Bettina stark-watzinger: that's the new education minister

On Thursday morning sits Bettina Stark-Watzinger in the Genscher House and listens first. Next to her, with a meter and a half of Corona distance, sit the three others who are to move for the FDP in the future traffic light cabinet: Party leader Christian Lindner, Secretary General Volker Wissing and Marco Buschmann, the parliamentary group manager.
Before the conversation with journalists about the new FDP government team really gets underway, Buschmann, the man from Gelsenkirchen, chats about the difficulty of being a Schalke fan and still having to work with Christian Lindner to be friends. Who is known to be a BVB fan. It goes back and forth for a while until Stark-Watzinger clearly intervenes: "You can all argue," says the Hessian, taking an art pause. "But the most beautiful stadium has Eintracht in Frankfurt."

Stark-Watzingers astonishing parallels to their predecessor

Bettina Stark-Watzinger is to become the new Federal Minister for Education and Research the 53-year-old succeeds CDU politician Anja Karliczek. At first glance, the two women have a surprising amount in common: Both were hardly known to the public when their ascension to the cabinet became official.

Both were parliamentary managers of their parliamentary group, when suddenly the door to government office opened. Neither the CDU woman nor the FDP-Candidates were proven education experts before they became ministers.

Moreover, both married, have Children and know life outside the political establishment: before her election to the Bundestag in 2017, Stark-Watzinger, an economist, worked as the managing director of a Frankfurt-based Financial Markets Research Institute, which now belongs to the university there.

Stark-Watzinger gets difficult legacy
On closer inspection, there is another essential thing that links them: Stark-Watzinger is facing the same Major construction sites, which her predecessor already found when she came into office. The overslept digitalization of schools, the 16-country patchwork in education policy and the bitter fact that school success in Germany still depends on the parental home.

Not much has changed in this respect under Karliczek. On the contrary, the Corona pandemic often set back even further those children who had already started out disadvantaged. The new minister will have a lot to do with resolving the Consequences to catch up on weeks of lockdowns, school and university closures, months of learning via screens.
At the moment, the Hessian still exudes the Optimism of the new start: "I'm looking forward to it," she says on Thursday. She wants the liberal promise of advancement for every individual not to remain an empty phrase. She wants the federal and state governments to cooperate more closely.

Does Stark-Watzinger benefit from the ally in the Ministry of Finance?

The latter, however, then clearly distinguishes Stark-Watzinger from her predecessor: while the Union ministers of education always shied away from State sovereignty in question, the FDP is counting on more influence from the federal government.
That in education policy in particular, some Conflict with the states can be solved by money from the federal treasury is no secret to the future minister: Stark-Watzinger was chairwoman of the Finance Committee in the Bundestag for two years.

In case of doubt, she will know exactly how to money loosens up for their own goals. The fact that it doesn't hurt to have the landlord in the Federal Ministry of Finance duces, she should also be aware. Unlike her predecessor, Stark-Watzinger has a party friend in Christian Lindner at her side as top treasurer.

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