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Homeschooling German family granted US asylum

The Local · 27 Jan 2010, 16:47

Published: 27 Jan 2010 10:39 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Jan 2010 16:47 GMT+01:00

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An immigration judge in Nashville, Tennessee ruled that parents Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, and their five children, are free to stay in the US, where they have been since 2008, news agency AP reported late on Tuesday.

The parents, who came from the state of Baden-Württemberg, allege they were persecuted for their faith and defiance of Germany's compulsory school attendance since those who do not comply face fines and jail time.

According to Uwe Romeike, his family was fined the equivalent of some $10,000 over two years, but could not afford to make payments after their court appeals failed.

"I think it's important for parents to have the freedom to choose the way their children can be taught," Romeike told AP, later adding that German curriculum was increasingly “against Christian values.”

In October 2006, police forcefully took the family's children to school in their home town of Bietigheim-Bissingen when they refused to do so themselves. One year later, the country's high court ruled that in some similar cases the state could take children from their parents.

"We knew we had to leave the country," Romeike, whose case was represented by the Home School Legal Defense Association, told the news agency.

The US government could appeal the court's decision to allow the family to remain in Morristown, Tennessee. But advocates for the Romeikes on Wednesday celebrated their victory.

“This decision finally recognises that German homeschoolers are a specific social group that is being persecuted by a Western democracy,” Mike Donnelly, a lawyer for the Home School Legal Defense Association, said in a statement.

“It is embarrassing for Germany, since a Western nation should uphold basic human rights, which include allowing parents to raise and educate their own children," he said. "We hope this decision will cause Germany to stop persecuting homeschoolers.”

But German consul general for the southeastern US states Lutz Gorgens told AP in an email that German parents have a variety of choices, among them religious schools, which helps to maintain the country's educational standards.

However, proponents of homeschooling have not been placated by the chance to have their children attend religious educational institutions.

In November 2009, another Christian couple was fined by a Kassel court for refusing to send their children to school.

The couple from the Hessian village of Archfeld bei Herleshausen has seven children between the ages of two and 17, who they told the court they had hoped to “give the Bible their unlimited trust” through lessons at home.

But after the trial concluded, the parents did not say whether they would obey the court's orders.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:58 January 27, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
The Romeike family affair seems to illustrate how limited religious freedom really is in Germany. As long as one obeys the dictates of one of the established churches, or doesn't openly challenge them, all is well. But as soon as the Romeikes asserted a little religious independence, the state came down on them, hard. Where were the German churches in this case? Why have they not defended the religious freedoms of this family? They seem to have little enough reluctance to become involved in Germans' secular affairs. Perhaps conservative Christians in the US irritate the sensibilites of some, but but they do have a constitutional right to practice their religion.
12:02 January 27, 2010 by DJM
I'd rather have Richard Dawkins teach my children over Ted Haggard.
12:03 January 27, 2010 by Clapoti
It's not about religious freedom... it's about educations for the children and having a certain level of education. Kids also need to interact with other kids and have a social life, they usually get this in school.
13:13 January 27, 2010 by michael4096
Would that be religious freedom or child abuse?
That is decided by the law of the land and in this case german law states that children must have a basic 'education'. What one chooses to teach on top is up to you. This is applicable to all people and all religions - freedom of religion is not freedom to break the law.

And, if you don't like the law, there are safeguards to enable it to be changed.

The same is actually true in the US - only the fine print changes like what is a basic education and how one can obtain it to ensure compliance.

(I can just imagine the comments if this was a muslim/german family and amnesy in egypt :)
13:41 January 27, 2010 by freechoice
Well the law sucks.

How do I change it?
14:04 January 27, 2010 by michael4096
Well the law sucks.

How do I change it?
Well, first you find a couple of million like-minded souls... Which means you will need to articluate a working alternative. Or, at least, a rallying cry, like say: "Why waste education on the young!" That should do it!

Or is it 'the law' as a general concept that you don't like?
14:22 January 27, 2010 by kent
ya kno al thet funi scriblin thet yu all mak them things the egg heads kall WORDS thees is all werk of deevel ...writings is from the tree of knolegde and is werk of deevel

the greek word for wrod is logos from concept of logic depicted as KUBE is actually old old alt GERMANIC word alternative speloing of LOGE a box ALSO NAME OF deevel LOKI
14:29 January 27, 2010 by d-j-US
It might be interesting to note that not all home-schooling is done for religious reasons, even though that seems to be the most visible aspect. In addition, in many areas, home-schooled children have scored much higher than publicly schooled children on standardized tests, and have a much broader and more consistent emotional state.
14:55 January 27, 2010 by William Thirteen
it's just a matter of choice - a choice as to who should have the right to twist and deform these children's minds as they see fit. the state or their parents?
15:12 January 27, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Good riddance.
15:49 January 27, 2010 by lordkorner
yee haw.,ah surely hopes they bin given a lil log cabin up in dem mountains sumwhere with a still out back an all,gawd bless em dem god feerin folk
16:06 January 27, 2010 by kreidekreis
I think the use of the terms FLED and PERSECUTION are completely out of line. They chose to live somewhere else because the laws of their country didn't allow them to do what they wanted. I don't see a human rights issue here. This type of language is reminiscent of the campaign the Scientologists ran against Germany in the 1990's. Always effective rhetoric to use against Germany in particular, it would seem. This family chose America because they knew they would find a sympathetic fundamentalist Christianity that would support their cause. Otherwise they could have crossed over to the UK, where home schooling is legal, however fundamentalist Christians are few and far between.

The fact that they were granted political asylum in the US is, in my humble opinion, an abomination to the idea of political asylum. There was no oppression, just an unwillingness to participate in society. Imagine if Europe started granting asylum to all the American gay couples that have been barred from marrying by various state constitutions. Now that to me is much more of a human rights issue deserving of political asylum.

The Americans, of course, will only understand that individual rights are not being granted. They won't understand the historical reasons that these specific limitations are put in the German Grundgesetz. They won't understand the importance to the Germans of a cohesive society minimising the possibility of maintained parallel societies. Social cohesion has that nasty word "social" in it, that Americans find so distasteful. They'll only see the preeminent right of the individual. American society is ordered in a very different way, so if that way works for this family, let them have it. Let's just not call it ASYLUM.
16:41 January 27, 2010 by moreanon
This is bad for a country which followed the Nazis politicaly by taking a Christian path with the Christian Democrats. It makes that look like a sham.
17:18 January 27, 2010 by cheerios
I don´t see a problem with homeschooling. Actually many children who are homeschooled end up doing better than those who attend regular schools. I´ve read statistics, don´t ask me for the source though.....

Parents should be able to decide how they want to educate their children. There´s a difference between "homeschooling" and just not sending your children to school AND not teaching them.

I don´t understand why doesn´t the German government allow parents the option not to send their children to regular schools if parents are committed to educating their children properly.

Perhaps there should be some form of test at different levels, just to see if the children are at the levels of their peers in regular schools, but for the state to fine the parents because they don´t send their children to regular schools is way out of proportion in my opinion.

I know friends who have gone to Catholic schools, though they are protestant and one still has to deal with various religious differences. PLUS they have religious education, for which one has to write the "right" answer according to the books in the curriculum but are "wrong" according to the Bible.

How can one teach Christianity without relying on the truths from the Bible???? What on earth are the children learning in schools?

Its confusing enough to grow up in an age where truths are blurred but its even worse if one is taught one thing in the Bible but in religious education tells them something else. Evolution (taught in schools) just doesn´t fit with creationism from the Bible.

And you can´t teach Evolution without getting religious. Or spiritual.

I come from a country where religious education is separated from regular education and I personally find that much better since religion shouldn´t be a "subject" taught in school like maths.

I personally find that religious education has confused people more than helped them. My hubby, who spent 17 years on on religious education in school, had no idea that Jesus is the son of God.- Makes me really question if religious education is just a facade to teach "truths" at the expense of accuracy.
17:19 January 27, 2010 by michael4096
@d-j-US. Correct. However, most of the 'studies' are misleading because children with parents who care passionately about their offspring's education are compared with children of mixed care / don't care parents (even when normalized for socio-economics etc.) It is probably impossible to compare like with like.

OTOH. There is nothing to suggest that the individual attention received by many homeschooled is not beneficial to them.

@freidekreis. Spot on.
19:11 January 27, 2010 by martell
Donnelly should realize that U.S. law is not valid in other independant countries. It can be seen what the general level of education is like where going to school is not mandatory and kids are taught that the world is not over 6,000 years old.
20:39 January 27, 2010 by OMFG
Sorry - I really don't know what all this discussion is about...

This Romeike family is just insane, and the US lawyers/judges did a lousy job triggered by whatever.

A German family who gets asylum granted by the US... Am I dreaming or what???

The Romeikes have five children? And this other family with similar issues in Hessen, they have seven children? There you go...

This is sooo ridiculous!!!

@kreidekreis: You said what I think and feel - you just found the better words, thank you.
21:04 January 27, 2010 by lordwilliams629
"Fled germany and given asylum" I've herd it all now. Although thats quite stupid, I still find it quite absurd that the german goverment does not allow people to home school their children, it's just another case of one goverment trying to control people's lives. But as an american I do see one positive side to the situation and that is these people are white european imigrants which our country was originally built on, as opposed to these third world dogs and these south of the border invaders who want to get everything they can out of this country, at the same time hating our people and everything else our country stands for. I'm sure if these people stay they'll end up being good citizens, not just free loaders with a take over agenda.
22:03 January 27, 2010 by Baynik
Since when do our children belong to the state? You all cried out against communism because the State was not supposed to take what is yours! This good, loving, peaceful family (and many like them) has done only one thing, and that is to take responsibility for the education of their own children and for this they had to flee the intolerance of a "western-civilized" land to find the freedom to so in America! Since when is loving your children a crime? I truly can't understand why so many in these comments are having their knives out for these people? My children belong first of all to me, and it's my wife's and my responsibility to raise them, not any government's!
23:29 January 27, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, this issue shouldn't be so complex. There are benefits to both conventional and homeschooling. However, it would be wise to follow the law as it is. If you don't agree with it, then work to change it. The potential for fines and jail times is good for no one, especially not for the kids.

At the end of the day, Germany would without question, be a much more harmonious and prosperous nation, if it were to create an educational system that is based on morality.

Surely I'm not the only one that knows this?
00:39 January 28, 2010 by Billiby
This is sooooo ridiculous!!! :D :D

I'm glad that especially for such strong religious families homescooling is NOT allowed here! I mean who knows what they want to teach their children if they think that German schools are "evil" and not teaching the proper values?? I mean hello, Germany is as far as I know the only country in Europe which includes "Religion" as a full subject at school, counting as much as i.g. Maths! I did part of my graduation (Abitur) in the subject Religion. There is more Religion (Christian and other) and values in this educational system than many other countries. There is even an offer for people with other religions where values are the main subject and to get to know the many different religions in the world.

I this family couln't deal with our school system though, I would call them Christian EXTREMISTS. And sorry, I think it's right to stop any "extreme" parents from teaching their children their extreme values, no matter what religion they are. I think one has to think about that too! What is it all about when people are scared because of extreme Moslems? Don't extreme Christians scare you too? I am scared of them!

Good luck with 7 new extremists in your country. I really wonder why the court in the US didn't just lough at them and send them home or give them another option to stay in the US. Why did it have to be asylum?

And why didn't the family just go away before they would get problems with the court in Germany? They knew it would cause problems and that it's a law here to sent your children to school. So why didn't they just leave the country before their children were old enough for school?? If you don't like something than either try to change it (which was sure it wouldn't work!), learn to deal with it, or just go! But don't make yourself ridiculous by asking for asylum as if your home country tried to kill you or so if you didn't belive what they believe!!

Whenever I feel like I like to spend the rest of my life in the US, I know a way how to know, thanks. ^^ (but first of all I'd like to spent a holiday in the USA, I've always wanted to come to visit. When I'll get my bachelor maybe I can! :) )
03:23 January 28, 2010 by Billiby
The funny thing is, I'm sure the churches didn't want them here neither. They offer the Religion at school and if someobody doesn't want it and thinks everything ele is evil too, church distances itself from these people. The churches don't want to be get connected with extreme persons.

Hey, what about that girl from England who wasn't allowed to wear a "purity ring thing" at school? Did she fill in her asylum form for the US yet?? :P :D
04:18 January 28, 2010 by Billiby
:) I believe that!

I only think it's not worth begging for asylum. ^^
07:12 January 28, 2010 by Baynik
"2012 Oscars" Category - True Life Drama

Parents: "Hans, Hilda, I want you to follow what the Word of God teaches! You need to learn to love all people. Take care for the weak, look after the orphans and widows. Make sure to you keep yourself pure and holy before God."

.... a knock on the door...

"Open up, it's the police!!!!"

Parents: With fear in their voices..... "Yes, come in please.."

Police officer: "We have an order to take your children from you! You have been homeschooling them! Our society can't handle well behaved, moral children taught by their own parents to love God and follow the Bible! You religious extremist! Get the kids! We'll make sure to teach them our agenda!"

Mom: "But we have done nothing wrong! We only wanted our children to learn to love life according to God's word..."

Police: "Enough, the State shall decide what is good for your kids!!!"

Dad: "But, but... they are our children, you can't take them away from us.

Police: "YES WE CAN, YES WE CAN!!!!
08:12 January 28, 2010 by Billiby
:D funny way to see it! Well written! ^^ Yes we can!

On one hand I think it's true... it's not ok for a gouvernment to take completely take care of the children.

But on the other hand these things went through my mind and surely through the gouvernments minds too:

#1: if the parents are so strictly religious that they cannot deal with ANY church here and even think school is eveil and try to keep their children away from it, they are restricting their children's lifes. Yes, I think they are keeping their children away from normal socila life. And it is highest priority for a state to secure personla freedom of everybody. In my opinion the personal freedom and wellbeing of every little child and every single person, no matter wher he comes from stands highly over religious freedom!!

I mean, some "religions" allow their followers to have many wifes, to kill little animals by letting then suffer, to beat their children whenever they think it's a good idea to do so and some so called religions even do rape!

Of course you can say now: "but not every religion which doesn't belong to a church is that way." Of course but where do we begin and where can we stop?

I don't htink homeschooling is a bad thing, But keeping them at home because the rest of the world is evil and only this family and this special believe is perfect seems to be kind of hurting their childrens's rights!

#2: One can be absolutely nice, loving and caring persons without that kind of strict believe and even when one attends a normal public school! :D
09:06 January 28, 2010 by Cav
*climbing up on soapbox*

Wow......many emotional responses here. I think many individuals have difficulty in accepting the fact that there are alternatives to every regulatory "requirement".

It is a very German trait to see issues with "blinders on" and follow the beat of the current drum. We have seen the results of this marching in the past, and it is scary at times.

That said, we seem to have become complacent and acclimated to the ever-increasing infringment of government into our private sphere. The argument that children must have a good education in order to assume a "load-bearing" role/place in our commercialized society may hold some weight (if life is only about making money and paying taxes), but is secondary to the responsibility of a parent to raise a child.

Government should only involve itself in child-rearing when the efforts of the parent(s) either neglect or harm their children....not to enforce a so-called "religious paradignm" with regards to state mandated enducation.

If a family has a comprehensive plan/structure and is able to present a program of study (validated) which meets and/or exceeds current public school curriculums...then what is the real issue?

I think Baynik paints a realistic picture of what is actually happening in a "Western" society....this picture is frightening.

While I may not agree that this is worhty of asylum, it is certainly worthy of lengthy debate and discussion. To paraphrase Martin Niemoller...'when they came for the children, I said nothing; I was of course, no child'.

*climbing down from soapbox...shaking head*
17:09 January 28, 2010 by michael4096
My hubby, who spent 17 years on on religious education in school, had no idea that Jesus is the son of God
And, your husband was not wrong. Until relatively recently, the majority of christians had no idea jesus was son of god - they thought he was normal man. The gnostics, coptics, cathars and a whole host of other christians were quite happy with the concept. Unfortunately, most of these guys were forcebly converted by islam or catholicism such as when the pope slaughtered a million cathars and the rest decided not to push the issue.

Religious schooling, home or public, tends to bend little facts like these which I believe is a very good reason for banning it for the sake of the children.
07:06 January 29, 2010 by Hunt2871
The state should not dictate to parents how there children are eductaed UNLESS those children are unable to pass some form of standardized testing. For all of the bluster in Europe over how backwards The U.S. is concerning religion they need only look to Germany to see a truly backward nation when it comes to such issues, a nation where the Chruch dictates to businesses when they must open and close and where the power of the state is used to collect tithes, in the form of taxes, for the Church. The truth of the matter is that all of mankind is trapped in a state of perpetual misery and ignorance due to organized religion and this family is no better or worse than the rest of us.

As far as sending your kids to church schools scroll down to the story about a sex scandal at a Catholic school here in Germany. Parents who have exposed their kids to that are the ones who should be facing fines and jail time.
11:00 January 29, 2010 by wabasha
great. more baby making, god addicted people in america.
16:54 January 29, 2010 by rosenthalenglish
My wife and I used to homeschool in the UK.Many homeschooled children actually end up getting higher marks in National exams than those taught in schools.Also our children used to interact with other children in the street,swimming baths and during Church activities.

What I cannot understnad in this story is why go to the USA?Austria,another German speaking country not many kilometres away from where they lived,allows homeschooling.If they didn't have money to pay more fines,where did they get the money to go to the USA?Austria would have been cheaper and easier to have moved to.What is the ulterior motive of their move to the USA?
17:08 January 29, 2010 by onemark
The issue has less to do with homeschooling and more to do with the idea that In Germany the state is paramount, whatever parents think. That, rightly or wrongly, includes education.

Homeschooling is forbidden in Germany because the state wants all children to understand (among ther things) that the state is paramount in all aspects of German society. The parents of these children reject this notion. In wanting to homeschool their children, they are defying the state, which in Germany, is not tolerated. THAT is why the family moved to the US.

I have no time for fundamentalists of any religion (I am an atheist) but I sympathise with the parents in this respect, even though I suspect that their kids will get a fundamentalist (religious) education.

The German state must learn that it must not treat its citizens as children, but I doubt it will. Germany still has a lot to learn about democracy. Why else are referenda banned here?
18:38 January 29, 2010 by Yontrop
Except that maybe the judge isn't uninformed but rather agenda driven or politically motivated (gasp), I think Mark Young summed it up just about right in his weekly letter.

"Besides, if uninformed US judges are willing to give homeschoolers political asylum, then why not Germany's Scientologists, who also claim to be persecuted? Or for that matter, what about China's oppressed Christians and its sizable Muslim Uighur minority? And what about the desperate Burmese man who called me this week?

"If Germany is going to deport him and his family back to a refugee camp in Bangladesh, maybe there's room for them in Tennessee too."
18:48 January 29, 2010 by slingshot
Good luck with a white Southern judge to the Muslims in Switzerland who've lost their minarets, & those in France who will soon be without their burkhas.
22:12 January 29, 2010 by locally
Many people who rightfully should be granted asylum in Germany are being asked to leave the country in many cases.

Hopefully this would teach the racist to have some SYMPATHY for Human Rights.
08:02 January 31, 2010 by rush
Parents have the rights to educate and raise their children as they believe is correct and right - so long as they do not abuse or neglect their children (not providing basic education would fall under neglect in modern western society). This is a fundamental right. It is basic and required.

Parents can partner with the state, or with religious or private institutions in educating or even raising children, but the responsibility and rights are with the parents.

Of course the socialist, by whatever name, have long seen the power available if they could get parents to ignore their rights and hand over their children to the state.

Here I want to quote a recent article from Dr. Samuel L. Blumenfeld. "The public schools were taken over in the early 20th century by a cabal of progressive educators whose goal it was to use the schools as a means of turning American children into little socialists who would then bring about a socialist society. The plan for all of this was outlined by John Dewey" ..."Thus American children are at risk in four ways in the public schools: academically, spiritually, morally, and physically.'

American home schoolers, and their are about 3 million presently, consistently and significantly, academically out perform their government, private, and parochial school peers. Homeschoolers, generally in my experience, are more wholesome, confident, morally straight, well adjusted, and less conflicted than their peers. People can spot homeschoolers is the stores by their being more calm, better behaved, and respectful.

Homeschool families are on average larger than other families, by I believe a factor of about two (twice as many kids on average).

The German government it seems is afraid of the positive strength that German families can produce if their children can forego the indoctrination and manipulation centers.

It is wonderful for us Americans to receive German families that are dedicated to focusing on their children and that love the Lord.
12:05 January 31, 2010 by Talonx
As someone always distrustful of formalised authority (be it the American or German political system), I am uncomfortable with anybody being forced to do anything. I think, it generally works better to have incentives in place.

That being said, I'm still glad that I live in a country (Germany) that recognizes the basic right of a child to be granted a normal education in line with current scientific theory, ethical norms, and historical fact.

Homeschool can be great, but it can also be a nightmare for the child. I know plenty of children that had either experience with homeschool. The problem is essentially that most people that do homeschool have never studied teaching, psychology, etc... meaning that the quality of the education of the child in all fields can never be assured (as it can in Germany).

'On average', children may perform better on such tests as the SATs, but standardized tests such as these aren't a very good measure of anything except rare word memorization. I'd like to see how these kids score on the PISA tests, I would also like to see a family-wise comparison (e.g. single-parent homeschool compared with single-parent public), I'm willing to bet that once family situations are corrected for you'll see that homeschoolers, on average perform worse than public schoolers with comparable family situations.

P.s. why are most of 'The Local' crowd foxnews fanboys (insult)?
13:29 January 31, 2010 by Talonx
I think state ed is a better solution for the time being, I would never say 'best possible'. Burnt out or not, I'd rather have my children taught by someone who knows what their doing.

that being said, some homeschoolers now their stuff, but I agree with Tom Bombadil, it definitely ain't the crowd this family runs with.,
21:04 January 31, 2010 by Billiby
@Erised: Absolutely!! You are sooo right in my opinion!

A lot of people are discussing about the partents, that the parent's rights to homeschool their chrildren was taken away, that the parent's religious feelings were touched and so on... but what about the children? I think it's so so so important to secure their rights, feelings and personal welfare.
07:23 February 1, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Let me cut this down a bit.

Germany is very cautious about what children learn because we've seen what happens when they aren't raised with balance in their education (Hitler Youth ring a bell?). It damned well *is* the responsibility of the state to make sure that it's future citizens are given an unbiased, multifaceted education, and it is *not* the right of parents to prevent that. Your kids need to learn language, science, mathematics, customs, and common cultural heritages, and they need to understand how these things related in daily life. That is simple fact.

Additionally, children have freedom of religion in Germany at a very young age and you do not have the right to indoctrinate another human being, even your own child, with your own personal religious beliefs. That is something they need to choose for themselves when they are capable of reasoning and understanding. Public school in Germany is one place out of many where this reasoned discussion is chosen to take place.

Now, if you don't like any of this, then that's fine. Don't live here. But more importantly, I am reading all this crap above how this is socialism and that's communism and etc etc. Listen; we like social democracy. That doesn't make us a communist dictatorship, or whatever other flights of fancy you americans might have in your head. We CHOSE this government, we PASSED these laws. We're a democracy and this *is* how we want it. If you don't like that, take a flying hike. We don't care. We're not coming to D.C. to tell you what to do, so we bloody well expect you to respect how we want things in our own country, too. The arrogance you people sometimes show is absolutely staggering. You don't have even the slightest understanding of why these things are the way they are, and yet you presume to lecture us on the topic. GO HOME. And enjoy your new baker's half dozen of fundamentalist lunatics; we don't want'em.
08:38 February 1, 2010 by Talonx
To Aachaen,

To everyone else,

The Rudner study sponsored by the rightest homeschool legal fund thingy is an AWEFUL example of statistics. The test a few correlations and do a few F-tests (none of which have anything to do with raw or corrected achievement differences between homeschool and public school). The study can make no claim with regards the descriptive differences between the groups! The could have at the very least don a two sample T-test. Idiots, I would severly doubt any research coming out of that journal, but the board of peers are all with the crazy rightest group.

Good riddence to bad rubbish,
13:45 February 1, 2010 by dlplife
It should be acknowledged that Germany is the only country in the EU that does not allow its citizens to home school their children. It would be a simple thing to establish some set standards and overseeing administration for parents who wish to home school their children. An inferior education is a form of child abuse, but there must be a line drawn and some room allowed for parents to instruct their children in key areas as they prefer. These issues and standards must take into account the most common reasons why people choose to home school, so that the laws would be realistic.

Home schooling in America: As an almost 60 year old American I recall that virtually no one home schooled when I was a child. The Protestants often complained about the Catholics having their own schools, in a "Who do they think they are?" type of way. The schools were the bastions of not only education but of moral teaching and the enculturation of the nation's future generation.

The move to home schooling came about due to several changes in American society in a short period, 60's-70's. (1) The removal of prayer and Bible reading from the schools; (2) The integration of African American students into white schools by busing, which meant the virtual disappearance of the neighborhood school; (3) The general down-grading of the quality of teachers; (4) the rise of illegal drugs in America and gang-related violence; (5) A growing home schooling movement which preached a set of values that focused on the importance of the family rather than the importance of the nation; (6) A continual downgrade of the moral fabric of society that left next generation of parents distrustful of authority figures and desired to maintain control over their children; (7) The improved curriculum of home schooling programs, and the improved network of support for home schooling families and children.

American culture does favor the individual over society in many areas, but not in all areas. Germans tend to take a stronger view of the unity of German society and culture than do Americans.

The point can be argued both ways. The strength of any culture or nation must rest upon the shared cultural values of its people, and if these are not gained in schools, then when and where can they be gained? Yet should a government have the right to remove children from a home when the parents wish to responsibly educate them at home?

I believe the proper response, and one that will inevitably come to Germany, I believe, is for there to be offered another system to parents who wish to home school, and that there would be monitoring to insure that the children are receiving a proper education.
21:39 February 1, 2010 by Talonx
What if these parents were pulling there kids out of school because they didn't think their children learned the Stalinist values that they wanted for them? I see no difference, except maybe that Stalinism has more of a basis in reality than what these folks are on about.

Given the context of the law in Germany, I think the most important question is, 'would taking the kids away from their parents help them?' and the answer is a simple 'yes'. Religion is child abuse (not a metaphor), and any education that inculcates uni-dimensional religious moralism on the grounds of heaven-hell sorts of sticks and carrots is even more so. Children with such an upbinging are emotionally handicapped, irrational, and lucky to get out with any semblance of character or ethics intact, let alone any critical thinking skills.

I reitirate, the study so many of you are citing, has absolutely no value with regards comparison of homeschool vs. public school. The statistical tests used were never employed to test the basic descriptive statistics, they just reported two averages and didn't say anything about the variance or distribution (which I'm betting is way higher in the homeschool group and skewed to the left overall, with more students under achieving than in public schools). How bout we just let that die than.
11:24 February 2, 2010 by Talonx
Just as I had said a few posts before, child abuse, that would be the primary difference.
05:28 February 3, 2010 by parografik
Hey folks, let's try to keep the fun in fundamentalism, shall we?

Seriously, though, I've always found the fundamentalist Christian style to be an inherent contradiction, in that Jesus behaved exactly the opposite the way this family is behaving, seeking to shelter their family from the world, while the Jesus of the new testament sought out the company of the sick, the poor, the disenfranchised, those without wifi.

If we get them, then you have to take Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck back. We'll even throw in Bill O'Reilly for good measure. He's fun to poke with a stick.
20:28 February 3, 2010 by Talonx

I've never seen a contradiction, the most I've seen is moderates with a liberal interpretation of the bible make way for the loonies who tend to keep the exact interpretation from 2000 years ago.
23:24 February 3, 2010 by ErnestPayne
You have to have lived in the US in order to understand how truly ignorant significantly large portions of the population are. Pretending that you have the education and skills of a professional educator is on a par with slicing a tomato and deciding you can now do heart surgery.
17:37 February 4, 2010 by Eidothea
Oh, ErnestPayne, how very true your words are!!

As an American having attended American (private) and German (public) schools, I can say that the German education exceeds the American system by far, BY FAR! Comparing the two would simply be a farce. Much has been said, however I do think that many (Americans) who have commented are not aware of how the German education system works. As someone has already mentioned in this thread, that religious institutions are available at no additional costs (this is Germany, afterall) Now, if it was the parents' desire for their children to have an education according more to their religious beliefs, there were other alternatives. School attendance is mandatory so that Germany continues to ensure a high standard of education for all its children.

What I find most amusing in these articles are words such as 'fled', 'persecution', 'refugees', 'asylum'......really? I mean REALLY??

This is utter contempt and irreverence to a refugee seeking asylum because he/she truly is being persecuted and asylum doesnt get granted. Furthermore, there are countries within the EU where home-schooling is 'legal', take Austria for example, right across the border and German is spoken! 'Fleeing' to America really wasnt necessary.

Wonder who will pay their health insurance in America?
19:10 February 5, 2010 by Talonx

Unfortunately, of course, your medical analogy is actually under debate as a sort of reality with regards Christian Scientists and 7th Day Adventists. It's really no wonder the U.S. is becoming a haven to the likes of such people.

Glad I moved to Germany. I'm sure most of the usual ignorant scum who comment on these boards are happy that I've left.
03:18 February 8, 2010 by mistyk
The negative comments here astonish me. They are based on so many negative assumptions. I am homeschooling my two children. There seems to be an assumption among these posts that parents who homeschool do not value education.

I have a 4-year degree from a private, selective college on the east coast, and a two-year Post Bacc. teacher certification from a private university. First of all, let's address how teacher certification qualifies anyone for anything. I found it to be tedious, spirit crushing, requiring only lock-step compliance and discouraging of free thinking.

My husband and I read widely; our home is full of books and our lifestyle is dominated by curiosity and the desire to learn. We are Catholic, very religious, and teach evolution. My 7th grade son will take his high school math at science at a nearby community college.

We are not the exception. Many families we know have the same emphasis on success. There are the "fundamentalist" families out there, but they are not the rule. Homeschool parents do not take their children out of public school to limit them, but rather to give them the best education they can.

And please, socialization? The public school kids I see among my friends are absorbed by "screens" (ipods, laptops, nintendos), with no interest in books or creative, outdoor play, and little knowledge of how to behave with civility.
05:44 December 17, 2011 by Nicolaus
Germany is the only country with such laws. Why didn't they go to Switzerland (individual cantons either allow homeschooling or not), Austria, or Belgium.

It smells fishy.
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