CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Western educational policies consider it possible to combine equality and excellence by the means of policies promoting “equal opportunity”. Following the motto “excellence for all”, the French educational system – which is a unified, coeducational system–aims to teach a whole age group with a curriculum that was conceived for the children of the upper class. Thus, public schooling has become a tracking machine that reproduces social, gendered and ethnic hierarchies, as children’s achievements are conditioned by these sociological ascriptions. Political conflict around education opposes a dominant conservative class, which intends to maintain their privileged position in the name of “excellence”, to some feminist and union movements. The first are opposed to the building of a common curriculum and argue against education for gender equality public schools. The latter champion these goals, in the name of a democratic conception of equal access for all to all kinds of knowledge and skills.

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