Back to School

No matter who governs Germany after Sept. 22, one of the most pressing and emotionally loaded problems the leadership will face is the state of German schools. Education has been gnawing at the German soul since last December, when an O.E.C.D-sponsored survey of reading, math and science skills among 15-year-olds, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), revealed serious shortcomings. (A national follow-up published in June, PISA-e, confirmed the bad news.) Proud of their heritage of Dichter und Denker, poets and thinkers, Germans were shocked to learn that their students finished 25th out of 32 countries for...

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