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Elementary Education in France

Kathryn M. Anderson-Levitt, Régine Sirota and Martine Mazurier
The Elementary School Journal
Vol. 92, No. 1, Special Issue: International Education (Sep., 1991), pp. 79-95
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1002077
Page Count: 17
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Elementary Education in France
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Abstract

Despite important changes since the 1950s, French elementary education remains a highly centralized national system that emphasizes the written language. Classroom practices and teacher preparation differ from the American system as do France's historical concern with centralization and the role of private schools. However, the basic problem of making mass education truly democratic is the same. In principle, French children of all social classes and ethnic backgrounds receive the same education, but tracking continues implicitly-through grade retention rather than ability grouping. Although not as democratic as billed, French elementary and preelementary education definitely reaches the masses and within just a few generations has powerfully shaped the sense of French identity.

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