Friday, March 02, 2007

Europe's war on Home Schooling and "school phobia"

Paul Belien, of the Brussels Journal, writes an editorial this week at The Washington Times on the war against Home-schooling underway in Europe, and particularly in Germany:

2007 German Horror Tale

Earlier this month, a German teen-ager was forcibly taken from her parents and imprisoned in a psychiatric ward. Her crime? She is being home schooled.

On Feb. 1, 15 German police officers forced their way into the home of the Busekros family in the Bavarian town of Erlangen. They hauled off 16-year-old Melissa, the eldest of the six Busekros children, to a psychiatric ward in nearby Nuremberg. Last week, a court affirmed that Melissa has to remain in the Child Psychiatry Unit because she is suffering from "school phobia."

Home-schooling has been illegal in Germany since Adolf Hitler outlawed it in 1938 and ordered all children to be sent to state schools. … Only some 500 children are being home-schooled in a country of 80 million.
All German political parties, including the Christian Democrats of Chancellor Angela Merkel, are opposed to home-schooling. They say that "the obligation to attend school is a civil obligation, that cannot be tampered with." The home-schoolers receive no support from the official (state funded) churches, either. These maintain that home-schoolers "isolate themselves from the world" and that "freedom of religion does not justify opposition against the obligation to attend school."
Hermann Stucher, a pedagogue who called upon Christians to withdraw their children from the state schools which, he says, have fallen into the hands of "neo-Marxist activists," has been threatened with prosecution for "Hochverrat und Volksverhetzung" (high treason and incitement of the people against the authorities). The fierceness of the authorities' reaction is telling. The dispute is about the hearts and minds of the children. In Germany, schools have become vehicles of indoctrination, where children are brought up to unquestioningly accept the authority of the state in all areas of life.
The situation is hardly better at the European level. Last September, the European Court of Human Rights supported Hitler's 1938 schooling bill. The Strasburg-based court, whose verdicts apply in the entire European Union, ruled that the right to education "by its very nature calls for regulation by the State." It upheld the finding of German courts: "Schools represent society, and it is in the children's interest to become part of that society. The parents' right to educate does not go so far as to deprive their children of that experience."

While it is disquieting that Europeans have not learned the lessons from their dictatorial past — upholding Nazi laws and sending dissidents, including children, to
psychiatric wards, as the Soviets used to do — there is reason for Americans to worry, too. The United Nations is also restricting the rights of parents. Article 29 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that it is the goal of the state to direct the education of children.
In Belgium, the U.N. Convention is currently being used to limit the constitutional right to home-school. In 1995 Britain was told that it violated the U.N. Convention by allowing parents to remove their children from public school sex-education classes.


dag said...

This story should be required reading for everey parent in the nation.

Irdial said...

Please read this post about the planned assaults on Home Schooling planned for the UK, where they are considering:

1. Compulsory registration of home educators
2. Clearer standards defining ’suitable education’
3. Monitoring of standards

Are Home Schoolers of the UK Canada and the USA going to follow Germany's example?

Charles Henry said...

It is pretty incredible, that if you criticize state schools for being marxist, you can be indicted for Treason!
What, by his criticism, is he betraying? Is he revealing something that the german state wants to be kept a secret?
Most appaling is the fact that the so-called "European Court of Human Rights" seems to exist to eliminate, not enshrine, human rights.

Charles Henry said...


Thank you for your link, your posts make for frightening reading..!
If "monitoring of standards" meant testing on the home schooled child's knowledge of essential subjects like math or grammar, such testing would seem pretty reasonable to me.
Sadly, subjects such as these are no longer considered part of most kid's "education" when they are in public school. Accurate spelling is accidental, basic math skills are coincidental, and geography and history, to provide a context for situating a child's place in time and space, seem to have the lowest standards of all.

Speaking anecdotally (because I work with dozens of teenagers as part of my job), it appears that many of the young people know they have being bamboozled out of a proper education, but instead of being angered by the theft, or working to compensate for it, they emerge from their public schools cynical and jaded. Deep down they know that most of what they'd been forced to learn has little to no practical value, and they struggle mightily to avoid facing the consequences of that realization, which translates into desperate attempts to reduce the value of that which had been denied them.

While it is sad to talk with them and discover how deprived they were, what really enfuriates me is that their parents can be so complicit in this awful tragedy. One young fellow told me that a teacher openly graded his written projects by their length, and not by the quality of their content (grading with a ruler! Can you imagine that!).
The teenager knew this, all his classmates knew this, his parents knew this, all his classmates' parents knew this... and nothing was ever done to change it!