The information mission of the Senate is based on one observation. Jean-Michel Blanquer holds the record for longevity as Minister of National Education under the Fifth Republic. During his “five years” several far-reaching reforms were adopted. “This is not about writing an independent report, but about fulfilling our mission to control the government,” explained mission rapporteur Max Brisson (LR) in early October. Charged or not, the report nevertheless remains critical.
On Tuesday evening, during a debate about the education policy of the five-year term, “Jean-Michel Blanquer completely denied it.” “I would advise him to listen more to the advice of teachers, the expectations of parents … Today, 80% of teachers believe that the school is in a difficult situation. […] Yes, there were good orientations along the axes, fixed by Jean-Michel Blanker. But we have mixed results,” notes Senator L.R. this Wednesday.
“Public policy carried out in a hurry”
For 6 months, the mission closely studied the key reforms of the five-year plan, namely: “Linking school and society, reducing the age of education to three years, developing inclusive education, prioritizing primary education through a policy to limit the number of students from a large section to CE1, reforms of secondary schools and attractiveness of the teaching profession.
And the first general assessment of elected officials: “In many cases, the implementation of these reforms gives the impression of a state policy carried out in haste, with poorly followed implementation.” They make 38 suggestions to fix it.
Senators point to many unfulfilled goals, thereby creating a sense of “navigating in place”, creating a “generation of student guinea pigs” or creating “failure for faculty.”
In particular, the 2019 “school of trust” law aims to “strengthen respect for the school institution” and establish “a relationship of trust between society and the school.”
After the five-year period, there is a sense of “distrust,” the report notes. “Only 4% of school teachers believe that their profession is valued […] Relations between the National Education staff and their minister deteriorated sharply. The dissemination of regulations (guidebooks, “guidebooks”, frequently asked questions) are all disguised circulars that limit the autonomy of local public educational institutions and the pedagogical freedom of teachers.
Among their proposals, the senators want the automatic implementation of functional protections for teachers and “the same speed in dealing with complaints filed by teachers as for other persons responsible for the mission of the public service.”
Duplication of classes: “Mixed first results”
Regarding the number of accompanying persons for students with disabilities (AESH), the Senate welcomes a 65% increase in loans dedicated to an inclusive school, 3.5 billion euros in the 2022 budget. But the speakers “call to strengthen AES training based on their needs. It is unacceptable for some to finance education from their own funds to meet the needs of the students they support.”
Candidate Macron’s promise of separating large class groups in CE1 into prioritized education has led to “first mixed results” and raises questions “about the means intended to reduce the number of students in the class.” Duplication and capping (24 students per class) requires 19,300 jobs. “In the entire five-year period, only a little more than 7,000 were created,” the elected officials emphasize.
“Jean-Michel Blanquer challenges the collapse of mathematics, but the numbers are there”
The collapse of mathematics in high school: “Jean-Michel Blanquer denies”, regrets Max Brisson
At the center of this year’s news, because of its implications for the teaching of mathematics, undergraduate reform is “in the middle of a ford.” “There is not enough student support today. 85% of head teachers and 65% of school principals have not received any special training to fulfill their leadership mission.” “Lack of sufficient total hourly staffing (DHG) […] many students do not benefit from their 54 hours of orientation per year.” Consequently, “lyceum reform runs the risk of increasing territorial inequality between lyceums.”
As the Public Sénat announced a few weeks ago, the mission recommends “introducing mathematics education for all first- and final-year students, which may take the form of applied mathematics, and combating gender stereotypes associated with certain courses, and encouraging girls research.”
“Jean-Michel Blanquer disputes the collapse of mathematics, but the numbers are there. 90% of graduate students taught mathematics before its reform. We have dropped to 59%. He didn’t do all of that. I know he has good student syndrome. But the denial that an excellent Minister of National Education could and will not be does not depend on him,” argues Max Brisson.
Finally, regarding the attractiveness of the teaching profession, the speakers “recommend accelerating career appointments to increase teachers’ salaries and call for active action by the ministry to ensure that the goal is to “better prepare students for their future teaching profession.”