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French Government To Ban Homework



PARIS - Speaking to a group of 600 educators at the Sorbonne, France’s 700-year-old university, President François Hollande declared last week that he hopes that his government will become known as the “education administration,” Le Monde reported.

One of Hollande’s most talked about reforms was the banning of homework for elementary school children. Although written homework was actually banned in a 1956 decree, reports Europe 1, this regulation is never actually applied.

Homework is a factor of social inequalities, said the government. The subject has been a sore point for working or immigrant parents, who often cannot help their children with their assignments. It is not know yet whether the new proposal will also target oral homework: lessons and poems learned by heart.

Another pivotal change -- that may be less popular than the homework ban with students themselves -- will be an increase from four to four and a half days of school per week, reported L’Express.

French elementary school children currently have Wednesdays off for extra-curricular activities. This has been criticized by experts, who believe this mid-week break is disruptive to what they call “scholastic rhythms.” Under the new proposal, there will be an extra half-day of school, on Wednesday mornings, starting from the 2013 school year.

Education is among the only fields not feeling the pinch of austerity measures. La Croix newspaper called the Education ministry the “teacher’s pet.”

The only idea missing from Hollande’s proposal is the controversial plan to reduce the two-month-long summer school holiday. French children currently go to school for fewer days than any of their counterparts in Europe, because of many holidays during the school year.

School days, however, are very long. Middle and High School usually starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends around 6 p.m.

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This Happened — September 20:  Lunch Atop A Skyscraper

On this day in 1932, the famous photo was taken that captured construction workers having lunch while sitting on a steel beam 850 feet above the ground during the construction of the Rockefeller Center in New York City.

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