The remarks published here are extracts from an article that appeared in an issue of the journal Administration et éducation (no. 1, 1999) devoted to "Social divides, educational divides". Not included are Claude Thélot's observations on the development of social and geographical inequalities in the French education system: he argues that, whatever anyone says and even if inequalities can be seen to be moving upwards, the school system has nevertheless helped to make French society more democratic insofar as inequalities in access to education are, overall, less marked now than in the past.
That said, much still needs to be done in order to weaken the mechanisms whereby élites reproduce themselves. From this perspective, Claude Thélot argues that the education system should become more diversified while maintaining a strong national framework, able to curb the inequalities that might arise. He also makes the case for a deliberate policy of positive discrimination, while pointing out the contradictions that must be avoided, the precautions required and the need for transparency about the choices to be made.