me and the spd

[while i’m writing this i’m listening to franco, thanks to carine]

the other day i came home and found a new poster on the front door. it read: politik im kiez. religion, integration, schule… in kreuzberg.

my previous experience with the spd consisted of accidently running into a huge demonstration/party on gendarmenmarkt during the last election. i was showing my parents the little i knew of berlin and trying to get married. i asked my mother to please take off the little spd pin that someone had given her for free. you don’t even know what they stand for! i grumbled as we navigated the police filled streets. you know you would not be putting on some pin a random white person in the states gave you.

i was still wondering what they stand for so i put on my headscarf and went out in the snow to the meeting.

i left disturbed.

the meeting should have been called the dire lack of any sort of political platform im kiez. it started out with the announcement that since last thursday berlin has its own law banning any sort of ostentatious religious symbols in the classroom. later, the presence of the Islamic Federation, which is currently under governmental watch, in the schools was discussed. i don’t understand why any public money would be going to the evangelical church, the islamic federation, or whomever to give any sort of instruction in public schools. what is the point of banning a headscarf or cross if the priest, pastor, imam, has access to the public school system?

people complained about class size, the closing of 2 schools in kreuzberg, doctors writing notes for turkish girls so they don’t have to participate in sports or school trips, german kids being harassed by turkish classmates, the inability of KITAs to serve a population which is learning german in tandem with their home language, the inadequately trained and unmotivated white german teachers who end up standing before classes that are a wave of non-white faces, lack of parent participation, etc.

an impassioned mother raised her voice and complained the panel was not listening to her comment. would you let your kids go to school somewhere with 90% Turkish kids, where they keep just taking more and more students? another complained that all of the germans were moving out of kreuzberg as soon as their kids reached school age. something should be done! one woman suggested some type of security guards to protect their children from the aforementioned “immigrant” children.

many comments, notably those by the 3 slightly toasty colored members of the audience, were pretty much glossed over. the recurring ideas for improvement: all-day instruction, required kindergarten, this vague notion of “werte-erziehung”. the required kindergarten idea seemed to be more of a focus on the kopftuch again. since KITAs are not required by law, they came up with a temporary compromise to not legislate what the teachers in KITAs can or cannot wear.

many people thought it was polite to talk loudly and snidely while other people were making a comment.

knocking on tables is a funny way to clap.

i came away with no clear idea representing the current politics on education (maybe there just is none) and nothing remotely concrete on religion, integration, schule… in kreuzberg. no one at the meeting seemed all that concerned about the basic premise of education – kids learning. not just the kids of german parents. all of the children enrolled in berlin’s public school system. half-day education that isn’t effective is just twice as bad when it’s all day long. teachers with or without headscarves can’t make a difference if there is no sort of teacher training which bothers to address the reality of the student population being taught. when politicians can stand up and still have words like “unsere christliche religion” come out of their mouths, you wonder what world they are living in. very disturbing.


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