En February 2019, a circular signed jointly by the Minister of National Education and that of the city recorded the birth of educational cities, inspired by the experience of Grigny (Essonne) carried out in 2017, included in the Borloo report. In 2020 they were 80; there are now 200 of them, scattered throughout mainland France and the overseas territories. Resulting from a labeling process, these cities mark the beginning of a new type of territorialized public policy from two points of view.
Since the beginning of the 1980s, the demonstration of social inequalities concentrated in certain territories, particularly in segregated neighborhoods of social housing, has called into question, in a context of deconcentration and decentralization, the capacity of public policies to secure the Republican promise of equality. Public actors, starting with the State, then adopted a de facto principle of positive discrimination in “giving more to those who need it most” which has distinguished itself in particular in the development of a city policy and priority education zones.
These remedial policies are based on the implementation of turnkey systems intended to deal with specific issues with each time their tools, their governance, their financing, their operating mode, their type of evaluation for durations more or less determined. In the educational field, we can thus cite the educational success programs, the city life vacation program, the support systems for schooling, etc.
Synergy between actors
After forty years of proliferation of these devices and their sedimentation, and despite the fact that they have undoubtedly made it possible to avoid a greater aggravation of the situation, numerous reports underline their limits, even their perverse effects: functioning in silos of the many stakeholders, extreme technicization of public action, and, above all, lack of catching up with common law, or even aggravation of inequalities.
At the same time, the rise in skills of local authorities in the educational field has led some of them to initiate ambitious projects in the territories but most often in educational times on the outskirts of the school institution.
The creation of educational cities represents a real attempt to take into account the complexity of the educational process beyond the logic of devices. It is a positive approach which aims to synergize the actors, the existing systems, with the common law of State policies, but also local policies. To create, in short, an ecosystem geared towards a common objective to facilitate the educational paths of children and young people by mobilizing all the actors of the educational community, inside and outside school, from 0 to 25 years old.
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