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US Grants Home Schooling German Family Political Asylum

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the come-get-you-some-learnin dept.

Education 1324

A US judge has granted political asylum to a family who said they fled Germany to avoid persecution for home schooling their children. Uwe Romeike and his wife, Hannelore, moved to Tennessee after German authorities fined them for keeping their children out of school and sent police to escort them to classes. Mike Connelly, attorney for the Home School Legal Defence Association, argued the case. He says, "Home schoolers in Germany are a particular social group, which is one of the protected grounds under the asylum law. This judge looked at the evidence, he heard their testimony, and he felt that the way Germany is treating home schoolers is wrong. The rights being violated here are basic human rights."

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Really? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936426)

While interesting on a social or educational perspective, what has this to do with 'news for nerds'? There isn't anything technical about this. Nothing geeky. It's just a random news story you'd find on Yahoo News (for example)...

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936664)

While interesting on a social or educational perspective, what has this to do with 'news for nerds'? There isn't anything technical about this. Nothing geeky. It's just a random news story you'd find on Yahoo News (for example)...

The nerd angle is this: an increasing number of us nerds (where 'nerd' == cerebral) are dissatisfied with the dull slow lowest-common-denominator pop-psychology politically-correct schlock ladled out at public schools. Meanwhile private schools are not a whole lot better, and cost too much anyway (typically $650/month/child with discounts for multiple children). So we are homeschooling.

TFA represents a major political victory for homeschooling, at a time when that right is under attack (re: California). I, as a homeschooler, feel like celebrating because this judge's decision will be invoked hither and thither in my defense. It may have had a whack-job religious basis, but the decision stands in defense of my ability to give my sons a non-religious hyper-rational high-intensity education.

Re:Really? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936730)

Man, that post is definitely going to be read aloud at the trial.

Re:Really? (1, Troll)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937072)

I suspect you might be in the minority with your reasoning for home schooling. Don't the majority of home-schoolers do it because they're afraid of evil secular concepts like evolution and geological history? As far as I'm concerned, as long as home schooling is used to shelter children from real information, or present it from a "religious perspective", it should be outlawed. Even with a strict set of rules for curriculum, there will still be parents who give extra qualifying information along with such topics.. ie.. Here's all the nonsense that secularists believe, and here is the real truth according to the Holly Bibble. The material is still covered, and you can't eliminate that loophole, so the only solution is ban home schooling outright.

Re:Really? (3, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937184)

Even with a strict set of rules for curriculum, there will still be parents who give extra qualifying information along with such topics.. ie.. Here's all the nonsense that secularists believe, and here is the real truth according to the Holly Bibble. The material is still covered, and you can't eliminate that loophole, so the only solution is ban home schooling outright.

Yes, because parents would never do such a thing outside school time, would they?

Re:Really? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936718)

Slashdot likes sparking flamewars related to homeschooling for religious reasons. That's what this will inevitably turn into, and must have been the motivation.

weird. weider. (0, Offtopic)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936470)

after weird gets weirder where do you go?

Re:weird. weider. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936570)

USA?

I tend to agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936486)

The "homeschooling" angle is a bit hard to grok as a fundamental HR, perhaps it is the religious aspect he means?
I think the pilgrims on the Mayflower would be totally sympathetic in that case.

I homeschooled one of my boys for 2 years when his schooling was turning into a disaster. I mainstreamed him afterwards and he is now doing ok. Imagine some gov thugs hauling him away for that?!

Re:I tend to agree (4, Insightful)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937124)

The fundamental right in question would be that of the parent to raise their own children, as opposed to the State doing so.

This is unfortunately one of those rights that never got expressly enumerated in the Constitution (although in New Hampshire we're trying to fix this [nhliberty.org] ) most likely because, much like a right to privacy, the idea of violating it was so beyond the pale in 1789 that no one thought it needed to be written down. What was put into the Bill of Rights were eight articles specifically in reaction to abuses committed by the British government, followed by two catch-all articles clarifying that the powers of the Federal Government are expressly enumerated (Article X), but the rights of the people are not (Article IX). Unfortunately this hasn't worked out too well in practice...

Home schooling vs. school duty (5, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936490)

Germany has school duty for all children older than six years up to 9 to 12 years in school (depends on the actual state). And "duty" means that a state examined teacher is required for schooling. You want home schooling? Then get the exam, and you are perfectly fine schooling your children at home.

Re:Home schooling vs. school duty (0, Flamebait)

BumbaCLot (472046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936546)

Sounds completely reasonable to me. I don't think any of the half-baked religious nuts know enough about anything to give their children a proper education.

Re:Home schooling vs. school duty (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936642)

Which just proves your ignorance. If you want atheists to be seen as "evolved" then you shouldn't post such asinine comments.

Re:Home schooling vs. school duty (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936748)

Which just proves your ignorance. If you want atheists to be seen as "evolved" then you shouldn't post such asinine comments.

Nice false dichotomy jerkwad.

Re:Home schooling vs. school duty (3, Interesting)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937228)

Indeed. "Everyone must be educated by State-approved teachers!" Way to sound like a religious nut expounding the One True Way that everything must be done, BumbaCLot.

(I'm an atheist, by the way.)

Re:Home schooling vs. school duty (4, Insightful)

jhouserizer (616566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937232)

There are a lot of us who home-school for non-religious reasons... Please quit perpetuating a bad stereotype. Some of us simply care about the the pace our children are learning things, and about the quality and content of the education. We (my wife and I) are not doing anything "special" or worthy of bragging about in terms of spectacular teaching - yet our kids test well beyond other kids their age in math and reading, and they can tell you all sorts of things about classic literature, history, logic/reasoning, and geography, that very few other kids under 10 years old have even heard of. Reducing the student/teacher ratio, and cutting out the crap makes a big, big difference.

Re:Home schooling vs. school duty (2, Interesting)

Synn (6288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936594)

Yeah, but to be a state examined teacher does that mean you're required to teach a particular curriculum? I think the point was this family didn't agree with the state's method of teaching and wanted to teach their own content.

Which so long as the students can meet the standard tests(SATs) then I don't see the problem.

Re:Home schooling vs. school duty (4, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936752)

No, you don't. There are enough private schools with different methods and different curricula: Montessori, Waldorf, christian schools...

All you have to warrant is that the teacher has at least the First State Exam (there is a second one required if you want to teach at a public school).

It's a slippery slope (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937020)

I mean the US is granting that its Political Asylum for this family because they didn't want their kids to go to school in Germany, they prefered home schooling, is basically what it boils down to. So the opposite of it would be extraditing, sending them back to Germany to pay for their crimes, this is the States way of saying: We will protect you if you flee Germany because you want to want to home school your children.

Now - I don't know what to think about all this. In one hand, I think Germany is its own sovereign nation and it should be allowed to run its country how it sees fits, however I also think that if people don't like the way the country is run they should be able to leave. So is this the best course of action? I mean the black and white of it is to send them Back to Germany - or to roll in with the tanks and reform the country (a popular choice lately). So this kind of lands in a semi-grey area which should make me happy.

But somehow I see this opening a whole new can of worms. Now Germany is going to restrict people flying to the U.S. - based on facts about children and schooling, and likewise, people might run away to the US claiming they are doing it for their children as opposed to some ulterior motive (other more heineous crimes).

Re:It's a slippery slope (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937158)

Like that's going to work (unless they plan on rebuilding the berlin wall on a grand scale). Unless they control all transit and are willing to ban people with children from train travel, the family can take the train to austria and fly to the US under the alias von Trapp.

Re:Home schooling vs. school duty (0, Troll)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937224)

It sounds like Germany barely modified the 1938 law written by the Nazi's banning homeschooling. "Duty," to me sounds more like "obey."

I can't believe someone is defending putting people in prison for simply wanting to give their children an education.

Brilliant! (2, Insightful)

fatherjoecode (1725040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936498)

That's a brilliant way to get you and your family into the US without having to resort to hiding in a shipping container or over staying a visitor's visa and then buying a fake identity.

Re:Brilliant! (4, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936668)

Yes, it was clearly the US they were targeting. If they wanted to home-school their German-speaking children, they could easily and freely moved to Switzerland (the eastern part of the country speaks German). No political asylum needed, much cheaper to travel. Also their kids could speak with their new-found friends, and read books, and watch TV, without a huge learning curve.

Re:Brilliant! (2, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936832)

Yes, it was clearly the US they were targeting. If they wanted to home-school their German-speaking children, they could easily and freely moved to Switzerland (the eastern part of the country speaks German). No political asylum needed, much cheaper to travel. Also their kids could speak with their new-found friends, and read books, and watch TV, without a huge learning curve.

Moving to Switzerland is quite an undertaking, did you know? You can't even own land unless you're a citizen, which you won't be if you immigrate -- assuming you are allowed in at all.

Re:Brilliant! (2, Interesting)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936978)

If they wanted to home-school their German-speaking children, they could easily and freely moved to Switzerland

There's a strong seperation between "Swiss German" and general spoken German, also in culture and acceptence while they have a very strong anti-immigration policy.

Those kids very likely would've been excluded. Don't think the USA is so might attractive to emigrate to, it's not, at least not to a 1st world citizen.

Also their kids could speak with their new-found friends, and read books, and watch TV, without a huge learning curve.

In Europe, the greater part of the yought and population is already watching English TV, reading English books and listening to English music without a learning curve, don't extrapolate or project your own monolinguism :)

Having said that, personally I think they just have the concept it's possible to "home school" in the USA without having another concept of it, hence making them feel the USA would be a sortof safe-haven to do what they want to do.

Re:Brilliant! (1, Flamebait)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936988)

Yes, it was clearly the US they were targeting. If they wanted to home-school their German-speaking children, they could easily and freely moved to Switzerland (the eastern part of the country speaks German). No political asylum needed, much cheaper to travel. Also their kids could speak with their new-found friends, and read books, and watch TV, without a huge learning curve.

What are you talking about? Home-schooled kids don't have friends, and they won't have them when they grow up, either.

No story here (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936502)

FTFA:

In 2006 the Romeikes pulled their children out of a state school in Bissingen, Germany, in protest of what they deemed an anti-Christian curriculum.

They said textbooks presented ideas and language that conflicted with their Christian beliefs, including slang terms for sex acts and images of vampires and witches, while the school offered what they described as ethics lessons from Islam, Buddhism and other religions.

Well, obviously other religions can't offer any ethical guidance, and exposing the kids to them will clearly cause them to hate Christianity. Better not even expose them to other thoughts! And the best place to go for that? Here in the US.

Hey Germany (1)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936504)

We know we're friends and all now... and you've grown up quite a bit, but still... prooobably shouldn't be taking risks with the whole (human rights) thing. Won't look good.

Re:Hey Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936558)

Uh huh I see. Maybe the US should grow up and face their growing problems with christian fundamentalism or the recently developed fondness for torture? Maybe then the rest of the world would not despise you.

Re:Hey Germany (5, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936638)

Germany did. And they thought that a child has the right to equal chances with every other child in Germany. And that means that it also has the right to an education equivalent to the education all the other children get, and this right is not to be withhold, not even by the child's parents. They are allowed to homeschool their children if they take the exams required by law to be allowed to teach children. The parents didn't, and so the law said, they weren't providing their children equal chances, and thus got fined.

Re:Hey Germany (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936936)

Come on this is ridiculous. Do you honestly agree that the government has the right to force people to education facilities to teach what they determine appropriate? I didn't even have to juice that up much to make it sound terrifying. Granted you can probably assume it would be better at this point for the child to be in government approved school, but if you make it illegal for parents to decide then how do you stop it when things go too far? Better off just letting people just decide for themselves. We'll still need people to fry our food for us when these kids grow up, or they may actually turn out fine.

Re:Hey Germany (1)

zonky (1153039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937116)

The state has the absolutely responsibility to protect the children's right to a decent education, and not be at the mercy of whack-job parents.

Re:Hey Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30937170)

No they do not mean to 'teach what they determine appropriate'. They mean to assure that the children's rights to be educated by a qualified teacher not be infringed. This is explicitly to prevent the parents from infringing on their children's rights.

Re:Hey Germany (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30937000)

I don't know how it is in Germany, but in large areas of the US, a child having the right to equal education is a pretty low standard. In my experience, there are two major groups of home schoolers: the people that don't agree with standard school doctrines, methods, and no child left alone policies, and the relative few religious nuts that create a bad name for themselves and the first group. Most schools in the southeast tend more towards holding more children back than helping them achieve a decent education, and where the public school system fails, private schools and home schooling can succeed.

If being a certified teacher requires you to teach a certain curriculum, then there would be almost no benefit to staying outside of the government sanctioned school system.

Good (1)

Uranium-238 (1586465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936514)

This is a very sensible verdict frankly, because no other developed western country stops you from educating your children yourself, which frankly would end up with more focused and ambitious, albeit potenially socially awkward children.

Bad (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936582)

These are religious nutters. And let's face it, the US doesn't need any more of those.

Re:Bad (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937238)

Germany should be happy to get rid of its religious nutters.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936606)

The only problem I have with homeschooling is that the vast majority of homeschooling is done by ultra fanatic religious fringe groups who claim their kids would get all those "wrong" ideas (like, say, a humanistic education and values) when they were sent to a public school.

Re:Good (1)

Uranium-238 (1586465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936854)

I suppose you are right, but still if someone merely doesn't want their child to learn something they don't want, they should have the option to home school them. Generally however, yes it is some religious nutter. I remember watching a show in the UK about a family of Jehova's witnesses or something that homeschooled their kids because they believe everyone else is satan or something retarded, but I think the reason for them being on TV was that their daughter of 14 or something wanted to go to school, since her parents barely let any of them out at all, which IS wrong.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Synn (6288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936930)

> who claim their kids would get all those "wrong" ideas (like, say, a humanistic education and values)

Yeah, but that's the thing with basic rights like this. They don't care what someone's definition of "wrong" is, because everyone has their own opinion on right vs wrong.

Re:Good (1)

Mahalalel (1503055) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936968)

Though apparently by "ultra-fanatic" you mean any religious group, I couldn't agree more. It's precisely the reason why I intend to homeschool any children I have ;)

Re:Good (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936764)

"albeit potenially socially awkward children."

I was homeschooled, my husband was homeschooled and we know many many people who were homeschooled and I can assure that socially awkward is not nearly the problem people make it out to be. In fact, homeschooled kids tend to be better at socializing with all age groups rather than just their own. I have, however, met some homeschooled kids that were inept and illiterate so it does have to be regulated, but since I've encountered people coming out of the Public school system with the same problem, I think that is a more a generic parenting issue.

It is probably still true that homeschooled kids are crappy spellers...

Re:Good (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936934)

I'm sure there are cases of home schooled children who end up "more focused and ambitious", but I doubt it's the majority.

Although it seems to be changing, most home-schoolers are still of the religious fanatic variety, who just want to make sure their children *don't* learn certain things, including science, history, civics, and, most importantly, anything about "safe" sex.

Re:Good (4, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936958)

Germany doesn't stop you from educating your children yourself. All you have to do is taking an exam required by law to do so.

You can homeschool all you want (0, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936518)

The only stipulation here is that the kids are taught in a classroom setting by certified teachers according to a strict curriculum. Any additional schooling a parent might want to do can be done before or after school and on weekends.

Parents have plenty of rights, but the right to destroy their kid's future by teaching them anti-science and borderline racist interpretations of history ought not be one. We have whole states here in the US that are filled with nincompoops because of homeschooling. Homeschooling begets more homeschooling in an endless cycle. When you try to push morals and religion into education you end up with none of the above.

Re:You can homeschool all you want (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936578)

Parents have plenty of rights, but the right to destroy their kid's future by teaching them anti-science and borderline racist interpretations of history ought not be one.

Well, aren't we Mr. Tolerance and Understanding Incarnate! Not an ounce of prejudice here, eh? Only among those nasty stupid old home-schooling types.

Re:You can homeschool all you want (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936896)

" Not an ounce of prejudice here, eh?"

One should not have to be tolerant against the religious myths of our ancestors taught as "the truth" and "real history".

Re:You can homeschool all you want (3, Insightful)

LihTox (754597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937114)

Prove to me that this isn't an elaborate holographic simulation you're living in, and then we can talk about "the truth". Truth is the regime of philosophers and theologians; anyone who thinks science is about "truth" is naive.

Re:You can homeschool all you want (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936982)

To be fair, as the grown son of two parents who are currently teaching in rural public schools, 90% of the folk who are home schooling in their area are exactly as BAG describes. People are actually moving to the rural areas specifically to 'protect' their children from the awful awful danger of mixing with other belief systems.

The other 10% are joes who think they can teach better than the system, and in some cases they are right but in most they aren't and are just pissed because their kids were expected to act like humans during school hours instead of the self-obsessed, impulsive monsters they are allowed to be at home.

My mother is a special needs teacher and it's especially worse in that group since in that area, a good half the parents are at fault for their children's needs (drugs, 'inbreeding', just plain piss poor parenting) and still expect the public schools to pay for things like therapists even if the kid has been pulled to be home-schooled.

Really, WTF?!?! (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936834)

So in your view the only people who home school are racist or religious zealots? Since the majority of children are educated in public schools I would suggest the majority of nincompoops are from there instead. Children taught by the public system that they are special, its not their fault they don't study, no one is better than anyone else, and its not fair if you don't have stuff other people have.

Not all people home school do so because of religion, some do it because they to control the environment their children learn in, they want to give their children a leg up, they truly are that good. Whats next? Vilify people who send their children to private schools are elitist pricks who don't want to have their kids associate with people with the wrong skin color?

Its the blind hate people like you who are the problem, I would take a state full of home schooled kids over one of you.

Re:Really, WTF?!?! (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937122)

Children taught by the public system that they are special, its not their fault they don't study, no one is better than anyone else, and its not fair if you don't have stuff other people have.

You're making that up. Or you're repeating things other people have made up. This is a myth that is constantly propagated on slashdot. It's one of those "everyone knows" memes that people just repeat to each other without any actual evidence because it meets their preconceived notions. The slashdotters who have children going through the school system almost invariably describe an incredibly competitive, stressful grind that is far more cutthroat than they remember from their own school days.

Re:You can homeschool all you want (2, Interesting)

Mahalalel (1503055) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936906)

Right.... because state schools are completely unbiased.....

So I presume we will immediately grant asylum... (5, Insightful)

cpotoso (606303) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936524)

... to all the people who have education problems in other countries? I think we should: all afghani girls who for years could not go to school (did we give asylum to all that requested?), all the africans who cannot go to school because of social problems (did we give asylum to all that requested?), etc. Clearly shows how racist and politically biased the courts are: a group of (likely) right wing white people always get precedence over some poor 3rd world, brown-skinned, poor fellow...

Re:So I presume we will immediately grant asylum.. (3, Funny)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936746)

White Europeans are a minority in this world, this is just Affirmative Action for White Europeans.

Re:So I presume we will immediately grant asylum.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936960)

They will get asylum if make it to the US and ask for it.

Re:So I presume we will immediately grant asylum.. (1)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937090)

Not just yet. TFA says that this case did not make it up to a sufficiently high court to set a precedent.

I do it (4, Informative)

inviolet (797804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936532)

I homeschool my kids. In Texas the laws for home-schooling are quite permissive, since Texas has so many religious whack-jobs. We are required to teach the "basic educational goals of reading, spelling, grammar, math, and a study of good citizenship" -- language from the original statute authorizing private schools. No requirements to teach teh nasty atheist science.

In the 1980s Arlington ISD pulled the same stunt as the German authorities in the article did. The family went to court (Leeper v. Arlington ISD), squandered a fortune, and eventually won a major smack-down to the school district. Since then, we homeschoolers have mostly been left alone. Occasionally a truant officer may harass the kids if they are outside during school hours, but homeschool organizations give instruction to the parents in how to handle the discussion with the truant officer.

We have to keep a basic record of what we taught and when, in case we are challenged about whether we are meeting the "basic educational goals..." listed above, but I do that anyway so that I know what to review later. It's a piece of cake. I can't believe I used to think homeschooling was a scarey responsibility; today I find it equally scarey to trust my sons' minds to a public edifice.

Re:I do it (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936672)

I have no problem with homeschooling, but there needs to be a check and balance to ensure that the kids are being taught the same or better than kids in a regular school. Maybe there should be standardized testing, and recommended curriculum, for all schools including home schools.

Otherwise what is to stop someone from brainwashing their kids under the guise of homeschooling?

Re:I do it (2, Insightful)

molo (94384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936726)

Do you really think parents can't brainwash their kids if they go to public school?

-molo

Re:I do it (2)

inviolet (797804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936756)

I have no problem with homeschooling, but there needs to be a check and balance to ensure that the kids are being taught the same or better than kids in a regular school. Maybe there should be standardized testing, and recommended curriculum, for all schools including home schools.

Otherwise what is to stop someone from brainwashing their kids under the guise of homeschooling?

It's not clear to me that a homeschool religious brainwashing is worse than a left-pop-PC brainwashing at public school. And the homeschool brainwashing will nevertheless provide the fast pace and high intensity that implicitly teaches the child to enjoy learning. Compare that to your (and my) experience being bored out of our minds in public school.

I'm just guessing here, but I suspect that a homeschool brainwashed child probably still has a better chance of discovering the real world, and luxuriating in the pleasures of the understanding, when he eventually grows up and gets free of his parents... simply because he was never taught to loathe education.

Re:I do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936870)

Otherwise what is to stop someone from brainwashing their kids under the guise of homeschooling?

And what is to say about the brainwashing the kids under the guise of public education?

Re:I do it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30937028)

I have no problem with homeschooling, but there needs to be a check and balance to ensure that the kids are being taught the same or better than kids in a regular school. Maybe there should be standardized testing, and recommended curriculum, for all schools including home schools.

Otherwise what is to stop someone from brainwashing their kids under the guise of homeschooling?

Most states do indeed require homeschooled students to take a nationally recognized standardized test and report the results (in NC where I live, this is the Department of Non-Public Education).

There have been many studies on the effectiveness of homeschooling. This is a good starting point: http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp

Re:I do it (5, Interesting)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937168)

I got most of my education at private schools. I've met some people who were homeschooled and while they may be socially inept, I was far more brainwashed than they were. I can only offer anecdotes, but I believe private schools are a much bigger problem than homeschooling.

I watched a decent documentary about North Korea the other day (called A State of Mind) and my education (except college) is the same as a North Korean. Just replace "The General" with Jesus and "American imperialists" with "liberals/hippies/communists/scientists" and that's how I grew up.

I learned about how evolution is a lie, dinosaurs existed at the same time as man (or were perhaps fossils were planted by the devil), carbon dating can't possibly work, how the Puritans liberated the Indians from savagery, why the government should enforce arranged marriage, anyone who isn't a Christan is a secret devil worshiper, devil worship is everywhere, Mormons and Catholics are devil worshipers. The list seems endless.

I got decent math education out of it, but I've had to totally reacquaint myself with US/world history and literature.

It's ridiculous that such a place is allowed to exist. There needs to be some sort of oversight; many of my classmates may never recover. Most of the parents had no idea just how radical it all was.

Re:I do it (5, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936850)

I'd like to applaud you for presenting a well written, middle-of-the-road argument in favor of homeschooling. It's one of those things where I fear what I hear, because the only people making noise are whack jobs.

How do you address the social aspects of school? A valuable part of being in school was learning how to interact with new people, larger groups, and authority respectfully and responsibly. Its unfortunate, but part of being a productive adult is working with difficult strangers or at least working around them.

Where was the line for you between, "I'll do this myself" and "Extend/correct/expound/refine what they learned at school"? Of the teachers I know, the best students weren't always the smartest but they were the ones whose parents took an active interest in what they were learning and who added on to that at home. Even the ultra-religious, "Harry Potter is a sin", parents got some respect for actually being aware of what their kids were being exposed to.

Your thoughts? I know you don't speak for the entire homeschool community, but might as well draw some of your good ideas off while we've got someone who's done it.

Re:I do it (5, Informative)

inviolet (797804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937012)

How do you address the social aspects of school? A valuable part of being in school was learning how to interact with new people, larger groups, and authority respectfully and responsibly. Its unfortunate, but part of being a productive adult is working with difficult strangers or at least working around them.

They're in martial arts twice a week. They're in scouts and sports. We live on a cul-de-sac full of kids. They are on robotics competition teams organized by the homeschool supply store. And they have responsibilities at home which we treat like a salaried job. If anything they are spending too much time with others -- I miss having them around every afternoon.

Where was the line for you between, "I'll do this myself" and "Extend/correct/expound/refine what they learned at school"? Of the teachers I know, the best students weren't always the smartest but they were the ones whose parents took an active interest in what they were learning and who added on to that at home. Even the ultra-religious, "Harry Potter is a sin", parents got some respect for actually being aware of what their kids were being exposed to.

What tipped the scale for me was hearing them grouse about being bored at school -- even at the private schools (Montessouri and then Lutheran) that we sent them to for four years. Having now taught two students for two years, it seems insane to try to educate more than one or two kids at a time -- they end up sitting bored while the slow kid soaks up all the teacher's attention.

Re:I do it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30937246)

How do you address the social aspects of school?

Between church, Cub/Boy Scouts (our city has one cub scout pack made up of exclusively homeschoolers, and one boy scout troop that is about 50/50), Awanas, and volunteering at a church-based public service ministry, my kids get plenty of social interaction. They tend to see many of the same kids throughout different events.

You'd be surprised how Internet-savvy homeschool teachers are. They don't often post to /., but there are a number of metro-area homeschool organizations that use Google or Yahoo groups to communicate and coordinate.

Re:I do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936890)

I find it scary that someone who can't even spell 'scary' thinks he's qualified to teach.

Re:I do it (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936970)

School is less than 50% about those education goals through, even ignoring the lack of science as a goal. The other 50% is about learning to socialize (with other children and adults); that includes learning how to deal with bullies, unfair teachers, members of the opposite sex, and fights among friends. It's also learning to deal with problems without parental help and dealing with soul-crushing failures. Not to mention learning the fact that different people of authority will expect wildly different things from them, what are they going to do if you, as their only teacher pre-college, are a micro-manager and their college professors aren't (or vice verse).

This isn't against you necessarily, I don't know anything about you or the social situation of your family and I don't pretend to, but I think we've all met home school kids at some point that simply didn't know how to do any of those things. That struggled to know what their teachers or bosses expected of them, had difficulty forming meaningful relationships, and couldn't deal with criticism or ideas that contradicted what they learned earlier in life.

Re:I do it (1, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937052)

The other 50% is about learning to socialize (with other children and adults); that includes learning how to deal with bullies, unfair teachers, members of the opposite sex, and fights among friends.

Right. If that were really true, then kids would be better off working. You get all that social interaction which you seem to think is more important than learning and you get paid.

Re:I do it (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936980)

If you don't mind me asking what do you do for your children's social development? The only problem I have with Home schooling is you can usually tell, when a kid was home schooled.

Re:I do it (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937188)

We are required to teach the "basic educational goals of reading, spelling, grammar, math, and a study of good citizenship ..."

I can't believe I used to think homeschooling was a scarey responsibility; today I find it equally scarey to trust my sons' minds to a public edifice.

Might want to have your partner teach them spelling.

So what happens now? (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936534)

This judge looked at the evidence, he heard their testimony, and he felt that the way Germany is treating home schoolers is wrong. The rights being violated here are basic human rights."

Okay, so this particular family is helped. Great! Wonderful! What about the other families in Germany? Does this get bumped up to the UN?

Give me your tired, your poor... (1)

X-Power (1009277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936538)

Your inbred, uneducated, socially inept...
Classic case of the rights of entity a oppressing the rights of entity b.
Yeah, the parents have the right to home-school their children.
But what about the children's right to be part of society and not be confused when someone says something the parents chose to "omit".

Think of the children! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936574)

It's terribly sad that parents in the US have the "right" to abuse their kids in so many ways. If nothing else, keeping them socially isolated (having a handful of friends they see occasionally is not remotely equivalent, so shut the fuck up, yes I mean you) is a great way to breed more socially retarded Slashdotters.

Re:Think of the children! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30937040)

You can leave the house for reasons aside from education. You should try it sometime. There are probably other human beings living within shouting distance of your internet pod. I bet some of them even have kids that your hypothetical brood could socialize with. Pro tip: telling them to shut the fuck up when they disagree with you is not really very polite.

Do you want to be friends?

Re:Think of the children! (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937080)

... a great way to breed more socially retarded Slashdotters.

Well, they have to be made somewhere - God knows they'll never have the opportunity to reproduce once they become "socially retarded Slashdotters".

Christian Activist Judges Make Me Sick (-1, Flamebait)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936580)

This judge feels for the family, but it's a gross violation of the law. Homeschooling is in no way a human right. I'm all for immigration, but this family doesn't even come close to making the cut.

Re:Christian Activist Judges Make Me Sick (1, Insightful)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936826)

Germans make for good US citizens! They're white. A funny feeling tells me that the judge would not have sympathized with non-Caucasians and/or non-Europeans with the same problem.

Re:Christian Activist Judges Make Me Sick (5, Insightful)

Synn (6288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936844)

> Homeschooling is in no way a human right.

I totally disagree. It's the basic right to raise your children with your own views and values. Today that protects the "Christian Activists", but it also protects any family from being forced to have their children educated by the government.

If you think a government being able to force you to send your children to someplace to teach them what the government wants them to learn isn't a violation of a basic human right, then I don't know what kind of rights you think humans should have.

Mod parent up (1)

JackDW (904211) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937038)

This concise argument sums up the issues perfectly.

Re:Christian Activist Judges Make Me Sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936862)

Homeschooling is in no way a human right.

Neither is state-funded healthcare, if you want to get technical.

In other words... (0, Troll)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936622)

The family has money to burn why not have them spend it in the US?

I have difficulty believing that this qualifies under persecution. Every country has it's own particulars and peculiarities when it comes to things. It's not like they are being treated unfairly and denied basic human rights. Oh wait... the judge feels that letting the parents choose to educate their children themselves is a 'basic human right'.

Considering the quality of education in North America versus the quality of education in Europe, I consider the Judge's decision to be laughable. I'd take a publicly mandated education from a European country over *anything* provided by the US.

Re:In other words... (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936872)

I on the other hand would much rather send my kids to a magnet or private school in the USA which will most likely be 10x better than the average European or American public school.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936956)

Have you actually sampled both school systems, or merely one? Perspective can be a bitch.

I wonder... (1)

WarpCode (1519261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936670)

Would Germany offer a reciprocal political asylum for those of us who have kids in the US public school system that want our children to have a better education?

Religion, not schooling (4, Insightful)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936712)

From TFA, it appears that the actual basis for asylum here is freedom of religion, not freedom to home-school. The parents pulled their children from public school because they are fundamentalist Christians and objected to elements of the public school's curriculum, including sex education and morality lessons drawn from other religions. The German government apparently does not recognize a parent's right to "protect" children from opposing religious views through home-schooling, and intended to compel attendance. The US recognizes this as an aspect of free exercise of religion, which can form the basis for an asylum petition. Thus, they are actually obtaining asylum on religious persecution grounds. Whether these facts actually establish a valid instance of religious persecution or not is perhaps an important question; just because something is protected by the free exercise clause of the 1st amendment to the US Constitution does not mean it is necessarily a fundamental human right which should give rise to an asylum claim. Germany is not subject the the US Constitution.

Re:Religion, not schooling (4, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937018)

The German government apparently does not recognize a parent's right to "protect" children from opposing religious views through home-schooling, and intended to compel attendance.

No, that's not correct. Germany requires that the education is performed by a teacher who took the state exam. The family wasn't able to name a teacher with the required exam to continue the schooling, also the authorities said: You can't prove that you are teaching your children at all, and that's criminal negligence.

Religious Nutjobs (4, Insightful)

dentin (2175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936736)

I don't have a problem with people home-schooling to improve the quality of education. I myself was home-schooled for several years.

I do, however, have a major issue with people pulling their children out of public school so they can be home-schooled according to religious criteria. I recognize this is a slippery slope, but based on what I've read so far I support the German government.

Religious freedom allows you to worship, but it does not in my mind give one free license to program children with it. Children are not property. Religious conflict with a secular school is not a valid reason for home-schooling.

Further, home schooled children should be subject to, at the very least, the same aptitude tests and subject material criteria as public school children. (Yes, I know most public school criteria and tests are a joke, but it's at least a starting point.)

Good (3, Informative)

JackDW (904211) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936760)

Good. Raising children is the job of parents, not the Government, and it should be perfectly ok for parents to opt out of the school system if it doesn't suit them for any reason. Fascistic governments hate the idea that parents have the freedom to teach their children whatever they want. In Britain we have seen the Government attempting to smear home educators by getting their mouthpieces to spread fear about unchecked child abuse [independent.co.uk] . The pieces are being put into place for an outright ban, and the sad thing is that so-called "liberals" will probably support it on the grounds that it will stop "the children" being "brainwashed" about Jesus, not realising that they are undermining their own freedom to oppose the Government.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30937010)

People who treat their children like possessions should be shot.

It would be a violation of human rights when: (0, Flamebait)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936776)

the kids get indoctrinated at home by parents who are to make sure the kids will never stand a chance in any competitive way in the real world. Now maybe this Judge considers that a 'right' for the parents, but he sure as hell ain't thinking about the kids rights! Germany should kick the ambassador out. This is no concern of the USA and besides... USA talking about human rights in itself is an insult for anyone who cares about such rights. Feel free to disagree, bit -1 troll isn't the way to out it.

Social group? (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936812)

Ahm.. how do home schoolers count as a protectable social group if all they have in common is homeschooling?

I am not sure this is a good precedent. This same logic could be applied to any activity that is illegal in one country but legal here. "I do not want to follow the laws of my home country" should not be an automatic 'you can immigrate to the US' pass.

Homeschooling =/= fundamentalist schooling (5, Insightful)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936876)

Alright, I didn't think it would come to this on slashdot, but this must be understood.

For most families, homeschooling provides an option to help with constant travel (including military families), family changes, or just plain old bad local schools. I have a few friends who were home-schooled through HS, and they are some of the smartest and quickest people I know. In public school, classes move as fast as the slowest student (or just pass him/her by), at home, if you get it, you move on quickly and have plenty of time to be creative/play sports/do whatever.

This stigma against homeschooling has GOT to go already. Not all homeschoolers are teaching racial bias or inaccurate science. Not by far.

Re:Homeschooling =/= fundamentalist schooling (0, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936976)

Not all homeschoolers are teaching racial bias or inaccurate science. Not by far.

Mmm. Yeah. Pretty much "by far".

http://www.google.com/search?q=homeschooling+materials [google.com]

Re:Homeschooling =/= fundamentalist schooling (1)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937060)

If it's a matter of listening to the loudest and largest representation on a google search, then... shoot... I need to find that "single local mom" because she is a motherfucking genius for discovering all those old rules and simple tricks.

Re:Homeschooling =/= fundamentalist schooling (2, Insightful)

gedrin (1423917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937084)

What on Earth made you think that /.'ers wouldn't have an irrational reaction to the idea of homeschooling?

Government education. (0, Troll)

TheOV (1640259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937152)

Homeschooling was originally banned in Germany by Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, when he wanted to make sure that all German children were indoctrinated in the ways of the Nazi party. The Hitler Youth was the result. Government schooling isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if a government is promoting/enforcing a radical worldview, most if not all of the kids in the school system will pick it up. Like evolution.

No lack of bigotry on this thread. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30937176)

How many homeschoolers have you people interacted with anyway? This looks like a case where you've never ever actually met one except that bad kid in the back who argues with the biology professor, who turns out to be one. You then gleefully stereotype every homeschooled kid with that same stamp, along with a few horrific rumours you imagined or picked up on the internet.

I realize there are bad cases out there, but most homeschoolers are never going to be noticed in the end because they turn out just like everybody else. They go on to get normal jobs and like like normal people. There are plenty of cases I could name where people educated in your public schools turn out to be welfare freeloaders and deadbeats.

I'm so glad I live in Canada where homeschooling is actually supported by the government and treated with marginal respect.

Now look, I've refrained from profanity, calling you Nazis, and typing in all caps. All I want in return is to not be treated like some sort of slime because I didn't grow up inside the walls of your public education system.

[/homeschooledkid]

What a shame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30937240)

I'll be happy when the US leaves the dark ages and adopts the French/German model, but we as a whole, parents and non-parents alike will have to actually put some effort into caring about education before that happens. Sure, many to most of the homeschoolers have good intentions, but the kids end up harmed on the whole.

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