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“We can only straighten out France with teachers attached to secularism”


FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE - A study by Ifop on attacks on secularism and religious tensions at school shows that more and more teachers are moving away from the French conception of secularism. The director of the Res Publica Foundation Joachim Le Floch-Imad is concerned about this development.

A graduate of Sciences Po and the Sorbonne, Joachim Le Floch-Imad is director of the Res Publica Foundation and a member of the office of Republican Refoundation.

He also teaches general culture in higher education.

"It is in republican government that one needs all the power of education"

, wrote Montesquieu in

L'esprit des lois


The link between education, citizenship, autonomy and responsibility was then clearly established in people's minds.

And the republican school, which of course still had to be built, appeared to be the matrix most likely to constitute a nation, that is to say a community of destiny marked by the primacy of the general interest, of the will of living together and memories accumulated on individual selfishness.

From the Enlightenment to the early 1980s, passing of course through the reforms of Victor Duruy and the school laws of Jules Ferry, men and women rose up to serve this republican mystique.

They have demonstrated that the preservation of it requires transmission, fervor and a requirement of every moment.

For those masters who bore the beautiful name of teachers,

The data collected highlights the fact that 40% of teachers are in favor of denominational meals for students who want them.

Joachim Le Floch-Imad

Today, while the republican vocabulary saturates the public debate, in an incantatory, disembodied and ahistorical way, France is more and more akin to a liberal democracy amputated from an essential part of itself.

She has indeed forgotten that she is a democracy only because she is first and foremost a Republic.

The main principles inherent in its model are unfortunately no longer understood and desired, in particular by all those who should be its transmission belt. A two-part Ifop study on attacks on secularism and religious tensions in he school recently brought us yet another illustration of this.

The data collected highlights the fact that 40% of teachers are in favor of denominational meals for students who want them.

The same proportion considers that students should be able to come to class in the outfits that suit them, while 20% of them consider the 2004 law on religious symbols “Islamophobic”.

The figures are even more worrying if we take into account the state of mind of the youngest.

74% of teachers under the age of thirty believe that the rules relating to secularism in the school environment should be relaxed.

For example, 62% are in favor of total freedom of dress and 40% see the 2004 law as a way of relegating Islam and Muslims.

This last fact is particularly worrying when

we measure the harmful power of the term "Islamophobia" and the dangers to which we expose ourselves to normalize it.

A constant of Muslim Brotherhood propaganda since the 1990s, this anathema, which has spread as a way of defending the visibility of Muslims and their right to be excluded from the common law, aims to

"impose control of language and make society feel guilty"

, while helping to put a target in the head of those who oppose a literalist and fanatical reading of Islam.

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Under the joint assaults of the Islamists who have declared war on us, of the deconstructionists who consider secularism as a weapon for the relegation of Muslims and of the liberals who reduce it to the sole neutrality of the State, we have forgotten that secularism was the cardinal principle of the Republic.

It makes possible the existence of a common space where each citizen can express himself in the light of reason and a certain idea of ​​the general interest.

In doing so, we have opened the door to the return of cultural conflicts and religious obscurantism which can only result in the disintegration of the French nation.

As provocations, particularly of Islamist origin, multiply, school heads are too often left to fend for themselves.

Joachim Le Floch-Imad

The Ifop study shows precisely this tidal wave that threatens us.

In a context of deteriorated teaching conditions, lack of recognition and general decline in standards, a growing number of teachers no longer master republican principles, or even assertive struggles.

Encouraged in this way by a not insignificant part of the trade union and associative world, they no longer really see themselves as civil servants of the Republic, as representatives of a body federated by a common culture and a clearly shared mission.

Under the influence of intellectual fashions and democratic passions disconnected from the republican ideal, these teachers no longer think of school as a sanctuary foreign to the quarrels of men but as a place which must

to be ever more open to society.

This sad drift of course does not call into question the work - often remarkable - of the majority of them.

Nor should it lead us to think that all the wrongs are attributable to them.

The study quoted above shows that a third of those who reported challenges to teaching or manifestations of separatism to their superiors felt that they did not benefit from their support.

Similarly, 77% of teachers consider that the Ministry of National Education has not learned from the beheading of Samuel Paty.

It is therefore logical that we are witnessing an explosion of self-censorship and conflict avoidance mechanisms: more than half of teachers say they are already forced to do so.

As provocations, particularly of Islamist origin, multiply, school heads are too often left to fend for themselves.

Even when they want to do well, they only benefit from very vague instructions to manage incidents related to secular issues.

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Headteachers are also suffering from the increasing irruption of pupils' parents into school affairs, as evidenced by the recent FDDEN study "Violence and citizenship in primary school".

This reveals a consequent and continuous increase in situations where parents of pupils, because of their religious convictions, question the legitimacy of certain teaching and educational choices, or even physically or verbally attack the heads of establishments. .

Finally, the problem is that of the politician who, for a long time, has taken care to organize his own impotence.

Regardless of the discourse and the ambitions of the executive and the minister in place, the administration of National Education gives the feeling of functioning like a State in the


It has its autonomous action software, its groups of experts and its indestructible unions and its eternal - and dramatically confused - discourse on the purposes of the school, reduced to a few fashionable markers: the development of the child , the co-construction of knowledge, the fight against discrimination, the reduction of inequalities or even the fight against global warming.

As the Res Publica Foundation suggested in a recent symposium, we would benefit, for example, from reconsidering the monopoly of the university and the sciences of education in the training of primary school teachers.

Joachim Le Floch-Imad

In view of the seriousness of the situation, what can be done to defend secularism in action and remake teachers into full-time civil servants of the Republic?

Part of the answer involves improving the regulatory framework and upgrading existing systems.

During the previous five-year period, steps in the right direction were taken with the development of referents and academic secularism teams, the establishment of a Council of Elders and, following the recommendations of Jean-Pierre Obin, the implementation introduction of a policy of training in secularism and the values ​​of the Republic that is mandatory for all National Education staff.

More than ever, we need to ensure that these are thorough and that the measures are used wisely, with courage.

The initial and continuing training provided in the INSPÉ must be provided by demanding and competent Republicans.

This is not always the case today as the Anglo-Saxon reading of social relations and militancy remain significant there, hence the need to open a major debate on the criteria for the certification of trainers.

The evolution of secular education must also go hand in hand with an evolution of the initial training of teachers.

As the ResPublica Foundation suggested in a recent symposium, we would benefit, for example, from reconsidering the monopoly of the university and the sciences of education in the training of primary school teachers.

Thus, it would be possible to offer courses finally in direct contact with fundamental knowledge,

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Finally, these technical developments would not be sufficient without a coherent course and clear action at the top of the State, as the crisis of the republican model and the crisis of the school are linked.

The disintegration of the latter is due to causes that go beyond the sole question of our educational system.

We therefore need a global and authentically republican policy to remake citizens, put an end to the transmission crisis that is raging and fight all the destabilizing enterprises that hinder the Enlightenment program and dislocate France.

As for National Education, which is often asked too much in view of its means and the malaise which affects it, it must learn to name the evil more clearly,

fight with greater firmness the tacit rule of "no waves" and return to a much more demanding discourse on the aims of the school: to emancipate through knowledge, to ensure the elevation of all students at the same time as the promotion of the best and reinforce the feeling of belonging to a nation worthy of being perpetuated over time.

The obligation of membership of its personnel to the Republic, included in the Education Code in article L111-1, cannot be the subject of debate.

And those who refuse to implement these values ​​and sometimes go so far as to militate against them cannot continue to practice.

Straightening out France and rebuilding the Republic indeed required teachers who were convinced of the validity of their intellectual and moral mission.

It is still necessary that they be trained, supported by their hierarchy and revalued to the height of the essential importance which is theirs.

If we give in on all these points, we return to the night.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-22

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