Home office: The other risk (neue-deutschland.de)

As of this week, it is forbidden to just meet two or three friends. Private gatherings are only permitted with a maximum of one person from another household. This is what the federal and state governments decided on January 5th. Gatherings at professional meetings, in workshops and factories, on the other hand, are still allowed – and the coronavirus continues to rage. Most recently, the number of newly infected people per week was six times as high as in April. Now there are increasing demands for stricter rules, for a right to work from home, for a hard lockdown. Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to discuss how to proceed with the federal states next week and not until the end of January. We asked the trade unions how they, as employee organizations, assess the resolutions so far.

Ironically, there is harsh criticism from the education system, the importance of which is constantly emphasized across parties. “Politicians cheat around clear decisions” and put responsibility on schools, daycare centers and parents, said Ilka Hoffmann, board member of the education union GEW. The federal and state governments have only agreed on the vague wording that children should be cared for at home “whenever possible”. In concrete terms, this means that teachers often do not know how many children are coming to class. When in doubt, some parents would have to decide to “take a risk” and send their children to school, says Hoffmann. For example, because they have to go to work themselves. Or because the amount of material has not been reduced – although the compulsory attendance is suspended and the pandemic makes teaching and learning more difficult. In many places there are too few FFP2 masks and air filters, and there is still a lack of digital devices for distance learning.

Politicians must establish clear rules, the union demands, such as the level of incidence at which schools switch to distance learning. The infection rate in the region should also be taken into account when day-care centers are opened, and there must be enough employees to form and look after the children in core groups with permanent staff, says GEW board member Björn Köhler.

Daycare workers belong to the occupational groups who have a particularly high risk of contracting the coronavirus. This is indicated by an evaluation by the AOK, and that is also plausible. Mass infections among slaughterhouse workers made headlines. Overall, however, it is completely unclear how many employees are infected with which work. “The data situation in Germany on the infection rate at work and elsewhere is poor,” says Hans-Martin von Gaudecker, professor of economics at the University of Bonn. “Representative data on the risk of infection would be required; these will probably only be available from the socio-economic panel in spring.”

Based on the experience in Asian countries, Gaudecker considers a “short, hard lockdown” to be sensible in order to reduce infections quickly and strongly. This could include more company closings and new home office rules, according to which supervisors have to justify if they refuse to work from home. Gaudecker is one of the more than 300 researchers who have signed the Contain Covid 19 declaration, in which they plead for “decisive action” in Europe to drastically reduce the number of infections.

Similar demands are now coming from politics. “We must finally go into a real lockdown,” Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (Die Linke) recently told the FAZ. Thorsten Frei, vice parliamentary group in the Bundestag, is now considering this: “We should ask ourselves the question of whether a complete lockdown of two to three weeks is ultimately better than an endless hanging game,” he told the “Spiegel”.

The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) also considers it necessary that “all unnecessary contacts are restricted”. DGB boss Reiner Hoffmann is currently against closings of factories in a big way: “In order not to burden the already tense economy and to secure the employment of the people, factories should remain open while maintaining the occupational health and safety,” he said “nd – The week”. In his assessment, “the last ten months have shown that companies – apart from the meat industry – are not drivers of infection.”

IG Bau boss Robert Feiger also shows “understanding that politicians want to keep economic life going as far as possible in order to prevent another slump. In the end, this would also cost jobs ”. Above all, however, is the health of the employees.

For the construction industry, the bargaining parties agreed this week that the professional association should make FFP2 masks available on construction sites. Employees in slaughterhouses are now regularly tested for the corona virus, sometimes several times a week, says a spokeswoman for the NGG union.

The powerful IG Metall is also opposed to a hard lockdown: “In the companies with codetermination, our works councils have implemented hygiene concepts that effectively protect employees. Therefore, we do not consider large-scale company closings to be expedient at the moment, “said a spokesman. Instead, the hygiene measures should be strictly controlled and consistently enforced.

There is enough evidence for IG Metall that employees are adequately protected. So it is not apparent that infection clusters are forming anywhere. In addition, according to a survey by the union, a clear majority of employees are satisfied with the protective measures taken. However, the fact remains that nationwide the number of infections is currently very high and representative data on the risk of infection are missing.

The rejection of the trade unions is probably also due to the fact that employees not only have a risk of infection, but also a job risk, despite government aid such as short-time work benefits. For the second time, politicians have ordered closings for sectors such as the hospitality and retail sectors as well as for cultural institutions. The effects are dramatic for employees and companies, according to the NGG union with a view to the hospitality industry.

There is still no broad debate about how workers can be protected from unemployment in the event of a further, »hard lockdown«.

Instead of company closings, the DGB demands a right to work from home. On Friday, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Employer President Rainer Dulger and DGB boss Hoffmann jointly called for greater use of the home office. It is doubtful whether this will do anything. At the end of October, the federal and state governments “urgently” asked companies to enable home offices. In November, in a survey by the Hans Böckler Foundation, 14 percent of those in employment said they worked at home – and thus much less than in April when it was 27 percent. A binding regulation for home office planned by the SPD failed because of the CDU.

In order to better protect employees and children from infections, better livelihoods would also be helpful, so that parents, for example, do not feel compelled to send their children to school. For example, trade unionists are demanding that the loss of earnings be fully covered when parents look after their children at home because schools or daycare centers are closed.

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Schools are threatened by the corona chaos (neue-deutschland.de)

Photo: dpa / Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is calling for further tough interventions to curb the high number of Covid infections. There are still too many exceptions, mobility is much greater than at the first lockdown in spring, criticized RKI President Lothar Wieler on Thursday. This statement immediately sparked discussions about how to proceed with the schools. Many questions are currently unanswered: How should the graduating classes be dealt with? And can the primary schools soon return to face-to-face teaching?

The Baden-Württemberg Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) pleaded that the heads of government in the federal states should soon discuss this with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). So far, the next meeting was scheduled for January 25th. However, Kretschmann would like to decide earlier which measures can be tightened and which can be relaxed. He would like to reopen kindergartens and primary schools in February because small children suffered more from the effects than young people. In return, he advocates tightening the rules for home offices nationwide.

Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) also warned against closing schools and daycare centers for a long time. This is a great burden for children’s health, she thinks of lack of exercise, obesity and loneliness. “We have to keep all of this in mind when we think beyond January.” The minister believes that the current restrictions are necessary, but in the interests of the child, daycare centers and schools must be reopened in the coming weeks. The current closings were initially agreed by the end of the month.

Despite the significant restrictions in school operations, the chairperson of the Conference of Ministers of Education, Brandenburg’s Education Minister Britta Ernst (SPD), declared that she would continue to adhere to the Abitur standards. A secondary school diploma is out of the question for them. Compared to the newspaper »Welt«, however, it restricted the situation, if the situation lasted any longer, the ministers of education would have to talk about it again. Thuringia’s Minister of Education, Helmut Holter (left), was recently open to making the exams easier this year.

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No funding for right wing wingers (neue-deutschland.de)

Gives the Erasmus Foundation a brittle bourgeois facade: Erika Steinbach

Photo: dpa / Matthias Balk

Politically, it sounds completely harmless, as the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation (DES) describes itself: “We are committed to the promotion of the democratic state and the provision of civic education,” it says on the DES website. We are talking about a “return to the Basic Law” and “tolerance in all areas of culture and the idea of ​​international understanding”. But the public should not be blinded by such words, warns Saba-Nur Cheema, educational director of the Anne Frank educational institution. She says: The Erasmus Foundation is there to give »misanthropic positions an intellectual coating«.

The Anne Frank educational institution in Frankfurt am Main therefore started a campaign on Thursday to provide information about the background and the worldview of the AfD-affiliated foundation. “As an institution that has been committed to historical-political education for decades, the historical revisionist positions of the AfD-affiliated Erasmus Foundation have long been causing us great concern,” explains Cheema.

There is a weighty reason why the campaign »The AfD’s foundation trick« wants to educate people about DES at the beginning of the super election year. If the AfD succeeds in re-entering the Bundestag in September, its party-affiliated foundation would also be entitled to state funding under the current rules. The pot for political foundations in the federal budget is lavishly filled and currently amounts to more than 580 million euros a year. So far, depending on the election results, the money has flowed to the six recognized foundations of the CDU, CSU, FDP, SPD, Greens and Left Party. After the federal elections, it could also be up to 70 million euros for the Erasmus meeting, estimates the Anne Frank educational institution. The funds are used to finance events and academic research, as well as foreign offices and grants.

A central problem from the initiative’s point of view: So far, the granting of state support to party-affiliated foundations has hardly been linked to substantive rules. The educational institution is therefore working together with legal experts on a draft law on foundations that will link the award of state funding to an organization’s loyalty to the constitution. According to the Anne Frank educational institution, there are “strong indications that DES is anti-constitutional”, according to Cheema. Its management staff is anything but harmless. “In addition to the chairman Erika Steinbach, the board and the board of trustees are romping about racial theorists and conspiracy ideologues, ethnic pseudoscientists and tough right-wing extremists from the environment of the Identitarian Movement and the Antaios publishing house by Götz Kubitschek,” warns Cheema.

On a website for the campaign, statements by members of the 30-strong foundation board are listed, which are intended to prove the misanthropic orientation, including AfD politicians such as the Saxon state parliament member Sebastian Wippel or the Bundestag member Marc Jongen, known as an AfD party philosopher. Where the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation says it is the AfD with its ethnic and misanthropic positions, according to Cheema.

In order to draw attention to the danger posed by DES to the pluralistic society, the educational institution has sought well-known supporters. In addition to the cabaret artist Max Uthoff and the sea rescuer Carola Rackete, the CDU politician Ruprecht Polenz is also behind the initiative. “It is precisely the task of conservatives to draw a clear line against right-wing extremists,” says the former CDU general secretary. It is precisely this delimitation that DES tries to blur in a targeted manner. Polenz is also campaigning for a law on foundations that must contain specific award criteria for state funding. You have to react calmly to foreseeable resistance from the AfD. “The AfD will stylize itself as a victim.” But no consideration should be given to this narrative, according to Polenz.

In any case, the relationship between the right wing party and party foundations and their funding is contradictory. When the AfD recognized the DES as party-affiliated in 2018, there were many votes not to take such a step. In the party’s basic program, political foundations are referred to as “covert party financing” that “got completely out of hand”. However, neither the AfD nor the Erasmus Foundation want to forego financial support. On the contrary, there have even been attempts to benefit from state funding early. In the summer of 2020, the AfD sued the Federal Constitutional Court against the formally responsible Federal Ministry of the Interior, and the Erasmus Foundation made a similar attempt a year earlier.

It was foreseeable that the AfD would fail with its lawsuit, as there is an older Karlsruhe judgment that regulates the funding of foundations affiliated with the party. According to this, “all lasting, significant political currents” should be supported by the state. In 1998, the foundations, which were already benefiting from state funding, set out in a declaration in 1998 what that means. The decisive criterion is therefore repeated representation in the Bundestag. It remains to be seen whether this will remain the only yardstick in the future.

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Politician on schools in lockdown: “The numbers are too high”

Brandenburg’s Minister of Education, Britta Ernst, the new chairwoman of the KMK, on ​​school openings, digital lessons and the dispute over air filters.

Graduating classes preferred: English lessons in a 12th grade in Rostock, beginning of January Photo: Bernd Wünstneck / dpa

taz: Ms. Ernst, Germany has been in lockdown for almost a month. Nevertheless, the incidence values ​​are rising in your state of Brandenburg and are approaching the 300 mark. What does that mean for daycare centers and schools?

Britta Ernst: The daycare centers in Brandenburg are open. We decided to do this in December in order to guarantee childcare and because daycare centers make an important contribution to early childhood development and education. However, we appeal to parents to look after the children themselves and to take advantage of the federal government’s offers to take sick days.

With the exception of the final classes, we offer distance learning in schools. The incidences in Brandenburg are indeed too high for schools to be opened up. At the moment, however, we cannot interpret the data precisely because we have the effects of so-called sub-testing and we cannot see exactly what effects the holiday activities have on the values.

Therefore, the schools should remain in distance learning for another two weeks. If the values ​​develop downwards in seven to ten days, however, we want to open the elementary schools to alternate classes.

Some ministers of education are already talking about face-to-face classes in February. Do you think such promises are wise?

All state governments and ministers of education make very difficult decisions. Whether you go into hard lockdown for three weeks or two or three months makes a big difference to the children’s educational opportunities. In this respect, we use every leeway that arises. And according to my impression, this is done in all federal states depending on the incidence values.

In Hamburg and Bremen, for example, parents decide whether the children go to school. Would that also be a model for other countries?

The federal states have two options: either to go completely to distance learning or to remove the compulsory attendance. In Brandenburg we decided to take distance lessons. Schools also have to master the challenge of organizing emergency care for the morning. In Brandenburg, I think we’re getting along well with this path.

SPD, has been Brandenburg’s Minister of Education since 2017. On Thursday she will take over the chairmanship of the Standing Conference (KMK). She succeeds her colleague from Rhineland-Palatinate, Stefanie Hubig.

The role young people play in transmitting the virus is controversial. However, several studies come to the conclusion that open schools do increase the incidence of infections. Looking back, would you say it was a mistake to leave whole classes at school for so long in the fall?

No. We know that the long-term closure of schools not only has disadvantages for the educational biographies of the children, but that we also rob the children of their social contacts. These are serious interventions. I am glad that we managed to keep the schools open for so long.

So far, the lockdown has not really depressed the numbers anywhere. Now there may be particularly contagious virus mutations. How many face-to-face classes do you expect in 2021?

Part of the pandemic is that we are unfortunately unable to offer longer-term prospects. We very much regret that. We also know that schools suffer a lot from the fact that they are often confronted with changed decisions at very short notice. But you have to realize that we are doing everything we can to keep schools open for as long as possible.

That is why we constantly look at the infection process and then make a decision. It will continue like this. The Standing Conference has agreed on the order in which the schools should open: first the final classes, then the primary schools, then the secondary schools. How long this step-by-step plan will last, no one can seriously answer.

Speaking of graduating classes. Many high school graduates and other students who finish school in the summer are worried about their degrees. Do you have to?

It is totally understandable that the students are worried. You have had a turbulent year. In 2020 we managed to ensure that the graduating classes were able to graduate from high school, although there were also violent protests against it. It turned out to be the right decision. We also achieved middle and first degrees, as well as many professional qualifications.

For the current graduating classes, it is important to know: We keep an eye on their situation. We now have to wait and see how the next few weeks go before the Conference of Ministers of Education will discuss this. In Brandenburg we decided together with Berlin to provide additional tasks for the Abitur, from which the schools can then choose.

On Thursday you will take over the KMK presidency for one year. When You have chosen digital teaching as your main focus. What would you like to achieve during your term of office?

I want us to not just talk about equipment issues in digital lessons. Of course, because of Corona, it is now the priority topic: As long as there is no reasonable equipment in schools, you don’t need to talk about content. Looking ahead, however, we need to talk more about good teaching. After all, that is the common thread of education policy.

Good teaching promotes the poorer and the stronger students and closes the social gap. The new technology offers potential. But they also have to be used. An activeboard on the wall or the use of a digital device does not automatically lead to better lessons. I want to draw attention to this. For my term in office at the KMK, I would like us to dovetail the research results more closely with practice.

At the moment everyone is talking about the digital equipment. Parents complain about worksheets by e-mail, school principals have been waiting for WiFi or digital devices for years, learning platforms such as Mebis or Lernraum Berlin regularly smear them off. The federal states have not even called up a fifth of the 5.5 billion euros from the School Digital Pact. Why is Germany finding it so difficult to convert?

It’s not that easy to answer. In retrospect, it would be better if we had started the digital pact five or eight years earlier, then the schools would now be better equipped and we could talk about quality aspects of teaching. After all, the digital pact was agreed before the corona pandemic.

Many schools had submitted their applications, but at the beginning of the first lockdown everything came to a standstill because everyone, including schools and school authorities, was busy with corona management. For Brandenburg, I can say that the race to catch up was absolutely successful. At the end of the year we made a precision landing. Almost all funds available to us from the digital pact have been applied for.

Since Corona, to put it casually, the federal government has been wearing the donor pants. Why aren’t the federal states pushing for all schools to be equipped with air filters from federal funds?

Even if the federal government is wearing the donation pants, the money must be used sensibly. The additional federal funds for digital devices for schoolchildren, for system administration in schools and for work laptops for teachers make a lot of sense, for example. In the case of air filters, we received a long statement from the Federal Environment Agency that they do not recommend comprehensive equipment in schools. I think you can’t just ignore that. We have long been told that air filters can only be used as a supplement to regular ventilation.

But they can’t do any harm, can they?

Well Perhaps one feels more like a false sense of security when the air filter is in the classroom. And it’s important to remember that filters must be properly maintained in order to function properly.

Are there any other important educational topics for you this year besides corona and digitization?

A whole lot. For example, we want to implement two important decisions from last year. One is the establishment of the permanent scientific commission, which is to advise the KMK from next year. And then we want to implement the country agreement that has been made and, for example, further increase comparability in the field of education between the countries, for example with regard to the Abitur. These projects will take a lot of energy.

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What the police shouldn’t forget about people with dementia (neue-deutschland.de)

It is as normal for people to become a bit forgetful in old age as the fact that many seniors can hear and see worse than in their youth. But this cannot be compared with the difficulties that arise with Alzheimer’s disease.

“The police are called first when everyone doesn’t know what to do next,” said Sabine Köpf on Wednesday in the state parliament’s health committee. Köpf heads the Brandenburg competence center dementia. There are such centers in many places in Germany. The center for the state of Brandenburg was launched in 2016. Since then, 2,653 relatives of demented patients have completed a one and a half hour nursing course with the help of the competence center. Social judges, general practitioners, taxi drivers, caretakers from housing associations, rural women – and police officers were also trained in dealing with people with dementia. Because the police are always or at least often alerted when the elderly have disappeared without being found or are found disoriented by passers-by.

It is possible that people who do not yet have severe dementia will continue to live in their own homes, it is possible that they will not have to go to a nursing home straight away. However, dealing with them requires sensitivity and some basic knowledge of suffering. The competence center offered all of the Brandenburg police stations to train their colleagues in this regard, reported Sabine Köpf. Before the corona lockdowns, however, only one police station could actually be visited by the experts.

Last year the competence center offered 44 courses. Some then had to be canceled because of the corona pandemic. “Our credo is that a training course like this should actually take place in every village of 200 people,” explained Sabine Köpf. According to her, it was helpful that it was possible to find a room for the training at a housing association in one place. That is lower threshold. In other words: it is easier for people to go there. Before that, they had to get together in a nursing home. But unfortunately that seemed a bit as if a nursing home was inevitable for dementia.

Around 67,000 Brandenburgers suffer from dementia. In 2009 only around 43,000 residents of the state were affected, but according to a forecast it will be more than 87,000 in 2030. This expectation has to do with demographic change.

Older people are more likely to suffer from dementia than younger people. In the age group of 65 to 69 year olds, it affects around 1.6 percent of people, in the age group of over 90 year olds it is around 40 percent. Younger people can also develop Alzheimer’s disease, but it is rare for them. It is estimated that there are only around 20,000 people with dementia who are younger than 65 years of age in the whole of Germany.

“We often talk about people with dementia, but we come to a point where we want to talk to those affected themselves,” said Sabine Köpf, who works with a small team – all women – in the competence center.

In the health committee, of course, Köpf could only talk about people with dementia and not with them. State parliament members such as Björn Lüttmann (SPD), Carla Kniestedt (Greens), Roswitha Schier (CDU) and Bettina Fortunato (left) had questions. For example, they wanted to know to what extent schools are involved in educational work. The base of the Alzheimer’s Society in Strausberg is in contact with schools, explained Sabine Köpf. But at the competence center, pupils are not the focus, even though the young people could have grandparents or great-grandparents with dementia.

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Who pays for the ever growing childcare? (neue-deutschland.de)

Photo: pixabay.com

This should not only be paid out when the school or day-care center is completely closed, but “is also granted by the state if school and company holidays are ordered or extended by the responsible authorities for reasons of infection protection or the compulsory attendance at a school is suspended . That was decided by the federal cabinet. Who exactly will receive the compensation and how can this be applied for?

The decision in detail

With an amendment to the Infection Protection Act, the federal government is now regulating the compensation of parents who have to look after their children at home due to extended school holidays, suspended classroom teaching or hybrid teaching.

The prerequisite is that no other reasonable support can be ensured. Eligible are custodians of children who have not yet reached the age of 12 or who are disabled and in need of assistance.

Amount of compensation

The parents concerned should largely be compensated for the loss of earnings. You are entitled to compensation of 67 percent of the loss of earnings, up to a maximum of 2016 euros per month. The entitlement applies for a total of 20 weeks: ten weeks for mothers and ten weeks for fathers – or 20 weeks for single parents. The maximum period of ten or 20 weeks can be spread over several months. The regulation already applies if parents have to look after their children themselves because of the official closure of schools and daycare centers.

Application by the employer

The employer submits the applications for compensation to the competent local authority and passes them on to the employee as continued wages. In addition, parents can take childhood sick days if the child actually falls ill. The number of days has been increased for the current year due to the Corona crisis. So there are now 15 days per parent instead of 10 days per child. Single parents are entitled to 30 days instead of 20 days this year. VDAA / nd

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In dire need the lesser evil (neue-deutschland.de)

Photo: dpa | Ulrich Perrey

The fact that under the often unsatisfactory technical organization of homeschooling in Berlin the learning success of many students leaves something to be desired cannot be denied. Not even that the youngest and socially disadvantaged people in particular suffer a lot from the lack of contact with their classmates and teachers. Especially when the family atmosphere is disturbed at home. None of this can be lightly dismissed. So if the governing mayor’s back and forth over the question of opening schools at the dramatic height of the corona pandemic could be explained in any way, it would be in the light of these considerations. But we cannot excuse the political chaos that Education Senator Sandra Scheeres and he caused with it.

As head of the Prime Minister’s Conference, Michael Müller had made strong arguments in favor of the extension of the lockdown and tightened restrictions, which was jointly supported by all country colleagues and the Chancellor. This explicitly included the extensive closure of daycare centers and schools initially until the end of January. It may be that the compromise did not suit him personally – nevertheless, the situation was finally clear nationwide.

Tomas Morgenstern is relieved that the schools will remain closed for the time being.

Tomas Morgenstern is relieved that the schools will remain closed for the time being.

Photo: nd / Ulli Winkler

After that, nothing had changed for the better in the pandemic, which would make the U-turn, unilaterally announced by Berlin of all places, appear plausible, to open schools again for face-to-face classes on January 11th. And since then, the number of infections and, above all, the number of victims has increased. In addition, experts warn of the imponderable dangers of a highly contagious new virus variant.

The fact that the Senate has pulled the emergency brake and the schools remain for the time being will probably hit many of those affected hard. Still it is correct. In addition to massive criticism from teachers and concerned parents, this was apparently primarily due to the intervention of the SPD state leaders Giffey and Saleh. For the governor and his Senator for Education, this is politically a catastrophe.

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To be on the safe side, it’s still homeschooling (neue-deutschland.de)

Photo: dpa | Ulrich Perrey

Berlin. After some back and forth, the schools in Berlin remain essentially closed. School-guided learning at home for students in grades 1 to 9 and for some higher grades will be extended until at least January 25, said Education Senator Sandra Scheeres (SPD) on Friday. Until then, there is no compulsory attendance.

For the final grades 10, 12 and 13 at grammar schools and secondary schools, face-to-face offers in small groups should be possible from this Monday. Whether alternating lessons with learning at home and at school are offered, or whether everything is done through homeschooling, should be decided by the respective schools with the parents’ representatives.

On January 19, the Senate will decide how to continue with primary schools from January 25. By then, more reliable data will probably be available on how the holidays over Christmas and the turn of the year have affected the coronavirus infection and what role the new virus mutation plays. In addition, the schools should provide socially disadvantaged pupils with additional funding and support offers, it said. As before, there is emergency care at primary schools.

On Wednesday, the Senate decided to extend the lockdown until January 31, but will generally be offering alternate classes in small groups again from January 11 at schools for graduate-relevant years. From January 18, elementary school students in grades 1 to 3 and then step by step further grades should follow. According to the plan, one week after the winter holidays, classroom classes should be back to normal for everyone from February 15, as they were before the lockdown.

This action had caused severe criticism from the teachers’ union GEW, some school principals, parents and student representatives, but also within the red-red-green coalition. What followed on Friday were hectic efforts within the coalition to deal with the crisis. According to information from the German press agency dpa, the left and the green put pressure on Scheeres. The SPD state chief, Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey, and her co-chairman Raed Saleh also intervened. As it was said, the new line was staked out in a long column with Scheeres and the Governing Mayor Michael Müller (SPD), among others. The compromise is also supported by the Greens and the left. The Senator for Education said on Friday afternoon that the change of course would address the concerns expressed in schools.

Giffey welcomed the new regulation. “I think it is right that Education Senator Sandra Scheeres has now decided after a vote in the coalition to suspend compulsory attendance at Berlin schools until January 25,” said the Federal Minister for Family Affairs. “The current infection figures make it clear that we are still in the most severe pandemic that we have ever experienced.” With all the right efforts to ensure educational equality, the return to face-to-face teaching should therefore not be premature. It is important to act consistently and responsibly and to put health protection at the top.

Saleh welcomed the fact that Berlin was now acting in a similar way to Brandenburg. “This ensures a uniform approach in the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan area.”

The CDU state chairman Kai Wegner spoke of a “failure with announcement”. »Shortly before, red-red-green pulls the emergency brake. But the damage is already done, ”he explained. “With her stubborn rushing ahead, the SPD Senator for Education triggered maximum uncertainty.”

The director of education of the international organization for economic cooperation and development (OECD), Andreas Schleicher, rated the Berlin approach of getting elementary school children back to schools as quickly as possible. “There are always difficult considerations. But especially in the first years of school and life, face-to-face teaching is simply irreplaceable, «the educational researcher told the RBB-Inforadio on Friday. “In this respect, the approach in Berlin, if the health situation allows, is very sensible that you start quickly with the youngest children, even in limited classes.” Education is always relationship work and not just imparting knowledge, says Schleicher. And in the first years of school, face-to-face tuition is necessary because elementary school students cannot be expected to learn independently at home. Alternating classes and digitization would bring more in higher grades.

The secondary school leaving certificate after the 10th grade is to be awarded in Berlin in 2021 without written exams in mathematics, German and a foreign language, the education senator informed the »Tagesspiegel« (Sunday). The oral presentation exam takes place. Similar to 2020, the aim is to make it easier for pupils and teachers at secondary schools and high schools to cope with the school cycle in the pandemic. dpa / nd

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The window frames are to blame (neue-deutschland.de)

You now have enough time to go for a walk, to take a closer look at the whole of the surrounding total misery and to quietly ask yourself whether one might not have something to do with the other – whether you would have inferred the catastrophe from the poor arrangement of the living environment can or vice versa. After a few hundred walks in the last year, I now venture a first steep thesis: It is due to the window frames.

Regardless of whether it is in the highly gentrified trendy district, in the workers’, villa or train station districts: wherever the so-called top refurbishment has been carried out, you can now see the same hideous white window frames. Whether gleaming out of centuries-old Gothic brick or complimenting modern anthracite paints: They are always the same, greasy, shiny plastic frames that look completely scruffy after two weeks.

At first I thought they were the only models that comply with newer fire, heat and air conditioning legislation. But with the energy-saving lamps, the warm LEDs were there very quickly. So why shouldn’t the almighty market, after a certain waiting period, also make window frames available that don’t look shitty? Then I noticed that wherever new front doors had to be used, huge white plastic lids were also chosen, often without any decoration or windows, reminiscent of Tupperware in design, and it became clear to me: They all want it that way.

Leo Fischer was head of the news magazine »Titanic«. In this section he makes useful suggestions to the excited public.

Photo: private

Long before Corona, numerous apartment owner associations and renovation companies had decided that people should live in Tupperware cans, and people not only did not object, they also seamlessly integrated self-adulation into their lifestyle. The fact that this is a cross-class phenomenon shows that it is about more than purely economic constraints, but about ideology. Where people move into Wilhelminian style houses only to then build Lego plastic in them, it’s not about money, but about a message. On the one hand, there is this limitless need for security that has long been found in SUVs, armored family carriages and loopholes-like house structures. Even before Corona, people wanted to live in fortresses, each with their own sausage, in airtight packaging and a protective atmosphere. The climate-proof plastic frames support the encapsulation: everyone lives on their own space station.

On the other hand, there is the rejection of beauty, of the solidarity-based task of doing something visually good for one’s neighbor. On the contrary, people move into palaces in order to deface them from the outside: on the one hand as a territorial marker, on the other hand as a subtle threat: attention, it can get very ugly in this area from now on! If you’re not nice to me, I’ll break the things you like!

The lining of the bourgeois hollow body with threatening and protective elements made of plastic is testimony to the pre-apocalyptic bunker and wagon castle mentality that has always secretly prepared for a catastrophe like Corona. The petty-bourgeois egoism, the “leave me all alone” is now articulated anew every day in the midst of the catastrophe. With the party that you do celebrate, with the journey that you somehow undertake, with the hamstering of toilet paper and dry yeast – but above all with the unwillingness to take the simplest protective measures when they “only” serve to protect others . For the time being, the “voice of reason” remains with its thesis: The window frames are to blame for Corona!

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Center for Democracy: Clear Attempts at Defamation (neue-deutschland.de)

It is the calm before the storm, explains Benedikt Hotz from the Center for Democracy (ZfD) to the »nd«. At the beginning of January, the second corona lockdown ensures empty rooms in the education and meeting place on Michael-Brückner-Straße, with the exception of a minimum occupancy. The ZfD is closed to the public, but work is still going on: “We can be reached, democracy must not go into lockdown,” adds Hotz ‘colleague Claudia Max. Outside there is cold sleet.

In Berlin, the so-called super election year has begun despite the prescribed calm – and that will bring a lot of political unrest. “The AfD is preparing for the election campaign, you can already feel it,” says Hotz. It is assumed, among other things, that the district parliamentary group of the right-wing party will again demand that the funding for the civil society house, which is home to various advice centers and projects, be set to zero. “We prepare for massive attacks, including personal defamation of our employees,” said the social scientist Hotz.

The ZfD is more than a thorn in the side of the right party, says Karin Kant from the left faction in the district. “They“ shoot ”massively against the center, but also against the café in the Haus der Jugend or against the youth art and culture center Gérard Philipe,” explains Kant. “You try, like everywhere else, with the alleged violation of the principle of neutrality to discredit the educational work «, describes the district politician one of the main political goals of the AfD in Treptow-Köpenick. Kant is the youth and integration policy spokesperson for her parliamentary group and also sits on the committee for continuing education and culture.

Here as well as in the District Assembly (BVV), she sometimes experiences the MPs of the right-wing AfD differently, reports the left-wing politician. While the top of the parliamentary group, with chairman Alexander Bertram and his deputy Denis Henkel, was inconspicuous and moderate, MPs like Andreéügel and Andrea Lorenz were conspicuous with choleric insults and insulting heckling against other parties and their members – “disgusting and uncontrolled,” says Kant One shows oneself in the manner of supporters of the radical and officially dissolved »wing« of the AfD: racist and angry towards »established« and »unity parties« as well as always eager to assume political enemies lack »neutrality« and to accept yourself as victims stage. That works particularly well at the youth leisure and educational institutions mentioned. “They try to observe the places or to get inside,” explains Benjamin Hotz. If they are denied access there, they would see their allegations as proven.

“The fairy tale of moderate politics is not true,” says Karin Kant. This is also confirmed by a look at the Treptow-Köpenick register, the reporting office for recording racist, anti-Semitic, right-wing extremist and discriminatory incidents. There the cases are documented in which AfD politicians in the BVV openly and aggressively agitate against people who are, for example, gay or who have fled. People are threatened with beating or their personal data is published – as in the case of an anti-fascist. Statements by the New Right are used provocatively, the deportation of refugees is demanded, civil society initiatives and other parties are defamed and vilified. The exact wording can be found.

With such clear right-wing attacks like the ZfD, it is natural and also easier for the parliamentary groups on the left of the CDU to stand together clearly on the projects and against the attacks of the AfD, explains Karin Kant. “The problem is the political plans of the right, which they put forward in a more subtle way. ”In Altglienicke, where four years ago non-party rights, NPD cadres and CDU were mobilizing against the construction of refugee accommodation, the AfD has now taken the helm. She had succeeded in attracting and redirecting the debate. “Suddenly other parties there are also getting involved in discussions about the size and height of accommodation and not even realizing what the AfD is actually about – namely fundamentally questioning the legitimacy of the facilities and help for refugees.” To question and uncover , is currently the bigger task.

Most recently, the AfD parliamentary group made headlines in the case of the former deputy physician Denis Hedeler. The epidemic expert Hedeler had accused the health councilor Bernd Geschanowski (AfD), who is responsible for his position, of discriminating against him because of his skin color and his homosexuality. Against this background, the city council is said to have rejected Hedeler’s application for the post of medical officer that has been vacant since May 2020. Geschanowski rejected the allegations. The fact that he had made Hedeler’s resignation public must have consequences for the AfD politician, believes the left-wing faction. There you have no doubts about Denis Hedeler’s expertise.

At the end of December, he filled the post of medical officer in the Dahme-Spree district, who is currently particularly badly affected by high numbers of infections – and where the AfD received 24.4 percent of the vote in the state elections a year and a half ago.

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