Education is the first item in the state budget. With 160 billion euros, domestic spending on education (DIE) in 2020 reached 7% of GDP. This does not prevent our country from having the most unequal education system among the OECD countries. The latest results from the Pisa survey, which measured the results of 15-year-old students in 79 OECD countries, showed a 107-point difference between disadvantaged families and disadvantaged French students. Member states average only 89 points. Shame on a country that has made equality one of the basic principles of a republic.
This is in fact a distorted effect of the centralization of the state, which has certainly made it possible to create a unified public service that is accessible to all, but which does not preclude the expansion of education.
The first decentralization laws introduced in 1982 were designed to compensate for this phenomenon. But this movement of regionalization of school policy, from a legal point of view, rises against the principle of equality, the state holds a dominant position that limits regional communities to a supporting role.
Pascal Bartoni and Rafael Matta-duvignau (Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Evaleins University), lecturers in public law at the University of Paris-Saclee, and nine other researchers in the thematic report of the National Center conducted the analysis. For the Study of School Systems (Cnesco) “Educational Policy through the Prism of Decentralization and Decentralization: Legal Aspects”, published in March.
In the role and distribution of skills in educational matters, local authorities often complain of being the “service providers” of the state. Why is he getting so slow?
Teaching is not a service, it is a tool to spread values. The state does not want to miss this crucial task, which is built on secularism. The preamble to the 1946 constitution states that public, secular and free service is a state duty. This is why he does not legally hand it over. The school was built in such a way that everyone across the region benefits from the same education. But this similarity, which can be explained for philosophical and legal reasons, has its limitations. Excessive equality kills equality. Hence the concept of deconcentration.
Contrary to popular belief, it is the rectories of the academic regions that hold the most power, and not the ministry. In the 1980s, decentralization laws led to the transfer of power to strengthen this regionalization. The state carves the lion’s share with the great aspect of education. To the local authority the material aspects of school, school transport, public service construction which are not the focus of educational work, but which are essential for it. The extent of decentralization is therefore linked to the legal, principle of equality. If we want to give educational powers to the local authorities then we have to reform the constitution. But there is no political will to do so. Education remains a highly political tool.
However, since the Decentralization Act, local authorities have become more involved in the education system. You show that in reality the state effectively locks the system, thanks to the recruitment of students and teachers. Does local authority condemn being confined to a supportive role?
Some communities want to go into education, others not at all. But is it really the role of local authorities? The problem is the risk of conscience recruitment. The state level limits this risk. In order to transfer power in educational matters, all communities must take equal steps, which is not due to financial and monetary inequality. A problem that we cannot solve. It is enough to look at the number of local financial and financial and revenue equality laws to understand it does not work. But poverty exists not only in Saint-Denis, but also in small towns, which are already struggling to make ends meet.
You wrote that “the transfer of state-run skills must have been due to public service efficiency, but not without financial purpose.” What are they?
Since 2008, with the aim of giving communities more skills, we have been moving towards saving money. In order to meet the standards of Maastricht at any cost, since there are resource problems, costs must be reduced. So one of the solutions is to transfer skills with resources that are not sustainable. It encourages savings, which is not a bad thing at all! But there are limits. I want proof of this in the school schedule reform. For some communities, this was not a problem. For others, it was a disaster, so the pressure to go back four days a week. These municipalities had to puncture their tax resources, with the result being for local taxpayers. Trying to solve one problem of inequality, we created others.
Does the principle of equality thwart any attempt at decentralization?
Decentralization of national education is done at the level of rectors. The creation of the academic zone was designed to have a conversation of regional prefect. These are not micro-policies, but regional policies at the regional level. We cannot conceive of educational policy in -le-de-France like Larzac: the school fabric is not the same. This promotes the proper effectiveness of decentralization. From there, it has to go beyond that যদি if local authorities fund education services with their own resources, taxpayers will be able to speak out. But we are on a mission of sovereignty. It must be defined by the state.
The principle of equality is a requirement. But it is basically an ideological concept, a myth. Some children are good at school and some are not. Above all, there is social inequality. We can try to fight against it to restore balance. But uniformity creates inequalities between social class, affluent urban areas and difficult areas. Decentralization creates others in urban and rural communities. Not to mention the educational desert in higher education. These disparities are associated with the nature of the terrain. Restoring Equality through Decentralization: I Don’t Believe It.