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No homeschooling: Germans seek asylum in the USA

 
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 12:31 am
Quote:
By The Associated Press
Published: April 1, 2009


MORRISTOWN, Tenn. " Homeschooling is so important to Uwe Romeike that the classically trained pianist sold his beloved grand pianos to pay for moving his wife and five children from Germany to the Smoky Mountain foothills of Tennessee.

Romeike says they were persecuted for their evangelical Christian beliefs and homeschooling their children in Germany, where school attendance is compulsory.[*1]

Romeike said he wanted to teach his own children because his children’s German school textbooks contained language and ideas that conflicted with his family’s values.[*2]

He is afraid that if he returns to Germany, police will arrest him and authorities will take away his children, who range in age from 11 to 3.

The case is expected to go before an immigration judge in Memphis on Thursday, said Michael Donnelly, an attorney representing the family.

Lutz Gorgens, German consul general for the Southeast U.S., said he’s not familiar with the Romeikes’ specific situation but believes the claim of persecution is "far-fetched.” He added that most Germans believe "only schools properly can ensure the desired level of excellent education.”

Source


*1 In Germany, compulsory school attendance was introduced first in Prussia in 1717, later in all other German countries.
While homeschooling was allowed as an exception, since 1938 it is has been illegal in Germany with very rare exceptions.

*2 The family complained - all started three years ago - about the "sexual wordings" in biology books.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 3,800 • Replies: 26
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 07:38 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Quote:
Romeike said he wanted to teach his own children because his children’s German school textbooks contained language and ideas that conflicted with his family’s values.[*2]


Poor kids.
Sounds like they might actually benefit from schooling away from their parents.
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 11:24 am
@msolga,
i'm certainly not in favour of home schooling ... but ... i walked by our highschool around noon yesterday (lunch hour) and there were quite a few - i would guess 14/15 year old - kids smoking up a storm ; the majority of them were actually girl - one lonely male stood by himself smoking .
now , i'm not concinced that home schooling would necessarily change that - or perhaps it would be exchanged for aother more troublesome habit .
having lived near this scool for over forty years , i'd have to say there have been some changes - not all for the better (though i understand that the OVERALL smoking rates of teens has actually declined . which is very good imo ) .

still not in favour of home schooling , though we know a younger couple that homeschooled their kids through primary school but send them later to highschool .
the kids are certainly well adjusted . btw it had nothing to do with religious reasons , the parents just did not think that the teaching in public school was very good .
teachers seem to carry a pretty heavy load these days - they have to be teacher - social worker - baby sitter ... ...

i suppose one might argue that a private school also doesn't necessarily teach children exactly the same values as a "public" school" - but many polticians of all stripes seem to believe that private schools are better for their kids than public schools .
so , i guess if some parents insist on home schooling i might not be able to muster much of an argument against it .
hbg
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 07:54 pm
I have no problem with the notion of home-schooling in principle. In some cases it actually might well be the best available option. But I do have a problem about it when the motivation appears to be to shield children from the realities of the world around them ... to restrict their knowledge (for narrow religious /political reasons) rather than expand it.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 08:02 pm
For these specific children, I certainly doubt that homeschooling is a benefit. But in general, I do believe that Germany's approach to home schooling, and (to a lesser extent) to non-government schools, is overly authoritarian and repressive. It's about time somebody is pushing back.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Apr, 2009 12:48 am
According to a German paper this kids get more or less straight A:s when tested by the authorities.
It is not so long ago many (?) children had homescoling by male teachers or governesses before going on to higher education or not. They seemed to do well. But they did not study at home because of religious or political reasons, but because it was the easest way for the children to get an education.
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Apr, 2009 11:36 am
@saab,
"homeschooling" in the olden days - up to WW II - was really done by the well-to-do to educate "little gentlemen and ladies" . these children were not considered "kids" but up-and-coming dukes , duchesses ... ... at least "gentlemen and ladies" .
it would have been considered most improper to have them attend school with "ordinary" children .
if you look at their dresses you'll notice that they were usually dressed like "small adults" .
hbg

"little gentleman and ladies"

http://www.insecula.com/PhotosNew/00/00/09/69/ME0000096920_2.jpg

Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Apr, 2009 11:53 am
@hamburger,
My father was "homeschooled" for one year in the 30's, because he couldn't go to school due to an illness.

Never, however, this was called 'homeschooling' but "private tutoring" ... because of the 'stigma' hamburger writes about above.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Apr, 2009 11:59 am
@Thomas,
I don't see that non-government schools are authoritarianly and/or repressively approached.
Here in my town, we've got four high schools ('Gymnasiums'): one is run by the town, the other three are are privately run (the largest is Catholic, second is run by the Evangelical Church, while only the 'anti-authoritarian' [well, not really, but most teachers are 68'ers Wink ] is smaller than the town's).

All are of course free, like any other school.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Apr, 2009 01:56 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
My father and aunts and uncles were all tutored at home as they lived too far away from a school and at the age of 12 were sent to boarding school in their native country.
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Apr, 2009 03:19 pm
@saab,
there is a fine line between "homeschooling" and being "tutored" .
being tutored usually means having a private "instructor/teacher" = a tutor .

a german tutor and his students ca. 1800

http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/images/Hausunterricht_20009979%20copy.jpg
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Apr, 2009 11:55 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
I'm not going to argue with you about private schools. Note that I already hedged my claim of authoritarianism by saying it exists to "a lesser extent". Nevertheless, the German approach to homeschooling is authoritarian and repressive. Home schooling as a substitute for regular schooling is simply illegal -- at least that's what it was in Bavaria.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 01:13 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
Home schooling as a substitute for regular schooling is simply illegal -- at least that's what it was in Bavaria.


Not only there.

In my native town, it has been illegal since at least 17th century. (that's why we had there three different school from 1680 onwards, in a town with less than 3,000 inhabitants in those days.)
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 01:33 am
@hamburger,
Quote:
....it would have been considered most improper to have them attend school with "ordinary" children .


I would argue that this type of sentiment is what makes many private schools (particularly the more "exclusive" & expensive ones) so attractive to so many parents now ... those who prefer their children don't mix with ordinary "riif raff" & also have all the advantages to "get on" in life (which others can't afford).
And the would-be "home schooler" parents Walter cites in his first post don't want their children to mingle with anyone at all from the real world, lest their children become infected with ideas that ordinary people might have ... which, of course conflict with their own, extremely narrow beliefs.
Wouldn't it be great if all children just mixed in together? Without such segregation? What could be faier & more democratic than that? A "level playing field", even! Wink Sounds pretty healthy to me! Smile
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 01:50 am
@msolga,
"riff raff" was what I meant to say .... You know, ordinary folk! Wink
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 09:53 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote :

Quote:
Wouldn't it be great if all children just mixed in together? Without such segregation? What could be faier & more democratic than that? A "level playing field", even! Sounds pretty healthy to me!


i certainly agree with you , ms olga .
unfortunately politicians of all parties ( and i mean ALL ! ) don't hesitate to send their children to private schools . they always find some excuse why they choose to do so .
it's shameful imo for politicians to do so !!!
they are really giving a wink to parents saying : "well , i have to say one thing even when i do not practice what i preach - it's really alright - go ahead and do it " .
ALL schools should be properly funded so that ALL (and i mean ALL ! ) students can get the education they need .
of course , much of it is a political game : "how many votes will i gain or lose by advocating either a universal school system or a system 'giving a choice ' - to those that can afford it " .
hbg

0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 10:10 pm
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
Wouldn't it be great if all children just mixed in together? Without such segregation? What could be faier & more democratic than that? A "level playing field", even! Wink Sounds pretty healthy to me! Smile

Of course it would be great! But not if the reason for the mixing was that the government criminalized the alternatives.

To offer you an olive branch, I'm open to being convinced that this is just my personal (negative) schooling experience talking. Although my respect for teachers has grown a lot since I've been reading your and littlek's posts on teaching, I found that most of the teachers I had were, er, bogged down in narrow beliefs that couldn't be challenged in class without causing a scene.

My intellect would be a mess today if I hadn't learned most of what I know from my parents, and from taking off to the library by myself. It is plainly repulsive to me that it should be illegal to cut out the part of my education that failed, and to educate me entirely in the format that worked for me. But as I already admitted, I may not be entirely rational when it comes to this point.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Apr, 2009 01:21 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
Of course it would be great! But not if the reason for the mixing was that the government criminalized the alternatives.


Then, I'd say, Thomas, the government has a responsibility to investigate all the education alternatives which all children in its care could possibly be involved in. Some (including many state schools, judging from the experience of my own country), might need some serious financial up-grading to be brought up to scratch. Others, (including private schools which receive funding from the government - including the Exclusive Brethren, in my country!), should be thoroughly scrutinized in regard to the the type of curriculum offered, compared to the actual education requirements of the state.
But, when it comes to home schooling, what approach do you feel anygovernment should take with children being "educated" by parents like those cited in Walter's first post? Should the government simply take the attitude that parents should feel free to do as they wish with their childrens' education? (Even if this could potentially lead to severe social & other disadvantage experienced by those children, later in life?) How & when should a government intervene on behalf of the children in such a situation? And what should happen if curriculum directives from the government education authority are completely ignored by the parents? What then? (Tough to contemplate, isn't it? Sigh)
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Apr, 2009 01:44 am
... & while you're considering those questions, just let me say that I'm extremely unhappy about some very rigid controls the government authoririty has imposed on the education curriculum offerings in my own state. I'd say there's been a narrowing of potential curriculum innovation which teachers feel free to introduce to their classrooms & also some pretty unwelcome mandatory "grading" impositions. (Which parents often do not fully understand & teachers loath, as well...) So no way suggesting that the govervnment is perfect, & wise in every way ..... but I do wonder about your thoughts on the German government's position regarding the family under discussion here.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Apr, 2009 12:42 pm
@msolga,
msolga wrote :

Quote:
But, when it comes to home schooling, what approach do you feel anygovernment should take with children being "educated" by parents like those cited in Walter's first post?


the question of "parents' rights" has been discussed on a2k before .
i recall some very strong opinions that it was the parents' ABSOLUTE right to determine what their children where being taught .
(not that i would be in favour of that !!!)
i recall quite distinctly that there were some opinions about "left-wing" claptrap being taught to their children - and the parents didn't like that .
hbg
0 Replies
 
 

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