In Marseille, Emmanuel Macron’s “Schools of the Future” are causing a stir

“I want us to finally give teachers, school principals, […] the means to success by inventing adapted and new solutions as close as possible to the field”promised Emmanuel Macron at his meeting at Paris’ La Défense Arena on April 2. “More freedom for companies”the presidential candidate had already announced on March 17 when presenting his program.

He then inscribed this promise “Consistent with this [qu’il a] introduced as an innovation in Marseille […]. That means promoting expertise in this area, giving the education teams more freedom, allowing these teams to carry out a project, sometimes recruiting on profile and saying that we need a group that believes in a project and who does it together carries. »

In fact, seven months ago, Emmanuel Macron launched the “Marseille en grand” plan and with it the projects for a “school of the future” that would give institutions more autonomy and freedom. The goal ? Establishment of “laboratories” in around fifty schools about educational projects adapted to students.

all-around projects

In February, out of the 63 schools that had submitted a project, 59 were selected, ie around 700 teachers and 11,000 students concerned, according to the academic director of the national education services of Bouches-du-Rhône. “These schools are priority education or assimilated for 80% of them. The others almost all have an IPS less than 100, which is the national average. » A total budget of 2.5 million euros was made available.

“From what colleagues told me, they had few guidelines to formulate their requests. It was a bit like a Christmas list”, testifies Franck Delétraz. This amount includes financial resources for the purchase of equipment or external interventions, but also human resources with a discharge of courses for the directors or professors to coordinate the project.

The 41 projects selected, supported by 59 schools, fall into six thematic areas: Arts and Culture, Education for Sustainable Development, Physical Education, Language Learning, Scientific Culture and Learning Spaces. In this last theme we find the project directed by the school of La Blancarde.

“We took this opportunity to launch a program that we have been thinking about for a long time.”says director Marc Burlat, who is also involved in the Sgen-CFDT. “The idea is to change the organization of the school and the rhythms of learning according to the needs of each student. But also to open up the school to the outside world in order to improve their follow-up care outside of the facility.”he specifies and stresses the importance of the links with families, but also with social workers and paramedical professionals (speech therapists, physiotherapists, etc.).

For its part, the Menpenti school plans to set up a math lab to get kids used to manipulation in a class with a “flexible” installation where students decide how to settle. Other institutions have developed sports, arts or even gardening workshops with local clubs and parents.

Within the Blancarde school, the establishment of a music-based school support workshop has already seen the light of day.

“The project was supposed to start at the beginning of the 2022 academic year, but we don’t really have it meeting Ultimately, it allows us to progress at our own pace. We also get good support from the Rectorate. Since we started this project, the teaching team is very motivated! »says the headmaster.

A school with two speeds

Enthusiasm, however, is anything but general. On the part of the Marseille school collective, we first point out the lack of transparency in the selection process. “On what basis were the selected projects chosen? Without criteria, it is the door that is open to everything and everyone.Judge Cécile Baron, mother of a student and spokesperson for the movement.

The small number of projects submitted can also be explained in particular by the strong resistance to the announcements made by the head of state. Forty schools in Marseille have signed an appeal to boycott this experiment.

“Why only 59 schools when everyone has ideas and wishes? The only thing missing is the financing! », Virginie Akliouat, SNUipp-FSU

“Instead of inventing the school of the future, Emmanuel Macron would do better to take care of the school of the present”, says Franck Delétraz, head of SE-Unsa in Marseille, referring to the dilapidation of the premises. However, the “Marseille en grand” plan envisages renovating the buildings of 174 schools for 410 million euros.

For Cecile Baron, “The question that arises above all is that of inequality between children. In the schools where the educational teams have decided not to take part in this experiment for their own reasons, the students are treated differently than in the institutions that carry out the projects. » Many fear the establishment of a two-speed school, even within the selected schools.

“We thought about this question of inequality”recognizes a teacher from one of these institutions. “But out of pragmatism, we submitted our file. We finally had the opportunity and, above all, the means to carry out actions that we had been wanting to initiate for years…”

In the eyes of Virginie Akliouat, secretary of the SNUipp-FSU of Bouches-du-Rhône, the experiment shows above all “the lack of resources available to schools to carry out educational activities. Why only 59 schools when everyone has ideas and wishes? The only thing missing is the financing! »

Recruitment: on the way to administration of the school?

The 38 “special needs” posts released in late March as part of this experiment crystallize local and national resistance. This type of position, which is the subject of a special description, already existed, albeit marginally, within the National Education System.

“What is new is that the candidates stand before a commission chaired by the rectorate, which includes the director of the schoolemphasizes Franck Delétraz. The latter also contributed to the job description, which sometimes mentions requirements such as skills in fine arts or mastery of digital tools. »

For Virginie Akliouat, this power conferred on the directors in relation to recruitment means exceeding a ” Red line “ :

“This amounts to creating a hierarchical level, with the principal taking precedence over the other teachers, analyzes them. The Rilhac law passed last December, which we objected to, goes in that direction. But this recruitment dimension was already present in Emmanuel Macron’s announcements in September. That says a lot about his political vision of the school…”

A vision that not all actors in experimentation adhere to. “When I responded to the Call for Projects, I didn’t say to myself: “Great, I can recruit my colleagues there!” says a headmaster. But the project comes from the teaching team. In that sense, it seems important to me that if one of the members leaves, to replace them with someone who sticks with the project. »

Still, many teachers in Marseille and elsewhere are concerned about what they perceive to be the liberalization of national education, particularly after Emmanuel Macron’s announcements on his presidential program.

“In Marseille it was determined that certain funds allocated to the projects will be used to reward the teachers, who will be very dedicated, a little more in recognition of their work. This is consistent with the candidate’s program, which provides for additional assignments to be offered to teachers in return for payment.Franck Delétraz notes bitterly.

The excitement grows as they hear the outgoing president praise this experiment in aiding his education program. How devastatingly summed up, Virginie Akliouat:

“He uses Marseille as a showcase by allowing 59 out of 472 schools to operate normally. »

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