Inequality in Hamburg

By the age of 10, most German children are tracked into a college-prep or vocational program.  “A child from a privileged background is four times as likely to reach a Gymnasium, the main route to university, as one with similar grades from a working-class family,” reports The Economist. To reduce inequality, Hamburg is delaying tracking and eliminating school choice.

Propelled by the Greens, Hamburg’s government wants to extend primary school, where children of all abilities learn together, from four years to six. “Social distance is diminished when children learn longer together,” says Christa Goetsch, Hamburg’s (Green) education minister. The reform would end parents’ right to pick their high school, because pushy middle-class parents advance their children at the expense of others. Less controversially, Hamburg’s half-dozen types of high school are to be melded into two, Gymnasien and “neighbourhood schools,” both of which will offer the Abitur, the exam needed to enter university.

Middle-class parents “worry that children will be held back by schoolmates destined to be social and economic laggards and by teachers who cater to their weaknesses,” reports The Economist.

Via Education Gadfly.

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