Education: The Slipping Sorbonne

In Paris last week, hundreds of students were clubbed, punched and sprayed with fire hoses as they fought police in the streets of the Latin Quarter. Scores of others were dragged away in paddy wagons as the dingy Sorbonne blazed with bright banners: NATIONAL STRIKE. WARNING TO THE GOVERNMENT. THE SORBONNE FOR THE STUDENTS. It was a major crisis. Virtually all of France's 300,000 university students—and half their teachers—closed all of France's 23 universities. The complaint: overcrowding caused by years of government footdragging. Never before has French higher education been in deeper trouble....

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