France’s “historic collapse” in its PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) rankings is tied to its soaring immigrant population, writes French professor Joachim Le Floch-Imad, the director of the Fondation Res Publica and author of “Tolstoy. A philosophical life.”
The French professor, writing in France’s top newspaper Le Figaro, outlines how there was a “culture of denial” surrounding France’s falling educational standards over the last decades, but now, much has changed, especially after the latest PISA results show that France is facing a massive decline.
Professor Le Floch-Imad wrote that the shock results “have since contributed to the breaking of a certain number of dikes and the current education minister now has no other choice but to describe ‘a shocking piece of knowledge’ and ambitious measures to ‘raise the level of schools’ and ‘restore authority to teachers.'”
However, Le Floch-Imad writes that the issue of immigration around France’s falling PISA rankings is taboo, and therefore, authorities will be unable to address the root problem of France’s failing academic system.
“Given the need for a start and the accelerator role that immigration plays in the crisis in our education system, an inventory of its repercussions should be necessary. However, immigration remains the elephant in the room, the supreme taboo on Rue de Grenelle,” he writes. “This inability to think about the links between the two subjects turns out to be all the more absurd given the reality of our establishments.”
’40 percent of those under 4 in France are immigrants or of immigrant origin’
The French professor then goes on to describe France’s tremendous transformation towards a country of immigrants, and the drastic repercussions it is having.
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“A recent note from the Department of Evaluation, Foresight and Performance reveals, for example, a 20 percent increase in allophone students [non-native French speakers] in one year (nearly 80,000 at the start of the 2021 school year),” he writes.
“This specific development takes place in a context of sudden acceleration in immigration. 40 percent of those under 4 in France are immigrants or of immigrant origin. Nearly half a million foreigners enter each year and the number of births of children to both parents from abroad has increased by 59 percent in 20 years. Schools like Aix-Marseille, Créteil, Mayotte and Guyana are particularly affected by these dynamics, but no part of the national territory is now immune, sometimes with great successes… It is clear, however, that the machine for creating citizens is broken down and that immigration, for at least two reasons, is exacerbating the educational decline to which France is prey.”
However, there are others talking of France’s disastrous PISA rankings in the context of immigration. Marc Vanguard, who produces detailed graphs on statistics related to immigration, education, and other metrics for a French audience, broke down some of the data related to the PISA rankings.
“In France, the level gap in mathematics between ‘natives’ and students from immigrant backgrounds is abysmal, equivalent to more than a school year behind! Natives would rank in the 1st PISA quartile, but immigrants in the 3rd quartile,” he wrote in a thread on X.
Scores across Europe have also been falling over the last three decades, and the issue, as in France, is greatly tied to mass immigration, as shown in Germany, where increasing diversity has led to conflict in the school system and classroom difficulties that are threatening the country’s future industrial-technological leadership status.
Even though natives have also seen a fall in their performance, they are still significantly ahead of immigrant groups in France.
Le Floch-Imad states the following in his piece for Le Figaro:
All the statistics at our disposal support this observation. For example, allophones are largely dropping out of school compared to their age group, and 20 percent of them were not educated in their country of origin. Strong inequalities persist beyond this population, as shown by the 2018 Pisa reading survey. Young French people who are “natives or descendants of immigrants of the third generation or more” obtain a very high score, on par with Taiwan and Denmark, while the score for “children of immigrants” is 9 percent lower and that of “immigrants” by 18 percent. In the freshly published 2022 part of this investigation, the verdict remains final. It appears in fact that students from immigrant backgrounds are 2.4 times more likely than so-called “native” students to find themselves among low-performing students in mathematics.”
As Europe’s educational standards fall nearly across the board, governments will be hard-pressed to fix the issue if they refuse to address the effect of record-high immigration levels, often from countries in the Middle East and Africa known for lower educational outcomes and a lack of innovation and technological capabilities.
Beyond education, France spends an enormous amount on its immigration population every year, with some academic researchers putting this figure at a minimum of €25 billion.