The Saga Continues: Previously Tolerant German State Declares War on Home-schooling
By John Jalsevac
BADEN-WUERTTEMBURG, Germany, December 22, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Over the last several years disturbing stories have come out of Germany: stories about children being forcibly and suddenly removed from their homes by police in the middle of the day and dropped in state schools, about whole families fleeing from Germany to avoid arrest, about mothers being imprisoned, about intimidation tactics and threats of fines or imprisonment, and all for the “crime” of home-schooling.
In the most recent installment of Germany’s ongoing home-schooling saga, the Director of the Ministry of Education for the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg sent a letter to German homeschoolers that is in effect a declaration of war on home-schooling in the state.
U.S. home-schooling blogger Dana Hanley received a copy of the letter from a German organization that advocates home-schooling, Netz-Bildung Freiheit (Net-Education Freedom). Hanley translated the letter and published it on her blog. (http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/HSBCompanyBlog/256239/)
In the letter K. Horstmann, the Ministerial Director, informs home-schooling families that “the Minister of Education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling.”
Horstmann concludes the letter with a threat, stating, “The education administration in future will also not recognize so-called homeschooling and act in proportionate measure considering the individual case and circumstances.”
Some homeschooling families in Baden-Wuerttemberg, however, are already intimately familiar with what the term “proportionate measure” may mean. Horstmann’s letter was written in response to concerns expressed by Netz-Bildung Freiheit about the case of the Romeike family, whose children were forcibly removed from their home in October of this year, and escorted to the local state-run school. Similar, and worse, stories abound throughout Germany.
This new development comes as a shock to homeschooling families in the state, which in the past had been relatively tolerant of homeschooling, at least compared to other parts of Germany. In 2002, the former Minister for Education had stated that it was unnecessary to crack down on homeschooling since homeschooled children “are generally not lacking in any other respects.” Dana Hanley also quotes the ministry’s press officer stating, around the same time, “We do not use such forcible methods in Baden-Wuerttemberg. It is not in the long-term interests of either the children or the police.”
Most homeschooling families in Germany homeschool their children because of significant concerns about material taught in the public-school system that contradicts the religious or pedagogical beliefs of the family. In his letter Horstmann acknowledged these concerns, saying, “students can be particularly burdened by the related contradictions between the norms of the parent-house and that of the public school through such forced escorts.”
Nevertheless, Horstmann, rather than acknowledging the right of the parents to be the primary educators of their children, continues to indicate that instead the family must step in line with the ideology of the state, saying, “the education authority is in conversation with the affected family in order to look for possibilities to bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement.”
See the WorldNetDaily report on this most recent development:
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
European Human Rights Court Rules State May Deny Parents Right to Home School Their Children
POLICE CRACKDOWN ON HOME-SCHOOLING IN GERMANY
German Police Physically Force Home Schooled Children to Public School
German School Official Declares “Homeschooling Illegal”
Germany Uses Nazi Era Law to Imprison Mom for Homeschooling; Family Flees to Austria