Sunday, November 11. 2012
Posted by Joerg Wolf in European Issues on Sunday, November 11. 2012
1. Today is Armistice Day. Americans celebrate it as Veterans Day, for the Polish it is Independence Day and quite a few Germans, who want to forget war, celebrate today instead as the beginning of the carnival season. What hedonistic, ignorant society we are.
2. Armistice Day is an appropriate term, as November 11, 1918 did not really bring an end to the "Great War," at least not lasting peace. Neither did the Treaty of Versailles. The world war was only really over on May 8, 1945. Thirty-one damn years.
Continue reading "Remembering World War I"
Wednesday, October 5. 2011
Why do public school teachers have such a bad reputation in the US and get little pay?
That's one of the things I don't get. It's quite different over here. The job is well paid and respected by most folks. As a country with little natural resources, Germany depends on innovation and a smart work force. Education is good for democracy, happiness etc. The children are our future, yade, yade.
The US has more natural resources and is better than Germany (Europe) in attracting the smartest brains from all over the world, but still it needs a well educated general population to compete in the 21st century.
To improve the level of education in the US requires many reforms (as it does in Germany), but it seems quite elementary that more pay and more appreciation is necessary to encourage smart, talented, creative and committed young people to choose the profession of a teacher and then to stay motivated in this tough job to provide excellent education.
Since today is World Teacher Day, here is a shout out to teachers world wide!
Watch the trailer of the new documentary American Teacher below:
Continue reading "Today is World Teachers' Day"
Tuesday, February 1. 2011
Posted by Joerg Wolf in International Economics on Tuesday, February 1. 2011
Social Mobility is an issue that comes up time and again in the comments section of Atlantic Review and other blogs. Why? Because fairness and equal opportunities are so important to the US and European self-image. Or in the words of the researcher of the London School of Economics: "The level of intergenerational mobility in society is seen by many as a measure of the extent of equality of economic and social opportunity."
In 2005 they published these "disturbing findings" (HT: Influx):
My guess is social mobility declined in many countries in the five years since the publication of the survey. Fortunately, the situation is still better than in North Africa. The lack of social mobility was the key factor in the protests/revolution.
Wednesday, January 26. 2011
"With our European allies, we revitalized NATO and increased our cooperation on everything from counterterrorism to missile defense. We've reset our relationship with Russia, strengthened Asian alliances, built new partnerships with nations like India." declared President Obama in yesterday's State of the Union Address (Enhanced video).
The focus of his speech was of course domestic rather than foreign -- "and perhaps properly so, given Americans' continuing preoccupation with the economy. Even in that context, though, President Obama's portrait of U.S. engagement in the world was thin -- and weak. By Obama's account, the most important American foreign initiatives in 2011 will be retreats," comments Jackson Diehl in the Washington Post.
Still, I very much like his speech. I felt inspired afterwards, and I assume the speech moved many Americans as well. An optimistic yet realistic message during tough times.
My favorite quotes:
Continue reading "State of the Union: "We Revitalized NATO" and "We Do Big Things""
Thursday, November 13. 2008
Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of Online University Rankings, wrote this guest post:
Are European and US college programs equivalent?
The transatlantic divide is being further torn apart by the educational argument. The fierce debate rages on – are the three year degrees offered by institutions in the UK and across most of Europe equivalent to the four year programs on offer at US colleges? If not, which of them is the more superior? Are graduates of the shorter program less smart than their American counterparts? Or is it vice versa?
Continue reading "Europe or the US? Educational Questions We Need to Ask"
Saturday, January 12. 2008
A new round in transatlantic bashing: Denis, a French expat in the US, writes in SuperFrenchie:
Denis' "bashing back" is mild compared to Foreign Policy magazine's article "Europe's Philosophy of Failure." The introduction reads:
Continue reading "Americans and Europeans Raised in Prejudice and Ignorance"
Friday, October 5. 2007
Posted by Editors in Transatlantic Relations on Friday, October 5. 2007
This is a guest blog post by our long-time reader and commentator Pat Patterson, who has studied Classics and Ancient History at the University of Southern California has been and currently is a teacher in the Orange and Los Angeles counties for the last 16 years:
Judging by the recent article in Businessweek by Jennifer Fishbein titled, Europe Falls Short In Higher Education, one could assume that Europe's leaders are desperately casting about for ways to emulate the international recognition for superstar status accorded to US and UK universities. The basis for this view rests primarily on the recently released results of the Shanghai Jiaotong University Academic Ranking of World Universities. Of the top twenty universities in the world only Oxford and Cambridge in the UK and Tokyo University in Japan were represented and all the rest were in the US. This should hardly be surprising as the independence, competitiveness and deep pockets far eclipses most other universities. But it should be noted that the methodology used is heavily weighted by counting up the citations, written in English, in three areas, Science, Social Science and Arts & Humanities. The reliance on English citations would certainly predispose that universities that were part of the Anglosphere would have a big advantage.
Alas my beloved USC staggered in at 50th but as of Sunday night we are still 1st in football.
However this ranking is a very slender branch to sit on to claim that, "...Lack of financing is a key weakness." And to continue that the EU spends 1/5 as much per pupil as the US does and also to call for an increase of 1% as a way to close the claimed gap between what the US spends and what the EU spends. The article mentions the figure of 1.3% for the EU and 3.3% for the US but these figures completely contradicts the Digest of Education Statistics (pdf) which show that the gap between the major European nations ranges from the low of 4.4% in Germany to 5.4% in the UK and France with 5.8% (which is the same percentage as the US).
So obviously the percentage can't be the problem but the size of the respective economies is where the US has a huge advantage. The US can spend almost 16% to 20% more per pupil even when taking into account the relative size of the populations. The article goes on to claim that the European nations recognize this problem and are now beginning to try different solutions. Increases in funding tied to performance and autonomy are argued as the best solutions.
Saturday, July 28. 2007
"US students are having a hard time in Germany, as they find themselves having to justify Washington policy from day to day. A new pilot project in German schools is meant to help Americans deal with the endless drill" writes Jan Friedmann in Spiegel:
Despite his affinity for German culture, Janssen has hardly been welcomed with open arms. "I don't like having to play diplomat here," he complains. Many of the roughly 3,200 US students enrolled in foreign study programs in Germany share Janssen's experience. They are reluctant ambassadors, routinely taken to task by students and even complete strangers for the perceived offences of their government at home -- an affront that visiting students and academics from China, Russia and Arab countries rarely encounter.
Continue reading "Frustrated by Anti-Americanism, US Exchange Students Try to Change German Attitudes"
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