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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Mobilisation dans l’Education nationale

by A. F.

High School Students Join Teachers’ Protest Movement.

Translated Friday 28 March 2008, by Gene Zbikowski

Two high school student unions have called for a demonstration today, March 27, in solidarity with the teachers’ protests against job cuts.

Things are no longer just simmering. Protests against staff cuts have spread like wildfire to several dozen schools, mostly in the Paris region. Entrances to schools have been blocked and rallies have been held in front of local education offices; regional education authorities and schools have been occupied at night: the forms of protest vary but everywhere the same battle cry is heard: “no to the job cuts the government is planning for the 2008-2009 school year.”

Two high school student unions, the National High School Union (UNL) and the Independent and Democratic High School Federation (FIDL) called for new protests at 2 p.m. today in Paris, Lyons and Marseilles, following an initial demonstration on March 18, in which they stood shoulder to shoulder with striking members of the SUD-Education teachers union. This will be an opportunity for the student unions to measure the strength of a protest movement which as yet is still uneven and which is developing from day to day. “There will be a lot more people,” FIDL promised yesterday, but, they pointed out, “there could be 1500 protesting high school students as easily as there could be 10,000.” On Saturday, FIDL organized a general assembly for “information and coordination” of the Paris region high schools, which drew representatives from 35 different schools. In all, according to FIDL, “70 to 80 schools are affected by the protests” in the Paris region.

“High school students will work to establish a relationship of forces which will allow them to be heard in the discussions and to obtain additional financing for the coming school year,” the UNL declared, drawing attention to the persistence over the past few weeks of “local protest movements that have drawn a large following,” and in which all those involved in education – students, teachers, and parents – have participated. Moreover, in Paris, high school students have scheduled their actions to match those of the teachers in the Créteil educational region, who have been highly mobilized since the end of the winter break and who have been called out on strike by a very broad coalition of trade unions that includes the SNES-FSU, SNEP-FSU, SNUEP-FSU, FO, CGT, SUD-éducation, and SUNDEP teachers unions.

The FSU teachers union announced yesterday that it was putting off by one day, to Sunday May 18, its planned national demonstration, which is intended to unite all school personnel, from the kindergartens to the universities, “to protest the government’s educational policy.” The reason for the date change is to permit elementary school teachers, who teach on Saturday mornings in France, to participate in the demonstration.

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