Home Schooling

Faculty at residence: Confronted with mass Nationwide Schooling rejections, mother and father fret concerning the begin of the college yr

“This rejection destroyed me. Homeschooling was a real life choice so I could accompany my daughter in her learning, do it at my own pace and respect her needs as much as possible. Just thinking about going back to school makes me cry…” Like Christel, helped by the association Liberté Éducation, which published her remarks, hundreds of parents who chose home education are worried about the start of the 2022 school year. After a summer marked by massive and often unjustified refusals by the National Education for new applications for permission and appeal before the administrative courts, “families are desperate”regrets Jean-Baptiste Maillard, secretary general of the association Liberté Éducation, contacted by Boulevard Voltaire.

Towards the end of homeschooling?

The difficulties began in the summer of 2021. Then the newly passed anti-separatism law changed the Education Code. “We have moved from a declarative regime that respects the basic freedom of parents to educate their children to a permissive regime”, explains Jean-Baptiste Maillard. In the future, families who wish to educate their children at home, outside of school, must first request permission from the rectory. Only four reasons are then accepted to validate this permission: the health condition or disability of the child, the practice of intensive sports or artistic activities, the family’s homelessness or its geographical distance from any school facility and, finally, “the presence of a situation specific to the child motivating the educational project”. However, this fourth reason, most often cited by families, “is a fuzzy pattern that no one can define”, criticized the general secretary of Freedom Education. And to add: “This ambiguity causes a lot of refusals. » In fact, according to research conducted by the Coordinating for Freedom in Education (COOPLI), a group in favor of homeschooling, 68% of requests to start a child’s education in the family were denied. This year, the administration often considers that there is no “specific situation”. A figure that even reaches 100% in some academies such as Toulouse, Besançon, Dijon, Nice or Orléans. “Permissive mode” is transformed into “disguised prohibition mode”denounces Jean-Baptiste Maillard.

For the Secretary General of Liberté Education, who has been homeschooling for more than ten years, the purpose of national education is clear: “educate all children”. As proof, he wants the figures issued by the Public Education. Although homeschooling has been growing in recent years – +15% between 2020 and 2021, the numbers for the start of the 2022 school year look less promising with the already announced decline of nearly 30% of the workforce.

parents at their wits end

“I can’t sleep anymore”confides Zoe in one of the parenting Facebook groups. “They treat us like criminals when we want to invest 200% for the good of our children”, Alexian adds. Many remain puzzled by the administration’s decisions. “I do not understand this refusal when the two eldest are already in family instruction and the control has always been satisfactory”Elizabeth testifies to the education of freedom. “It’s a hammer on the anvil that we’re bringing down on the heads of these families”denounces Jean-Baptiste Maillard, who for the first time also had to ask for permission to educate his children.

Faced with this unstoppable situation, parents organize themselves in collectives to make their voices heard. In addition to complaints before the administrative courts, they call for meetings before the rectors. They call for a return to the declarative system based on mutual trust between parents and National Education. Given the urgency of the situation, many associations are organizing a European Home Education Summit on October 7 and 8 in the hope of being heard at the highest level in the country.

But will National Education Minister Pap Ndiaye, a minority specialist, heed the calls to help these families, who represent just 0.4% of school-age children?

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