Where you Born on the Wrong Continent?

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.