French teachers strike over ‘unfair’ classroom groups, lack of resources

Several unions representing middle and high schools in France are calling for another round of strikes and demonstrations on Tuesday to demand the abandonment of a scheme separating students into levels, as well as a salary hike and more resources for public schools.

Launched by the Snes-FSU union, the strike will mostly affect middle schools. They want the removal of the controversial scheme of dividing classes up based on “good” and “bad” results and they are demanding salary increases and better resources for public schools.

Rallies are expected to take place in many cities in France on Tuesday.

In Paris, the demonstration will start near the Luxembourg Gardens around 2 p.m.

Already on strike several times since the beginning of the year, French teachers are angry about a set of reforms launched by former Education Minister Gabriel Attal called “Shock of Knowledge” to boost basic reading and arithmetic, considered below par.

The measure involving sorting students into smaller groups according to their levels in mathematics and French, is designed to support students in difficulty.

Unions said in a statement that the government had not consulted properly with the teaching profession, judging this publication “unacceptable and irresponsible”.

The “level” groups are to come into effect from the start of the 2024 school year for the first two grades of middle schools and from the start of the 2025 school year for the next two grades.

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