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  • PRÉTECEILLE Edmond (19)
  • VOISIN Agathe (5)
  • LE GALÈS Patrick (5)
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This paper examines the relationship between housing tenure and educational opportunities in the Paris metropolitan area. Using census microdata, we show that the middle classes face uneasy trade-offs between housing tenure and access to attractive educational resources. Living in high-quality school contexts is associated with renting, whereas access to homeownership mostly unfolds in poor-performing school areas. This tension is not observed for other social strata. Based on fieldwork conducted in Paris suburbs, we highlight the interweaving of middle-class housing and school choices. Some families may use the rental sector to live close to attractive schools. In mixed neighbourhoods, homeowners either choose the local school or opt for circumvention strategies. Because of the dramatic increase of housing prices, the interplay between housing tenure and the unequal geography of education is crucial to understand social stratification and social mobility patterns in large cities, particularly among the middle classes, as well as to improve public policies aimed at reducing housing and school inequalities.

Cet article vise à interroger les fondements et les effets du modèle de justice sociale promu par le concours Convention Éducation prioritaire (CEP) de Sciences Po Paris. Il s’appuie sur les bases de données du service de la scolarité de Sciences Po, des entretiens avec des candidats et jurés et une analyse lexicale des grilles d’évaluation des entretiens d’admission. Dispositif de discrimination positive « à la française », ce modèle se révèle paradoxal. Il propose une vision renouvelée du mérite comme reconnaissance des talents singuliers, censée relativiser sa dimension strictement académique et rompre avec le principe de standardisation des évaluations. Pourtant, loin de disparaître, cette dimension académique se recompose dans les modalités de sélection et continue de favoriser les meilleurs élèves sur le plan scolaire, dont une partie est issue des classes supérieures, et parmi eux les garçons. Loin d’être homogène, le recrutement du CEP repose sur deux viviers de candidats scolairement, socialement et territorialement contrastés.

There is a strong tradition of studying residential segregation and school segregation as separate phenomena. It is less common to find research that attempts to connect the two and measure the combined consequences on inequality and social cohesion. While many authors in the US have taken an interest in this connection, it remains less studied in France compared to other European countries like Great Britain, Finland and the Netherlands. This is quite surprising in a country where, due to a rather rigid policy of school catchment areas based on place of residence in large cities, there is a strong correlation between socio-residential segregation and school segregation. To understand this complex, interdependent link, we have to take into account institutional, social and urban dimensions. The chapter has two main goals. The first is to show that school segregation is not merely a simple, mechanical reflection of residential segregation, but the result of many processes related to school policies, parental strategies and urban inequalities. For this reason, we pay attention to the specific context of the metropolitan area of Paris, both in terms of residential and school segregation and in terms of school policy. The second aim of this chapter is to show that school segregation not only has an impact on school achievement, but also on more qualitative issues such as the perception of inequalities and the feeling of discrimination. Here, we will not focus on the impact on school performance, but rather on how it shapes how people perceive school segregation. The first part of the chapter deals with the first aim, and will present and discuss how and why, in the city of Paris, school segregation is more intense than residential segregation, and some of the reasons school issues are increasingly interwoven with residential strategies. After an overall presentation of the French context, and school and residential patterns in Paris, we will show that school segregation is not only the result of lower-middle-class parents avoiding local working-class public schools. The chapter will look closely at the impact of selective upper-middle-class school choices, even when families live in advantaged neighbourhoods. The second part of the chapter addresses the second aim, offering an explanation for why the feeling of being trapped in segregated, ‘disreputable’ public schools, a feeling which is shared among people from disadvantaged and immigrant backgrounds as well as parts of the lower-middle class, has a deep impact on social cohesion. We will see how this encourages working-class people to think more in terms of discrimination (segregation as the result of an intentional process) rather than in terms of inequality, calling into question public schools’ capacity for guaranteeing equal opportunity. This is another way of analysing how people facing an unequal context perceive injustice.

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Cette recherche sur les jardins d’enfants « Paris Habitat », financée par la ville de Paris, se fixe trois objectifs principaux : caractériser le(s) modèle(s) pédagogique(s) mis en oeuvre dans ces structures (dimensions cognitives, comportementales, scolaires, organisationnelles) et son positionnement par rapport au modèle classique de l’école maternelle, avec un accent particulier mis sur les enfants en situation de handicap ; Saisir les motifs – institutionnels, résidentiels, familiaux – qui conduisent les parents de différents milieux sociaux à « choisir » ce type de structure ; Évaluer l’impact d’un accueil dans ces jardins d’enfant sur les trajectoires sociales et scolaires des enfants, comparativement à ceux ayant fréquenté l’école maternelle et à ceux qui n’ont pas été scolarisés auparavant. Ce rapport comprend 2 volets réalisés le premier (approche qualitative) en 2018 et le second (étude quantitative) en 2019.

Given the strong correlation between the distribution of attractive school offer and the prices on the housing market, the middle classes are likely to face complex trade-offs between housing tenure and access to attractive educational resources. This research examines how the middle classes deal with these uneasy negotiations, by analyzing the effects of housing tenure on their residential segregation patterns and their relationships with spatial inequalities in school provision. First, I use a quantitative approach to show that proximity to attractive public schools in privileged urban contexts is associated with higher representation in the private and public rental sectors, which relates to the development of public housing units aimed at middle-class households in these areas. On the contrary, access to homeownership mostly unfolds in working-class areas with poorly performing schools. Second, building on fieldwork in the Paris metropolis, I show that the middle classes articulate different values and attitudes to deal with exacerbating constraints on the housing market and competition for better schools. Their compromises between housing tenure and place of residence reveal different relationships with other social groups and between generations within the family network. Overall, the interplay between housing tenure, the social profile of places and the unequal geography of education shapes different residential status within the middle classes, which is crucial to understand social stratification and class relations in large cities as well as to improve housing and education policies aimed at tackling the effects of place in the (re)production of inequalities.

In French cities, because of a rigid school catchment area policy based on students’ place of residence, there is a strong correlation between socio-residential segregation and school segregation. But the latter is not merely a simple, mechanical reflection of the former. Many processes (the choice of private schools or of specific and very often selective and rare curricula that make it possible to avoid the local public middle school; disability; siblings; personal convenience) contribute to exacerbating the correlation. Using data from the Ministry of Education, the current paper develops a typology of middle schools according to their socio-economic composition (using Correspondence Analysis and Hierarchical Agglomerative Classification), and looks at their unequal spatial distribution across the Paris metropolitan area. We measure school segregation using classical indices, and show that school segregation is higher than socio-residential segregation, particularly for students from upper-middle class backgrounds and for students from working class backgrounds. The spatial analysis of segregation, when compared with test scores, reveals strong inequalities between locations. The impact of school segregation on school success has been mainly analysed in terms of the effect of students’ social background. If one looks at the number of top tier marks (‘mention bien et très bien’) obtained at the final middle school exam in the Paris metropolitan area from 2006 to 2012, it is possible to see that girls and boys are not equally sensitive to these contextual effects. Based on logistic regressions, the analysis of the interactions between individual characteristics (socio-economic background and gender) and contextual variables (the school’s status [private/public], its location, its socio-economic composition) gives a more complex picture. This raises both methodological and political questions that suggest the need for an intersectional approach. Such a finding presents a challenge not only for social scientists studying segregation and school inequalities, but also for policy makers who want to reinforce mixed schooling.

in Dictionnaire des inégalités et de la justice sociale Edited by SAVIDAN Patrick Publication date 2018-10
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in Dictionnaire des inégalités et de la justice sociale Edited by SAVIDAN Patrick Publication date 2018-10
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in Dictionnaire des inégalités et de la justice sociale Edited by SAVIDAN Patrick Publication date 2018-10
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Entretien réalisé par Régis Guyon et Michel Didier (CGET) en avril 2018

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