Portrait of the candidate for the state parliament Marcel Knuppertz (SPD) from Korschenbroich

The candidate for the regional parliament Marcel Knuppertz (SPD) from Korschenbroich
“Giant Neck on an Unfair School System”

Marcel Knuppertz is the SPD candidate in the regional elections. Education policy is at the center of the teacher’s concerns. It requires the reliability of schools. And complains that too many children have been left behind in the pandemic.

On May 15, Marcel Knuppertz from Korschenbroich threw his hat into the ring as the SPD’s candidate for parliament. Or rather: his kepi. Because it is the trademark of the 29-year-old professor. Even on election posters, you only see him with a cap. “We had a long discussion about it,” he admits. “But then I decided: With a cap it’s authentic, that’s how you see me. It’s me,” says Knuppertz, who is a candidate in constituency 47 Rhein-Kreis Neuss III – which includes Korschenbroich, Kaarst, Meerbusch and parts of Jüchen.

The cap is nothing more than an outward sign of identification that hides the already somewhat sparse hairiness and that he never wears in class. Above all, Knuppertz wants his political ideas to be noticed. “Education policy is my absolute goal,” he says, and goes on to explain that he perceived the last two Corona years under Education Minister Yvonne Gebauer (FDP) as a “total disaster”. “Like many of my colleagues.”

“It was a constant zigzag journey on the minister’s part,” criticizes Knuppertz. “Finally, the back and forth to find out whether or not to wear masks at school”, he cites as an example. It is also absurd that the minister usually only sends her emails to schools on Friday afternoon at the earliest during the worst phases of Corona. “Schools need reliability and predictability,” he says.

“The worst thing that can happen to us is losing children.” Too many children have already been left behind, especially during the pandemic. “We lost many students simply because they had almost no opportunity to learn digitally during the pandemic,” he criticizes. Knuppertz cannot understand that there is no freedom from digital learning media.

It also relies on family centers that are attached to all-day schools. These are intended to support families in the transition between forms of education and to build bridges to youth support services. “This is as much a requirement of the NRW-SPD as the guaranteed training place.”

Knuppertz is a teacher at the Theo-Hespers-Gesamtschule in Mönchengladbach and also works as a StuBo – this is what the coordinators for student study and career guidance are called. He carries out potential analyzes with his students, visits them during their internships and participates in writing applications. So he knows: “I know students who have a lot of trouble finding an apprenticeship. It hurts me when they can’t find work.”

After five years as a teacher, he knows exactly where the problems in the education system lie. “Above all, it’s this unfair system that I hate. Only the school equipment is extremely different. He is aware that the municipalities are responsible for this. “But the state can also intervene,” he says. If the municipalities are moist, it is quickly noticeable in the schools.

The situation is similar with regard to the shortage of teachers: “Where the remuneration is better, there are seldom too few teachers.” This is why he feels the salary differences at the lower secondary level – this applies to school levels up to college – and the upper secondary level as unfair. “Other countries are significantly further than NRW.”

The fact that he is running in his constituency against Lutz Lienenkämper, CDU deputy since 2005 and NRW finance minister since 2017, does not disturb him, believes Knuppertz. “I appreciate it and we treat each other with respect. But politically we have fundamentally different views.” He enjoys debating, arguing over the best ideas. This also applies to his second major political hobby – environmental policy.” But I see it fundamentally in relation to economic policy,” he says. “The environment doesn’t go without the economy.

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