There is a general panic going around the homeschool community in France. This after President Macron announced on live television on October 2, 2020, his plan for fighting radical Islam. This plan includes making school mandatory for everyone starting at age 3. Does this mean that homeschooling in France is in danger?
In a word, yes. He is also quoted as saying that instruction at home will be “strictly limited, notably for health reasons.”
When will this happen? As early as September 2021, all children will be required to attend public school (or a private school recognized by the government). They are not messing around.
Now, of course, this is not yet legal. A new law still needs to be submitted to the Assemblée Nationale. And it needs to pass by a majority vote before moving on to the Senat. Which also needs to pass by majority vote.
However, if we’ve learned anything about Macron’s government, what he wants, he gets.
A Republic in Name Only
The last time the homeschool community was put through this panic was in 2018. Once again, President Macron announced on live television that he would be requiring instruction for all children starting at age 3. This meant that children as young as 2 1/2 could be submitted to homeschool inspections if the parents decided to educate their children at home.
No one in the community thought this would pass. After all, this was not the first time this proposition was made in government.
There was an immediate movement to block the passing of the bill. There were demonstrations from both sides of the table: the homeschool community and the education system itself.
But the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer clearly had his marching orders. He dismissed any and all debate and the vote passed. In under a year.
And in September 2019, a mere 17 months after his announcement, all children from 2 1/2 on up were registered in the school system. Whether as public school or homeschool students, it didn’t matter. You can read more about the current requirements for homeschooling in my post How to Homeschool in France.
So Where Does This Leave Us?
Homeschooling in France is clearly in danger.
Just like in 2018, homeschool associations all over France are mobilizing. UNIE (Union Nationale pour l’Instruction et l’Epanouissement), LEDA (Les Enfants D’Abord), and others are meeting already to discuss their next steps.
This is going to be a tough fight. Macron has precedent on his side now. He has managed to obtain almost every single order since his election. Regardless of its legality or constitutionality.
And homeschool families are still such a small number in France. So even if every family were to stand up and fight, we would still be far from a majority.
This proposal is clearly illegal. The law of 28 mars 1882 gave parents the right to choose their child’s education. But legality never stops tyranny.
We need to stand up and fight for the homeschool families of France. More than anything we need to pray.
And, maybe, if you can, you need to find a way to leave France.
I’ll keep you updated as we begin to learn more about what we are up against.
If you’d like to show your support for the homeschooling families of France, please sign the petition created and supported by UNIE and multiple other homeschool associations and course-by-correspondence companies that will all be negatively impacted by these draconian measures. You can find the official petition here: https://www.mesopinions.com/petition/enfants/maintien-droits-instruction-famille/107871