The School Act Blanquer: The Assembly Widely Adopts the Text

General News
The Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer at the National Assembly, February 12, 2019 in Paris.

At the origin of lively debates, the first bill of the Macron government on education was voted by a large majority of MPs at first reading on Tuesday.

Compulsory instruction from 3 years, teaching assignments entrusted to some supervisors, but also flags in the classroomsand same-sex parenting : after a week of often lively debates, the Assembly adopted on Tuesday 19th February, the bill “On the school of confidence “by Jean-Michel Blanquer .

This first text of the education in the school, which has tense some teachers unions, was adopted in first reading by 353 votes against 171 and 31 abstentions, with the support of the elected LREM-MoDem and part of the IDU-Agir.

All the other groups voted against, like the RN, while most of the Liberties and Territories deputies abstained.

For LR, this text provides “inadequate, incomplete or even contradictory responses” on the care of early childhood, teacher training or the evaluation of the school system.

On the left, PS, LFI and PCF denounce an “authoritarian”, “retrograde” or even “hopeless” text. For the PS, it shows a “very conservative vision of the school”, and the communists deplore having spent “too many hours on very reactionary amendments”.

Taken between these fires, the Minister of Education defended relentlessly last week his objectives of “raising the general level” and “social justice”, and was sometimes annoyed by the “doxa” oppositions .

This heavy weight of the macronie has not appreciated the reproaches, according to him “underlying”, on his past as general director of school education under Nicolas Sarkozy . The right has reproached him in substance for having changed and the left, mocking the “Professor Blanquer”, to have not changed.

For Jean-Michel Blanquer, the flagship measure of the text on the passage of compulsory education from 6 to 3 years is a “Republican marker”.

This measure, which should concern 26,000 children by the start of the 2019 school year, has been criticized on the right for the “freedom of choice of parents” and because of the financial consequences for municipalities.

“Devolution” of secularism

Unexpected measure: the deputies completed and passed an amendment by Eric Ciotti (LR) making the presence in the classes of the tricolor and the European flag obligatory, as well as the words of the national anthem.

“Walkers”, for whom the flags on the fronton of the schools were sufficient, were, according to one of them, “a little surprised” by this measure which was approved by the minister. On the left, elected officials have criticised the majority for talking more “rags” than school.

Other amendments coming from the right, and to which Jean-Michel Blanquer did not show hostile on the substance, were however retoqués, on the wearing of the uniform, or the veil by the school attendants.

Signed again by Eric Ciotti, the amendment on the veil has raised tensions, some “walkers” fearing that the majority falls into “an obvious trap set by the right”. After a discussion in the majority, the minister called to vote against, in the name of “efficiency”.

For Boris Vallaud (PS), with his “kindness” on the flags or the veil, the minister gave “to see what was his political line”. Communists have denounced a “deviation” from secularism, placed “under the angle of identity and not equality”.

“Parent 1” and “parent 2”

Another addition to the text, this time coming from LREM, also made a lot of ink: the replacement of the references “father” and “mother” by “parent 1” and “parent 2” in the school forms, for recognition of same-sex parenting – a vote against the government’s opinion. The right has seen a “dogmatic” and “discriminatory” measure.

The minister found the wording “not ideal” and the co-rapporteur Anne-Christine Lang (LREM) intends to propose in new reading the opportunity to surround the good mentions among “father, father, mother, mother”.

Other measures have also been contested on the left, such as the new international schools or the pre-recruitment of teachers among the educational assistants (ex-pions) who prepare the recruitment competitions – an eminently social device according to Jean-Michel Blanquer, but seen as a “casualization”.

The consolidation of college and one or more schools into “basic knowledge” schools has also raised concerns about the fate of rural schools, while the new school assessment board has raised reservations about his “independence”.

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