Why do public school teachers have such a bad reputation in the US and get little pay?
That's one of the things I don't get. It's quite different over here. The job is well paid and respected by most folks. As a country with little natural resources, Germany depends on innovation and a smart work force. Education is good for democracy, happiness etc. The children are our future, yade, yade.
The US has more natural resources and is better than Germany (Europe) in attracting the smartest brains from all over the world, but still it needs a well educated general population to compete in the 21st century.
To improve the level of education in the US requires many reforms (as it does in Germany), but it seems quite elementary that more pay and more appreciation is necessary to encourage smart, talented, creative and committed young people to choose the profession of a teacher and then to stay motivated in this tough job to provide excellent education.
Since today is World Teacher Day, here is a shout out to teachers world wide!
Watch the trailer of the new documentary American Teacher below:
Continue reading "Today is World Teachers' Day"
The NY Times published the craziest op-ed on Germany's policy on Greece that I have seen in a broadsheet. Ever.
After tons of articles about Germany being too slow, too hesitant, too selfish to sufficiently help Greece, the NYT now opened its op-ed pages for the American economist Todd Buchholz to write about "Germany's Love for Greece":
Continue reading "Craziest Commentary on Germany and Greece"
Germany's real motivation to help Greece is not cash; it's culture. Germans struggle with a national envy. For over 200 years, they have been searching for a missing part of their soul: passion. They find it in the south and covet the loosey-goosey, sun-filled days of their free-wheeling Mediterranean neighbors.
In the early 1800s, Goethe reported that his travels to Italy charged him up with new creative energy. Later, Heinrich Heine made the pilgrimage, writing to his uncle: "Here, nature is beautiful and man lovable. In the high mountain air that you breathe in here, you forget instantly your troubles and the soul expands."
Is this going to be a new running theme? Vanity Fair runs a long essay under the headline "It's the Economy, Dummkopf!"
Continue reading "German Dummkoepfe"
With Greece and Ireland in economic shreds, while Portugal, Spain, and perhaps even Italy head south, only one nation can save Europe from financial Armageddon: a highly reluctant Germany. The ironies-like the fact that bankers from Düsseldorf were the ultimate patsies in Wall Street's con game-pile up quickly as Michael Lewis investigates German attitudes toward money, excrement, and the country's Nazi past, all of which help explain its peculiar new status.
Oh boy, what a poor choice of words for the headline in The Atlantic Wire piece published by Yahoo News:
Continue reading ""Germany's War on Facebook""
Germany's War on Facebook
German authorities are now the first to declare the feature illegal. Hamburg's data protection official Johannes Caspar claims that the software violates both German and European Union data protection laws and that Facebook users don't know how to delete the data that Facebook is gathering. "If the data were to get into the wrong hands, then someone with a picture taken on a mobile phone could use biometrics to compare the pictures and make an identification," Caspar told the Hamburger Abendblatt. "The right to anonymity is in danger."
Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt is the only elder statesmen who constantly smokes cigarettes on TV and sometimes uses the term "shit" as a description. He gets away with it because of his huge popularity. His outspoken manner and lack of concern for political correctness also reinforces his popularity, especially at a time, when Germany is governed by uncharismatic politicians, who lack vision and do not even make much of an effort explaining their policies (link in German).
Schmidt has used the term "shit" repeatedly when talking about the World War II. Last week, however, he used the term (for the first time?) to describe the financial crisis.
Continue reading "Outspoken Helmut Schmidt"
"Standard & Poor's warning the United States could lose its AAA rating may ultimately bring investment to Germany, reduce interest rates on its bonds and help the country lower its own debt," writes Deutsche Welle:
Continue reading "Germany to Benefit from Lower US Credit Rating"
"Standard & Poor's reassessed US sovereign debt and decided to put it on negative watch for the first time, meaning there is one-in-three chance the ratings agency will downgrade the country's hitherto cast-iron AAA credit rating in the next two years. "Germany wins in this equation because it gets a dividend through stability," said Clemens Fuest, a member of the German finance ministry's technical advisory committee. "Interest rates will be pressed down as a result." Germany maintains a secure AAA rating, pays less for a 10-year bond than the United States, and has a constitutionally-mandated 'debt brake.' In Europe, German bonds, known as bunds, have long been the benchmark for investors. (...)
The New York Times (via ACUS) describes a joint proposal from German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy to the EU leaders as a "German diktat." That's the first weird assessment in this Germany bashing editorial. Here are three more:
Mrs. Merkel wants all 17 countries that use the euro to fall in line with German ideas of fiscal austerity in return for limited additional financial support for countries in trouble. She expects them to run deficits no higher than Germany's (3.5 percent of G.D.P.), allow retirement no earlier than Germany (age 67), and raise or lower their tax rates as required to match Germany's.
a) Has the NYT forgotten what the EU agreed on two decades ago? According to the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 deficits should be below 3 percent and debt below 60 percent of GDP. Most countries broke the rules. For some this caused more serious economic problems than for others. Now Germany is asked to help them.
Continue reading "NYT Criticizes German Leadership"
Social Mobility is an issue that comes up time and again in the comments section of Atlantic Review and other blogs. Why? Because fairness and equal opportunities are so important to the US and European self-image. Or in the words of the researcher of the London School of Economics: "The level of intergenerational mobility in society is seen by many as a measure of the extent of equality of economic and social opportunity."
In 2005 they published these "disturbing findings" (HT: Influx):
A careful comparison reveals that the USA and Britain are at the bottom with the lowest social mobility. Norway has the greatest social mobility, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Germany is around the middle of the two extremes, and Canada was found to be much more mobile than the UK. Comparing surveys of children born in the 1950s and the 1970s, the researchers went on to examine the reason for Britain's low, and declining, mobility. They found that it is in part due to the strong and increasing relationship between family income and educational attainment.
My guess is social mobility declined in many countries in the five years since the publication of the survey. Fortunately, the situation is still better than in North Africa. The lack of social mobility was the key factor in the protests/revolution.