Solutions that make $ense!


The USA can not compete with China? Low Wages?
Germany can! They have higher wages than the USA.
Germany is an export - trade surplus country, with a good education system!

Education Systems in Austria & Europe


America experiments locally with education. This is why we are now the last of any industrial country in math and basic science education. While the outcry is loud, and the experiments continue, seemingly nobody knows how to fix it. Is everybody in charge really so stupid not to look at the countries that leave us in the dust? Why not to just copy what works in other countries? I mean here we compare ourselves and loose big time against all the other countries, but we do not want to learn from them, about what works and why they are ahead?????


The education system is the great equalizer in Europe. It doesn't matter if you are in a poor or a rich area, every school has the same schedule, curriculum and funding. Unlike in America where schools are not only funded locally, but the local school board also decides what to teach and how, schooling in Austria is funded by the Federal Government. Taxes are collected nationwide and then paid out per student to a given school district, with cost of living adjustments. Thus, every student more or less gets the same resources, learn the same subjects and have the same exams to upgrade to the next level.  


A small point about Logistics: In Europe, the kids do NOT change class rooms! Rather then moving 44+ kids each hour, ONE teacher moves. Since the kids “own” their room, they keep it better, as they have to “live” in it for a year or more! Of course for lab work or PE, kids have to move.


There is no national SAT test to measure progress or equality, since everybody learns the same thing anyway. But you have to pass each subject to advance to the next level. If you do not pass one subject and can’t make it up over the summer, or you fail two or more subjects, you have to repeat that level before advancing. You have to go to school 9 years, not necessarily 9 levels.


Rather than dumb down 95% of kids,  5% may not advance. In fact, many drop out after 9 years and continue with learning a trade and that is acceptable, since really skilled worked are needed as well, as outlined below. That everybody has to pass high school  is stupid, because it only dumb down the level of such education. We need skilled workers too!


Now a day: There is also Kindergarten.


A: Grammar school: Grade 1-4


B-1: Main School:        Grade 5-9


B-2: Junior High:         Grade 5-8


C: To continue after 8 or 9 years, you can either:


1: Go to a Senior High school: Grade are 9-12. At the end of any Senior High school, there is a complex multi subject exam of most of the subjects that one needs to pass in order to get a diploma. With that, you can enter universities to study.


2: Go to a Specialty Senior High school: Grade 9-13, that have emphasis on special subjects but you still learn the basics too, just less of it. Specialty Senior High schools concentrate on:

Engineering, Business, Teaching, Music, Tourism & Hotel


3: Learn a trade by entering an apprentice program for 3 years to become a skilled journeyman. E.g.: mechanic, carpenter, cook. Besides working in a licensed teaching company to learn the trade, one also has to go to specialty schools for 2-3 month/year to learn the theoretic and business related subjects. At the end of the three years, there is an exam. If you pass you are a skilled journeyman. After being a skilled journeyman for 2 years, one can become a “Master of the Trade” by taking difficult exams. Choices range from mechanics, cooks, various repairmen, plumbers, electricians, nursing assistants, etc.


4: Drop out of education or skill building employment. This is tough in Austria, but easier in the USA. Some business owners and CEO have come up through the ranks and by acquiring knowledge through experience rather than studying and schooling.

Sample Academic High School Education Subjects


Grammar School:

Grade 1: Math, Reading, Writing, Art & Music, Physical Exercise

                Learn the basics and the interaction with other kids.

                (now taught in kindergarten).

Grade 2: Math, Reading, Writing, Art & Music, Physical Exercise

                Become proficient  in basic math skills, reading and writing

Grade 3: Math, Reading, Writing, Art & Music, Physical Exercise

                Advanced skills

Grade 4: Math, Reading, Writing, Art & Music, Physical Exercise

                Learn for the entrance exam for Junior High School


Junior High School

Grade 5: 12 Subjects, 34 hours/week, plus plenty of home work.

    Math-1; Mother-Language,


                Physic-1; Biology (Animals);

                History (Own Country-old); Geography (Physical Own Country);

                Art; Music; Home-Improvement; Physical Exercise; Religions,


Grade 6: 12 Subjects, 34 hours/week, plus plenty of home work.

    Math-2; Mother-Language;


                Physics-2; Biology (Botany); Chemistry-1;

                History (Europe-old); Geography (Physical Europe);

                Music; Home-Improvement; Physical Exercise; Religions.      


Grade 7: 13 Subjects, 36 hours/week, plus plenty of home work.

    Math3; Mother-Language;

    Foreign-Language-1&2(English-3-Latin-1) Note: (#2&#3 language can be:

                Latin, Old-Greek, French, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Chinese)

                Physic-3; Biology (Human Body); Chemistry-2;

                History (Asia & N-America); Geography (Asia & N-America);

                Art, Music, Physical Exercise, Religions


Grade 8: 13 Subjects, 36 hours/week, plus plenty of home work.

                Math4; Mother-Language-Poems & Rhyme;

                Foreign-Language-1 & 2(English-4 & Latin-2);

                Physic-4; Chemistry-3;

                History (S-America-Africa old); Geography (S-America & Africa);

                Art, Music, Physical Exercise; Religions.



Senior High School

Grade 9: 13 Subjects, 36 hours/week, plus plenty of home work.

                Math5; Mother-Language-Literature-1 ;

                Foreign-Language-1 & 2 & 3 (English-5 & Latin-3 & French-1);

                Biology-5; Biology-5; Geology-1;

                History (1900 Own Country); Geography (Industrial Own Country);

                Art; Physical Exercise; Philosophy-1.


Grade10: 13 Subjects, 36 hours/week, plus plenty of home work.

                Math6; Mother-Language-Literature-2;

                Foreign-Language-1 & 2 & 3 (English-6 & Latin-4 & French-2);

                Physic-6; Biology-6; Geology-2;

                History (1900-Europe); Geography (Industrial  Europe);

                Music; Physical Exercise; Philosophy-2.


Grade11: 13 Subjects, 36 hours/week, plus plenty of home work.

                Math7; Mother-Language-Literature-3;

                Foreign-Language-1 & 2 & 3 (English-7 & Latin-5 & French-3);

                Physic-7; Biology-7;  

                History (1900-World); Geography (Industrial World);

                Art; Music; Physical Exercise; Philosophy-Social Science.


Grade12: 13 Subjects, 36 hours/week, plus plenty of home work.

                Math8; Mother-Language-Literature-4;

                Foreign-Language-1 & 2 & 3 (English-8 & Latin-6 & French-4);

                Physic-8; Biology-8;  

                History (Human); Geography (World Trade);

                Art; Music; Physical Exercise; Philosophy-Political Science.


Specialty Senior High School

Grade 9-13: One extra year!

Besides having grade 9-13, they also have many more hours/week during these years. They learn essentially the same as in senior high school, but with less depth and more emphasis in their specialty.


Mechanical engineers have more industrial machinery lab work. Electrical engineers learn everything about energy and wiring industrial plants. Business high schools learn finance and accounting. Hotel & Tourism high school learn every aspect how to run a deluxe hotel.


With these specialty diplomas, many do not have to go to the universities, but enter the job market very qualified. Austrian educated adults were a great export for the whole world’s work place.


To GRADUATE from Any High School, there is a EXAM !!!!!  

Basic as well as University Education in Europe is free, paid for by the much higher tax burden. But one real good system they do have is free re-training of laid off workers. Various academies offer one year (not weekend) re-training courses for laid off workers to acquire new skills or crafts. Instead of simply collecting unemployment compensation, they learn new skills. Thus, in every recession, workers gain additional skills on top of the already superior education compared to Americans. Thus they become more flexible for the ever changing job market.


Now, I am not saying everything over there is great, but no system is. One should be able to challenge grades and subjects and excel faster. However, Europeans learn a wide array of subjects as teenager, long before most kids know what to do later, or what jobs are needed later! When the time comes, their wide knowledge helps them to adopt, change carriers, be mobile based on various knowledge.


Suggestion for improving their system are the following subjects: Banking and Personal Economics, Drivers Licenses and how to operate Machinery, Child Education and Home Medicine, Home Maker and Discount Shopping Skills, How To Interview, Work Ethics, Basic Research on how to get things done.  


In the USA, we also need to change our teacher’s education. Recently, Obama stated at the University of Washington, that most math and science teachers did not major in such fields, but teach such Senior High school subjects. Obviously, with bad results as the statistics prove. Why are they hired in the first place? And more money would solve this? No!


Not all things can be taught in America, like the way I used to learn Christian religion, but it may be helpful to learn about all religions, so misunderstandings are limited. It should not endorse either one, but it is a belief system that many people do have, and thus important to know about. Off course science will teach what science can explain best!!!


The reason for a broad education is to be mobile in the ever faster changing work place. There is plenty of time to specialize later at the University. But what does the USA do? In Washington State, we downgraded or abolished the Math testing, as it seemed too difficult. Asian kids from Asian born parents do best in schools and rather then  obtaining their level of studying, call to limit their access to Universities are load. It is a misnomer that Asians are smarter, they just learn harder and don’t give up. An average American will state that they don’t have the gift for math and learn something less challenging. And then blame more studious people for their misery later. There is no such thing as failing or not having a gift for math within the Asian communities. They just study as long as it takes till they understand it.


There are various statistics about how many engineers are in Europe, Japan, China or India, and seemingly there are more per capita that lawyers and wall street MBA’s in the USA. So kids growing up in such countries and households talk about engineering not lawyering; more about science and not about creating bogus financial instruments. Thus, these kids are more likely to enter such professions as well. Yes, the USA is the most innovative country, but that is not enough. We also got to have the engineers to execute and manufacture these items, not wait till Germany, Japan and China does it for us. To build stuff here, we need an educated workforce, not just conveyor belt assemble employees.


Since I went to school in Austria, things changed there too: Multiple choice tests now stupidifies pupils, instead of challenging them to express themselves through an assay answer, handwritten. Some of these countries have dropped their education level as well, in order to more nice and companionate to their students. Totally stupid. Instead of Austria and Germany having the best schools, not it is Finland with the whole day schools. But they realize this and are reforming as well.


While I did not appreciate having just ex- German military officers as my teachers, a little pressure makes stronger, more responsible adults, not citizen blaming their inequalities on everybody else then themselves.

On the good side, kids learn English in Grade school now.


Our shortfall of education requires massive imports of skilled labor and educated professionals. Limits in education and immigrant visas will hamper economic growth. We sell successfully higher education to foreign students, but then we send them home instead of giving them a green card. These are the people we need for the 21st century work force, until we educate our own people. But even then, the influx of new ideas and diverse knowledge from around the world will only help the USA, just as it has done for the last 200+ years.

Valentin Caspaar
E-Mail val@qbx.net

And NO, I did not get hired for typing or spelling