What are the benefits of being uneducated parents

Nobody has yet invented a teaching concept that would be able to turn class society off its hinges. But equal opportunities in education should be possible in Germany. It should be possible for all people, according to their abilities, to have equal opportunities to rise to the center of society through education; that children and adolescents know more than they know today that their abilities and talents do not go undetected and undeveloped, as happens far too often; In a word, that everyone can do what they can - even children whose parents do not ensure success in school with patience and gentle pressure, whose parents are uneducated or poor or simply speak bad German.

But all the reforms, education committees, agreements of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education, all innovative approaches and new didactic designs have not achieved this goal, they have only prolonged the long woes of the school. And so it is true today what was complained about 30 years ago: Children from socially disadvantaged or migrant families have a much more difficult life in Germany than in most other countries. Not only do they lack family support, they also lack individual support at school, for example to improve their language skills.

That is a sign of poverty for Germany - in the truest sense of the word: Education is the decisive lever for economic advancement. This can be proven with many facts: With a better educational qualification, unemployment falls and income rises. In this country, 20 out of a hundred people without a vocational qualification are unemployed, but only five out of a hundred people who have completed vocational training, and only two with a university degree. A good education is the best insurance against unemployment, which in Germany is mainly unemployment of the low-skilled. In addition, a university graduate earns more than twice as much as someone without a vocational qualification. And that's just the individual perspective.

In addition, without a good education, all potentials that the economy and society urgently need to meet the need for skilled workers, to cope with digitization and demographic change, remain untapped without good education. From an economic point of view, education helps to increase prosperity and contribute to greater justice. It is the most effective way to reduce social inequality. "In the long term, an education policy that promises everyone, regardless of their origin, good educational opportunities is the best social policy," says Ludger Wößmann, education economist at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich.

Although things are more similar in Germany than in many other countries, the following also applies here: The gap between those who do not know what to spend all their money on and those who do not know how it will last until the end of the month is deeper as previously. This gap has widened ever since the 1980s - until a good ten years ago. Since then, the disproportion has not increased, but neither has it decreased. The main reason that the gap is so huge is that lower incomes have developed below average, and that low-skilled work is paid less than it used to be.

Social inequality cannot be reduced through redistribution alone

Now politics can try to counteract inequality through taxes and social benefits. It can tax the rich more heavily and increase transfer benefits for people on low incomes. However, the German state is already redistributing more than almost any other - and yet the gap remains. "The attempt to reduce social inequality through redistribution alone has failed," says Marcel Fratzscher, head of the DIW economic research institute. "It is important to enable people to participate more in working life through better educational opportunities; that is the most important thing."

But Germany is having a hard time with that. Education and social advancement depend primarily on the parents' income and occupations; social background determines educational success. If you are born into a middle-class family and have a good education, there is a good chance that you will be at least as good as your parents. In contrast, children from poor families and those with a migration background are disadvantaged. For example, the Pisa test, which examines international school performance, shows differences in all countries between the skills of socio-economically well-off and badly-off children; in Germany, however, the gap is particularly large.