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Referendum voters reject Hamburg school reforms

DPA/The Local · 19 Jul 2010, 09:01

Published: 19 Jul 2010 09:01 GMT+02:00

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Some 39 percent of the city-state’s voters took part in the referendum, with a clear majority against the proposal to make the city's common primary schools last from four to six years. A total of 276,304 Hamburgers were against the plan, while just 218,065 approved.

The defeat in the city’s first referendum means an end to an important part of the coalition’s education platform.

School reform opponent and founder of the initiative Wir wollen lernen, or “We want to learn,” Walter Scheuerl said he was happy with the result.

“It makes us a bit proud that today we drew such a clear result,” he said Sunday. “We not only beat the parliament, but we were victorious despite the major PR machinery that the parties, unions and city government started against us on the costs of taxpayers.”

Meanwhile Hamburg’s education minister and Greens member Christa Goetsch said she was deeply disappointed with the outcome.

“Today has been a pretty crappy day,” she said, also referring to Beust’s resignation, which was announced before the final votes were counted.

In a joint statement, Goetsch and the outgoing mayor, who cited personal reasons for his resignation rather than the referendum, called the defeat “bitter.”

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“We are very disappointed that we couldn’t convince enough people about the primary schools,” they said, adding that they had failed to make the breakthrough that would have allowed students to learn together for longer before being sent into different educational tracks.

The vote means that Hamburg’s school system reform plan, put in place after the Second World War, will remain the same. This dictates that next year there will be only two types of schools – city district schools and university-preparatory schools called Gymnasium starting with the fourth grade.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:14 July 19, 2010 by Kayak
The children will continue to be split into 'Plus' and 'Minus' members to fulfill predetermined positions within the social and economic strata... Is it now 1634 in the year of our Ford?
10:25 July 19, 2010 by whiteriver
"... A total of 276,304 Hamburgers were against the plan ..."

This sounded so funny to me.
12:19 July 19, 2010 by whatzup
I applaud the rejection by voters of the school "reforms". I don't have the money to send my kid to private schools and the less time he spends in the classroom with kids not destined for university the better. Politicians can try to engineer a more integrated society with someone else's son.
12:35 July 19, 2010 by amaticc
Excellent, very nice pressure on children. At age of 10 they need to know are they able to start faculty or not? I suppose that in that case at age of 12 they can be ready to enter a marriage without parents permission and go to army and get a driving licence and be allowed drink..
13:20 July 19, 2010 by whatzup
I could imagine, amaticc, that its a family's orientation that is a strong factor in influencing a child's educational ambitions and that ambitious families have higher educational aspirations for their kids early on. Early marriage expectations and careers in the army, on the other hand, are usually associated with the lower classes. NOKD.*

( NOKD = not our kind, dear)
14:42 July 19, 2010 by amaticc
My points are.

What if a kid shows a strong interest and talent for a school 1 or 2 years later on?

There are many topics what kids does not study before starting Gymnasium. How many talents does Germany lose on that way?

Furthermore, it is known that girls mature much faster than boys in that age.....

To early to make the proper selection...
14:55 July 19, 2010 by scout1067
What's wrong with the army? The modern military is not Wellington's, or were you unaware of that?
15:11 July 19, 2010 by auniquecorn
for some reason army people get blown up a little more often than regular folks.

(Hamburg¦#39;s school system reform plan, put in place after the Second World War, will remain the same.)

HMmmmm, No comment.
16:22 July 19, 2010 by scout1067
Army people get blown up so civilian people hopefully don't have to. Even better, in the Western World, even in Europe, the army people that go do the actual fighting are all volunteers. They volunteer so that everyone back home can march through town an bad-mouth them.

Educated or not, that willingness to suffer hardship and privation deserves some respect. The world is still not all about making money. It takes the right conditions so that the money can be made. Army people, indeed, everyone in the military help set those conditions.

It gets kind of old hearing coddled civilians always being down on the military that gives them the freedom to complain. Doing something, I might add, that those selfsame civilians are unwilling to do. Saying it irritates me is an understatement.
16:45 July 19, 2010 by whatzup
Appreciate the army? Hell yes! Want my son to be a soldier? Hell no.
17:58 July 19, 2010 by whatzup
We isolate our kids from lots of dangerous things when they're small - Alcohol, street traffic, pornography etc which is generally accepted as the right thing to do. In the same vein I would prefer that my son be isolated from kids from other less developed cultures and their attendant biases until he's a bit older. Bad habits, a lack of discipline and muddled thinking are devilish things to overcome at any age and particularly when you're young.
20:28 July 19, 2010 by Gretl
I just love whatzup's "In the same vein I would prefer that my son be isolated from kids from other less developed cultures and their attendant biases". There is no yardstick of developed culture. Every group has a culture. We have developed industries, developed countries (with power and water), but to no measurement of "culture". It is like a bellybutton, everyone has one.

What you are trying to say is that you are, at minimum, a classist, and probably a racist. No shame, just own up to your own "attendent biases" that you are inflicting on your children.
20:57 July 19, 2010 by amaticc
Less developed cultures and so on....

Does all kids need to chose Slytherin?
22:24 July 19, 2010 by JonathanH
Let¦#39;s look at the big picture; Germans are paying for this education. Not every child needs to go to college, and why waist the time and money trying to teach someone something they will never grasp? As an American I can tell you having everyone in the same class leads to daycare not education. When the teachers have to spend half the class time telling four kids to stop fighting and or talking, and the two autistic kids in class are going crazy how do you expect anyone to learn? Again, look to the US- and run in the other direction.
22:48 July 19, 2010 by whatzup
Well said JohathanH. The multi-culti mindset over here is so strong that no one would dare say boo in a disfunctional situation. No one is saying that problems don't arise in Gymnasiums as they exist today in Germany but the chance of getting a better education increases inversely with the decrease in distractions. A friend of mine teaches in the primary schools in Hamburg and says the same thing.
05:50 July 20, 2010 by JAMessersmith
I, for one, wish the American educational system more closely mirrored that of Germany's. We try to pretend as if university is appropriate for everyone, regardless of their aptitude and ambitions, and treat degrees as status symbols rather than practical tools designed to aid people in realizing their talents. This flood of students into universities has only jacked up tuition costs, overcrowded classrooms, and created a somewhat aimless job market, in which the competition is so stiff, people end up going into fields that have absolutely nothing to do with their degrees. I have countless friends who have degrees but are stuck in jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with what they spent their college years training for. I think children would be much better served if their talents were identified early on, so they could be directed toward whatever line of education suits them best, rather than wasting time and money trying to chase a false ideal.
06:57 July 20, 2010 by mrsams
Look at in other countries, there are big chaos in the enrollment of universities, many complaining hundred thousands not accepted etc..so many want to go to university although not fit for it.There is no proper guidance of this young people and the result many unemployed uni graduates with full of debt.

In Germany the intelligent are pick and develope in a very early stage so that it will really fully fit for universities that's why this kinds of young who are in universities here are more fit compared to the the one in other countries who are wasting their time, future and money (no proper guidance).

The state (tax payers ) are paying for educations here, so it's reasonable that there is a proper /rigid screening (early stage)who can go to university.
07:49 July 20, 2010 by kursten
its unbelievable the amount of people for the German school system!!! In the PISA studies Germany is 26th in the world (from 30 countries)and the USA is also way down on the list..we are comparing two rotten apples here.I come from New Zealand, we are 5th in the world.. we have the same size classrooms, spend less money on education then Germany or USA. New Zealand has way more immigration than Germany, with some of the most diverse cultures.

Deciding a child's future at 10 years old is just stupid !!!!!Einsteins father was told by his teacher and principle that Einstein is retarded..Einstein had to beg to go to Uni.Under Germany system today he would never make it to the Gymnasium, his German grades weren't good enough....
08:51 July 20, 2010 by Kayak
Thanks go to kursten for the comment about PISA studies. Look it up! There's nothing like a fact to sink a weak argument.
09:02 July 20, 2010 by kursten
@ JonathanH... my son is autistic, and going to the Gymnasium...Fighting still goes on in the Gymnasiums.. the two bullies in his class are"upper class" Germans.Should we throw the out!!!!No we should not because although they disrupt the class, take valuable learning time away from other children, there grades are OK..Proven in the PISA studies, is that if you come from a "upper class" family, you are more likely to get a better education..Even Mexico has more equality than Germany...
10:02 July 20, 2010 by mrsams
That's what the results in my own country , parents pushing their children /or the children wants to go to uni although doesn't fit for it ,just to to keep up with 'the Joneses'.Now you see the results, millions unemployed graduates, some are even working in mc donald for survival with a big debt.

Mexico you can go to Unis as long as you have money (so where is the equality?) Here everybody have a chance,as long as you are capable intellectually.

How's the results of the university graduates from this countries with a higher results in PISA? Do they have a better employment chances(in their own country) compared to the germans?
10:06 July 20, 2010 by amaticc
Usual child in Germany starts school when is 6 years old, with a pressure to have to be good or at age of 10 their life will go on a wrong way. That is cruel. If you impose that pressure on a child, you have greater chance to kill any wish in a child to go in school.

In some countries you have a qualification test for a faculty after secondary school. Who ever finished any secondary school have rights to go on the exam. If you have enough points from the test and from grades in secondary school you can start a faculty. Of course if you went to Gymnasium you will have better education before, and that gives an advantage, but Gymnasium starts after 7 or 8 years in primary school.

Germany needs any talent, there are that many fields where German's job market needs highly educated people. There are shortages of physicians, engineers, researchers, programmers. To be precise HIGH quality jobs, what brings more money for large business. Somebody needs to design Jabulany ball, it will be produced in China and Pakistan, but money will flow to Germany.
12:00 July 20, 2010 by kursten
@ mrsams

you are right about parents pushing their children /or the children wants to go to uni although doesn't fit for it ,just to to keep up with 'the Joneses'.But that is what the Germany school system does best, push parents and kids rather than help/teach them..Parents and societies attitudes need to change !!That still doesn't excuse the fact that the German school system needs a major reform..people shouldn't compare the USA system and say the Germanys system is good.. they should look at the top 5 countries and ask themselves how can we aspire to be better.(and other countries don't spend more money on education).The social system is good here..but the education system is appalling at best !!
12:25 July 20, 2010 by LancashireLad
I find it staggering that children are segregated at 10 with no chance of moving up. It puts unnecessary pressure on them and also on their parents. I eventually went into a disciplione that not only wasn't available to me or any child at 10 ... it didn't even exist at that time.

At least in the UK we make our first choices at 13 when we as children have a better idea of what interests us. Even then, nothing gets closed to us at that point. The real pressure comes first at 16 and then 18 when you are much more able to understand and therefore handle it. Even then, access to higher education is open too all who can achieve the required grades, regardless of background.

My oldest starts school in September and we have already had our first encounter with the German school system - the woman was at least 30 years out of date. We just hope he doesn't end up with her as his teacher.
12:50 July 20, 2010 by kursten

I disagree with your following statment...

"In Germany the intelligent are pick and develope in a very early stage so that it will really fully fit for universities that's why this kinds of young who are in universities here are more fit compared to the the one in other countries who are wasting their time, future and money (no proper guidance)."

Einstein was slow in learning to speak--he was not fully fluent even at the age of nine--he was at various times thought to be mentally retarded...so if he gets a 1 in maths a 1 in science and a 5 in German he can only go to the Hauptschule.. Isn't that sad ... The German school system would deny the world the next Einstein..
13:05 July 20, 2010 by LancashireLad
Couldn't agree with you more, kursten. The current system is nothing more than elitism.
16:55 July 20, 2010 by whatzup
The current system isn't elitist, its pragmatic. The next Einstein will probably be chinese. The first one was a freak and there is little a society with financial constraints can do to prepare for that. There is no problem here, kids in the Realschule can have meaningful careers as truckdrivers, cooks, waiters, salesmen, technical specialists, etc.etc.etc. If they are Einsteins they will find a way to get what they need to contribute to society.
17:13 July 20, 2010 by LancashireLad
What is pragmatic about pressuring a child of 10 into something that will affect the rest of his/her life? There are of course employers who will still not look at anyone who didn't go through a gymnasium despite that fact that an equally if not better qualified and competent applicant came from a Realschule.
07:32 July 21, 2010 by kursten
Thanks whatzup for your great answer... i laughed a lot....please read all of the posts.."society with financial constraints " the answer is not more money, there are plenty of countries in the top ten (PISA studies) that don't spend the amount that Germany does..of course the next Einstein wont come from Germany...the school system here wont allow it..So, as Germany is almost last place in the OECD countries you are quite happy for you son/daughter to have a sub standard education in comparison to the rest of the world..You don't seam to care about the next Einsteins or any other child's education here , as long as your little John/Jane gets into the Gymnasium ....and you think that will make everything alright ???

The Gymnasium teachers don't even learn to teach, only the Hauptschule teachers learn to teach...what a system!!!!
15:01 July 21, 2010 by whatzup
Glad you enjoyed my post kursten but the truth is that this is no laughing matter. Of course Gymnasium is only part of the problem. Just as important as the type of schooling your child gets are the family values at home. And the advantage of the current system is that it tries to separate the kids with the family values of integrity, ambition and respect from those that don't so that those who do have a greater chance to prosper.
16:50 July 21, 2010 by amaticc
Is that means that child will be good student if his parents are physicians or lawyer or PhD ?

Do other kids need to be prevented of studding because of wrong background and wrong blood type?

There are not to many same family Nobel price winners. Sorry it is not transferable.
01:32 July 22, 2010 by whatzup
Blood types have nothing to do with it amaticc. Appitude, discipline, ambition and cultural values are are some of the qualities that really matter.
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