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Posts Tagged ‘school

Aygül Özkan’s next Big Thing

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So sorry, prime minister.

So sorry, prime minister.

After Aygül Özkan’s initative for the removal of crucifixes from Lower Saxonian classrooms (that would be basically five or six classrooms in the south of  Oldenburg Land) has failed, her latest initiative, one for culturally sensitive language in the press, has failed, too. Lower Saxony’s prime minister David McAllister said today that he hadn’t been informed about the contents of the “media charter”, and that his state chancellery, not Özkan’s ministry of social affairs, was in charge of Lower Saxony’s media policies. “There is no way that a government could instruct journalists how they have to report.”

Özkan was appointed minister of social affairs by former Lower Saxonian prime minister Christian Wulff, shortly before Wulff himself chose to become Germany’s top empty shirt & tie, probably after learning that his state’s financial situation was fairly rotten.

Now poor Özkan is in the lion’s den. McAllister, the new boss, is a bad guy.

But Taide has learned from usually well-informed circles that Özkan is already preparing her next big thing. She plans to have all Lower Saxonians (who are, after all, very Hanoverian) collectively apologize to prime minister McAllister, son of a Scottish father, for the Battle of Culloden. Besides, a minute of silence shall be obeyed on 16th April next year.

The German Schools are Ready

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I felt tempted to say that they are ready from day one, but Hilary Clinton said she was, and her day didn’t come. But anyway: we, the teachers are ready, and the schools are ready.

Many questions are asked about the schools. In most cases, they are asked by people who should ask questions about themselves instead. By parents who are glad to send their kids to school, not because they want their children to learn something, but because they are glad to see the back of them, at least for a while. Politicians who put parents’ voliton first, and neglect teachers’ expertise, because there are many parents, but only few teachers in their constituencies, should ask themselves questions.

And if parents or teachers – or both – start asking themselves question, day one will be here.

That’s haughty, right? But you see, teachers have constantly asked themselves questions during the past ten or fifteen years. And teachers have studied, been trained on the job, and twenty or thirty years ago, as a student, I would have survived even the worst of my colleagues of today. Compared to my teachers decades ago, they are geniuses.

It’s time that others start asking themselves questions now.

Wöltingerode/Vienenburg: a Humble Venue for a Humbly-abled Government

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Lower Saxony’s prime minister, Christian Wulff, seems to have a soft spot for Cistercian monasteries. He had his son baptised in Loccum, and this month, he took his cabinet to the monastery of Wöltingerode, in Vienenburg, the Harz mountains.

Wulff has been Lower Saxony’s prime minister since March 4, 2003. He is the member of a conservative party, the Christian Democrats. They are traditionally credited with knowing how to handle budgets. Ora et labora, the old rule of monastic order, was still true in our times, the prime minister told his ministers at the outset of the venue there in Vienenburg.

Some will become aware here how dramatic the situation is, the Nordwestzeitung quoted a government official. The Wulff government plans to slash some 1,500 jobs in the public service, and another 4.6 billion Euros of debt for the federal state. And public officers, whose jobs are basically safe, will need to get prepared for a retirement age of 67. And the state will need fewer teachers, Wulff suggests: the number of students would drop by almost 25 per cent. In short: after seven years of a party in government that knows how to handle money, we are bankrupt.

That would be reason to condemn Mr Wulff’s and his government’s performance. As long as they were in the opposition, a “Lower Saxonian public debt clock” was showing the latest digits in the Christian Democrat’s parliamentary group’s conference room. (I suppose they have either removed it, or have become blind to it.)

Another problem is that it’s impossible to see a policy in what Wulff and his ministers are now doing. Education is one of the few core jurisdictions of a German federal state (i.e. a member state of the German Federal Republic). So far I have only heard that there will be blood, sweat, and tears. But where is the enemy that needs to be overcome? And where is the glory that awaits us after victory? What, besides saving money, does this government want to achieve?

The federal state government’s communication skills either suck, or their jobs have been slashed long ago.

Swine Flu: Lower Saxonians can put their Mind at Rest

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Now I can put my mind at rest: my pater patriae (the father of our state of Lower Saxony), prime minister Christian Wulff, won’t die from swine flu, and his benedictory doings won’t be compromised by the bothersome infection, not even for one day. He got his shot on Thursday on 08:23 Central European Time, and according to the Hamburger Abendblatt, the vaccine is called Pandemrix. At first, he had a slight rise in temperature, but now, he could virtually feel the protection in his body, he informed us.

It would be nice if I, a humble servant of the State of Lower Saxony, could virtually feel that protection in my body too, because I had decided to get a shot, given my job as a teacher, meeting hundreds of people every day. But while Mr Wulff’s former minister for economic affairs, and now minister of health in the federal cabinet in Berlin, appeals for everyone going and have themselves vaccinated – the more people participated, the better the general protection from the disease, he is quoted -, many people in Lower Saxony will have to wait for weeks, and will be lingering on waiting lists until then.

I’m sure that Asma al Assad and her awkward and stiff, but also-very-young-as-well husband and president of Syria, will have had their shots, too (but of course, I’m not sure).

Anyway, for most Syrians (and maybe for Mme al Assad and His Excellency, too), the vaccine will reportedly be available in December.

And so it will reportedly be for many Lower Saxonians. But after all, we can put our minds at ease. Our pater patriae and supreme boss of Lower Saxony’s civil service is on the safe side now.

Written by taide

November 5, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Not-So-Brainy Talent Search

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Advice for Parents: Media Skills and Optimal Braces Are the Way into your Child's Happy Future!

Advice for Parents: Media Skills and Optimal Braces Are the Way into your Child's Happy 'n Successful Future!

Der Spiegel explains why children who start school earlier than others often lose out during the school years. They are reportedly about  30% less likely to enter college later, than other pupils.

Unfortunately, there is no material about what can happen when a child enters school at a regular age, but then leapfrogs one schoolyear or several due to excellent school performance.

Whenever parents want to see their brat start working as soon as possible, so that they can at last pay off their ambitious homestead, pushing the kids into college at an age of two years less than average may look like a wonderful strategy. Besides, who doesn’t want to have a wunderkind?

But unfortunately, their kids often fail even harder than traditionally weak learners. They may become verhaltensauffällig (“behaviour disordered”) and are frequently disembarked at child or adolescent psychologists’ practices as a result. Arguably pretty often, the professionals won’t try to talk real sense into the parents – after all, they want to keep their business.

Written by taide

September 6, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Pirates in Elementary School “questionable”

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Spiegel survey: More than 90% have no objections against pirate grandpa's in benchmark tests (on Friday noon)

Spiegel survey: More than 90% had no objections against pirate grandpa's in benchmark tests (on Friday noon)

Germany’s Elementary School Association isn’t fundamentally against the nationwide benchmark test’s subject on Tuesday, which was about a pirate-grandpa. But Horst Bartnitzky, the association’s chairman, believes that it was debatable, because the topic benefitted boys who were more interested in pirates. Mr Bartnitzky just wants to ask questions: is it OK to have students read a story where soap bubbles are fired from a cannon, pirates polish their peg legs and pirate grannies make pullovers of sailors’ yarn? Bartnitzky thinks that it is questionable and asks his question: shouldn’t use of such a story be out of the question (“Verbietet sich das nicht?”).

Scientists from Koblenz – those who devised the objectionable benchmark test – try to alleviate his worries: girls had queued up to watch Pirates of the Caribbean, they say, although they concede that may have more to do with Johnny Depp than with the genre.

To avoid more quarrels next time, may I suggest that the old yarn about pirate grandpa won’t excite too many kids anyway? I recommend Alexander Kent’s Bolitho series.  Also great stuff for parents and teachers. It may keep you sane on the train, and on stupid seminars, or after stupid benchmark tests. Politically correct, Bolitho ***** pirates in Command a King’s Ship.

Being an educationalist, I’d like to add something of (hopefully) uncontested literary merits, too: C. S. Forester’s Hornblower stories. There may be something for certain teachers to learn from H.M. officers.

Besides, ban Treasure Island. John Silver, a vile pirate, looks far too good there. And his accomplices far too pitiable.

Written by taide

May 15, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Man, I Go to the Bank!

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Commerzbank recruitment

Commerzbank recruitment

This is how the Commerzbank recruits trainees. Words at the top of the advertisement:

Man, I go to the bank! / What you want: vocational training at the Commerzbank. / Ideas to the fore.

The periodical which carries this work of art is SPIESSER, die jugendzeitschrift (BABBITT, the youth magazine).

Written by taide

February 13, 2009 at 8:45 pm