Up until now primary schools were awarded extra money for remedial training of lagging students based on the level of education of parents. This from the working hypothesis that the lag of a primary school student can be explained completely by a lack of education and resulting disinterest of parents. Ethnicity didn't factor into this policy, because such would of course be stigmatizing and discriminatory.
But he government wants to cut the budget for remedial teaching by 50 million euros. This puts schools with a large proportion of non-indigenous pupils in a pinch. And surprise, surprise: New research by the Kohnstamm Institute, together with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam seems to shows that ethnicity is a far larger factor in student lag then the level of education of the pupils parents.
This is reported in liberal protestant daily Trouw (NL):
Results show that almost all non-indigenous children are behind indigenous class-mates at the start of primary education. Only 'black' children with parents of the highest level of education are just slightly better then 'white' children from parents of the lowest levels of education.I apologize for the rather unseemly text in the quote, but that is a literal translation of the paragraph in the article, including the scare quotes.
In and of itself it is a remarkable admission. Only a few months ago we had Thilo Sarrazin arguing that immigration made Germany less smart in 'Deutschland schafft sich ab'. This latest bit of Dutch news seems to confirm Sarrazins findings.
But it is also quite illuminating to note the circumstances in which this rather candid admission is made. The cuts in the remedial teaching budget has pitted schools with many non-indigenous pupils against schools against schools with a more erhmmm... Dutch population. And when money is becoming tight, any reason to claim eligibility for the budget left will do. Even if it is the unvarnished truth. Even if it is a truth that, spoken by others not from the same circle, would be ample reason to pronounce social leprosy unto those that spoke it.
And for some reason in these circumstances this admission isn't nearly as uncomfortable, let alone unspeakable, as it used to be. Funny how that works, isn't it?