Business must not leave school to the ideologues

high school class

According to critics, students often do not learn enough about economics in school.

(Photo: ddp)

Anyone who asks why there is so little understanding of the economy in large parts of the population must look to the schools. Economics only takes place there in rare cases and when it takes place, then with a more statist perspective.

The Baden-Württemberg State Center for Political Education propagates a veritable flood of government instruments from rent controls to housing allowances in teaching materials on the subject of “housing shortages”. The causes such as increasing demand due to influx and migration and the desire for ever larger areas per capita are not mentioned.

Private new construction and renovation are not presented as positive, but as a problem, with a one-sided focus on the possible displacement of low-income tenants from certain districts. The image of the landlord: fat, stuffy with a tie, could hardly be worse. No wonder that an increasing part of the population is skeptical about the social market economy.

It is even worse when it comes to the big topic of our time, climate protection. Although we have made significant global progress in combating poverty and disease, life expectancy and disaster prevention, and climate and environmental protection are also making progress, 14 to 24-year-olds in Germany are concerned about their future.

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If you confront them with positive facts, they react in disbelief, since they only hear negative news in school and in the media. The teacher Robert Benkens put it in a nutshell in Die Zeit: “Since the emergence of the Fridays for Future movement, ‘Follow the Science’ for many of my students means something like: the end is near.” Positive developments are ignored, as is the fact that climate change is a serious challenge, but not the end of humanity, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows in its studies.”

The author

Daniel Stelter is the founder of the discussion forum beyond the obvious, which specializes in strategy and macroeconomics, as well as a management consultant and author. Every Sunday his podcast goes online at

(Photo: Robert Recker/ Berlin)

No wonder many youngsters actually believe they belong to the last generation. To put it badly, they paid particularly good attention in school. They are the victims of an education system that relies on exaggeration and narrowing out of concern that the subject might not be taken seriously enough.

>> Read here: “Use your own potential”: climate protectionists and scientists call for CO2 storage in Germany

The fact that many media act in a similar way makes matters worse. Instead of looking to the future with optimism and actively participating in solving the problems – as researchers, engineers or installers of photovoltaic systems – they see the solution in renunciation and protest. That’s not productive.

As a country of gray cells, Germany cannot afford such an education system. We owe our prosperity to research and science. Only with innovation will we succeed in defending our prosperity. Scientific work thrives on dealing with different views, not on excluding differing opinions.

Schools need to encourage discussion

In addition to the well-known problem of ever poorer performance in core subjects such as mathematics, there is an increasing taboo of views. As well-intentioned as this may be, it damages one of the core capabilities for our future success.

>> Read here: Germany’s school system is getting worse – in Bremen the extremes are showing

Few deny climate change, but it is worth discussing the best way to deal with the challenge, not only, but also at school. Teaching materials must reflect the different points of view and thus promote discussion.

There is little to suggest that education policy is changing course here. It is all the more important that the economy becomes active. The economy must no longer leave the schools to activists and ideologues, in their own interest, but also with a view to climate protection.

Daniel Stelter is the founder of the discussion forum beyond the obvious, which specializes in strategy and macroeconomics, as well as a management consultant and author. Every Sunday his podcast goes online at

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