Four years ago, students from Mirail started their sixth year in the very favored college in downtown Toulouse, Pierre-de-Fermat. This change of school establishment was the first stone of the social mix plan of the
Haute-Garonne departmental council. To improve the educational level of students from working-class neighborhoods, the departmental council has decided to take them out of their neighborhood.
Gradually, the college students who should have returned to Badiou and Bellefontaine establishments, where the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds fluctuated between 60 and 80% of the workforce, were redeployed to eleven colleges in Toulouse and its agglomeration, where the level was 75% of the workforce from privileged backgrounds.
63% success in the patent
A total of 1,140 students were thus distributed to establishments other than those in their sector, which were doomed to disappear. At the same time, the construction site for two new colleges was launched in Saint-Simon and Guilhermy, neighboring districts of Mirail, with more socially mixed sectorization.
I was with the President today, @GeorgesMeric, to present the first assessment of the system for improving social mix in secondary schools @HauteGaronne. An ambitious project, unique in France by its scale, which we intend to continue and expand. https://t.co/5Pi55czxYC
—Vincent Gibert (@vgibert) October 6, 2021
“In Toulouse, there are ghettos and there was an emergency, because the school results were not satisfactory. At the beginning, we had to convince and meet several challenges ”, recognizes Georges Méric (PS), the president of the departmental council of Haute-Garonne. The community has engaged more than 42 million in the construction of new establishments and nearly 900,000 euros each year for four years to support the student relocation system.
A political decision “to fight against social determinism” which now seems to be paying off. The first 100 “decentralized” Reynerie pupils in the favored colleges passed their patent diploma last June. And, to the results traditionally obtained by the students of Raymond-Badiou, they are superior. “The results are positive and there is a need not to stop there. We have an overall pass rate of 63% when it was 50% in the original college. In the written tests, 33% of the pupils obtained an average higher than 12 out of 20 when they were less than 5%. Some students have even obtained more than 18 ”, explained during a review Mathieu Sieye, the academic director of the national education services.
Favored colleges that are more mixed too
Among these students, 94% also entered high school, the majority in general second, the others in professional second and others, less numerous, in CAP. As part of this system, the National Education gave them the choice to return to their sector high school or to continue in the sector high schools of the colleges where they had completed their education. In four out of five cases, they opted for this second solution. Thus, nine students from Reynerie were able to integrate a second at the Pierre-de-Fermat high school.
To pay Etienne Butzbach, coordinator of the co-education network at school, this experiment checks the hypotheses they put forward by asking for the closure of the 100 French colleges plus the segregated ones and should serve as examples. “When we put students in a stimulating environment, we achieve significant effects. Too often we have approached the issue of diversity in small touches. It is a long-term collective approach to move representations, ”said this member of the National Center for the Study of School Systems which are suitable for the different systems at the national level.
He also sees a benefit of social mix in the favored colleges which have welcomed the students of Mirail. Institutions like Bellevue College, whose level of students from disadvantaged backgrounds was less than 20% in 2016, an increase of 13% in four years, still below the departmental average of 35%.
A change in sociology that has not led the parents of students from these upscale establishments to flee for the private sector. The average rate of compliance with the school card has remained at 60% across all Toulouse colleges in recent years.