Archive for French politics

it’s complicated…

Posted in pictures, Statistics with tags , , , , , , on June 21, 2021 by xi'an


Yesterday saw a first round of the regional and departmental elections in France, with a terribly low participation (around 30% of the voters, except in Corsica where 56% of the voters voted)…. [The map here is about the departmental elections, with departments being delineated in white and the subdivisions corresponding to the cantons. Corse/Corsica is “missing” because it is now a single entity. Same thing about Paris.] The only nice surprise about this outcome is that abstention particularly impacted the lepenist votes, which almost uniformly went down compared with the previous regional elections. And hence that the ill chances that a region gets a nazional majority are lowered. Although it is difficult to analyse why: polls were predicting a brown sludge tsunami, the gilets jaune movement (or morass) is not yet over and mostly aligned with the populist themes of the RN, and (some) people  seem unhappy with about any decision taken by any level of authority during the Covid-19 crisis. It will be interesting to watch the second round final results, next week, but I doubt we will see a voting surge happening, esp. since the frontist danger is now downplayed.

la remise en cause des mathématiques comme outil exclusif de reproduction de la bourgeoisie

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2021 by xi'an


A tribune that was published by Le Monde a few days ago celebrates the end of the “dominance of mathematics [in high school programs] as the unique reproduction medium of the bourgeoisie”, in  connection with a recent reformation of French high school programs where students have to specialise in only three topics in their final years. This change has led to a major drop both in the number of students studying maths and in the contents of the maths curriculum. As a result, there will less students entering university with a basic maths background and an overall regression in their level. At a time when international scores show French pupils are on average the worst ones in Europe and when the French government has huge ambitions to develop national AI companies,  this drift should be most concerning… But not for the author of the tribune, a high school professor of history and geography, who is most happy in the rise of students specialising in his subject, with a caricaturesque opinion on the inegalitarian role of mathematics:

“[la réforme] devait dès lors permettre, par le jeu des nouvelles spécialités, l’expression d’aptitudes plus diverses et d’en finir avec la prééminence systématique des mathématiques comme instrument de sélection scolaire et sociale.” [the reformation should then allow through new specialties to account for a wider range of abilities and to end the systemic preeminence of mathematics as a tool for school and social selection]

“[les mathématiques] demeurent le choix privilégié des mâles CSP + soucieux de préserver leur rang social” [mathematics still are the favoured option of higher class males afraid to loose their social position]

“[la spécialité histoire-géographie-sciences politiques] doit contribuer à la promotion sociale des plus défavorisés et à la remise en cause des mathématiques comme outil exclusif de reproduction de la bourgeoisie.” [the history, geography and political science specialty must contribute to the social promotion of the least favoured and to the demotion of mathematics as the unique instrument of preservation of the bourgeoisie]

If it was not so sadly representative of a general perception of mathematics within the global population and among the high administration of the Education Ministry, the outdated ideological tone of the tribune would have been quite hilarious.

le joli mois de mai [10/05/1981]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2021 by xi'an

it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Posted in Books, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2021 by xi'an

au revoir

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , on December 3, 2020 by xi'an