(Though, to be fair, the Guardian has reported it.)
Der Spiegel reported that an Evangelical Christian family who wanted to home-school their children were granted an asylum in the United States. Though one might think it was the religion that was the problem from the headline, it was actually the home-schooling, which is illegal in Germany.
Judge Lawrence Burman in Memphis, Tennessee stated that the Romeike family were entitled to asylum because their basic human rights were encroached on.
HSLDA [Home School Legal Defense Association] attorney Mike Donnelly called the decision "embarrassing for Germany." According to Donnelly, the Memphis court issued a final ruling "that homeschoolers are a social group that is beingThere is no need, in my opinion, to remind people about Nazism as modern Germany is not a bit like Hitler's Germany. Furthermore, home schooling is a sore point in many countries. Indeed, there have been attempts to control it in the United States. Mostly they have failed.
persecuted in Germany." A "Western nation should uphold basic human rights, which include allowing parents to raise and educate their own children," Donnelly said. "This is simply about the German state trying to coerce ideological uniformity in a way that is frighteningly reminiscent of past history."
Deutsche Welle takes out the religion and concentrates on the home-schooling.
While religious homeschoolers are often covered in the media, they don't represent all German homeschooling families, said Dagmar Neubronner, a publisher and therapist in Bremen who moved her children from Germany to France to homeschool them.Eugene Volokh, himself a successful past asylum speaker, raises the question of whether not having the right to home schooling does give one the right to asylum in the United States. Without saying so, he seems to be doubtful. The discussion, as usual, is very interesting and well worth reading in full.
Neubronner told Deutsche Welle when her children were in public schools they often complained of not having enough academic freedom and of noise and disruptions from classmates.
"Our children didn't thrive in school," she said.
After attempting to get permission from German courts to homeschool her children, she says she was threatened with fines and jail time. It was then that she and her husband decided to move their children to France where they could legally homeschool them.
When asked whether homeschooled children have difficulty integrating into society, Neubronner said those claims were "not proven by reality."
"Just look around to all those countries where homeschooling is permitted," she said. "You don't find a group of ex-homeschoolers who fail in life."
There are many aspects to this case that will reverberate in other countries, not least Britain. The situation here as regards home-schooling is rather confused. Legally it is perfectly acceptable. It is not schooling that is compulsory but education, though LEAs (local education authorities), Ofsted ( Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) and other suchlike organizations would prefer it if people did not know about this distinction.
Officials spend a good deal of time harassing home-schoolers and demanding proof that the education thus provided is "adequate", proof of which they do not seem to demand from schools. As the term "adequate" is defined by these officials with no reference to anything outside themselves and their ideas, proof of it becomes hard to impossible to provide.
Most recently, educational and "child welfare" officials have found another way in which they can harass home-schoolers. The latter would now have to prove that they are not paedophiles (after all, what other reason can one have for wanting to give one's child a real education?) and some of the children have been put on the at-risk lists. One wonders how many of them are now contemplating the notion of asking for asylum in the United States.