Schools in America and France: Yay School!

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Throughout popular culture, there are many representations of school systems and inner city life. Laurent Cantet's film, Entre les murs (The Class), presents a view of the school system in France. Entre les murs is based on the memoirs of François Bégaudeau, a teacher in the French suburbs. While Entre les murs deals with poorer, suburban schooling in France, one chapter in David Simon and Edward Burns' book, The Corner, discusses schooling in the Baltimore inner-city. These two representations have many similarities and demonstrate the universality of schooling problems. Both also show attempts by governments to improve the situations within inner cities. Entre les murs presents a view into a French classroom through the memoirs…show more content…
Changing the education system cannot be accomplished through merely improving facilities or hiring better teachers; an improvement can only be made through changing the attitudes of the students, which are difficult to control. Schools in inner cities in the United States and in the less wealthy suburbs of Paris may not have the best teachers because the good teachers only want to teach the good students, not those who need the most help. Bégaudeau plays a teacher who has been teaching French at Françoise-Dolto for four years but has no plans to go to a different school. Françoise-Dolto Middle School is located in the twentieth arrondissement (district) of Paris. Unlike in the United States, where the wealthy families live on the outskirts of cities, the wealthy families of Paris live towards the middle of the city. In the twentieth district, 37.2 percent of families are low-income and 51.1 percent earn around the average income (Rice 35). This skew towards the less well off families reflects the economic situation of many of the families in the inner cities of the United States, especially Baltimore. The students in the film Entre les murs show many similarities to the students described in The Corner. For example, both students have a language that is unique to themselves and very different from the language of their teachers. In The Corner, it is most likely a form of urban slang. The French students use “verlan,” a way of speaking

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