Education: Plight of the Harmless

Over the gates of the huge (60,000 students) Sorbonne one morning last month, big yellow posters suddenly appeared for all Paris to see: CLOSED FOR LACK OF FUNDS. That same day, teachers and students went out on strike, milled about the streets, blocked traffic, demonstrated in front of the Bourse du Travail. The Sorbonne, however, was not demonstrating alone. Virtually every lycée (secondary school) and university in France had also closed down.

Though the strike lasted only one day, it was nonetheless disturbing. It was the third such walkout France had seen in four...

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