Friday, March 6, 2009

Homeschoolers Persecuted In Germany

Those parents that choose to home school their children in Germany face "exorbitant fines in the tens of thousands of dollars, jail time, and court hearings to take away custody. These are the tools used by Germany to repress home schooling."
Other European countries allow their citizens to make decisions about their own children's education...but this is not the case in Germany. This is not some nightmare from the past, but is going on right now.
Germany's Basic Law (similar to the US federal Constitution) states that "the care and upbringing of children is the natural right of parents and a duty primarily incumbent upon them. The state shall supervise them in the performance of this duty."
So in other words the state feels it is their duty to usurp the authority of the parents over their own children and to force parents to put their children in a public school against their wishes.
Judge Becker, a county court judge in the state of Hessen, wrote his unpublished opinion on July 22, 2008. He states,"the general public has a legitimate interest to work against the development of any religious or other ideologically motivated parallel societies and to integrate minorities." The interpretation of the German courts is that home schooling subverts the states effort to foster pluralism and tolerance.
One German family faced the struggle to home school their children even against the odds. Eventually they had to flee their home land, so that they could home school freely. The father states that "Germans greatly trust their government or "Father State". Family is not highly valued and it is rare to hear anything positive about families from the government. Many families do not feel they should carry the responsibility of education of their children without government help."
If a family wants to home school for religious reasons they are seen as suspicious, weird, isolated and members of a "parallel society" (as was mentioned by the judge in my previous paragraph).
As a home schooler I find what is happening in Germany to be both sad, and appalling. Here in the USA I have the freedom to educate my children how I see fit. It is a right AND a responsibility that I have as a parent. I am thankful for the opportunity to teach my children at home. I hope that German parents will be able to say the same thing one day.

Material In Quotes is from:
Jan/Feb 2009 issue of the Home School Legal Defense Association's, The Home School Court Report
pp. 8,9,10,11

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