Education is a good thing

All of the voters went to school. And many have children or grandchildren who are currently going to school. Education is important to everyone and that is why it is also an issue in every election campaign; after all, it is about "our children".

The parties literally outbid each other with their demands. The SPD wants "best schools" and the left wants "good education"; The Union goes one better with "best education and training", but still only ranks second behind the FDP in terms of educational promises. Their demand: "world's best education".

Admittedly, these are all campaign pods, the parties' programs are not only oozing superlatives when it comes to school. The joke is that the Basic Law does not make these promises at all or only to a limited extent. Because the so-called prohibition of cooperation is anchored there; it forbids the federal states to make great regulations or to interfere in any other way, especially in the school system - at universities, the requirements are more lax. There are exceptions, for example the federal government may support tight municipalities with the construction of school buildings. But when it comes to what happens in the classrooms, the following still applies: Education is a country issue.

But why actually, why is there not one but 16 school systems in Germany? A little digression:

Before the establishment of the German Empire in 1871, Germany consisted of various feudal states and free imperial cities, each of which pursued its own educational and cultural policy. Even after the founding of the empire and until the end of the Weimar Republic, education remained decentralized. That changed during the Nazi dictatorship, when schools, universities and also culture became part of the propaganda machine of the regime and placed under its control.

After the war, this not only resulted in the federal structure being valued in education. The Allies also imposed extensive requirements on the state as a whole with regard to its involvement in educational issues. In the GDR, in contrast to the FRG, education was again centrally controlled, but since the fall of the Wall, and despite two federalism reforms in the noughties, the states everywhere in Germany decide what is taught how and where.