http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/icons/worldwise-nameplate.gifBy Peter Gumbel. The following is a guest post by Peter Gumbel, associate professor at Sciences Po, in Paris, and author of France’s Got Talent: The Woeful Consequences of French Elitism. The French government has introduced legislation that aims to attack some of the greatest weaknesses of the national higher-education system, including the fragmentation of public universities and the chronically high failure rate of undergraduates. These problems have been analyzed and agonized over for years, so you might think that the public debate over the passage of this legislation would be about how, finally, someone is trying to fix the problems. Instead, the bill introduced in Parliament on May 21 by Geneviève Fioraso, the minister for higher education, and scheduled to be voted on May 28, has provoked a controversy over an issue that neither she nor her advisers saw coming. It’s a line in the law that officially authorizes French universities to teach some classes in English. Read more...