On May 31, “Liberation” with Paris-I-Panthéon-Sorbonne University is launching a new meeting: “Libé University”. A day to debate the various progressive currents on structuring political subjects: Europe, energy, climate, social inequalities, tax justice. In partnership with Crédit coopératif, ESS France, Backseat, Mutualité française and the Jean-Jaurès Foundation. Free admission upon registration.
Mass has been said ! Mixity at school seems doomed to remain one of those frozen debates where two fiercely opposed camps clash for eternity. The “against” camp, rather on the right, for whom, at a time when the country is downgrading in terms of education, co-education cannot be a priority response and would even prove to be counterproductive when it comes to compel the private sector to be more open to society. The camp of the “for”, rather on the left, which makes it a driving force for the reduction of inequalities, in the OECD country where the social origin of the pupils most strongly determines their school performance.
However, it seems possible to us to go beyond this cleavage and a conquering left should be the driving force behind this overcoming. First, by linking diversity at school to a broader challenge: the need to rebuild the nation, at a time when mistrust, withdrawal and loneliness are increasing. The entire Republican political spectrum will gladly come together on this great common challenge.
School of “We”
Then, by opening up to other contributions, such as the “contact theory” (Gordon Allport), tested and validated in many places around the world. She asserts that under certain conditions (common goal, cooperation, etc.), the more contact there is between members of different groups, the more they will get to know each other and reduce discrimination. In other words: the more we mix intelligently during childhood, the less we will disturb each other in adulthood. Who can be against?
Another avenue to explore: broaden the spectrum. Amplify the social and origin mix but also the possible mixing with “other” otherness: physical (handicap), cognitive (dys), linguistic, generational… To speak to everyone, the issue of otherness must be understood in its entirety.
Furthermore, the interests of greater exposure to otherness must be further explained, including for pupils from privileged backgrounds. The World Economic Forum, unsuspecting of leftism, has highlighted the “key skills of the 21st century” : creativity and critical thinking, cooperation and empathy… So many skills that cannot be developed between oneself! Tomorrow’s success depends on otherness.
Finally, more than ever, start from the field. Because, good news, this “school of Us” already exists. Supported by academies, communities or a dynamic associative fabric, the initiatives to promote the experience of otherness at school are numerous and have proven their worth (1). Let’s start from them to accelerate the movement! And at the same time, let’s demand from our deputies a transpartisan dynamic in the National Assembly, to build a new national consensus on the subject: what if the left took the initiative?
(1) Report on the “school of Us” to be published by the Jean Jaurès Foundation, co-written with Cathy Racon-Bouzon, former MP.