Open book on France

January 31, 1997

Max Beloff's critique of the French school system from a British point of view, and his friendly remarks about Anne Corbett are appreciated (THES, January 24). But why did he shut his eyes to the stated purpose of our book Education in France: Continuity and Change in the Mitterrand Years? As specified in the introduction, the intention has been to make available to an English-speaking community of academics and policy-makers a French vision of the system.

For example, where Beloff picks out the failure to unite the Catholic and public school systems, the French think the error was to try. This is not because Beloff is wise where the French are stupid. It is that our two societies treat innovation and conflict and, ultimately, their citizens, differently. By giving easy access to original sources we, like the editors of other books in this series, are trying to make the comparative debate more informed on precisely such issues.

Anne Corbett, doctoral student London School of Economics, Bob Moon, professor of education, Open University

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