Tag Archives: education

Happy Birthday Astrid Lindgren

Astrid Lindgren would have celebrated her 100th birthday today.

Is there anything left unsaid about the inventor of such marvellous characters as Pippi Långstrump (Pippi Longstocking)? Maybe not a lot, maybe not to everbody. But some things bear repeating lest people should remain who have not heard it.

For one thing, everybody should read Astrid Lingren’s memorable speech “Niemals Gewalt” held when she received the “Peace Award” of the German book trade. To hear her relate the story of the boy being sent outside by his mother to look for a stick so she can punish him who then returns with a stone because he couldn’t find a stick is a healthy reminder to everybody who has any contact with children. It nearly drives tears in my eyes just writing about it. I suppose there are lots of young parents who swore they’d never treat their children like their own parents treated them (and I’m not talking about corporal violence alone, nor was Astrid). But it’s hard work, it doesn’t come easy or naturally, and a reminder like that from time to time can only help.

The other thing is: I just heard from a literary scholar that the fact that Pippi Lonstocking did not only have an anti-authoritarian quality but was also anti-totalitarian in general, i. e. beyond education. And I was thinking, “Woah, what were you reading all the time?” I mean, isn’t it absolutely obvious that that book is anti-totalitarian? Isn’t it obvious that somebody who believes in anti-authoritarian education must also believe in anti-totalitarian policies? And isn’t it just plain obvious from even a casual read that the book is not only anti-totalitarian but plain anarchical? And, of course, that is just why children all around the world love it. It’s the freedom from the constraints of the grim adult world that is so fascinating and offers such a retreat for gathering strength to face the world again knowing it does not have to be what it is, esp. (but not only) to children who have so little power over their own lives. If literary scholars haven’t understood that, before, I can only assume that that’s because my former colleagues are not taking children’s literature for serious. They tend to think that every message contained in children’s books must be confined to the realm of children and education, as if the children’s world was separate from our’s.

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Brandenburg rejects Opus Dei’s plans for new school

Took a while but I finally got some feedback. Turns out the federal state of Brandenburg has rejected the application Opus Dei has made for the foundation of a privately run school.

The official reason provided is not quite as clear a statement as I might have hoped for, but I won’t start nitpicking here. This is how it goes:

Article 7 of the [German] Constitution establishes that private schools, as an alternative to public schools, are subject to governmental supervision and thus to the laws of the federal state in question. The federal states independently govern educational objectives in their own state constitutions and school laws.

According to § 120 of the Brandenburg school law private schools serve as an alternative to public schools present or intended in the state. The application of the society for the support of schools of free agencies, however, is no full-featured alternative because it exclusively relates to the education of boys. Public schools in the state of Brandenburg, however, are coeducational in accordance with § 4 of the Brandenburg school law.

This regulation for coeducation implements the requirement of § 3 of the Brandenburg school law, according to which schools in the state are to be arranged in a way to “ensure equal access independent of economical or social condition, national origin, political or religious conviction, or gender.”

This is based on the sexual equality laid down in the state’s constitution. There § 12 establishes that nobody may be favoured or disadvantaged because of his gender, and that the state is obliged to ensure the equality of man and woman in education “through effective means.” This includes the equal right of access to educational facilities.

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Potsdam replies to Opus Dei’s plans

The letter to Potsdam’s mayor I quoted in my previous post has been replied to. This is a translated excerpt:

I have read your comments and the manuscript of the ZDF broadcast of April 10th 2007, which unfortunately I could not watch, with interest. Regarding this I would like to let you know that the municipality and the majority of the city councillors are watching the order’s endeavour to found a private school, not a state school, in Potsdam with concern. The city council has, for example, charged the mayor with ensuring that there there are no negotiations with the order regarding the surrender of municipal real estate.

Beyond that, however, the city’s means of influence are very limited. Currently the order has submitted an application for the founding of a school with the federal state’s ministry of education. Should this be approved or a lawsuit against a rejection successful and the order possess an adequate realty, there is no way to impede such a school in Potsdam.

At any rate, the city does not financially support this school in any way.

Finally, I would like to let you know that there are more than 40 public schools in Potsdam at which lessons are done according to a binding curriculum. Parents need not worry their children might not be accepted there.

Well, I never worried about the lack of state schools in Potsdam, but that’s a fair enough remark, I suppose. So, it’s the federal state of Brandenburg, then. Let’s see what they have to say about this.

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