Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I've read articles in the past that stated the French people lack self-esteem.  And yet, despite that (if it is true), I never see any politician proposing serious reforms.
Drew, the main difference between (mainland) European education and (US) American education is that the European educational system (and ethos) seems designed to beat you down until you become sheepish, while in the US every little "achievement" is celebrated. I've been on the wrong end of both systems: having my head chopped off for sticking out from the crowd in Spain, and having to praise mediocrity (and failing) as a teaching assistant in California.

You should read Jerome's thread on the Grandes Ecoles [especially the discussion of the admissions and prep-school process in the comments] with this in mind.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 31st, 2006 at 12:10:41 PM EST
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