Muy bien articulo que desenmascara la patranya de la supuesta meritocracia francesa. Libertad, igualdad, fraternidad, pero unos mas iguales que otros.
BOLU
Elite French Schools Block the Poor's Path to Power

By CRAIG S. SMITH
nytimes.com
PARIS, Dec. 17 - Even as the fires smoldered in France's working-class suburbs and paramilitary police officers patrolled Paris to guard against attacks by angry minority youths last month, dozens of young men and women dressed in elaborate, old-fashioned parade uniforms marched down the Champs-Élysées to commemorate Armistice Day.
They were students of the grandes écoles, the premier institutions of higher education here, from which the upper echelons of French society draw new blood. Few minority students were among them.

Nothing represents the stratification of French society more than the country's rigid educational system, which has reinforced the segregation of disadvantaged second-generation immigrant youths by effectively locking them out of the corridors of power.
While French universities are open to all high school graduates, the grandes écoles - great schools - from which many of the country's leaders emerge, weed out anyone who does not fit a finely honed mold. Of the 350,000 students graduating annually from French high schools, the top few grandes écoles accept only about 1,000, virtually all of whom come from a handful of elite preparatory schools.
Most of the country's political leaders, on both the right and the left, come from the grandes écoles. President Jacques Chirac and his prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, studied at the National School of Administration, which has produced most of the technocrats who have run France for the last 30 years. Two opposition leaders, François Hollande and Laurent Fabius, did, too.
"It's as if in the U.S., 80 percent of the heads of major corporations or top government officials came from Harvard Law School," said François Dubet, a sociologist at the University of Bordeaux.

These schools - officially there are 200 but only a half dozen are the most powerful - have their roots in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Empire. Just as the SAT's were meant to give all American students an equal shot at top universities, the examination-based grandes écoles were developed to give the bourgeoisie a means of rising in a society dominated by the aristocracy.
It worked for nearly two centuries. Throughout the 19th century, French administrations drew establishment cadres from the loyal ranks of the grandes écoles, avoiding the universities, which, outside the control of the government establishment, they saw as potential pools of dissent.

Even in the 20th century, the merit-based system allowed young people from modest backgrounds to move up into the corridors of power.

But children of blue-collar workers, who made up as much as 20 percent of the student body of the top grandes écoles 30 years ago, make up, at best, 2 percent today. Few are minority students.
In the 1950's, only a small proportion of French students pursued higher education, leaving room for a slice of the working classes to get into the schools, said Vincent Tiberj, a sociologist who studies social inequalities in France. Since then, the number of candidates for the schools has expanded far faster than the schools themselves.

At the same time, the channels leading into the schools have narrowed: the vast majority of students entering the grandes écoles today come from special two-year preparatory schools, which draw their students primarily from high schools in the country's wealthiest neighborhoods. "The top five or six grandes écoles recruit students from fewer than 50 high schools across France," said Richard Descoings, director of the elite Paris Institute of Political Studies, better known as Sciences Po.

Administrators at the grandes écoles say students who do not follow the focused, specialized curriculum of the preparatory schools have almost no chance of being accepted. And while, theoretically, top students from any high school in the country can apply for the preparatory schools, the system has become so rarefied that few people from working-class neighborhoods are even aware that the opportunity exists.

"There's a lack of information, no one talked to us about the preparatory schools," said Alexis Blasselle, 20, the daughter of working-class parents and now a student at the exclusive École Polytechnique. She learned of the preparatory schools by chance the summer after graduating from high school. "The solution isn't to open up another avenue to get into the grandes écoles, but to make people aware of the possibility."

Sciences Po (pronounced see-ahns po), alone among the elite schools, has opened a new avenue of entry for students. High schools from disadvantaged neighborhoods nominate students, and Sciences Po then gives them oral examinations for intellectual curiosity and critical thinking. This year, 50 students were admitted through the program, while 200 entered through the normal examination process.
The Conference of Grandes Écoles, an association of the 200 schools, has also started a program that reaches out to top students in working-class neighborhoods to help guide them through their high school years and better their chances of getting into a preparatory school.

But the top half-dozen grandes écoles, those that provide the country's leaders in politics and business, remain more or less closed.

The barriers for second-generation immigrants are enormous. Schools in poor, often immigrant neighborhoods get the most inexperienced teachers, who usually move on as soon as they have gained enough tenure for a job in a better area.
The initial fork in the lives of many young people comes when they are about 13 and have to choose between a general course of study or vocational training. Many young second-generation immigrants are guided into technical classes or, at best, post-high-school associate degree programs in marketing or business that are of little help in finding a job.
Second-generation immigrants also often "live in an environment that is outside of French culture," said Mr. Descoings of Sciences Po. "They are not in the proper social network. There isn't the socialization that exists in a wealthy family in an exclusive neighborhood of Paris."

Sitting outside Paul Éluard High School in Saint-Denis, one of the poorest suburbs north of Paris, Bélinda Caci, 16, calls the school guidance counselor "the head of disorientation," saying that the school cares only about making sure that the students graduate, not what happens after that.
"To become part of this crème de la crème, you have to have benefited from a favorable social environment and education," the sociologist, Mr. Dubet, said, calling graduates of the grandes écoles a sort of state nobility. "It's like the Olympics; you have to begin very, very early."
Muy bien articulo que desenmascara la patranya de la supuesta meritocracia francesa. Libertad, igualdad, fraternidad, pero unos mas iguales que otros.

"Los muertos que vos desenmascarais..."...
Este articulo no hace sino repetir los clasicos lugares comunes de la vision USAna del sistema educativo frances. Pero el problema es que juzgan el sistema a partir de sus propios prejuicios, lo cual hace que lo entiendan bastante mal. Veamos parrafo por parrafo:
Elite French Schools Block the Poor's Path to Power By CRAIG S. SMITH nytimes.com PARIS, Dec. 17 - Even as ... higher education here, from which the upper echelons of French society draw new blood. Few minority students were among them.

Really ? Aca el periodista muestra una ignorancia bastante profunda: en primer lugar, los alumnos de las "grandes ecoles" NO desfilan en uniforme para conmemorar "armistice day". En realidad, solo dos "grande école" tienen uniformes y desfilan: la Escuela Politecnica (que forma los ingenieros militares) y la escuela militar de Saint Cyr (que forma a los oficiales del ejercito). Y accesoriamente, sus alumnos no desfilan para "armistice day", sino solamente el 14 de julio. Ustedes me diran que es un detalle, pero un periodista serio se cuida de los detalles. Veamos lo que sigue:
Nothing represents the stratification of French society more than the country's rigid educational system, which has reinforced the segregation of ... top few grandes écoles accept only about 1,000, virtually all of whom come from a handful of elite preparatory schools.

Pero como se entra a esas "few grandes écoles" ? Como se entra a las "elite preparatory schools" ? Para empezar, se entra por merito Y POR MERITO SOLO. Tanto las "top few grandes écoles" como las "preparatory schools" son gratuitas, y para permitir a alumnos modestos de seguir la escolaridad algunas hasta pagan sueldos a sus alumnos. Contrariamente a lo que ocurre en los paises anglosajones, es imposible entrar en ellas "comprando" un lugar, o por relaciones, visto que la entrada se hace por concurso anonimo.
No me gusta dar mi ejemplo personal, pero no creo que un inmigrante como yo, llegado con una mano atras y otra adelante, hubiese podido ir a Yale. En Francia, pude ir a una de esas "top few grandes ecoles".
Most of the country's political leaders, on both the right and the left, come from the grandes écoles. President Jacques ... corporations or top government officials came from Harvard Law School," said François Dubet, a sociologist at the University of Bordeaux.

Asi es. Lo que Dubet parece no entender es que contrariamente a Harvard Law School, la "National School of Administration" es un lugar donde se entra por concurso anonimo, mientras que para entrar a la Harvard Law School, hay que tener mucha, mucha plata. Cual de las dos selecciones es preferible ? La que se hace por concurso de meritos, o la que se hace por concurso de cheques ?
These schools - officially there are 200 but only a half dozen are the most powerful - have their roots ... examination-based grandes écoles were developed to give the bourgeoisie a means of rising in a society dominated by the aristocracy.

Precisely.
It worked for nearly two centuries. Throughout the 19th century, French administrations drew establishment cadres from the loyal ranks of the grandes écoles, avoiding the universities, which, outside the control of the government establishment, they saw as potential pools of dissent.

No exactamente. La razon por la cual las grandes escuelas fueron creadas feura de la Universidad es que la universidad estaba dominada por la aristocracia y por la iglesia catolica. Para crear una elite independiente de estos dos grupos de poder, hubo que crear un sistema paralelo.
Even in the 20th century, the merit-based system allowed young people from modest backgrounds to move up into the corridors of power.

Indeed!
But children of blue-collar workers, who made up as much as 20 percent of the student body of the top grandes écoles 30 years ago, make up, at best, 2 percent today. Few are minority students.

Aha... que interesante... en otros terminos, cuando se empezaron a aplicar en Francia las teorias liberales 20% de los estudiantes en "grande ecole" venian de la clase obrera, y treinta anios de liberalismo la redujeron a 2%. Conste en actas.
In the 1950's, only a small proportion of French students pursued higher education, leaving room for a slice of the ... inequalities in France. Since then, the number of candidates for the schools has expanded far faster than the schools themselves.

Aca volvemos al reino del fantasma. Si en los años 1950 la proporcion de los estudiantes franceses que seguian estudios superiores era menor, mal se entiende como eso podia dejar lugar para los hijos de obreros, que justamente eran los que menos estaban en condiciones de seguir ese tipo de estudios. La razon por la cual menos hijos de obreros acceden hoy a las "grandes escuelas" que en los años 1950 tiene que ver con una degradacion del tipo de cultura que se les transmite, que tiene mucho que ver con el paulatino desmembramiento del Estado organizado por los liberales.
At the same time, the channels leading into the schools have narrowed: the vast majority of students entering the grandes ... schools across France," said Richard Descoings, director of the elite Paris Institute of Political Studies, better known as Sciences Po.

No se ve muy bien donde esta el "narrowing": la cuasi-totalidad de los estudiantes de las "grandes escuelas" son reclutados en las clases preparatorias, y eso desde mediados del siglo XIX.
Administrators at the grandes écoles say students who do not follow the focused, specialized curriculum of the preparatory schools have almost no chance of being accepted.

Evidentemente. Si uno no sigue el "focused, specialised" programa de cualquier examen, no tiene ninguna chance de pasarlo.
And while, theoretically, top students from any high school in the country can apply for the preparatory schools, the system has become so rarefied that few people from working-class neighborhoods are even aware that the opportunity exists.

"So rarefied" ? Este tipo no sabe de que habla. Las "classes préparatoires" existen POR LO MENOS en un liceo por departamento. O sea que cada frances vive a menos de medio dia de cabalgata de las clases preparatorias mas proximas a su domicilio. Y los liceos con clases preparatorias tienen internados, previstos justamente para los alumnos que no pueden ir y volver en el dia.
"There's a lack of information, no one talked to us about the preparatory schools," said Alexis Blasselle, 20, the daughter ... isn't to open up another avenue to get into the grandes écoles, but to make people aware of the possibility."

O sea que el sistema de entrada es justo, solo queda hacerlo conocer. Si esta chica tiene razon, entonces todo el argumento sobre el caracter discriminatorio del sistema se va al bombo.
Sciences Po (pronounced see-ahns po), alone among the elite schools, has opened a new avenue of entry for students. High ... and critical thinking. This year, 50 students were admitted through the program, while 200 entered through the normal examination process.

Science Po NO es una "grande école" sino un instituto privado. Su examen de seleccion, contrariamente al de las "grandes ecoles", esta esencialmente basado en examenes de tipo "cultura general". Y es bien sabido que ese tipo de examenes beneficia radicalmente a quienes vienen de cierto tipo de familias. Contrariamente a las matematicas, la fisica o el dibujo tecnico, la "cultura general" no se adquiere estudiando en libros. Es justamente porque Sciences-Po tenia un sistema de seleccion bastante poco "republicano" que lanzo este tipo de "programas", con un maximo de publicidad.
The Conference of Grandes Écoles, an association of the 200 schools, has also started a program that reaches out to ... the top half-dozen grandes écoles, those that provide the country's leaders in politics and business, remain more or less closed.

Mas arriba, "the daughter of working-class parents and now a student at the exclusive École Polytechnique" declaraba que era un problema de informacion. Y ahora resulta que la "Ecole" en cuestion estaria "more or less closed" ?
The barriers for second-generation immigrants are enormous. Schools in poor, often immigrant neighborhoods get the most inexperienced teachers, who usually move on as soon as they have gained enough tenure for a job in a better area.

Asi es. En completo acuerdo con las tesis liberales. O acaso sugiere este autor que el Estado deberia imponer a los profesores sus lugares de trabajo ?
(snip)
Sitting outside Paul Éluard High School in Saint-Denis, one of the poorest suburbs north of Paris, Bélinda Caci, 16, calls ... of disorientation," saying that the school cares only about making sure that the students graduate, not what happens after that.

Otra vez, en completo acuerdo con los principios liberales. Por que el "gov'ment" tendria que ocuparse de lo que ocurre despues que la gente se recibe ?
"To become part of this crème de la crème, you have to have benefited from a favorable social environment and ... of the grandes écoles a sort of state nobility. "It's like the Olympics; you have to begin very, very early."

Y como en los juegos olimpicos, trabajar mucho, mucho, mucho. Conclusion: y si, vivimos en el capitalismo, y por lo tanto mas vale ser rico que ser pobre a la hora de estudiar (como a la hora de hacer cualquier otra cosa). Pero el sistema meritocratico frances sigue teniendo una enorme ventaja sobre el modelo anglosajon: justamente, el de ser meritocratico. El hijo de millonario que no trabaja para pasar el examen no entra a la Ecole Polytechnique simplemente porque su padre tiene de que hacer una "donacion".
Saludos
Mario "el franchute"
mientras que para entrar a la Harvard Law
School, hay que tener mucha, mucha plata.

Eso no es cierto. Para postularse en Harvard o MIT no se solicita justificativo para solventar los estudios y, una vez aceptado, hay un abanico muy grande de préstamos para aquel que no puede pagar sus estudios.
Saludos Mario "el franchute"

Saludos,
Andrés