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January 21, 2005
"… you'll have to accept that your world view will be curtailed …"

I've had another busy day today, but I did manage to find this depressing news from Germany:

… A German school official has ordered seven families homeschooling their children in Northwest Germany to enroll their children in public schools immediately, or the children will be forcibly removed by police and taken to school. Any resistance on the part of the parents will result in the children being removed from their homes, according to a Home School Legal Defense Association report.

The families argued that, as Christians, they wanted to protect their children from the godless and humanistic values being taught in public schools. They also assured officials that they were providing an adequate education through a German correspondence school.

County education director Heinz Kohler dismissed the families' beliefs, stating, "you and your children are not living in isolation on some island but rather in an environment posing intra- and extracurricular situations where you'll have to accept that your world view will be curtailed."

Kohler further explained that homeschooling could not be allowed as "children should not be encapsulated or kept apart from the outside world. In these cases, the parents' rights to personally educate their children would prevent the children from growing up to be responsible individuals within society…"

You will be socialised!

I found this at an American anti-abortion site. Americans can contemplate this kind of thing with relative detachment, but here in Britain, for anyone who favours the right to homeschool, it is different. Homeschoolers here must have in the back of their minds the thought that the EU might one day decide to "harmonise" the rules about homeschooling, and something tells me they probably wouldn't harmonise them in such a way that Germans would be allowed to homeschool. Although, I suppose that there is always that hope.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:30 PM
Category: CompulsionHome education

As someone actively considering the homeschooling option, I must say: consider me frightened!

Comment by: Bishop Hill on January 23, 2005 06:10 PM

I'm afraid that as an American libertarian I was already pretty well convinced that Europe was insufficiently free for my needs when I was in, you know, 7th grade. In fact, I was quite shocked to get into British history and find out about the Magna Carta and so forth, as I had been under the impression that the whole of Europe was a rather less depressing version of East Germany.

In any case, I think I'd find living as a German citizen sufficiently frustrating that I'd not stick around the place long enough to realize their homeschooling laws are also quite restrictive. They already fail the gun control and free speech tests...

Comment by: Sarah on January 25, 2005 04:08 AM

Nowt to do with education, but did you know that Germans who have too much unused space in their houses have to allow the government to place lodgers there or face an exceedingly punitive tax hike?

Comment by: Squander Two on January 31, 2005 02:16 PM
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