Open Letter To The New Minister Of National Education

The announcement of your appointment had the first merit to make the previous tenant of the Rue de Grenelle grin. A few minutes after attending this joyful television sequence, I received a message from a long-time friend of history professor in Guyana: “As rector from 2004 to 2007, excellent memories. These memories of France from overseas, you mentioned them in the beautiful essay you devoted in 2014 to the educational question – The School of Life (Odile Jacob). You will tell the amazement of visiting schools established in the heart of the Amazon jungle, the adventures on board your canoe, partnership with the local chess federation to advance children in mathematics …

Then there was the Rectorate of Créteil, where you initiated other remarkable experiments – the micro-lycée for pupils of Sénart, the installation bonuses for the new teachers titular, pedagogy Montessori in the classes of Céline Alvarez, the “parents’ brief” aimed at strengthening the ties between families and the school if the Dgesco from 2009 to 2012, you have deployed the most significant educational program of the quinquennium Sarkozy: the boarding schools of excellence, which aimed to allow motivated students to continue their education outside a difficult family context. Having intervened on numerous occasions to organize philosophical meetings, I have measured how impressive the cultural change induced by this mechanism was for both the teaching teams and the boarders.

Taking the lead of the Essec Group, you have had the opportunity to confirm your expertise in higher education and research, while continuing to focus on a wide range of international legal and scientific issues, of a demanding eclecticism that seems to accompany you since your years of training at Collège Stanislas.

You have not stopped, however, to irrigate the educational debate in France, by your nuanced critique of the reform of the college in 2015, through your numerous forums and your books, the last of which, L’École de demain (Odile Jacob , 2016), develops a systemic reflection on the reform of the sector, largely irrigated by international comparisons and the contributions of the cognitive sciences.

The principle of subsidiarity structures your vision: you propose to promote a logic of evaluation and contracting between different levels of the system, to reduce administrative pressure to promote flexibility and experimentation, to encourage mobility and possibility for actors to choose themselves.

You know better than anyone that a number of the measures that are inferred will give rise to a definite opposition from the unions and part of your administration. But as you have had the opportunity to explain, the acceptability of change is for you a question of methodology:

“Any reform, even minimal, can exhaust the system so much that it is exhausted … we must give freedom to certain territories, to certain structures, on the basis of voluntary work. Small-scale initiatives must be successful before they can be generalized. “

Ad augusta per angusta . This pragmatism, just as much as the humanist heritage you defend, must make it possible to turn the page of a Jacobin and egalitarian educational policy, long demagogic and muddled, which has become cleanly ruinous. It is no small thing to have the future of a country, its youth, in the hands – especially when failure is no longer an option. But you can rely on the real expectations of parents and teachers.