Education for a better life
I recently suggested to my son’s school administration that they simply collect the students’ smartphones before class and only hand them back over after school. Because parallels between poor performance and frequent warnings about the use of the little energy thieves in the classroom are obvious. At first there was a “no, but thank you”, they rely on understanding and dialogue with the children. After a few weeks of apparently unsuccessful dialogue, it is now supposed to be implemented, the smartphones are being collected. Apart from a little grumbling, this will probably happen without much resistance, bourgeois behavior should go, one would like to think.
But not everywhere. A young teacher recently reported about his everyday work, his daily life in a ‘Plattenbau’ housing estate in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen. He was happy to start as a teacher, inspired by the desire to bring music and (!) mathematics closer to the children. Children, 70% of whom come from German families, the rest a mixed bag: mostly Arabs, Asians, Russians and Poles. So no conditions like in Neukölln, for example, where there are no longer any children without a migration background in some classes. Nevertheless, with many uneducated homes, dysfunctional, with alcohol and drug problems.
Loving upbringing is the exception here, brutalization and neglect are often the rule. Threats, fights, sexual violence in the playground and excessive verbal aggression “Fuck you, son of a bitch, fuck your mother, whore, slut, go die, nobody needs you” meet indifferent parents, many of whom run the school and all state institutions despise. If you explain why you took the child’s cell phone, the answer here is simply: “Shut up.”
Crisis management instead of teaching, you have to be or become almost schizophrenic to endure it every day. And if we now thought we were far enough from it, then we were mistaken; if these generations were released into life as time bombs, our bourgeois districts would not be spared either.
So there is a connection between origin and educational success. And the lack of education, the shortage of teachers (no wonder!), canceled classes, a steadily declining level of performance and a consistently high proportion of young people without a school-leaving certificate. No longer solely as an individual risk for the kids affected, they become a social and economic burden for society as a whole.
None of this should come as a surprise to us, given years of politics that have been dreaming of an open society, wanting to save the whole world at once and consistently ignoring reality out of sheer morality. A policy that dispenses with the tried and tested, wears ideological blinkers, always wants to please everyone and, of course, its own actors, and through redistribution and state gifts creates more and more dependents (voters!) instead of responsible citizens.
The dramatic loss of respect for state institutions and their executive representatives thus appears as the logical consequence of a development that is ultimately about nothing less than the future viability of our country and its next generations.
After all, according to the relevant federal agency, education should develop personality and enable a fulfilling life, provide well-trained specialists for the labor market and keep our economy competitive. Education should secure peace and democracy and pass on our cultural knowledge over the generations.
Therefore, the required national education summit must not be left to politics alone. Business, science, educational practice, civil society, students and parents are just as challenged here.
It is actually about the opportunities and rights of our children, about promoting their talents and talents and thus accompanying them on their way to a happy life. Perhaps this very thought will release the strength in each of us that we will need to rethink, redirect and find a new path together.
In this sense
Ernst-M. Ehrenkönig / CEO & Managing Partner