by Walter Antoniotti, Managing Our Educational Investment
In Germany, “These lower performers leave school [graduate] at 15 with a basic qualification, usually in practical skills.” Others go to their version of a U.S. junior college before going on to college or entering the work force where they become part of an apprentice system.
Wolfgang Nowak, a west German Social Democrat who led the school reforms, explains: “We wanted to lose the ideology, but keep the best of the old eastern system—the selective gymnasium for the academically minded, but also a bigger focus on the ‘middle schools’ for other pupils.” Crucially, he cut out the third-tier Hauptschulen schools for weak academic performers. “It’s terrible for integration, it’s terrible for results.” (The best Chinese schools, adds Sir Michael Barber, have also modified their obsession with high-fliers to ensure that they address the “long tail” of underachievement—something that hampers Britain’s performance, too.) [Alan Greenspan, who wants a peaceful proletariat, would be happy! See Experts Critique America’s Education ]
A recent improvement in Germany of sending students to secondary school at 13, instead of 11, improved results immensely, especially with the boys. School ends at 1 PM with no provisions made for lunch.
So, do German students graduate because of “early out” and vocational programs?
A Nation of Dropouts Shakes Europe, Charles Forelle, The Wall Street Journal, 25 March 2011