1 December 2023

Ihe publication of data on the social position indices (IPS) of educational establishments was seen as “revealing” of educational inequalities and segregation. Initially reserved for the administration to allocate resources, these IPS appeared quickly after their publication as new indicators of the “quality” of establishments. However, in this new “prize list”, public institutions appear to be at a disadvantage compared to private institutions, which have significantly higher GPIs.

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Many agree in thinking that the choice to place one’s children in private establishments would generally express a “taste for socializing”, characteristic of the bourgeoisie. This decision would be only one of the signs of a general preference of the “elites” for secession or, at the very least, for distancing from the rest of society. A choice all the more criticized today as it is held responsible for the destabilization of public schools, by accentuating educational and social inequalities between establishments.

Not to be totally unfounded, this explanation has a major flaw; that of completely exonerating public education policies by placing the responsibility for the difficulties of the school on families who “would not play the game”.

Yet it is quite easy to understand how the recent reforms of the lycée have only encouraged the “choice” of the private sector.

Certification value

As early as the 1990s, sociologists Gabriel Langouet and Alain Léger demonstrated that while private school enrollments (between 17% and 20% of secondary school enrolments) remain relatively stable, recourse to private education at some point in schooling children, concerns nearly 45% of them at the family level.

In other words, for more than thirty years, the function of the private school has changed; in the reasons for this choice of schooling, the search for academic success took precedence over the attachment to traditional and religious values. The use of private schools has replaced the choice of a denominational school.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers “You said nothing to defend general education in the vocational high school. They are other people’s children.

Today, one element fundamentally structures the educational strategies of families: higher education has become the horizon of legitimate expectations shared by a very large part of the population. However, in recent years, with Parcoursup, all sectors, all higher education courses have become potentially selective from the moment they receive more applications than they have places – and this, regardless of the status of the establishments. higher education, private or public.

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