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191 | avril-mai-juin 2015
Les descendants d’immigrés à l’école

Destins scolaires et origines des inégalités
Children of immigrants at school: academic futures and roots of inequality

The debate about the roots of educational inequality between immigrant and native students is still going strong. Some believe that the secondary education democratisation policies that have been implemented in European countries since the mid-20th century have done enough to remove the specific features of immigrant students’ academic futures. From this point of view, any remaining inequality is merely due to these students’ living conditions as they often come from economically and culturally disadvantaged backgrounds. Others believe that this view, in terms of cultural discontinuity, is no longer appropriate given the reality as, based on selected indicators and data, educational inequality towards immigrants remains high, even when social background is controlled. The roots of inequality go back to the education system itself, to the curriculum available for different types of students and to segregation between schools. This systemic discrimination is therefore linked to school policies rather than to social and cultural distance between families and school. The four articles in this issue shall shed light on this debate using national and international comparative data. Immigrant students’ academic paths are analysed to identify the social and educational roots of achievement inequality.

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