Courtesy Reuters

Teaching Germans to Teach Themselves

"Reëducation" in Germany

GERMANY is a wreck. In a recent visit to Munich, for example -- a city which I knew as well as I know New York -- I could not tell where I was. But the schools are going full blast. If you get up early enough you see the streets full of boys and girls with book knapsacks on their backs, and late in the afternoon you see them going home. They are not so badly dressed and they look pretty well fed. Not many school buildings escaped damage. Paper and pencils, pen and ink are scarce, and there are not many books -- but the Germans never depended much on textbooks anyway. Non-Nazi teachers have been found, principals and superintendents have been appointed, and the Germans are going at the business of education in their thorough way, with all children in school for long hours and about 25 percent more school days a year than we have in America.

Among the German school people there is a good deal of talk of school reform, and no little evidence that the interest is genuine. The superintendent of schools in Munich showed me a chart of a new organization and explained that all children now study together up to ten years of age before being divided into what we would call vocational and college preparatory groups; all must stay in school until the age of 14, and then for some there is part-time school and part-time employment. School committees in Wiesbaden and Berlin told me in detail how they were "democratizing" their education to avoid errors of the past. In Stuttgart, rubble was being ground to make concrete blocks for a new Teachers Institute, which was to combine some five former normal schools and would train teachers of elementary schools and teachers of high schools in the same classes under identical conditions. This is a radical reform for Germany, where teachers for the well-to-do have always kept apart from the teachers of the common

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