Frank’s Framework: Germany

By Jess Bank

Because the educational system used by the FRG during the days of East and West Germany is the system used today, we will analyze the educational system used today using Frank’s Framework.  Frank’s Framework has four topics and three lines of questioning for each topic.  While the questions are most effective when used at one time and regarding one particular issue, the framework can also be applied broadly by applying knowledge of the educational system and addressing questions that seem appropriate for the issue.  Frank’s Framework can be found on page 274 of the Kubow and Fossum (2007) text.

Policy Effectiveness

One question addressed under policy effectiveness is, “what monetary and other costs are associated?” Education is compulsory and government-funded, much like it is in the United States, so there is a good deal of government funds associated with education; however, I am more inclined to consider the other costs associated with this educational system.  When being sorted into secondary education tracks, students whose parents have degrees are at an academic advantage, and immigrants are at a distinct disadvantage (Reucher, 2012) (Speigel, 2006).  The costs associated with this is that students who are disadvantaged are sorted into tracks of lower achievement and probably do not get degrees.  When their children go to school and are sorted, the same thing could potentially happen.  This cycle lends itself to class stratification, which is a huge social cost to consider.

Theoretical Adequacy

In terms of theoretical adequacy, we will next cover, “what reasoning and justifications are associated with this issue?” One idea illustrated in the Kubow and Fossum (2007) text is that students can change tracks, or “move up or down the ladder (pg. 192).”  When met with the criticisms of students being sorted too early, I think German educators could use this idea to rebut.  While students are sorted, it is not a permanent sort, nor is it indicative of a student’s ultimate ability to enter the university–in theory, anyway.

Empirical Validity

“What signs or specific changes related to an issue might be relevant? Will these be broadly reconized?”  In short: everything changed, and yes it’s recognized.  While it’s not an issue per se, the entire educational structure of East Germany changed, resulting in mass layoffs of teachers, a completely different approach to education itself, and a different view of how education should function and what purpose it should serve.  This huge overhaul of…everything, really, is still broadly recognized because the wall fell in 1989–just over 20 years ago.  These changes are all relevant because it changed the whole structure of a country, so it is, of course, relevant.

Ethical Merit

Finally, let’s examine the question of roles and responsibilities–“are roles and responsibilities openly discussed?” In some senses, yes.  Because of the tiered government system of overseeing education, roles are very well-defined by necessity, and I believe if they are well-defined, they are discussed.  Additionally, teachers in Germany have such influence over sorting their students–another role that is widely recognized and, therefore, most likely discussed.

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