Stuttgart (dpa / lsw) – The latest study on the performance in Baden-Württemberg primary schools has left deep marks. In the former educational model country, fourth graders have increasing problems with reading and listening, almost every fifth child does not meet the minimum standards in German and mathematics. Baden-Württemberg has it in black and white, the south-west is only mediocre compared to the rest of Germany. Because children from socially disadvantaged families or with an immigrant background in particular performed poorly, the state wants to counteract this with two experimental support projects starting next year.
Several dozen elementary schools are to test over the next four years whether teachers in socially deprived areas can be relieved by subsidies or professionals from other sectors and whether students can be supported. There should be more equal opportunities among children and young people, regardless of their parents’ home, as Minister of Education Theresa Schopper (Greens) announced on Tuesday in Stuttgart. Studies and trends show that a poorly equipped parental home puts a strain on benefits. However, the income situation of the parents should not be the decisive factor for education, said Schopper.
In Weil am Rhein, for example, there are children from well-to-do neighborhoods, says Schopper, who were read to in kindergarten, played number games with, and who speak the language for their age. “They have all the prerequisites, so to speak, to cope well with their everyday school life,” said the minister. In other parts of the city there are also “children who sometimes hold a pen as if they wanted to ram a stick into the ground” who have a smaller vocabulary. Often these are children from a family with a socially disadvantaged background and they need help.
The plan: On the one hand, so-called multi-professional teams are to be deployed at four schools in each of the four administrative districts. “The schools receive a budget with which they finance support staff,” explained Schopper. “For example, we get social pedagogues, speech therapists and occupational therapists on board.”
In addition, so far 30 schools in the areas of the education authorities in Biberach, Lörrach and Tübingen have been better equipped. From the 2023/2024 school year, a developed social index is to determine which schools in these school authorities are offering their lessons in a difficult environment. These three school authorities have already had experience with special support. It has been shown at individual schools that everyone could benefit from the additional know-how. “That’s why I’m very optimistic about the success of our project,” said Schopper.
Federal states such as Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia have already announced similar plans. The Baden-Württemberg government alliance of Greens and CDU also promises a “social index-based distribution of resources” in the coalition agreement.
According to the Ministry of Culture, the decisive index is developed by the Baden-Württemberg Institute for Educational Analysis based on social aspects. Among other things, factors such as purchasing power or the number of social welfare recipients are taken into account. The index should have a precise influence on which resources a school receives, for example for equipment or support.
The primary school association of Baden-Württemberg promotes the social model. However, the resources should not simply be relocated, but would have to “come on top of it,” said Board Member Edgar Bohn. The Education and Science Union (GEW) is more skeptical. The state government could be braver, said state chairwoman Monika Stein. “So far she only wants to bake small rolls.” Stein criticized that in order to be able to distribute resources based on a social index, the corresponding resources would first have to be available. However, there are not even enough teachers for the compulsory area at primary schools.
For the Education and Training Association (VBE), there must be multi-professional teams nationwide. But the country is “miles away” from that, said VBE state chairman Gerhard Brand. 16 model schools are planned, but there are 2,326 primary schools in the country. In addition, all schools would first have to be fully equipped with teaching posts. “If this is guaranteed, we can talk about a social index,” said Brand. Almost all schools are currently carrying “an immense additional package” because of the consequences of the pandemic and the integration of refugee children.
However, the VBE requirement is likely to prove unrealistic, because according to a study there will be a shortage of almost 17,000 teachers in the south-west by 2035. If the country wants to achieve its goals for primary schools and the integration of disabled children and young people, even more teachers would have to be hired.
That’s why the SPD keeps an eye on the clock: “If the prime minister says today that the model projects should be tested and then perhaps deliver the first results in 2027, then a whole generation of primary schools will go through the school without receiving a single offer of support,” the SPD complained – Parliamentary group leader Andreas Stoch.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:221129-99-708451/7