Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Law and Order, Work Harder, School Choice Candidate

French Socialist Segolene Royal, back from the beach, picks another fight:

PARIS, Sept 6, 2006 (AFP) - French presidential front-runner Ségolène Royal has once again upset bigwigs inside her own Socialist Party (PS), this time with a call to liberalise the school system which brought a ringing condemnation Wednesday from the party hierarchy.

In a speech earlier this week, Royal — who is France's most popular politician according to a recent opinion poll — questioned one of the PS's educational taboos: the so-called "scholastic map" which obliges parents to send children to schools designated by the authorities.

The "map" has been regularly attacked by the political right, which says it removes parental choice and blocks educational improvement, but for the left it is an important mechanism for ensuring that all schools have a social and academic balance.

However Royal said in the southern Lozere department that, "We need to loosen the constraints associated with the 'map' — because some people have the feeling they are being dumped in underperforming establishments."

Previous spats arose over her ideas on the mandatory 35 hour work week and criminals.

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