Thousands of teachers went on strike across France on Tuesday to protest against new measures aimed at revamping the country's creaking school system, but President Francois Hollande vowed to push ahead with the reform despite widespread resistance.What they don't like;
Billed as countering elitism and ensuring fairer use of teaching resources, the reform has faced criticism from trade unions, the conservative opposition, sections of the left and even Germany, which fears German-language teaching will suffer.
"There will be a reform, and it will be one that allows everyone to succeed," Hollande, in Berlin for talks on climate change, told a joint news conference with Angela Merkel. He assured her that German was a priority in French schools.Deutsch avant tout!
Nick the American weighed in on Hollande's Education Minister;
Critics have rounded on 37-year-old Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, a Moroccan-born daughter of working class parents and a rising star in the government who is often hailed as a success story for French integration efforts.
Ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, now head of the opposition UMP, said she was an icon of what he called the government's "unrelenting quest for mediocrity."
Vallaud-Belkacem hit back, calling some of her critics "pseudo-intellectuals".Hope that sounds better in a French accent than it did for George Wallace in 1968;
...the pseudo-intellectuals and the theoreticians and some professors and some newspaper editors and some judges and some preachers have looked down their nose long enough at the average man on the street: the pipe-fitter, the communications worker, the fireman, the policeman, the barber, the white collar worker, and said we must write you a guideline about when you go to bed at night and when you get up in the morning. But here are more of us than there are of them because the average citizen of New York and of Alabama and of the other states of our union are tired of guidelines being written, telling them when to go to bed at night and when to get up in the morning.Actually, it often seems that that's exactly what the French want. Else, why do they vote for socialists.