French teachers: No aid for slow kids

French elementary teachers are rallying against government rules requiring extra work for slow learners, reports the Washington Post. They say it violates the French ideal of providing the same education for all students.

A new rule requires teachers to do two hours a week of remedial work with failing elementary students. Alain Refalo refused to obey the ministry directive. (The French education system is run from the top down.)

(Refalo declares) that youngsters cannot work fruitfully after a six-hour classroom day. Moreover, he pointed out, the ministry had just announced budget cuts in which 3,000 special education teachers were being eliminated — and whose jobs were to help students in difficulty.

In a protest letter to the education ministry, Refalo complained that American “ideas such as competition, individualist thinking, privatization and survival of the fittest were being introduced.”

Instead of doing remedial work, Refalo used the extra time to organize theater workshops, with an eye to encouraging his 10-year-old pupils to express themselves and to delve into literature.

What about the students who can’t “delve into literature” because they can’t read well?

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