Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Talkin' bout a revolution...

Man, is this month still here? It's like a bad lingering smell. I had hoped that the least Bush could have done was take it with him when he left the White House.

Someone else who is probably sick of this month, and will be even more so after Thursday, is Xavier Darcos. The French Minister for Education is not a particularly popular fella at the moment. Fondly referred to as 'Darkos Vador', his calls for school reforms (the abolition of school for under 3's, reduction of high school class hours, cutting classroom assistants, to name a few) and his proposed budget cuts have infuriated teachers and parents nationwide.

I can't even pretend to say I understand all that's going on with the French education system at the moment, but I do know that Thursday will be a jeudi noir in France. Schools, transport, post offices and pretty much everything else is expected to shut down for a day of national protesting. The day has even got its own website, where you can find out what's planned and where, and with posters you can download and print out.

It certainly seems like the French have got this demonstrating thing down to a high-tech art form. Let's just hope the action gets a favorable reaction, whatever that may be.

Will I ever be fully integrated enough to join in, or is that even a desirable goal?

Many of the issues being protested certainly have an effect on me directly. For example, the other day when I watched through the classroom window as my littlest lady's classroom assistant lovingly tidied up her pony tail before sending her out for lunch, I thought about how much positive quality these assistants add to the classroom. Classroom assistants are a huge necessity in schools here, where quite often classes are big and often include split years. I'd stand up for the assistants, and that means protesting against Darcos's reforms.

Maybe I should print off one of those posters and take to the streets after all...


Isabelle said...

Oh no, please don't print off one of those posters!!
You do care about school assistants, and you are right to do so. Xavier Darcos never said he was going to cut down the number of these assistants.

I'm so tired of these strikes, each time a government tries to have things moving forward, there is this huge campaign of misinformation going on. For sure the parties from the far left can do a lot of damage, so don't fall in their trap!

Did you notice that it says "revolution" on these posters? It's amazing to think that some people still believe in a bolchevik like new era.

The Duchess said...

Hi Isabelle,
Don't worry, I'm not planning on making a poster board and hitting the streets just yet! It's nice to hear a level-headed voice such as yours give the 'other' side of the story.
What does concern me about some of Darcos's reforms, in particular his proposed reforms about the maternelle, is the reduction or complete cut of RASED assistants in the classrooms. I don't think the soutien scolaire will be a good replacement for these assistants, and I've seen first hand in my daughters' classes how important they are. But as I said in my post, I'm far from knowing or understanding the whole picture!