French teachers are on strike today over plans to reform education which, as is so often the case, have not been thought out by teachers but by politicians. Teachers unions say it is reforming education according to the lowest common denominator.

The government is removing Latin and ancient Greek from the public school curriculum and downgrading other language teaching. It is also giving more power to heads to determine the curriculum. Teachers unions say that both of these measures will increase inequality between children from low income families and those from the middle classes. They believe many richer parents will quit the public school system and opt for semi-private schooling and that schools in middle class areas will offer a richer curriculum.

The plans have been developed as a response to a panic about France's position in the so-called PISA international league tables, another typical example of how such tests spawn ill-thought out reforms, as politicians scramble to show that 'their' education system can compete with the 'best in the world.'

The government is demanding more cross-curricular work, which many teachers would see as a positive thing, but not if it has not been properly thought out and funded, in such a way that it does not create hours of extra work for already overworked teachers. Interestingly a bit like the Common Core in the US, the plans are also opposed by many on the right, especially as they include changes to the history curriculum.

Protest marches are taking place across the country today.