German Krankheit: Bash the Whistleblower
When UN special envoy, Professor Vernor Muñoz Villalobos presented his report on the condition of the secondary school system in Germany, it could have been preceived as a wake up call for German politicians that something is awry in the State of Germany.
For long it has been a well known fact that Germany's three-tierd secondary school system (consisting of "Gymnasium" preparing for university, "Realschule", the once-lower-middle-class school for the white collar workforce and "Hauptschule", nowadays the school of the left behind) manifests the social immobility. It is well known that in no other OECD-country is the correlation between parent-income and education with all its consequences so strong as it is in Germany.
Far from acknowledging the fact and taking a look back at disasters-made-public like the brutalized Ruetli-School in the inner city district of Berlin Neukölln, the Ministery of education today was quick to point out that Germany
"(...) thanks to its well performing educational system is one of the strongest national economies and most stable democracies worldwide (...)"
As a matter of fact, none of the three assumptions (or shall we say hot air Newspeak) stands any fact checking.
- Conditions for students in any branch of Germany's educational system, elementary, secondary, and university - are short of plain out appalling.
- According to a research published by Deutsche Bank, in only one year Germany has fallen back from position 15 to position 19 on the wealth ladder (measured in value created per capita).
- According to an opinion poll published by primary German evening news show, Tagesschau, in November 2006, only 49% of Germans said they trusted in democracy and its institutions.
Apparently, none of these facts (with the UN-report little more than the sweet cherry topping the wedding cake) appears to be a wake up call for German politicians. It is integral part of the German Krankheit (disease) that whatever can be ignored will be ignored beyond the point of social sanity.
It seems futile in the light of such ignorance to look deeper into the merits of the German government's arguments trying to counter Muñoz Villalobos' arguments instead of drawing appropriate conclusions. While the example is fresh, the reaction is all-too typical and can be seen almost as topos in German politics, letting the self-appointed elites cling to structures, office and privilege long enough to kill the patient (society) in the process. Germany is in the midst of it as we speak.