School sector competition and specialization : a model of recent change in French public and private school sector recruitment of pupils by social background
The purpose of the study is to analyze changes in the French public and private school sectors’ social recruitment of pupils. From 2000 to 2009 in the school district studied, the two school sectors became socially differentiated : private school sector pupils are now increasingly from well-to-do backgrounds while the public sector has become relatively – and in some cases entirely – proletarianized. Analysis of the educational specificities of the two sectors (types of electives and study concentration areas reserved for the best pupils relative to those for pupils having scholastic difficulty) provides material that helps to explain this phenomenon. Social specialization by sector underwent a particularly sharp increase between 2006 and 2009, as did interschool social segregation, stable prior to 2006 but rising from 2006 to 2009, in direct contrast to the stated goal – greater social mix –of the French policy to loosen school zoning restrictions, in effect since 2007. The model of change in public and private school sector pupil recruitment presented here shows the extent of the socio-scholastic changes currently under way.