Friday, May 27, 2011

Nicht alle Kinder koennen ins GYMNASIUM, Frau Connor!

Refugees from the German school system.  For we are young and free!
Even though I dislike writing the rants almost as much as you must dislike reading them....again....I am reminded of why I have to.

It serves to clear my head.  And while I don't HAVE to PUBLISH all the first-draft nonsense that comes into my head, well you aren't OBLIGATED to READ it either when I do!  (Believe it or not, there is stuff I DON"T put up here - imagine what THAT must be!)

It also serves to remind me of how good I have it here.

Because the truth is that I am forgetting already.  Forgetting that the quote wasn't about all kids not getting into university but about all kids not being able to go to GYMNASIUM.

This, friends, is much much worse.

Because, you see, GYMNASIUM, despite what it sounds like to English-speakers (what, you're sending the kids to gym-class?!), is where the Germans send their 'smart kids' in fifth grade.

So that the SYSTEM doesn't even TRY to get the majority of students into the top track.  They believe that as early as the age of ten (and let's face it you know much earlier than that) you can already decide who is going to do what with their lives.

It is just assumed that most kids will be too dumb for it and the best thing to do is to sort the smart from the dumb as soon as possible and teach them different things.

Germans hate it when you use the words 'smart' and 'dumb' though.  I guess they think it makes them look bad. 

But what else are you telling a kid when you discuss with him at the age of ten what his opportunities are for a future career - bank teller, store clerk - since he didn't make the cut for Gymasium?

The reality is, funny enough more so here and in the USA than in Germany, that socio-economic differences will make a difference into whether or not a child does well in school or not.  But that doesn't mean that we should sanction this and make it policy.

These kids should be reaching for the stars. Not being told what they can't do.

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