Apparently American schools aren't the only ones with issues.
I could have guessed that, of course, but some of the French issues are the sames as ours: how much centralization is appropriate, how much privatization, teacher qualifications, standardized curricula.
“We don’t want to end up with an American system," said Marie-Claude, a middle school history teacher in Paris’ 13th arrondissement. When pressed to elaborate, she explained: “It’s a system without public servants, without national diplomas or even national health care.” For her and many of her colleagues, changes in the education system are a first step down a slippery slope.
We do have public servants. What she means by public servants, of course, isn't what we mean.
As far as not having national diplomas, perhaps France would be better compared to one of our states. The states do have diplomas. Tennessee standardizes what that diploma means by administering "Gateway" tests in English, math, biology, and history. Without passing the Gateways, a student doesn't get the diploma. Before the Gateways were developed, there was a minimum score students had to attain on the TCAP. And there's a state-approved list of textbooks and certain classes the middle and high schools all must offer. But individual school systems set their own curricula. We didn't have a standardized curriculum in Memphis until several years ago a high school valedictorian wasn't able to graduate because he couldn't score high enough on the TCAP. After that there were standards for each class offered in the district. That's pretty ambitious for a system whose individual schools' average test scores run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous. But our urban standards aren't applied to rural systems.
As to national health care, may it never happen here.