Hitler’s Educational Legacy

In 1938, Adolph Hitler made it a crime in Germany to educate children at home.

Not only has the law never been taken off the books, it is vigorously enforced. The Germans may be all apologetic about many things that happened under the Third Reich, but as the family of Melissa Busekros know, they are still happy to use stormtrooper tactics when it comes to this. The minds of young Germans belong to the State.

Today’s Observer is reporting that homeschooling families in Germany are fleeing to the UK. And if you read the article, there will be no question in your mind why. One family who fled to Britain had already had their bank account frozen and emptied and their car confiscated. It’s good to know that even though Britian is moving toward totalitarianism, it is still a place of more freedom than Germany.

Government Not Helping Children

A two-year review of primary education by Cambridge University has discovered that starting school at age 4 is not helping British children. Even though they don’t start school until age 7, children in Sweden and Finland outperform Brits by age 11. In other words, British children are learning less in seven years than Scandinavians in four years.

This is also despite being tested more than in other countries.  Everyone recognises that emphasis on testing is way out of whack. Everyone except, of course, the Government. As a spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said, “The idea that children are over tested is not a view that the Government accepts. The reality is that children spend a very small percentage of their time in school being tested.” I mean, technically, the DCSF spokesman is correct. The tests themselves take very little time.

But as the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers said, “When it comes to testing in England, the tail wags the dog. It is patently absurd that even the structure and content of education is shaped by the demands of the tests.”

Or as the DCSF spokesman said, “Seeing that children leave school up to the right standard in the basics is the highest priority of government.” The Government sets “the right standard”, which is a particular test score. Therefore the priority of the Government is that children achieve a certain score. The only way for children to achieve this score is to stop teaching them how to read and write and instead teach them how to take the test.

Schools that assume that teachers should teach lose. Schools that keeps kids mentally goose stepping toward achieving test results win.

The more government gets involved in education, the worse it gets. The results get manipulated to show the government and its policies are making progress. Thus, what was already a flawed means of assessment becomes fraudulent product of the need for political spin.

The only problem is that children at the real losers. They get the damaging stress of the examination environment together with a (when compared to the rest of the world) substandard education.

Appreciating Freedom of Religion

I was talking to someone from Solvakia today. She was ten years old when the Communists fell from power in Czechoslovakia.

Somehow we got onto the subject of church. She talked about how people who were known for going to church had very limited prospects under the Communist regime. She talked about how people passed down old family Bibles because that’s all there were. She remembered that people met secretly in homes.

Now that people are free to worship, the churches are packed. The Catholic church in her village had people packed so tight at the back of the nave every mass that they had to put speakers outside. This is in the High Tatras. While it may be nice to sit outside in the glorious scenery in the summer, tomorrow the forecast is a high of -2°C (28°F) after a low of -7°C (19°F). There’s snow skiing until May.

She told me that if you have been christened and don’t attend church, people look down on you. I’m not saying that it is good for anyone to look down on someone, but she did note she felt it was almost the opposite here. People look down on you for attending church.

People who have never known sacrifice often don’t appreciate what they have. Make public worship very difficult for 41 years, and some people who can’t be bothered now might feel differently.

I’m guessing that when Communism is no longer a part of living memory, the churches will begin to empty.