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That judge's decision is based on an accepted assumption in Germany - everything that escapes government control/regulations is bad. Period. The convicted father is "just" an unfortunate victim of his environment.

The German attitude when dealing with innovative, but extremely unusual(in their view) ideas, is to supress or control. Supressing is to be avoided, since it's bad PR. Control is to be achieved, since it gives everyone a feeling of "something has been done about this" and Germans, generally, need that feeling. Free flowing ideas and concepts are not to be embraced, but harnessed for the Greater Good.

See, this is why misinformed, ignorant people can be dangerous. And a judge, no less.

It's a shame to see that Germany has its own share of misguided judges -- unfortunately, just like in the US.

I must say I am completely biased when it comes to this subject. My sister homeschooled her children -- well, that is until one of them got accepted into a special accelerated university scholarship program at Georgia Tech...at age 15. I would certainly put money on her kids matched against the finest the public school system -- in the US or Germany -- can produce. If that judge would be so kind as to take the other side of that bet, I'll gladly call him what he is when it's over -- LOSER!

I only know a few homeschooled people, but they are among the brightest and most "independent" people I know. Self-employed, libertarian.

On the contrary, I never lived in as much a "narrow" community as while I was in college. The Left completely controls education. "free exchange of ideas"? Oh Please. More like, regurgitate the socialist party line until you believe it.

The idea of forbidding homeschooling is:

1. There is a human right, that everyone has a right of education.
Not every family/household has the capacities and knownledge which is necessary to provide a complete education.

2. Children have to be protected against mis-education.
Consider neo-nazi parents teaching their children to hate all foreigners, that you recognize jews from their noses etc...

3. As Germany depends highly on interlectual work (opposed to production work) very high education standards are necessary. Nearly no person alone has enough knowledge in all aspects to teach children alone.

If you really insist on homeschooling your children, you have to found a private school in which case you have to prove your capabilities.

I really don't mean to offend anyone, but the US school system is much worse than the german one and therefore it is much easier to provide sufficient homeschooling. Furthermore as distances are somewhat larger in the US, homeschooling sometimes is the only sensible option.

I would appreciate it, if the people here would try to understand the german ways first and then criticize them (if still convinced)!

@offended german

Are you so easily offended? What should Americans say?? They get pounded constantly in the German media. Are you offended by comments on a blog?

Not every family/household has the capacities and knownledge which is necessary to provide a complete education.

Nor does every school have the capacity to provide education. See David's earlier post on 'Muslim Immigrants in Germany'

Children have to be protected against mis-education.
Consider neo-nazi parents teaching their children to hate all foreigners, that you recognize jews from their noses etc...

Right. I wonder what the young Germans learn in German schools when 60% (does anyone remember the exact number) of them believe Bush orchestrated 9/11.

As Germany depends highly on interlectual work (opposed to production work) very high education standards are necessary. Nearly no person alone has enough knowledge in all aspects to teach children alone.

Riiiight... Pisa...? High education standards...? Should I say more...?

And now the conclusion:

the US school system is much worse than the german one

Nowhere in David's post was there a comparison between the American and German system, but a good German doesn't waste the opportunity to display his obsession with America and set the record straight - US=worse than Germany

However, Americans, although you're obviously worse educated, please try to understand the german ways first and then criticize them. So, do as the Germans say, not as they do.

@WhatDolKnow

I am mainly offended because of the other topics where I am called nazi, idiot etc.
To all american's out there: If you call a german nazi he will be offended as if you are told that GOD is an asshole - please try not to do it.

I don't know, where you get your 60% from. If you tell me the source, I will coment on it. Until then I simply don't believe it.

Ok, Pisa is a bit more work to explain. The main problem in Germany is the separation of schoolsystems (Hauptschule, Realschule, Gymnasium). People which go to Hauptschule will most likely never get a job (WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY INTOLERABLE). A comparison of the german Gymnasium to the Pisa study shows that it would score very very high. Hauptschule however scores absolutely terribly. That's where the result comes from.
Yes it is a very bad idea to split the school system in three!!!

I'm currently studying in Canada and I agree to what some of my collegues say about the US:
We are about 1.5-2 years ahead because we did a lot more in school (Gymnasium). Americans sometimes ask us, how to spell words!?! (Not that I am good at spelling english or anything)

If you got the impression that I think Germany>US in general, I am very sorry. But I think it is ok to compare the two in certain aspects.

Even if you don't believe me, I try to understand your ways before I start criticizing them...

Oh before I forget:

The critics in german media are mostly aimed at the american government or the behaviour of the US in international politics.

I don't know, where you get your 60% from. If you tell me the source, I will coment on it. Until then I simply don't believe it.

I guess you are quite young; a few years ago the results of that poll were everywhere on the internet. It was a very serious poll and the results were shocking. However, I am not going to search the internet for it. It's not worth the effort. I believe that you have a young mind, but unflexible.

The critics in german media are mostly aimed at the american government or the behaviour of the US in international politics.

Right. You are either very young and new to Davids MK and the blogosphere, or you just landed from the red planet.

I hope at some point the superior German educational system will inform their students that Canada and the United States are two different contries.

Seriously, just imagine how offended the German's would be if that letter was written about home schooling in the US.

@ offended German

Nearly no person alone has enough knowledge in all aspects to teach children alone.

And, in America (as I understand it is also in Canada), when neither parent can meet specific educational needs of the child, there are other options. My neighbors homeschool, and have an arrangement with another family to share in their respective areas of expertise. They have a network of other citizens who volunteer to teach everything from flower arranging to quantum mechanics. Also, these children are allowed to take courses at the local schools when necessary (although the 13-year-old has already learned enough in his independent literature studies that he has passed exams written for 18-year-old "advanced" students).

Plus, in most states, homeschooled children still must meet at least the minimum scores on grade placement tests, or the Department of Family and Children's Services intervenes.

Homeschooling isn't just for fanatics, these days.

The critics in german media are mostly aimed at the american government or the behaviour of the US in international politics.

And yet you are led to think that the independent families, in homeschooling, are teaching their kids some creepy cult behaviors. Is that the work of the American Government, or just anybody who hasn't gone through your own government's indoctrination programs?

http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/schule/0,1518,grossbild-582076-408627,00.html

They sure do like one happy, normal family. Who wouldn't want to have their daugthers dress up like that?

In all seriousness, homeschooling obviously can work, but there are so many problems that need to be addressed. I remember reading articles about Muslim kids in Germany whose parents wouldn't allow them to go to biology classes or swimming lessons. Now imagine what would happen if those parents would decide to homeschool their children.

Also, with regards to the letter by the Canadian mother: 2.. What can the teacher produce in the student save what he is himself? How about an understanding of math? History? Grammar?
3.. How can a parent leave his child in the hands of a person that has a totally different worldview, valves and faith? At some point, the child will meet people with different worldviews and values, that's just a fact of life, and it may help to learn to deal with that at an early age.

Okay, I'll try one last time:

First: @WhatDoIKnow
If someone does not agree he has to be young and inflexible?
I don't know what to say :-(
(We had a huge poll last year saying stuff like 46% of the americans think Germany was part of the alliance in WWII and 28% said russia was... i don't take polls to seriously)

I don't think homeschooling leads to "teaching their kids some creepy cult behaviors"!!!! I think homeschooling obviously is working very well for a lot of people out there.
I tried to say: In 0.01% of the cases it might NOT work well at all. Since every single human has the right of a "good" education, we (germany) decided against it (which is not the only way to go). Also, with homeschooling a child MIGHT miss the oportunity of learning social behaviour.

My answer is not supposed to say: "We do it better than you" but "There is a reason why we do it out way"...

Please believe me, that many germans hate the US administration, but still visit you because of the people and the mentality.

I am not commenting on the spat between Offended German and WhatDoIKnow, but I find the judges opinion quite in line of the public education in Germany.
The "Government knows best" attitude in Germany is pervasive, and is the product of their educational system. There is even a system that makse sure none of the universities are in any way superior to others, so as not to jeopardize the "Equality of Education" within the system.
I can not express sufficiently the gratitude I feel that I happened to stop over in America on my way back to Germany from my 3 years long Australia adventure. That was almost 40 years ago.

If someone does not agree he has to be young and inflexible?

Oh, man, here we go again...

After years of reading posts like yours I'm just tired, nothing else. Anyway, here it goes.

I am saying that you are young because you obviously didn't hear of the poll about the German youth and you said you are studying, NOT because you don't agree with me. I made an assumption. Understand?

I am saying that you are inflexible NOT because you don't agree with me, but because if I showed you the source of that shameful poll, you still wouldn't rethink your position about the German schools. You confirmed my guess later on by saying that i don't take polls to seriously. So, when presented with data that students in German schools might get indoctrinated, your answer is that you don't really believe the polls. Inflexible??

I did not say that you are young and inflexible because you don't agree with me, but because, judging by you knowledge and words, you are indeed young and quite inflexible. Do I make sense to you???

When I brought up Pisa, you started rationalizing. However, you had no problem generalizing about the American system and claiming it is worse than Germany's.

If you don't get it... I don't care. In fact, I don't care either way.

First of all: I don't believe in the poll (which might have been of some importance in the US) because i know a lot of german young people and not a single one seriously thinks Bush orchestrated 9/11. That doesn't mean no one would not say it (meant as a joke).

Obviously, you believe in polls:

Here some surveys about US school quality:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/11/1120_021120_GeoRoperSurvey.html
http://www.rehydrate.org/facts/global_illiteracy.htm
http://robbiefulks.com/bboards/index.html?action=readtopic&topic=00591&forum=001

Germans don't seem to be the only ones who don't agree with US politics:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/3528
http://www.misterpoll.com/results.mpl?id=1101224681

Furthermore I just read (in german) that 41% of the germans have a positive atitude towards th US. This might seem low, but equally many have a positive atitude against Germany itself. 60% of americans have a positive attitude towards germany.

@WhatDoIKnow:
Let me explain: When you first said you think I am young and inflexible I felt offended... I had the impression you wanted to insult me.
Perhaps you undertand me if I try it myself (i don't mean to offend you):
I think you are older than 40. I think you are quite "religious". I think you say "yes" to death penalty....
(I know, that you won't be offended, but perhaps you can understand me) If I guessed right, you might be offended because you fit in the drawer. If I guessed wrong, you might be offended because e.g. it offends you that I think you say "yes" to death penalty.
I find it sad that you don't care whether I understand you, I would like to be understood (and not just discarded as inflexible)

@WhatDoIKnow

Sorry my friend. I think you’re a little confused—but I understand that when hearing so many statistics over the years. The poll I THINK you’re talking about was done by Forsa for “Die Zeit” on the 30th of April 2003. Don’t get me wrong—I still think the results are nothing to be proud of. Here is the poll question I believe you were referring to:

Glauben Sie, dass die US-Regierung die Anschläge selbst in Auftrag gegeben hat?
Rough translation: Do you believe the US government orchestrated 911?

Age <30
Yes 31% No 62%

Age 30-49
Yes 20% No 73%

Age 50>
Yes 12% No 77%

All groups
Yes 19% No 72%

Anybody see a pattern here? It may be worth a discussion in itself.

As far as the comparison of German Gymnasium compared to American schools, I can only give a little anecdotal statement. Both my daughter and my son are in Gymnasium. To be quite frank, I’m not at all impressed. I don’t see how they are any more advanced than the Florida or Colorado schools that I was taught in, especially when it comes to math and science (my favourite topics).

I believe when people refer to superior German schooling, that they are talking about 10-20 years in the past.

Furthermore, in the high schools that I attended, we were assigned classes that corresponded to our abilities—for example, I was in Calculus in my sophomore (10th) year. At the time, that was a college level course. So the argument that Pisa includes all levels of German schools and therefore explains a not so sparkling result (in comparison to US?) does not hold water.

BTW, my German work colleague asks me OFTEN how to spell German words.

@James W.
Thanks for the poll results and source! It is really sad, but not totally unexpected. I think the main cause for it is a general distrust in people who have power, especially the US government. (I am really relieved that it's not 60% :-))

"BTW, my German work colleague asks me OFTEN how to spell German words."
HAHAHA - really? what do you work?

I really don't like the german school system! However I consider it to be a fact that young people with a german education perform better than their americal counterparts. (The level fluctuates from region to region and school to school however) From my own experience, I can only say that the first two years of math at the University are covered in german highschool.

--Since every single human has the right of a "good" education, we (germany) decided against it (which is not the only way to go). ---

Well, until you take your test at 9(?) and are directed on your future path.......no matter where your interests lie.

@Sandy_P:

Yes exactly! That is very wrong and a major discussion in german politics.

Thanks for the correction, James, and for digging up the poll. I was wrong, the number is 30%. Even those 30% aren't alarming; offended knows that's it's all a joke in fact. He also wants to be taken seriously.

I'm amazed at the capacity of offended(and so many others like him) to rationalize somber numbers like that, Pisa, and in general things that are wrong in Germany. At the same time, they don't waste a second when acusing America of evil.

When I was in school in Germany, as the only Ausländer in the German class, I was in the top 30%. However, I never in my life said that the German system is bad, although I believe that it's not great. Bring a *typical* German in the discussion and the blame game begins - "you are worse, you know!".

Another short story: I know the family of a German professor in Northern Germany who years ago had an Eastern-European Putzfrau, who in her country had been German major in college. When the family's daughter had some questions about her different German language assignements she would ask her mother, who would ask the Professor(the father), who would then ask the Putzfrau who would give the answer. Funny, isn't it?


@offended german

As you can see, it goes both ways. Spend more quality time on deep thoughts before making generalizations.


Anyway, the discussion is pretty much about the compulsive desire of most Germans to regulate every aspect of life, or as much as possible. Germans are hardly in the position to point fingers (unless they do it to escape self-analysis). Somehow, the "inferior" American educational system manages to produce very competitive brains (without counting the immigrants). Germany has much more to learn from America than the other way around.

Before commenting, I would like to ask if Germany has any exceptions, ie., religious, medical or political, for home schooling?
My own experiences with education, both as a publicly educated student in the 50's and 60's and as a public school teacher in the 90's, would lead me to ask why more parents aren't home schooling. America's generally successful attempt to provide all its citizens with a basic and broad education has gotten a little creaky with age and loss of vision. The better schools generally attract student better prepared to handle the increased workload. While the average to poor schools struggle to educate those students who lack the language skills or social skills necessary to absorb the material presented.
Many people do home school in the US for religious reasons, but the initial impetus for home schooling came from the counter-culture left in the 60's and 70's. But when that movement failed many of its adherents went into public education because of the lower bar for admission into the teaching ranks. The success of mass public education in the US has resulted in a dumbing down of the curricula mainly due to the difficulty in assimilating some many immigrant children. We try to educate all our students, which might mean a classroom with some native English speakers, some Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, Tagalog and most speaking Spanish. Unlike Germany or France we don't automatically segregate students by ethnicity or nationality in determining what type of education these students will receive.
Most home schooling in the US isat the K-8 grade levels. Most of these home schooled children go on to private or public high schools because of the wider range of difficult or technical courses offered. These student still have to show samples of superior work and good ACT, SAT or National Merit scores when applying to college.
Home schooling works for many families in the US for the simple reason that the parents care abot the education of their children and are not afraid to contradict the experts.

Forgot to post this, http://boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2004/03/21/schoolhouse_rocked/

How about the "highly valued" standards of "the whole story"? This entire debate is missing facts that might be uneasy to cope with ("Darn! My pikture of teh enemy is erodink!") but that are never the less to be taken into account.

The highly valued letter is knowingly not telling the real reason for the trial in question. "Knowingly" because the reason was braodly and widely covered in german media WEEKS ago. Private schooling and homeschooling is taking place in Germany, although on a much lower scale compared to - i.e. - the USA. We do have the opportunity to provide teachers being educated on a common set of standards so that there is no need to do homeschooling. A debate of the advantages of "homeschooling" vesus "centralised education" was not part of the trial. The judge simply made the point that *these* parents are inferior in terms of educating their children compared to the teachers availible right across the street. Keep in mind that we are talking about a family living in the quite large town of Hamburg wich currently has 1.736.752 citizens. We are not talking about the far off amish farmer living in the midst of the great plains.

It was not the idea of "teaching children at home is superior to the german schoolsystem" that made authorities take action in the first place. It was not the idea of teaching them "in a different way". The reason was in fact the assumption that ANY schoolsystem is not obeying to this very certain very strict interpretation of the bible. The children have not been allowed to go to a public school. I'm talking about the parents simply forbiding their own children to ever visit a public school. Not letting them decide to go to a public school or not. The parents decided "you do as I want you to". And yes, there are a lot of schools that are run by the churches and that address concerns of "education that holds to christian standards" in Germany.

The parents of this family are considering a certain interpretation of the bible "the one and only right way" to know anything. I do not judge over whatever confession or religious belief anybody calls "his way". I simply don't care. But when it comes to forcing children into one belief or another there is a line you'd better not cross. Or did you already forget where all those radical islamists are educated? One may think about the german educational system what ever way he or she wants but it is neutral and secular when it comes to scientific thinking. The system does not forbid religious beliefs. It just tries to divert "believing" from "science".

Aside from that. Despite some rumours we do have a legal system in place in Germany. It was proven "valid" more than once by - amongst others - the USA. In the end it was set up by the western allied liberators after the end of WW2. Amongst the standards put in place was the common compulsory schooling questioned here. First putting it into action and then calling it "BS" is like calling names to yourself. It's perhaps better to keep in mind that todays Germany is a direct result of the actions of the USA. What ever goes wrong here might be seen as a failure of the USA to make the germans do better. Ever thought about it that way? You made us this way.

And as for the point of being a valid legal system: For the very same reason this very weblog insists on the legal correctness and hence validity of the electoral process that took place in florida "once upon a time" it should be off limits to discuss a decision made by a court in Germany. Unless your point is that the legal system in Germany is invalid and does not hold to the standards of a democracy. If that's your point: Why did withdraw your troops in the first place?

I do understand that it is of quite some value to those in far opposition towards what ever comes from Germany to supress facts and make up a story. But it does not add to the overall trustworthyness and correctness of this specific weblog to simply take for given fact what sounds good and "fits the image to be created".

Errors in spelling and grammar are to be considered intentional submissions to common humor.

Sincerly Yours (and have a great day)

Adger.

@Offended

I am no fan of the American school system. However, America dominates in all fields when it comes time to give out Nobel prizes. The American elite have excellent educations. It is no coincidence that the German press was debating "Elite Unies" last year.

Canada tested #2 in the world in the PISA exams. This is quite an achievement considering that Canada has English, French and Native speaking regions. U.S. educators should be going up to Canada to take surveys on what they are doing right.

Also, in defense of the U.S. educational system, the U.S. system is absorbing millions of foreign children, both illegal and legal. Some foreigners have great traditions of learning: such as those families from South and Southwestern Asia. However, the overwehling majority of foreign students are from countries where there is no tradition of learning. These children can barely read and write in their mother tongue. It is a stretch to expect them overnight to be able to read and write English.

But in general, the U.S. system is unimaginative and performs poorly consistently. This consistently poor performance has caused the U.S. educational establishment to "dumb-down" the SAT exams, which are required for admission into college.

The German system has also been “dumbing down.” That is why Germany is doing poorly in the PISA exams. Germany is good at providing apprentice training to blue collar children. I would not necessarily call their work "interlectual work."

Also, your comment that Gynamsium is 1.5 to 2 years ahead of American students is unfair. If you want to compare Gynasium to American students, then you should compare Gynasium to advanced placement students. You will find that these young people will give you a run for your money.

Canadians use the Oxford dictionary instead of Webster’s dictionary that Americans use. Color is spelled colour in Canada. Why would an American ask a Canadian how to spell? ;-)

There is no federal law in Germany against homeschooling. Each state may pass its own laws governing schools and education. Each state requires that children attend a school for a certain period in their lives. The requirements of this so called "Schulpflicht" vary from state to state. Also, each state has different rules about whose children can be exempt from this requirement. (Yes, there are exceptions!)

I see no problem with competent parents teaching their children how to read and write.

However, I can already hear the public outcry -- and see the articles on David's Medienkritik then -- when homeschooling is generally allowed and Muslim immigrants decide to teach their children at home according to the rules of the Koran.

"It's perhaps better to keep in mind that todays Germany is a direct result of the actions of the USA. What ever goes wrong here might be seen as a failure of the USA to make the germans do better. Ever thought about it that way? You made us this way."

OMG. It just gets better and better. Did someone actually just say this?

Btw, is it just me, or does anyone else see more flip-flopping here than at a John Kerry rally?

@Pat Patterson

Where did you get the idea that in Germany and France, students are automatically segregated "by ethnicity or nationality in determining what type of education these students will receive"?

@WhatDoIKnow:
I am still sorry to have created the impression of accusing the american way of life in general. Apart from that: YOU are blaming ME of being arrogant, misinformed, naive, not thought through ALL the time, wheras I haven't blamed you of anything. The statement you are referring to in all your answers is that i find the german school system (though not nearly close to perfect) more effective than the american one. You didn't even try to challenge this opinion, instead you said I would not consider any reasoning against it. (okay, you gave the a wrong survey result)
I find your way of arguing weak! (Yes, now I blame you of something)
But thank you: I learned to be more careful when criticizing parts of the american way (Seriously!) if I don't want to be taken arrogantly!

@Adger:
Thanks for a good comment!

@George_M:
You are most certainly right, when it comes to elite education. I didn't mean that Germanys aces are "better" than the american ones. But I meant that there are things in the american education which need improvement and that apart from the "Hauptschule" I think that german schools archive a better result.
The difference between advanced placement students in the US and Gymnasium is, that more than 50% (my sources don't agree on exact values) of german children go to Gymnasium. Apart from that, you are right!

I think (as mentioned multiple times) a risk of homeschooling is that children may become narrow minded (especially in religious aspects). Apart from the infrastructure problem: Can't you teach your children in addition to normal school? In that way they would get the best of both worlds (ok, agreed: they would also get the bad sides of both). I think it is only fair to give your children the opportunity of forming own oppinions and I am not sure that homeschooling makes that entirely possible.
Religion should be independant of school. (Yes I know, this becomes difficult if you believe the world is only as old as the bible says or that the earth is a disk - in those cases I don't really know what to do)

For the historical discussion:
USA, France and England tried to build a "Grundgesetz" for Germany which would "learn" from known problems. One aspect was the separation of powers. Another was the decentralizing of education (against possible indoctrination by the government). In a way one could argue that because it is so young the german "GG" is the most evolved constitution (no, formaly it is no constitution). (I DON'T mean to be arrogant or anything!!! If you disagree, please don't be offended or feel blamed)

@unhinged

However, I can already hear the public outcry -- and see the articles on David's Medienkritik then -- when homeschooling is generally allowed and Muslim immigrants decide to teach their children at home according to the rules of the Koran.

You are quick to accuse, just like offended is quick to generalize.

I wouldn't have anything against home schooling according to the rules of the *peaceful* Koran. However, should this home schooling resemble the Palestinian "school system", where kids are basically prepared for a life of murder and suicide and are taught that human life has no value, than, yes, I would object. That is not school anymore.

@ offended

I never said or thought that you are a arrogant. Grow up, for God's sake, it starts sounding like auf dem Schulhof hier!

The statement you are referring to in all your answers is that i find the german school system (though not nearly close to perfect) more effective than the american one

offended, I don't know what to believe anymore. You are either lying or you have absolutely no understanding of my answers. The *only* statement coming from you that I challenged repeatedly is this: the US school system is much worse than the german one. That's it! For God's sake, don't you see any difference ???

Well, I guess I deserve it. I engaged you in a discussion.

@WhatDoIKnow:
offended_german: "the US school system is much worse than the german one"
WhatDoIKnow: "Nowhere in David's post was there a comparison between the American and German system, but a good German doesn't
waste the opportunity to display his obsession with America and set the record straight - US=worse than Germany"
offended_german: "If you got the impression that I think Germany>US in general, I am very sorry. But I think it is ok to compare
the two in certain aspects."

I apologize again for the "much" in the very first statement. How often do I have to apologize, until you see that I realize that I overdid it?? The rest is personal opinion which may be challenged by facts...

And why always a cynical statement at the end? To undeline the quality of your reasoning? (I'm being cynical too now, sorry)

I expressed myself badly but it is true that German students must test into either the college oriented high schools or if not into vocational schools. Nowhere in the American system is a student precluded from a college education because of poor language skills. Though success will depend on the acquisition of those skills. A 14 year old Vietnamese immigrant child can eventually go to a university and acquire highly technical skills. Whereas in Germany because he tested poorly in German would have been sent to a vocational school. I was incorrect in stating that this decision was based on ethnicity or nationality though the system would eventually discriminate against those groups.

"However, I can already hear the public outcry -- and see the articles on David's Medienkritik then -- when homeschooling is generally allowed and Muslim immigrants decide to teach their children at home according to the rules of the Koran."

This really has nothing to do with homeschooling. Regardless of where a kid "goes" to school (public, private, or home), parents will (and should) teach their kids the values they hold. Catholics do it. Protestants do it. It's certainly not unreasonable to expect that Muslims will do it.

After all, kids in Germany don't spend that much time every day actually in school -- I believe it's about 4 hours, give or take an hour here or there. What do you suppose happens during the other 20 or so hours every day?

"the US school system is much worse than the german one"

@Offended German

Try not to get offended, but your statement is hogwash. There is no such thing as "the US school system."

Thanks for the correction, James, and for digging up the poll.

Not a problem at all WhatDoIKnow. I’m a stats freak. If you saw all the shit on my hard drive, you might think I have a few screws loose. I may even have a few stats saved that you have provided here at DMK—feels a little weird, doesn’t it? :-)

I agree. 30% is nearly one out of three—to state the obvious. What about the trend the poll shows? The further we get away from WWII, the more we seem to be distrusted by the people in those age groups. When I compare that with the response of the people from east block countries during GWB’s visit a few years ago—where he was greeted like a rock star—I wonder how long it will take those folks to forget. It’s a sad reality.

@offended german

It may have been wrong of me to use my colleague as an example. We have people of less potential around the globe. Sorry. I also know many quite intelligent Germans—albeit misinformed when it comes to the politics of the US. The funny thing is, is that one of the VERY FEW Germans that I have spoken to about politics and come to similar conclusions, and he wasn’t just tooting my horn; happened to be in that 50+ age group indicated in that Forsa poll. I just found that interesting.

However I consider it to be a fact that young people with a german education perform better than their americal counterparts.

That may have been true at one time, but I would say the trend is not necessarily supporting your case. How do you measure “perform better”? When I think of America as a whole—school grades, the economy, the unemployment rate, the advancement of science, home ownership, buying power, and whatever other stat you can think of—I find it very difficult to accept your assertion as fact, especially as a person that has experienced both sides of the argument.

Look, I’m not here to offend anyone (that doesn’t deserve offending). However, I have been offended countless times by the ignorant stereotypes of Americans spewed by Germans and other nationalities over the years. Although I have become thick-skinned, it’s still time to take a stand. We have our faults. I don’t think you will find any regular here that would deny that; but, there is a hell of a lot of propaganda being distributed by your media about us that just simply isn’t true—and from some of yours and others comments posted here today, it is obvious that the propaganda is effective. I think that Forsa poll indicates the trend (of course, there are probably also other influences such as time—which makes it easier to apply the propaganda).

@James_W

offended_german: "However I consider it to be a fact that young people with a german education perform better than their americal counterparts."
James_W: "That may have been true at one time, but I would say the trend is not necessarily supporting your case. How do you measure “perform better”? When I think of America as a whole—school grades, the economy, the unemployment rate, the advancement of science, home ownership, buying power, and whatever other stat you can think of—I find it very difficult to accept your assertion as fact, especially as a person that has experienced both sides of the argument."

I really only meant "perform better in those surveys". Sorry for the ambiguity! I no way am I criticizing american lifestyle in general.

I can not understand how you can talk of propaganda! Our media attacks german issues most of the time and in a much harsher way. I think it is kind of a german attitude to be very critical... It might have to do with being overly regulated and with our past. This might be difficult to understand.
For us on the other hand it is difficult to understand how totally americans back their president and politics (when talking to foreigners) even though his support is very low amongst the american population. Probably this has to do with patriotism which is not common ("not allowed") for us germans because of our past.

I have the same impression when talking to Canadians. They feel that I am too critical against Canada wheras I find them too careless. What they don't realize, when I come home I will criticize Germany and tell my friends what is better in Canada.

I am surprised that homeschooling is such a hot topic and that the poll about Germans thoughts on 9/11 is so popular and misunderstood.

"What do I know" (great name) wrote "I wonder what the young Germans learn in German schools when 60% (does anyone remember the exact number) of them believe Bush orchestrated 9/11."

That's Bullshit and a typical anti-German exaggeration!

"James W" said that 31% of the <30 year olds said yes to the question "Do you believe the US government orchestrated 911?", but did not present a link. Either he totally misunderstood a Zeit poll or he has seen a poll with the exact same results but about a different question, which is very unlikely.

I guess, James W misrepresents the poll. That is anti-German as well.

As far as I know there was only a SINGLE Zeit poll on this topic. (please correct me if I am wrong.)

This poll asked a significantly different question than James W says. The question was, whether Germans could IMAGINE that the US government ordered the attacks.

Sure the result is surprising and nothing to be proud of, but it proves that Germans have a wild imagination rather than believe in conspiracy theories.

Is it so shocking to you that 30% of young Germans can imagine that Bush government ordered the attacks?
Imagine does not mean that they believe that Bush gov ordered the attacks. Why do you need to exxaggerate???

How many Americans believe that they have been abducted by Aliens?

Die Zeit - Politik : Blackbox Weißes Haus
"Eine repräsentative Umfrage der ZEIT ergab einen verblüffenden Befund: Mittlerweile halten es 31 Prozent der unter 30-jährigen Deutschen für möglich, dass die US-Regierung die Anschläge selbst in Auftrag gegeben hat."
http://www.zeit.de/2003/31/Umfrage?page=all

Colin McLeod made a similar comment in Medienkritik two years ago:
"Ah, found it:

http://www.zeit.de/2003/31/Umfrage

The question was:

"Glauben Sie, dass die US-Regierung die Anschlaege vom 11. September selbst in Auftrag gegeben haben koennte?"

"Do you believe the US government COULD HAVE itself sponsored the 9/11 attacks" - not "DID sponsor the 9/11 attacks." The question emphasizes feelings/mistrust regarding the US government, not actual beliefs about the attacks themselves. It seems selbstverstaendlich to me that substantially more people would harbor such suspicions, or would answer a pollster that way, than would actually believe those suspicions to be correct.

The way this poll was reported says a lot about the interests of those on both sides of the debate in exaggerating the German-American divide. Anti-Americans and Bush critics exaggerate how much Bush and his policies have supposedly poisoned US-German relations. Anti-Germans exaggerate how stupidly anti-American the Germans, especially German youth, supposedly are.

The situation is bad enough without needing to be exaggerated.

Alright, that's all from me for now. Guess you could call this a bit of a pet peeve of mine."
http://medienkritik.typepad.com/blog/2003/11/pacifism_fails_.html#comment-330048

I guess the hostile media effect explains why so many Americans have misunderstood Die Zeit poll about Germans thoughts on 9/11.
I have seen many blog posts and comments on *other* blogs that wrote misleading things about this poll.

Davids Medienkritik reportedly accurately about this poll:
http://medienkritik.typepad.com/blog/2005/09/taz_philipp_mau.html

I don't know if other bloggers misunderstood Medienkritik or whether they got the wrong information from somewhere else. Probably the latter, but I don't know from where.

Ah ha!!!! I see you're hooked on this blog. So late, or early, shame on you!

I really only meant "perform better in those surveys". Sorry for the ambiguity! I no way am I criticizing american lifestyle in general.

I think I'm getting tired, so my writing may not be so clear. It's just when I think of the success of an education system it may not all just boil down to test results. What do those students become--successfull parents, business men and women, etc...? In the end, that creates the German, American, Iranian, etc...lifestyles. That's the context I wanted to illustrate.

I can not understand how you can talk of propaganda! Our media attacks german issues most of the time and in a much harsher way.

I was talking about German media propaganda when it comes to the subject America--which is pretty much what this blog is about. Believe me, I watch, read, and hear enough German media (and Turkish too. My lady is Turkish. This does get a little hairy sometimes, but she's an open-minded woman. It helps that I've been able to show her other perspectives due to the internet and blogs like DMK).

But back to being critical of our governments. I have not experienced anything like talk-radio (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, etc...)and the extensive American blogosphere, here in Germany. The thing is that these sources of information are also very critical of our main stream media. Except for a blogs like this one, criticism of the German msm is, how should I say this, minute in comparison. That is a very important difference.

For us on the other hand it is difficult to understand how totally americans back their president and politics (when talking to foreigners) even though his support is very low amongst the american population. Probably this has to do with patriotism which is not common ("not allowed") for us germans because of our past.

A presidents poll numbers may be low for countless reasons--our own media bias against Republicans and conservatism is one of the main ones. Other reasons may include things like policies on border security, immigration, foreign affairs, economy, etc... However, again, many of the things that you perceive as faults of our foreign policy, for example, are often half-truths, or outright lies, spread by OUR, yours and mine, msm's (there are abundant examples of this archived here at DMK). When repeated often enough unchallenged, this propaganda becomes difficult to discount--which will in turn help lead to low poll numbers and to other countries citizens rejecting our foreign policy.

As far as patriotism goes, being a patriot does not mean being blind to the truth. I do think I understand the difficulties Germans face with not wanting to be perceived as "patriotic" because of their past. However, I believe that patriotism is too often confused with some other -isms in Germany. Patriotism, like capitalism, has been wrongly demonized in Germany, in my opinion.

I hope that made at least some sense. I'm extremely tired and I'm going to hit the sack. Ciao!

About the propaganda thing:
http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=247
shows that by far not only germans are critical against american politics!
Another remarkable fact is that the US is the only country (in the survey) giving itself the highest score.
Germany is the only country giving itself the lowest score.

This makes perfect sense with what I said before!
And the propaganda idea makes even less sense!

Okay, I made a mistake:
The US gave germany a lower mark than germany itself.

The US does not only give itself a higher score than everyone else, they also score themselves higher than they score the others!
Perhaps you should think of that also when talking about "german propaganda"!

Make sure to look at ALL polls! Try to argue these results!

I read the article a little further and it seems that americans have the "propaganda" problem....

@Jorg

The GRAPHIC that I have saved from this article in Der Spiegel shows the poll question EXACTLY as I've stated it. I see that they did leave out the word "koennte". Any exaggeration or mistake is theirs not mine. Of course, that would be right on par for them. The only mistake I made is that I saved their graphic for later reference. Sorry.

This link to the article requires payment to read. However, they do provide a leading paragraph which DOES include the missing word from the graphic. But, read the headline. "Jeder Fünfte glaubt an US-Verschwörung". Rough translation: One in five believe in a US conspiracy (using all age groups)No mention of IMAGINE or believe or whatever you want to fill in the blank with.

So don't blame me (except for relying on the shit in Der Spiegel), blame them for exaggerating. Anti-German indeed...

http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/0,1518,258299,00.html

@offended german
I only wanted to reply to Jorg's allegation. I will have to look into the poll after some shut-eye. However, based on your comment, I think you've bolstered my position, not yours. Remember, what I've said about our alternative media (talk-radio, extensive blogosphere, I should include Fox) which these other countries do not have, at least in a significant amount. I'll let you ponder on that, and if my family doesn't get too upset, I'll get back to you tomorrow. Maybe someone else will have already done that for me.

Hint: The American numbers may somewhat be reflective of that alternative media, and of course, their own daily experiences which foreigners would have little reference to. My argument about the propaganda therefore still stands.

Nearly no person alone has enough knowledge in all aspects to teach children alone

Einstein once said he never bothered to try to remember anything he could look up.

One does not need to have knowledge to obtain it. That limitation ended with the invention
of the written word and now we live in the 21st Century, with online and interactive computer resources.

IMO your attitude is more inline with a pre-literate pimative society than an advanced techological information society.

But rigid thinking and adversion to innovation does seem to be dominate in Europe.

You will be left behind the advancing cultures of the 21st Century, Asia seems to be soaking change up rapidly.

__A woman is driving on the german Autobahn A3.
__In the radio they say: Be careful on the A3 one person is driving in the wrong direction!
__She is like: One person? Thousands!!


Sorry, too tired for a qualified answer... READ MY LINK before saying any more!

To make it easier for you:
Other european countries see the US (nearly) as bad as germany. (they all have a propaganda problem?)
Asian and Arabian Countries even worse. (for obvious reasons)
The US sees itself being great - better than they see anyone else. (They only see themselves to be not religious enough and being greedy)
Germany sees itself being quite bad... (which supports my "critical attitude" theory)

(Read the article/survey - not just the images - to get maximum information)

Why don't you even CONSIDER an american propaganda problem before blaming germany of having one ???
(I am not saying that there is no exageration in german media)
I am not saying Germany>US (no one is)! But after reading the survey I have the impression american are thinking US>"rest of the world".

I would appreciate it, if you could counter my opinion with FACTS or anything backing your theories and not just blame me of lying or being too stupid to understand. I'm really trying to understand, but it is hard to be convinced by opinions alone.

@offended german: touchy, aren't we?

"If you call a german nazi he will be offended as if you are told that GOD is an asshole..."

Dear OG: you reveal yourself, as someone with stereotypical, prejudiced views about America and Americans. That is what people here are picking up on and blasting you for. I hope you stick around David's Medienkritik, search the website, check out the stories in the past, for example the 'bloodsuckers' story, the Stern story on American history, the German UN Diplomat insulting his invited American guest story and the dozens of everyday anti-Americanism in the German media stories.

The sentence I quote from you above, shows that you believe all Americans are Christian Right Fundamentalists. Otherwise, why would you say it? Personally, when anyone says that God is an asshole, doesn't change my opinion about God, but does say alot about the person speaking.

@Flux: "...Muslim kids in Germany whose parents wouldn't allow them to go to biology classes or swimming lessons. Now imagine what would happen if those parents would decide to homeschool their children."

We see what happens when these parents send their kids to public schools. Can you say Ruetlischule?

"So don't blame me (except for relying on the shit in Der Spiegel), blame them for exaggerating."

James, I do blame you, because you have done the same unethical journalism I often accuse Spiegel of doing: Selective use information. You rely on a headline and the graphic that are wrong. And you know that they are wrong because you have read the article and you admit that even the leading paragraph uses the missing word.

And you know Spiegel in general is shit and not to be trusted.

Still you have repeated this lie from the Spiegel headline before in Davids Medienkritik comments: When Medienkritik wrote "Left Wing Hoodwinking on ARD"http://medienkritik.typepad.com/blog/2005/06/left_wing_hoodw.html , Kees commented more or less correctly: "The same poll (Die Zeit, July 2003) revealed that almost 31% of Germans aged under 30 do not rule out the possibility that the attacks may have been organised by Washington."
You responded by referring to an alleged article in Spiegel:"Do you believe that the US government ordered the attacks?
Total Yes 19% No 72%
Age:
under 30 31% 62%
30 to 49 20% 73%
50 or over 12% 77%
*if not equal to 100%, then "did not know"*
Anyone see a pattern here? What does this say about FUTURE German-American relationships?
Nearly 1 out of 3 under 30 believe Bush did it! And still 1 out of 5 from 30 to 49! 7% from each group weren't sure.
Does anybody still not understand why this 'Tatort' episode, in combination with other numerous examples of media slant, is a problem?"

You have a media slant as well. Perhaps you should have followed up on the poll Kees mentioned. You should have been surprised that both Kees poll and your poll mentioned 31% for different questions.

Kees is also a bit confused because she (he?) mentioned in another comment that "19 percent of the Germans believed that the American government ordered 9/11."


I don't like Spiegel. I have criticize them often. Most recently I wrote in the first paragraph of my blog post Why is Abu Ghraib a cover story again, but not Darfur?:
Statements like "Torture in the Name of Freedom" (as seen on a recent Spiegel cover) appear to be malicious distortions to sell more copies rather than critical, ethical journalism."
http://atlanticreview.org/archives/285-Why-is-Abu-Ghraib-a-cover-story-again,-but-not-Darfur.html

Well, we all make mistakes.

We should help each other correct our own mistakes. That's why I wrote this. I don't want you to repeat this misinformation again in this blog or other blogs you comment on.
Did you spread this misinformation in other blogs as well?

James, please don't take my criticism too strongly!!!
I might have been harsh on you, but I am just fed up of having seen this poll misrepresented in so many blogs and even in newspapers. Not only conservative US blogs spread misinformation about this poll. Even left wing "journalists" and MSM did.

@Jabba the Tutt

Are you trying to say that all schools with Muslim students are like Ruetlischule? Well, then, I rest my case. Obviously, homeschooling is much better for the integration of Muslim kids.

I was wary myself about home schooling when I first heard about it. It seemed likely to me that home-schooled children would be one sided, poorly socialized, badly educated, etc. Since then sufficient time has elapsed for a generation of home-schooled children to reach college age, and a great deal of data is available to inform all the speculation. I am no expert on the subject, but the data I have seen indicates that home-schooled children are well-socialized, are typically better educated than their peers who went to public schools, and don't generally exhibit anti-social behavior. In a word, home-schoolers have confounded the objections of their critics. In deciding what is reasonable for Germany, one must look at the performance of all schools, not just the Gymnasium system. If my child's only alternative was to go to the Rütli-Schule, I would home school in a heartbeat. I would also insist on home schooling if my child's public school teachers generally subscribed to the "Helles Koepfchen" school of elementary education and international relations, as documented here on Medienkritik. Certainly, a child's right to an effective education needs to be protected. I therefore think the performance of home-schooled children should be monitored and appropriate steps taken by the state if their education does not meet reasonable standards. However, the inflexible denial of a home-schooling option in any circumstances should be rejected, whether in Germany or the US.

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