The Case for Affirmative Action in France: A lecture-based discussion by Sylvie Laurent

The French education system is challenged by many of the same issues of equity and opportunity that we grapple with in the United States, with the nation's lowest performing schools serving poor students and the best schools in the country predominantly serving the country's wealthiest students, who then continue on to prestigious universities.

In 2000, in an attempt to address this disparity, one of France's most distinguished institutions of higher education, Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, also known as Sciences Po, launched an affirmative action plan based not on race, but on demographics. Through its program, the school automatically reserves spots for a segment of students from secondary schools serving disadvantaged areas. The program was initated by the late Richard Descoings out of concern that, "the teaching of excellence could appear as a simple machine of social reproduction."

In this lecture-based discussion, Laurent will present an overview of educational inequalities in France and discuss Sciences-Po's recruitment system and its effects.

Sylvie Laurent is a W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University and a lecturer at Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). She is the author of numerous articles relating to contemporary American popular culture and published her first book Homérique Amérique in September 2008.

Thursday, August 16, 2012. 3:00 PM.
Approximate duration of 2.0 hour(s).
Cubberley 114 (Map)
General Public
Lecture / Reading
Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education

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