure in schools.
It is all too easy to reduce teachers to a caricature of permanent complaints and reluctant to change. On the contrary, they have maintained their civil service despite the reforms imposed and poorly prepared while they suffered “ teacher baptism » as well as a deterioration in their working conditions, purchasing power and social status. All this leads to a level of hatred for the minister and the president that is rarely achieved and to great confusion.
It should also be noted that in his campaign, when it comes to assessment for education, Macron has little to put in his mouth. He timidly mentions the duplication of the REP + CP and CE1 classes and the few advances for the start of the career. But be careful not to highlight school reform. He is even forced to propose that it be revised with the reintroduction of mathematics into the common core. Everything happens as if the candidate wants to make Blanquer forget the ball … This leads him even to some magnificent double back flips …
When candidate Macron-2022 advocates for freedom and educational innovation, can we seriously think that he is unaware that his Minister of Education (for the past five years) has tried to impose his orange booklets? for primary and sealed textbooks in secondary? What was an absolute verticality and deafness? All this can only generate a lot of mistrust and resentment …
Macron, the Liberal
The proposals made by the candidate during this end of the campaign are also not made to reassure the teachers. What he is proposing to the school is clearly a liberal project in every sense of the word. In fact, it is up to him to place the individual and the “performance” at the center of the system. First of all, autonomy is thought of as that of the head of the establishment in an entrepreneurial and competitive vision.
His recent statements on his refusal to a “homogeneous” improvement of the teaching staff and to favor those who “fight” and accepting new tasks reactivates Sarkozy’s return to “work harder to earn more.” This is not how we will start the recovery of teachers’ salaries.
Above all, these proposals show a total misunderstanding of the act of teaching. This cannot be reduced to individual performance when it depends on so many variables and especially on collective action. As François Dubet recently wrote very well: “ The added value, that is, the merit of educational work, is the product of collective work. It is the team or the establishment that has merits, and this is not the sum of the merit of each teacher, in the same way that it is the hospital service that creates the quality of care and not the merit of each of its members. » There is something absurd about wanting to value the “merit” of such and such and it would result in a climate of mistrust and rivalry.
The project of entrusting recruitment to those in charge of institutions is going in the same direction. This competition can lead to fears at the end of the beginning of the same public school for all. Similarly, his ambiguous statements about “learning from the fifth”, turned in the course of the rhetorical pirouettes into a discovery of trades from the university, frighten a questioning of the unique university and an early orientation.
Marine Le Pen the authoritarian
The questioning of the single university is quite explicit in Marine Le Pen’s program. As it appeared in the one of Eric Zemmour or Valérie Pécresse. The right has never really accepted the massification of the school, let alone the idea of its democratization except under the false nose of “republican elitism” and meritocratic fiction.
Another point of convergence with Emmanuel Macron and the classical right, the candidate of the National Rally asks to return to the basics: French, mathematics, history. But the “re-establishment” of teachers’ authority would also involve the imposition of a uniform (which has never existed in France) on primary and secondary schools.
Marine Le Pen’s school vision is marked by distrust of teachers
Teachers’ salaries would increase, which some teachers may like. But at what price? Marine Le Pen vol “Take control of content and teaching methods” and that it is Parliament that fixes “concisely and limiting what is expected of students at the end of each cycle”. Entrusting this task to an institution of a political nature has never been done, near or far, says education historian Claude Lelièvre. Marine Le Pen’s school vision is marked by the distrust of teachers with a “Reinforcement of the demand for absolute neutrality of the members of the teaching staff in political, ideological and religious matters before the students entrusted to them. » and one “increase the control power of inspection bodies in this area”.
In his press conference on education, he also gave a long speech on “pedagogy” and all forms of innovation that should be banned and also proposed the abolition of the National Institutes of Education and Education ( Inspé). It is, therefore, a corporalized school and at the service of its ideology that it offers. Just go and see what happens in Hungary to find this program that already works there.
As we have said, the debate on the second round of voting goes beyond education … We see peremptory statements (“without me”) and dubious comparisons drawing a sign of equality or even flourishing on social media. preferring one to the other. We see a presidential candidate who seems to ignore teachers and, conversely, a candidate who sends signals (salaries, charges, etc.) that could seduce. But teachers are well aware that the stakes are different and affect democracy itself.
Leading education unions have joined in a call to fight the far right and its people “reactionary and anti-republican vision of the school”. But if Emmanuel Macron is elected because we will be “blocked”, we will also have to fight against the liberal and destructive view of the civil service he proposes. Beavers are not peaceful animals …
However, it is not a question of voting “for” one or the other, but of voting to preserve our fundamental freedoms and rights. Since “neither” is an option, on the evening of the second round there will be someone chosen and delegating to others the care of choosing is a form of irresponsibility. To oppose while abstaining is to refrain from opposing.