Monday, December 15, 2008

Reculer pour mieux sauter

Well, how about that! Xavier Darcos has announced a postponement of lycée curriculum reforms because he doesn't want these to be the "spark that sets off the powderkeg." Whatever happened to the old "give 'em hell" spirit of Sarkozysme? "Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres." Not this time. Perhaps it was Bruno Julliard's timely reminder that Sarko had secretly encouraged the 2006 student uprising against the CPE. Things can quickly get out of hand with those young folks, and the images from Greece still haven't faded from the TV screen. So, for now, discretion is the better part of valor, and the lycées can limp along under the current system a while longer.


Unknown said...

Well that's a funny one. However, I have been trying to remember the name of a French education minister who would not have felt compelled, similarly to cats marking their territory, to write up a reform of education. I have gone back up to Fouché - no, not the 19th century cop, the education minister of the pre-1968 sixties - and each and everyone of them tried to attach their name to one, and then basically failed and usually went straight into retirement. Only Jack Lang possibly implemented a reform and did not encounter serious trouble. Jospin tried as well and did encounter serious trouble, but his career still went on for a few years.

The moral is that if you are an education minister, prior to announcing a reform, you should check carefully on your retirement entitlement, including making sure you are squarely within the "unfunded" retirement system and therefore will enjoy defined benefits, rather than the "funded" retirement which will go up moderately as Wall Street does and fall off the cliff as Wall Street is prone to.

I therefore wholeheartedly support Darcos's courageous decision to stay his hand at least until he has clarified his retirement status.

Leo said...

Well actually Bernard, that's an easy one and Darcos has already announced (to the utter disgust of the teaching community) a reform of the primary school and of the "collège" (junior high) curricula. And for now he has not relented. The reason being that students of this age are not prone to demonstrating and setting public buildings on fire (But you never know, as Rachida Dati probably thinks).

Clearly, as evidenced by the firm governmental position on University reform, times are now different (remember Devaquet?). But playing with matches when Greek students are giving the French student community a lesson in revolutionary spirit might be providing fuel to more than a few Molotov cocktails. -I know, matches are not fuel, but you get the message.

That's why I don't think Darcos will retire soon. Anyway, his multiple pay as you go pension plans (Civil Service, Assemblée Nationale,...) as as safe as they are for the rest of us. (Or maybe I'm daydreaming)

Anonymous said...

News tonight hail a victory by the students against Nicolas Sarkozy. A detailed chronology explains how Xavier Darcos went from stating he wasn't "minister of hesitation' on Thursday and publishing his reform in JDD on Sunday, and then on Monday morning reversing course, because on Friday Nicolas Sarkozy called him and told him to do so.
Hence, "a victory of students against Nicolas Sarkozy."

A moderate perspective:

Anonymous said...

about education, politics, and "reculer pour mieux sauter", here's a good story from Rue89.
Good, because the reader fails to see the point: why forbid a film to be shown to students?