College, baccalaureate, the construction sitedossier
Teachers from a high school in Seine-Saint-Denis are planning a picket during the baccalaureate specialty tests, which are held from March 20 to 22. They denounce the injustices caused according to them by the recent reform of the examination.
par Striking teachers from the Maurice Utrillo high school, in Stains (Seine-Saint-Denis)
Despite almost unanimous opposition from the entire educational community, the former Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, made the choice in 2019 to impose an overhaul of the general and technological high school which today arouses great suffering, both on the part of the students and their teachers. The latest avatar of this reform is to pass the specialty tests in March. The two tests that our final year students will face between Monday and Wednesday will count for 32% of their final mark and, above all, will be decisive in the study of the files on Parcoursup, transforming the baccalaureate into a selection instrument which no longer opens, but blocks access to the superior.
This new calendar of bac exams, formerly positioned in June, deprives our students of three months of training. In concrete terms, three months less of lessons means: moving forward at a forced pace, giving up the time for so tasty exchanges with our students in order to deepen their knowledge, giving up school outings to broaden their horizons, not being able to remediation, adopt a vertical pedagogy that does not allow a real appropriation of knowledge and methods. Some of us, in order to finish the programs on time, have been reduced to handing out handouts as lessons. The baccalaureate schedule on which Minister Pap Ndiaye refuses to return leads us to mistreat our students, especially those who are furthest from school culture. They are also the most socially fragile. By depriving them of three months to learn and progress, we present these students to the baccalaureate when they will not have had time to prepare for it, to assimilate content and working methods. It is not the review day that the government granted them at the last minute on March 17 that will hide the reality of this lack of preparation.
A high school of social sorting
What will happen to our senior students in the spring? How can you think that 17-year-olds, once Parcoursup and their specialty tests have passed, will come back to class to finish a “continuous assessment program” and prepare for their big oral?
The high school in which we work is no longer a space for training, reflection and emancipation. It has become a high school of social sorting, subordinated to the logic of Parcoursup, which is deployed from the second class with the choice of specialties and which increases school inequalities and determinism.
But that’s not all. A few weeks ago, along with our colleagues from many high schools located in working-class neighborhoods in the country, we learned from our rectorate that next year we will have fewer hours of lessons to support a number of students unchanged. Concretely, we will have, at the start of the next school year, to welcome up to 35 pupils in our rooms, which most often do not even have this reception capacity. While some of our students sleep in cars, live in social hotels, are disabled or have lives marked by precariousness, the school of the Republic is unable to welcome them with dignity. More students per class means making it impossible for us to be attentive to each and every one of them, to accompany them as closely as possible to enable them to progress. As with the baccalaureate in March, this budget saving policy signs the abandonment of the most vulnerable students, those who need more attention to succeed.
We are angry
Finally, it is in this context that we have learned from the government that we will have to work at least until the age of 64 to retire. We will have to work longer, as we face an unprecedented deterioration in our working conditions. These two additional years of work that the government wants to impose on those who work in the most difficult jobs also hurt the families of our students: cleaners, cleaning women, forklift drivers, caregivers, nurses, home helpers , logistics and construction workers, etc., all those essentials whose jobs are so precarious that they do not always allow them to defend themselves socially and politically. It is also to them and them that we think when our strikes lead us to desert our classrooms, as well as to our contract colleagues, particularly precarious by this reform and always more numerous in our academy.
We are angry. Faced with the lack of listening, we only have the strike to sound the alarm on the deterioration of the public service of education to which we are deeply attached.
Minister, you who have repeatedly proclaimed your desire to reduce educational inequalities, are you going to put an end to this baccalaureate scandal in March and restore the tests in June? Are you going to give our popular high schools the human and material resources necessary for the success and well-being of our students?
This reality, after so many testimonies from teachers, feedback from disciplinary associations, unions, and even inspectors and school heads, you cannot ignore it. It is time to take your responsibilities, to listen to us and to put the ideal of equality back at the heart of our high schools, starting with restoring the baccalaureate in June.