The Minister of Education under pressure: How he insults science

The Minister of Education under pressure: How he insults science

Bettina Stark Watzinger is wrong. Your handling of funding is a burden on academic freedom.

Why is Bettina Stark-Watzinger still in power? This week, the FDP's education minister had to face critical questions in the Bundestag for the first time. But instead of apologizing, as was appropriate, she backed down, threw up smokescreens, and pretended not to know what was going on in her department. This is absolutely unbelievable and would in itself be grounds for resignation. Even the president of the Association of Conservative Universities, Lambert Koch, declared that the funding issue for him was “not over yet.”

It’s politely said. It’s ridiculous that her administration is considering whether to revoke funding already promised to scientists whose views Stark and Watzinger don’t like. This is turning even scientists who are politically friendly to her against her. Funding is ultimately allocated on the basis of scientific criteria: it’s discussed by panels of experts; there are clear rules for this. It can’t simply be arbitrarily removed, in the manner of the landlady, to punish delinquent behavior.

Stark Watzinger's mission will be to defend freedom of science. Therefore, it is completely unacceptable to assume that the scholars who signed an open letter last May for the right to demonstrate on campuses are not doing so based on the basic law. In doing so, Stark and Watzinger have previously supported a campaign picture-Anti-Academics Magazine. If Cornelia Wall of the Hertie School is now the third successive rector of a Berlin university to be attacked online, she should really support her (obviously women are attacked more often). Instead, she continues to give hashtags for the supposedly righteous stance.

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SPD and Greens kindly

Stark-Watzinger has been misinterpreted. More than 3,200 scientists signed a second open letter calling for their resignation. She does not seek to engage in conversation with her critics. Instead, she closes herself off and tries to wait out the affair. The problem goes far beyond how they handle financing. It has long been accused of doling out research funds along the FDP line. Lobby Control notes that the BMBF supports the Ludwig Erhard Foundation, an organization of which Stark Watzinger himself is a member.

Stark and Watzinger would be under much greater pressure if the Greens and the SPD were in opposition. But since they already have enough problems with the FDP at the traffic lights, they are not attacking the education minister so harshly. It is also a way of disrespecting and insulting science.

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