It is a fact already old, and yet has never been so relevant : the priority education policies fail to accomplish their primary mission, which is to reduce inequalities starting in the academic success of children. In a report published Wednesday, October 17, the Court of auditors draws up a negative assessment of this policy of “differentiation” means, born in 1981 with the “priority education zones” (ZEP). The conclusion is without appeal : the spread of results in the diplôme national du brevet between a child enrolled in a college within the network of priority education (REP) and a child of a college fostered remains between 20% and 30% in French and mathematics while the goal is to ” limit to 10 % the gap “.

of Course, admits the Court, the priority devices were allowed to stabilize, and the situation would probably be even more problematic if they had not existed. But this is no less an admission of failure : at the entry into 6th, the differences are already acquired. A balance sheet is linked to a deterioration of school conditions, which are in part independent of the school itself. In effect, remind the Court, these devices are not designed to remedy a socio-spatial segregation as strong as it is today, which includes a school segregation unprecedented – including the fact of a ” fact-label “, that is, the avoidance of institutions REP and + REP, that is strong in the categories promoted.

on the strength of this finding, the Court of accounts examines the various levers of remediation available to the education priority. The grand prize winner, on the basis of numerous studies of French and international, is the reduction in the number of students per class. This policy is driven by Jean-Michel Blanquer, the minister of education, with the duplication of the classes of the CP and CE1 in REP and + REP. The supervisory institution considers that it is necessary to go further and calls for its extension on three levels (by adding either the grande section of nursery school, or CC2) for the establishments of REP +. Other levers, such as incentives intended to stabilize the teaching staff in these institutions (premiums, points to the mutations) did not make not of a durable phenomenon. The premium REP + implementation in September 2017, is too recent to be evaluated.

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Refocusing on the primary

in Addition to the reduction in the number of students in the classroom, it argues for a refocusing of resources on primary education historically, the education priority is focused on the college – and the institutions that are more fragile, 350 networks + REP. But also for a management of human resources redesigned to attract teachers, a more progressive allocation of resources to avoid the “threshold effects” of the educational priority policy (which is either a beneficiary or not). The Court suggests, in addition, to give more autonomy to schools and improve the assessment.

A few details, these recommendations are very similar to the strategy led by Jean-Michel Blanquer. Some of the recommendations join also tracks advanced by the minister at the launch of the mission to rethink education priority, was given on 3 October at the university Pierre Mathiot, and the general inspector of national education Arianne Azéma, where the minister spoke of the need to get out of the threshold effects. “This mission works independently, ensures a close to the folder, and will be free to use or not that seems to him interesting in the report of the Court of auditors. “

To Marc Douaire, president of the Observatory of priority areas (OZP), if the recommendations proposed are close to the vision of the current minister, the Court of auditors recognizes the specificity of the urban in fragile, ” quarters of the city policy “, which is leaning against the overwhelming majority of networks REP and + REP. While, to the chagrin of the OZP, the minister seems to wish for the future a policy priority that would encompass the rural territories, the DOM-TOM and the neighborhoods.

Concerns on college and high school

For Louis Maurin, director of the Observatory of inequalities, the measures proposed by the Court of auditors are part of a tradition already old to “rethink” the school priority, where one seeks to better target the needs in order to be truly effective. But, according to him, the problem deserves a real change of paradigm : “The priority education benefits only 30 % of disadvantaged pupils “, he recalled. “Of course, that in those districts where the difficulties are more important. But if we just do that, it misses the essentials of the fragility of the school. “The problem lies in part in the ambition to reform the system without extra funding.

In this major rebalancing of resources towards the first degree, and the Court of auditors called for and that the department has already engaged with the duplication of class, the concern of the players in the field are focused upon the college and the high school. The latter is not part of the network REP and + REP and is considered the “better” features. This season has seen the birth of several slow-down strikes and protest movements in institutions suffering from various problems, notably in Seine-Saint-Denis : the safety, security, lycée Utrillo (Stains), the material and human means at the lycée Mozart (Le Blanc-Mesnil), the lack of attendants at the lycée Jean-Zay (Aulnay-sous-Bois). For the collective’t Touch my PTA, which advocates for the maintenance of the priority devices at the high school, the situation is more worrisome now that the priority devices at school (the label of a ” zone of violence “, for example) are approaching expiry. “Abandoning students with the most fragile to the point where they can obtain a qualification, in high school. It has no meaning “, argues David Pijoan, a teacher in Colombes (Hauts-de-Seine) and member of the group ” Touche pas à ma PTA.

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