Especially with teenagers, say, around age fifteen or so, who are just opening up to the mysterious powers of language and poetry.
All you have to do is to (teachers please take note):
1) put the kids in a stressful test situation - a bac blanc in a French public school or épreuves groupés in a private Catholic school
2) demand that they write a poem, under time constraints, on a passage from a text they studied
3) then, with a BRIGHT RED MARKER, scribble all over their poem:
BADLY THOUGHT OUT
with blood red circles around the offending portions of the child's poem.
Special tip: Correct the copy quickly with the aid of a "correct response grill" to ensure that no irony, humor, or otherwise subversive stray thought distract you.
4) Make sure that "la moyenne" is less than 10 out of 20 (don't want the little writers to get proud, now, do we!) And, where possible, throw in some nasty oral commentary in front of their classmates as well!
All you writers out there know exactly what this kind of "teaching" moment will do to a person's (and not just a child's) enthusiasm for writing.
If I am furious enough to write this post, it's because an otherwise excellent French teacher at one of France's top middle schools did exactly this. Apparently thinking this was a normal and appropriate way to teach poetry...
Just when I thought it was safe to get back into the French school system.
Sci-fi writers are supposed to be ahead of their time, but this is ridiculous! From Neal Stephenson's 1999 Cryptonomicon
"We are going to launch our own currency.” By saying this,
Randy is divulging proprietary information to someone not authorized to hear
it. But he does it anyway, because opening himself up to Amy in this way,
making himself vulnerable to her, gives him a hard-on.
“How do you go about that? Don’t you have to be a
“No. You have to be a bank. Why do you think they’re called
banknotes? Randy is fully aware of the insanity of divulging secret business information
to a woman solely for purposes of sexual self-titillation but it is in the
nature of things, right now, that he doesn’t especially care.
“Okay but still, usually it’s done by government banks, right?”
Only because people tend to respect the government banks.
But government banks in Southeast Asia have a huge image problem right now.
That image problem translates directly into crashing exchange rates.”
“So how do you do it?”
Ger a big pile of gold. Issue certificates saying ‘this
certificate can be redeemed for such-and-such an amount of gold.’ That’s all
there is to it.”
“What’s wrong with dollars and yen and stuff?”
“the certificates—the banknotes—are printed on paper?. We’re
going to issue electronic banknotes.”
“No paper at all?”
“No paper at all.”
“So you can spend it on the Net.”
“What if you want to buy a sack of bananas?”
“Find a banana merchant on the Net.”
“Seems like paper money’de be just as good.”
“Paper money is traceable and perishable and has other
drawbacks. Electronic banknotes are fast and anonymous.”
“What’s an electronic banknot look like, Randy?”
“Like any other digital thing: a bunch of bits.”
“doesn’t that make it kind of easy to counterfeit?”
“Not if you have good crypto,” Randy says. “Which we do.”
“How did you get it?”
“By hanging out with maniacs.”
“What kind of maniacs?”
“Maniacs who think that having good crypto is of
“By reading about people like Yamamoto who died because they
had bad crypto, and then projecting that kind of thing into the future.”
“Do you agree with them?” Amy asks. It might be one of those
“At two in the morning, when I’m lying awake in bed, I do,” Randy
say. “In the light of day, it all seems like paranoia.”…
- from Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson, published in 1999 by Avon books.
Below: March 2013 Guardian Report on the developers of Bitcoin, a virtual currency that is not controlled by a central institution.
What does the massacre of little children have to do with teachers' pensions?
Only this: Sandy Hook gunman Adam Lanza used a .223-caliber Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle for his murderous rampage. This gun, which traces its origin to the M-16 assault rifle designed for U.S. troops in Vietnam, was manufactured by Freedom Group Inc., which had been funded and assembled by Cerberus.
Unwittingly, unwillingly, devastatingly, teachers helped fund the manufacture and sale of military grade arms to Adam Lanza. Teachers, through the investment fund created to finance their pensions, helped make the Shady Hook massacre possible. By investing in the highly profitable business of selling dangerous weapons.
But now, for the first time, teachers are making the connection between the murder of their colleagues and their pupils - and the funding of their pensions.
Cerberus announced Tuesday it will sell its stake in Freedom Group, the nation’s largest gun manufacturer.
“It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level,” Cerberus said in a statement. “It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate. . . . There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take.”
Will the Sandy Hook shooting finally tip the scales? Will institutional investors like pension funds and university endowments finally reject blood-stained profits from the American arms industry.
181 euros en licence, et 250 euros en master, voilà ce que les étudiants ont payé en 2012-2013 au titre des droits d’inscription à l’université. Des montants très faibles comparés à ceux pratiqués dans la plupart des autres pays développés. «Si on les augmentait ne serait-ce que de 100 euros tout en repensant en parallèle le système de bourses, cela nous permettrait de boucler nos budgets beaucoup plus facilement!», lance Bernard Tallet, vice-président de Paris-I. «Pour avoir des universités plus compétitives, c’est un débat que l’on ne peut pas éviter», confirme Éric Charbonnier, expert Éducation à l’OCDE. La crise a ouvert un débat longtemps tabou en France.
«Les petites mesures d’économie ne suffisent plus. On en est même à espérer que l’hiver ne sera ni trop long ni trop rude, pour limiter la facture énergétique!», précise M. Tallet. Dans son établissement, la masse salariale représente près de 80 % des dépenses et «il serait difficile de la réduire davantage. Les étudiants de droit en Licence 1 sont déjà 600 dans un amphi de 400 places!»
«La quasi-absence de frais de scolarité prive les universités de moyens et ampute leurs capacités de développement», analyse Laurent Bigorgne, directeur de l’Institut Montaigne. Avec la crise, l’État aura du mal à augmenter significativement sa contribution. Pour accroître ses ressources, l’université n’a donc plus que deux solutions: se tourner vers les entreprises ou augmenter les droits d’inscription.
A young woman films her walks through a poor neighborhood in the European capital. Who are these men? And why do they think it's ok to insult women loudly, repeatedly and aggressively in Brussels? (Because, obviously, it is.)
The Obin Report (Rapport Obin) submitted to the Minister of Education in 2004 by Jean-Pierre Obin, General Inspector of Education, studied the impact of religious signs and manifestations in French public schools. Its conclusions regarding the spread and impact of Islam on the young and the dangers to national cohesion were so alarming that the report was temporarily shelved. Due to fear.
Fortunately, after a year of silence, the French education ministry finally found the courage to publish the report on the internet. As a result, we can now read the original PDF file on the official site of the French education ministry, in French and, using Google translate, in any other language, including English.
Anyone wanting to understand the mechanisms of what has been called the "Islamisation" of the young in French public schools should read this report.
It is especially relevant in the wake of the Toulouse massacres of Jewish children and French soldiers perpetrated in the name of Islam by the 24-year-old Frenchman of Algerian origin Merah.
American universities cost an arm and a leg. French prepas are free. So it's a no brainer, isn't it?
Not according to Le Monde.
France's newspaper of record for teachers, the most conservative of all French publications when it comes to changing education, has gone public with a shocking article on how elite prepas treat top French students.
Sixty hours weeks, including 35 hours in the classroom, astonishingly bad grades, forced to abandon music, sport and other non-essential activities in order to survive the brutal selection process imposed by the concours, students--hard working, brilliant students--pay the price of their ambitions.
To readers of Peter Gumbel's On Achève Bien Les Ecoliers (whom Desplechin cites) or my own Sorbonne Confidential none of this will come as that much of a surprise. But for many French parents who still put their faith in the ideals of the meritocracy, the shock is great.
Over 4000 likes on Facebook already.
In a year that saw the Arab Spring, can change come to France's Education Nationale?