Should a Minister of Education enroll his children in public education?

This is the ransom of fame. Every act and move of the new Minister of Education, Pap Ndiaye, is now under scrutiny. More so his detractors, mostly from the far right, who rejected his appointment. In a photo dedicated to him on May 26, Match in Paris revealed that Pap Ndiaye’s two children were educated at the Alsacian School, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. The information was forwarded on Twitter by Eric Zemmour, who quickly saw the controversy between a man who fights discrimination but who “puts his children in an elite private education school”.

The supreme right is not the only one who criticizes the choice of the minister and his partner for their children. What prompted reporters to Parisian to ask him about it during an interview published on Saturday. Pap Ndiaye explained that his children were already educated in REP + before being there at Ecole alsacienne. While justifying his approach: “There are times when, as a child develops, it can be complicated. It is the choice of the parents of children that at one time, the conditions for a peaceful and happy schooling were no longer met ”. Words that don’t always seem well received by Priority Education teachers.

A not new controversy

Pap Ndiaye is not the first Education Minister to suffer controversy over his education choices. “In 2002, the then Minister of Education, Luc Ferry, announced that his three children were enrolled in a private Catholic school in western Paris. And it was for religious reasons “, recalls Education specialist historian Yann Forestier. Previously, François Bayrou, who held this position between 1993 and 1997, told world that of his six children, “three were in public school, and three in private school”.

Most recently, in 2015, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem appeared on BFMTV : “My kids are obviously publicly educated”. He responded to a controversy erroneously launched by Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who claimed his children were enrolled in a private school. Also asked about these children by Léa Salamé during the release of Grande on February 15, 2018, Jean-Michel Blanquer replied: “I have three-room of them in public”.

Private choice or symbolic decision?

So, is the decision of a Minister of Education to send his children to public or private education a private matter? Or should it be made known to citizens? Najat Vallaud-Belkacem decided. “Then? There is freedom of education in France. That some choose to keep their children in private is their decision and their choice. On the side of the unions, we remain wary of the question:” We do not want to argue about on the subject. We prefer to debate important issues, ”said one unionist who wished to remain anonymous. Especially since Pap Ndiaye was not a politician before and he would not unregister his children from private sector during the year, especially in the weeks before the summer holidays.

But even if they don’t want to talk about the issue, and especially to focus on the new minister, some education players still point to the symbol: “In principle, we might think our political leaders should have a good duty by enrolling their children. in public education. This is a way to show that the minister believes in the policy that is put in place, “said Eric Labastie, president of the FCPE.” Better for the a Minister of Education to educate his children in the public sector, as it shows his confidence in the institution. Otherwise, it will contribute to the reinforcement of false representations, with the misconception that a child has a better learning situation in the private sector, ”the unionist said.

“We have many more important files on the table”

According to Yann Forestier, if the topic is highlighted at the moment, it is primarily due to the surprise of Pap Ndiaye’s appointment: “He is the left guarantee of the new government. His appointment is above all a matter of communication. It is that information can tarnish the image of the minister, which is especially observed so far that he has never acted. And the fact that his children are in school in Alsatian promotes the sounding board effect. “This establishment has a reputation as a ghetto of the rich, a more protected universe. This emphasizes the idea that private education is a solution in the face of public scarcity. Especially when a child encounters difficulties in his or her schooling, ”the historian continued.

One thing is for sure, according to observers from the world of Education: these criticisms will quickly disappear. “We still have a lot of important files on the table. Such as teacher salaries and the crisis of vocations in National Education ”, explained the unionist. “If we hadn’t waited, this information wouldn’t have been hype,” Yann Forestier added.

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