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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

EDUCATION

EDUCATION


... an entry from my Ms. THE ABC OF NEO-FEUDALISM



                                    © Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg

The cliché of German stultifying education is the Nürnberger Trichter whereby the student is indoctrinated via a funnel.

As such the Germans are clearly best prepared for neo-feudalism when it comes to education - they have never changed the system they inherited from the feudalism of old. Germany is one of the few countries that separate children, aged between 10 and 12 (depending in which state they live) into educational winners and losers. At year 10 (to 12) all German children are tested and/or are recommended by their teachers for various strands of further schooling, essentially a choice between low vocational (Hauptschule) and academic (Gymnasium). These are not just streams in a school - these are totally separate schools. If you are destined for the Hauptschule you’ve just been made a member of the Prekariat (see entry under class). A German education expert, Inge Kloepfer[1] (2008) wrote that ’the German underclass comprises some 20% of the total population, and that the offspring of this underclass congregate in the Hauptschule, and subsequently live of social welfare and criminal activities all their lives. In other words they make excellent serfs and fiefs for neo-feudalism.

In most other (typically Anglo-Saxon) countries that have a much later separation of education winners and losers, there is at least a token belief that children should have an equal chance in getting an education. Sure, the Germans can argue that in Anglo-Saxon countries there is another way to solve the class problem: simply separate the children even earlier at the beginning of the primary school cycle: send the upper class kids to private, so-called prep schools (i.e. to prepare them for entry into private high class high schools and colleges) while the rest of the school age population goes to ordinary primary/elementary schools and on through ordinary high schools and colleges that invariably fail students at academic subjects - shunting them into the vocational streams or total failure. Same outcome, sure, but slightly less systemic.

Furthermore a study (2008) conducted by the Mainz Gutenberg University[2] showed that when the German 10 year old pupil from the lower classes has grades as good as that for the pupil from the upper classes, the teacher will invariably recommend only the upper class student for the Gymnasium. The only really interesting point here is that universities typically conduct research into what is already well known by society - under the weird pretense that they reveal some sort of shocking social engineering, when in fact such research helps to reassure the ruling classes that all is well.

As someone who has taken part in both the German and Anglo-Saxon education systems, I am forever amazed by the hypocrisy displayed by the education elites and education bureaucrats - of any shade in the mainstream political spectrum - in that they commission and conduct endless research into why students from lower socio-economic classes perform so badly in the education system. Resulting education programmes such as Head Start, No Child Left Behind, Bridging the Gap and what-have-you, are all designed to level the playing field, to give everyone an equal chance, to be fair, to be democratic, to be proactive, even to employ positive discrimination - they assuage the minimal guilt felt by wishy-washy high class liberals but thankfully have no educational effect whatsoever. Low class schools have to sign up to these remedial programmes with great enthusiasm, low-class teachers have to work twice as hard - if at all - and school management provides glowing reports for the Ministry of Education and the Media that all is well, unbelievable progress is being made, working class students gaining entry to universities, and “democracy is coming to the USA” - as Leonard Cohen sings. So that the ruling classes do not get worried unduly over such reports there needs to be the occasional reality check such as the one done above - or just consult the education statistics of any country, thanks to UNESCO - and all is well again. I am looking forward to neo-feudalism where at least a spade is called a spade and where low class children expect nothing more and nothing less than becoming low class adults. It will be official policy (indeed under neo-feudalism we will not need a Ministry of Education at all, thank God). Under neo-feudalism you know various degrees of the elite by the school tie they wear. If they don’t wear any tie at all they are either in disguise or else true members of the underclass Prekariat - notice that the Prekariat cannot disguise themselves as wearing such ties because they never could afford one in the first place, and anyway, to wear a school tie under false pretenses is a capital crime.

Notes:
1 The full interview can be accessed on Der Spiegel at http://www.spiegel.de/schulspiegel/wissen/0,1518,584417,00.html

2 The researchers also came up with the idea that teachers engage in ‘unbewusste Diskriminierung’ which in English one might either call sub-conscious discrimination’ or ‘unconscious discrimination’ - either way an oxymoron of the first grade; http://www.spiegel.de/schulspiegel/wissen/0,1518,577485,00.html

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