in 2022 The Education Report shows a two-tier society in the education sector: children from households with higher median incomes are more likely to get good grades than children from lower-income parents. Especially if they have a migration history.
The Leonore Goldschmidt School in Hanover is located in Hanover-Mühlenberg. The district is considered a social point. Three out of four people have a migration background, and around 21 percent receive remittances. “Because of language poverty, we really need language support,” says language coordinator Claudia Bax, who created the concept of the culturally and linguistically sensitive school. “The lack of language is also linked to poverty. We have children who are simply poor and are not read to in the evenings.”
Understanding linguistic diversity as an opportunity
48 different languages are spoken at the school. Also an option: “Due to the requirements of the Ministry of Education, we concentrate on several languages as foreign languages,” says Joachim Rocholl, head of the primary school. “Nevertheless, many people bring a second and sometimes a third foreign language with them. The question is: what is the value of that?”
There used to be language classes where students could be tested in their native language. Now these classes have been preserved by the Ministry of Education. There are also savings due to informative offers on sensitive language lessons. “I graduated as a lawyer three years ago and got a technical text that didn’t really tell me anything,” complains German language teacher Anton Bollig. – Everything I learned, I learned practically here.
The Leonore Goldschmidt School wants to become more culturally and linguistically sensitive. But for German teacher Anton Bollig, structures also need to change for more equity in education. “This system has to evolve: you fail because of bureaucratic obstacles, you fail because of financial problems, teachers have full classrooms,” he says. “This makes it a cycle that tends to move in a negative direction rather than improve.” For example, the theater group at the Leonore Goldschmidt School shows that educational equity can work even at low thresholds.
Pinx Art School would like more state support
The Pinx Art School in Schwarmstedt in the Hanover region also provides education. Director Hildegard Strutz recently received the Federal Cross of Merit for her work. She would like more state support: “So far it hasn’t been like that in terms of institutional funding – we get zero euros within the boundaries of our art school,” says Strutz. – Participation is free for 85 percent of all children, but it means an incredible marathon of applications.
One person who has benefited from Hildegard Strutz’s commitment is 13-year-old Maher Al Darum. He fled Syria with his family seven years ago. “As refugees, we lived in a homeless shelter, and after a while we moved to an art school,” he says. “Then we met Mrs. Strutz. And now art school has been a part of me for seven years and shaped me.” The Pinx School of Art and the Leonore Goldschmidt School demonstrate: Educational equity is an approach that emerges from lively and respectful collaboration.