What should everyone know about education

Society

Motives for the establishment and goals of the work
The society, founded in June 2010, serves to deal with the main features, requirements and consequences of the current comprehensive educational reform of schools and universities. It wants to contribute to the public debate about the aim, content and methods of this reform. These contributions should be distinguished by two things:

  • On the one hand, through an expert report that is as relevant as possible and objectifying the event,
  • on the other hand, by taking part in the fundamental task of education, namely the imparting of education and knowledge to the next generation.

The initiators of the company are currently not discovering any publicly effective platform for clarification and action for either of these concerns. Objections and criticisms of undesirable developments remain individually bound and thus isolated. The professionally competent guilds either exercise elegant restraint or swim largely with the reform trend. The published opinion about the condition of our educational institutions often revolves around scandalizing, distorting and populist the symptoms of crisis and grievances perceived there, without clarifying the causes of the misery. "Experts" comment and, as protagonists of the reform, justify it with "empirical educational research" as if the reform followed from the research. What they recommend as therapy is largely accepted in the media. Critical questions rarely arise as to whether the reform recommendations can even achieve what they promise. The “scientific observers” can act largely without counter-speech as propagandists for the reforms they have initiated themselves. A large part of the scientific and practical expertise, in particular on the approach and the problematic results of the reform, is thus ignored.

The initiators of the society were confronted in the past few years - not least as a reaction to the “Frankfurt objections against the technocratic change of direction of the education system” of 2005 - with a pronounced and increasing need in the responsible educational professions to organize a counter-public. Behind this is the frustrating experience of practitioners and scientists that their own experience and expertise is not heard and absorbed. The overwhelming response that the Cologne meeting on “Educational Standards and Competence Orientation” received in June 2010 makes it clear that it is time to develop an independent forum to articulate experiences with the reform and ideas about its alternatives. Society wants to become the organizing center for the broadest possible debate.

The initiators also see the foundation as an act of resistance. There is a persistent climate of suspicion. Those who, with good reason, are skeptical of the reforms they have embarked on, who even criticize their lack of opportunities or incorrect orientation, are generally regarded by the reformers as unprofessional, incompetent and as guardians of privileges with which measures to optimize performance are sabotaged. This has an intentionally intimidating effect in practice. Reforms are enacted without convincing reasons. They are charged with promises of change, the excesses of which make them unbelievable. Obvious undesirable developments through reforms, which make it clear that everything will only get worse and worse, are not perceived or rationalized away as difficulties in creating the right thing. While they are sure that they want the good and the better against the bad, the reformers ignore the deviating reality and immunize themselves against criticism. What schools and universities should do is almost exclusively talked about with a view to optimizing internal processes and the out-put. The effect is measured using key figures with which one compares oneself with others: student performance values, graduation rates, ranks, income. This leads to a hopeless shortening of the perception of the tasks and the reality of the educational system.

The initiators of the company, however, see a great need for reform elsewhere. The educational institutions should be empowered and encouraged through reforms to fulfill their educational mandate and with them obstacles to the fulfillment of this task should be removed. In this respect, the practice already knows what “good teaching” is and what its fulfillment conditions would be, it does not have to be conveyed through “empirical educational research”: Through school and teaching, as many pupils as possible should learn to understand something when dealing with a matter . They are challenged by it to acquire the knowledge and understanding that it presupposes and has ready. Education therefore means teaching understanding. What that means in practice would have to show good practice and reforms would have to encourage its spread. The university lives from the endeavor to provide “education in the medium of science”; without it, the university as an institution for academic teaching becomes superfluous. Where it turns into a bad school by practicing the tamed learning of unchecked content for continuously required performance, with which one can only prove how to pass exams, it has already become obsolete. For such things, you may only need a training center.

The initiators of the company are unable to see that the current modernization and conversion of the education system serves the goal of spreading and securing education and knowledge. Rather, a reinterpretation of the educational mandate and the transfer of knowledge can be observed at all levels of the reform, which amounts to its weakening. Contrary to the everywhere demanded quality development and achievement of excellence, the demands on education and knowledge are being eroded. The examples are now legion.

  • Although educational standards have education in their title, they do not mean binding professionalism, but largely a standardization in the direction of “domain-specific competencies”. What a “domain” is is now defined by cognitive and knowledge psychologists and no longer specialist didactics. They only have to provide the concretizations for the psychological constructs.
  • The dominant “teaching-learning research” is not interested in the prerequisites and requirements for “education in the medium of a subject” and the question of its didactic development. Your recommendations regularly result in a non-binding more of what should have a positive effect. They then serve as a justification for methodological fashions in the classroom that undermine the professional responsibility of the teacher.
  • In the implementation of educational standards in the countries, the promises of universally useful and required method, information and information skills dominate. The drafts of the new control means show that the required competence orientation leads to solid specialist knowledge and an understanding of content being increasingly pushed back. Competency models are designed freehand. They do not show how competencies for dealing with technical tasks can be developed by dealing with technical tasks.
  • With the modularization and the switch to a bachelor's degree addicted to certification in universities, the request to study a subject in the literal sense of the word continues to dwindle.
  • The mainstream of “empirical educational research” is interested in calculating the variables that lead to learning outcomes, but not in tapping the quality of the educational processes themselves. Research promises control knowledge for politics and practice. But the recommendations are either too unspecific or too irrelevant to be recognized and recognized as guiding perspectives. This “empirical teaching research” does not reach the pedagogical problems of teaching, it can neither explain what is happening there, nor show concretely enough how it can be improved. In return, it ensures the bad news with which politics justify its actionism.

Forced reforms have no chance of fulfilling their improvement intentions; they must fail - this is shown by historical and international comparison with similar projects. The increasing discrepancy between the reform rhetoric and what is experienced by many actors in schools and universities as the reality of the reform discredits the reform and destroys the willingness of those responsible to campaign for the necessary improvement in the education system. The debate about the reform and the tasks of the education system suffers from the fact that there are too few forums at which it is not only preached what should be done or what is simply condemned, in which rather it is discussed in the most enlightened and factual manner possible. what happens.

Society does not want to create a new party or organization on education issues. Their claim is openly aimed at movement through enlightenment. This is done through conferences, the publication of analyzes and the invasive formulation of statements. The degree of organization in society is at the lowest necessary level. The "registered association" is built by

  • three chairpersons, each from Germany, Austria and Switzerland,
  • two leading the business of the association as well as a treasurer and
  • a large advisory board of members who are ready to sustain the activities of society.

Anyone who becomes a member of the society can participate in the biennial central meetings with voting rights. With a membership fee of 20 euros, it is in the mailing list, which provides information on all activities of the society. The publication of the respective conference proceedings is intended to sustainably record the results of the efforts.