Most recently, Ernst was not only criticized by the GEW union and parents' associations for her plans to fill vacancies in schools, but also from within her own ranks. The Ministry of Education had announced that 200 vacant teaching positions would be reallocated to additional school assistants and school social workers starting next school year.
"Unfortunately, these plans did not find the support of the SPD parliamentary group," said Ernst in a personal statement. However, the upcoming challenges in the field of education could be mastered "only with maximum unity". "This unity no longer exists," she explained.
Ernst emphasized that teaching must be secured in all regions of Brandenburg. She therefore suggested how the use of existing teachers could be distributed more fairly and at the same time the school could be relieved by converting vacant positions. The shortage of teachers will accompany all of Germany "in the next ten to 20 years".
Woidke expressed his regret at the step and paid tribute to the work of the 62-year-old. In difficult times, Ernst carried the office "with foresight, courage, but also the necessary will to assert himself," said the Prime Minister to the press in Potsdam, referring, among other things, to the corona pandemic.
The former Secretary of State for Education, Steffen Freiberg (SPD), is to succeed him at the head of the Ministry of Education. He is scheduled to be sworn in in the state parliament on May 10 and will temporarily lead the authority until then. Freiberg only became Secretary of State for Education last year under Ernst. The 41-year-old, who was born in Rostock, previously held the same position in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomeranian Ministry of Education from 2016 to 2021.
The CDU parliamentary group leader in the Brandenburg state parliament, Jan Redmann, paid Ernst "respect" for her resignation. You have "cut off some braids of social democratic education policy such as writing by ear". The CDU governs in Brandenburg together with the SPD and the Greens.
The SPD parliamentary group leader in the state parliament, Daniel Keller, expressed his "regret" about the resignation. He acknowledged the progress made under Ernst in improving the staff ratio in day-care centers and the entry into the freedom of payment in day-care centers and after-school care centers.
The left faction called for a "restart" in education policy. The AfD rated the resignation as an "admission of failure" because of the "anti-child corona measures".
Ernst, who has been married to Olaf Scholz since 1998, has always valued her political independence and has not acted as the classic first lady since Scholz took office. Her focus continued to be on her position as Minister of Education in Brandenburg, which she took over in September 2017. In the Corona year 2021, she served as President of the Conference of Ministers of Education of the federal states.
The trained clerk in the real estate and housing industry and studied social economics was a member of the Hamburg Parliament from 1997 to 2011. While her husband Olaf Scholz was elected Hamburg's first mayor in 2011, Ernst moved to the SPD parliamentary group in Berlin, where she worked, among other things, as deputy group manager.
From 2014 to 2017 she was Minister for Schools and Vocational Education in Schleswig-Holstein. After the SPD defeat in the state elections there, Ernst lost her post in 2017. She moved to Brandenburg and took over the education department there in September 2017.