Right of Passage for French Students Receives Poor Grade
By Scott Sayare
Published June 28, 2013, in the New York Times – Paris Journal
France once liked to think of its educational system as a model for the world, but studies show academic performance here to be unexceptional and on the decline, and officials have in recent years begun to fret. Increasingly, the [baccalauréat, known more commonly as "the bac"] is viewed as the flagship of a flawed system, a symbol not so much of French excellence but of what is wrong with education here.
It focuses too little on logic or creativity, many complain, and too much on rote knowledge and the esoterica that thrill the Parisian cultural aristocracy. Some critics say it has grown too easy, with a pass rate of about 90 percent last year; others contend that it now serves as little more than an exceptionally inefficient way to weed out the least-proficient students. Read the full story.