Good quotes from Thomas Geoghegan's new book, Where You Born on the Wrong Continent?, examining the continuing strength of the Germany economy. The Germans still manufacture a lot of things, and export a lot of things. They chose a different path than the US, and Geoghegan thinks we could have something to learn from the German example. One thing really struck me though:
“Putting more money into education is a waste of effort. …
“Then here’s the biggest shock I can give: yes, Germany is outcompeting us by far, but the schools are a mess. They don’t send enough people to college. The vocational schools are falling apart. Because of all the money used to bail out the East Germans perhaps $2 trillion over two decades], the schools are broke.
“What’s that mean?
“It means schools don’t matter as much as we think.”
When I took German in high school, I was mystified by the 3-track system the Germans use for high school. Only much later did the value of the Realschule become clear. A Realschule has a strong curriculum, but it focuses on educating the broad middle class that provides Germany will skilled technicians. This is not a college prep curriculum, but that doesn't mean you don't learn anything.