January 14, 2009
Not Here... Yet
French teachers hurled shoes and other objects at police Monday to protest President Nicolas Sarkozy's high school reforms, prompting police to respond with tear gas.
France's leading teachers' unions demonstrated in the western city of Saint-Lo at a cultural center before Sarkozy gave a New Year's address to education officials. Protesters and police exchanged blows, and one store window was smashed. No arrests or injuries were immediately reported.
Major unions refused to attend the president's speech because they oppose the government's education reforms.
Sarkozy's government wants to modernize the education system to make French students better prepared for the job market. But the government is also seeking to cut costs and bureaucracy across several sectors. The education reform includes changes to high school curricula but also job cuts among administrators and teachers' aides.
Where teachers behave thus, teenagers racking up hundred-million-dollars in riot damages cannot be far behind. Nordlinger opens up his Impromptus column (which is structured like a blog) with an appropriate musing:
It seems to me that the Left has won: utterly and decisively. What I mean is, the Saturday Night Live, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher mentality has prevailed. They decide what a person's image is, and those images stick. They are the ones who say that Cheney's a monster, W.'s stupid, and Palin's a bimbo. And the country, apparently, follows. ...
What are the shaping institutions of American life? The news media. Entertainment television. The movies. Popular music. The schools, K through grad school. In whose hands are those institutions? In what areas do conservatives predominate? Country music, NASCAR, some churches? (Talk radio too, I suppose no wonder so many on the left want to shut it down.)
As to Jay's question about areas in which conservatives "predominate," I'd offer the small but important addition of comprehending reality.