July 28, 2014

A Partial Victory In Germany

http://joelthornton.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/a-partial-victory-in-germany/

A Partial Victory In Germany
Published 16 July 2008

We have just received a partial victory in Germany.  The Brause family
home schools their children for religious reasons — they disagree with
much of the anti-Christian curriculum in the sex education, science,
and new age religion areas.  They have stood on their Christian
principles and they have paid dearly for it.

Nearly two years ago the Youth Welfare Office went to court and had the
custody of the two youngest Brause children taken from the parents the
purposes of where the children live.  This means that any time the
Youth Welfare Office decides to they can come to the Brause home and
remove these two children.

The only solution for the Brauses, short of winning a court victory, is
to surrender their principles and place their children in the public
schools.

Until today the Brause parents were scheduled to have their day in court
on July 24.  They have been charged with “intentional child neglect.”
The sole evidence proving this criminal claim is that they home school.
That is right, German officials consider home schooling to be child
neglect because the parents are failing to educate the children in the
location German officials consider proper.  This, in spite the fact that
Germans working abroad for the government are encouraged to home school.

It is an interesting concept to think that a German family, in German,
is neglecting their children when they are doing what the government
encourages their own employees to do.

This is an incredible double standard!

Today the court has indefinitely postponed the case.  The reason, an
attorney representing the Brause parents on behalf of the International
Human Rights Group, in a legal brief filed last week, seems to have
convinced the court that the prosecution has not presented enough facts
to prove their case.

So, the court has postponed the hearing and we see this as a partial
victory for the family.  After all, the children are still at home and
the parents are still home schooling them.

Please continue to pray for this family as they stand strong against
educational tyranny!

Favorable Development in the California Homeschooling Case

From the HSLDA website:

 http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/ca/200807110.asp

Favorable Development in the California Homeschooling Case

Thank you for your continued prayers for the California homeschooling case, In re Rachel L. Home School Legal Defense Association has learned that the juvenile court judge terminated jurisdiction over the two youngest L children in a hearing held on July 10, 2008. Mr. L is represented by Gary Kreep, who is the director of the California-based United States Justice Foundation, which has long been a close ally of HSLDA and homeschoolers in California.

Two years ago, the children’s court-appointed lawyers had asked that the two children be ordered to attend a school outside the home. That request became the basis for the court’s February ruling that homeschooling is illegal in California. The appellate court later vacated its own decision and set the case for rehearing. Oral argument on the rehearing was held on June 23, 2008 and a decision could be handed down at any time.

Mr. L’s appellate attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund will be making the appellate court aware of this new development immediately. They will move to dismiss the petition pending in the court of appeal on the ground that the petition is now moot. In other words, the children are no longer under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Therefore, any decision by the appellate court based on the two-year-old petition could not be enforced against the L children.

“This is a significant favorable development toward preserving homeschooling freedom in California,” said Mike Farris, Chairman and Founder of HSLDA.

Crime Against the State: Why Progressives Hate Homeschooling

http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/print.aspx?article=41&loc=b&type=cbtp

Crime Against the State: Why Progressives Hate Homeschooling
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. - 02/14/08

 

The homeschooling movement in the United States has reached a level of institutional maturity that few could have predicted only a decade or two ago. A massive infrastructure is in place, from curriculum companies to social groups, catering to the millions of people who engage in homeschooling. The movement remains as unpopular as ever in fashionable circles, to be sure, but by now the standard arguments against homeschooling are so trite and predictable that families who practice it are able to parry them with little effort.

Once in a while, though, we get a glimpse of the real reason homeschooling is so despised.

By now a great many bloggers and homeschool activists have heard about the case of fifteen-year-old Melissa Busekros of Germany and her three-month ordeal with the authorities. Having fallen behind in her math and Latin, Busekros had been kept home by her parents to receive private tutoring. That unthinkable offense violated anti-homeschool statutes in place since the days of Adolf Hitler—who of course demanded state control of education—and Busekros found herself expelled from school.

Oh, and on February 1, 2007, the government placed the girl first in a psychiatric ward and then in a foster home. She had “school phobia,” you see.

Although her parents were permitted to see her, they were not told where she was staying. In March, Busekros wrote an open letter in which she pleaded for her “right to go back to my family, as I wish,” and insisted: “I am not sick as the doctor said and my family is the best place for me to live.” The latter remark is a reference to the psychological evaluation, so vague as to be a parody of psychiatry itself, on which her removal from her family was justified. (The state’s own testing later found the girl to be perfectly normal.)

Now none of this has anything to do with homeschooling, German officials insisted. They were just concerned for the well-being of this young girl.

But Wolfgang Drautz, consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany, gave the game away. First, in defending the importance of school attendance he explained that school “teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct.” Such a claim is risible enough: one of the reasons some of us intend to homeschool our children is precisely that we don’t want them learning “social conduct” from the slobs and vulgarians who roam the halls of the typical public school. It takes time and effort to raise well-mannered and civilized children, and we do not intend to see that good work undone by sending them to the local savage factory.

Still, that misplaced objection to homeschooling is not unusual. But things turned rather sinister when Drautz went on to warn that “the public has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion or motivated by different world views and in integrating minorities into the population as a whole. If we are to achieve integration, not only must the majority of the population prevent the ostracization of religious minorities or minorities with different world views, but minorities must also remain open and engage in dialogue with those who think differently or share different beliefs.”

He neglected to add: or we’ll take their children.

German officials have complained about comparisons of their actions and rationales to those of Hitler. But consider the Führer’s words: “We have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.”

With which of these sentiments does Herr Drautz disagree?

All of this talk about countering parallel societies and integrating minorities into the population might have been drawn from the rhetoric of the American Progressive Era. In my book The Church Confronts Modernity, I chronicled an overlooked but central aspect of the Progressives’ thought: they sought to construct a new American ethic in which the citizen’s primary loyalties were to the “national community,” rather than to states and localities, and to a new, nondogmatic, nondenominational ethic instead of to any revealed religion. America, the Jesuits’ magazine, described the Progressive attitude this way: “You may hold any faith or religion you please, but then you must not belong to any specific sect or be bound by any dogma.”

For John Dewey and the Progressives, children in the new age needed to be taught procedural rules rather than substantial goods. In other words, they should be taught toleration, open-mindedness, and flexibility, for in this world of change and flux citizens must be readily adaptable to new situations. The last thing children needed, therefore, was unchanging religious dogma taught as truth. As William H. Kilpatrick said, “We must free our children to think for themselves. Anything else is not only to refuse to accept the facts as to the unknown changing future, but is at the same time to deny democracy and its fundamental demand that we respect other people, even our own children.”

Now it is one thing to say that since a great many belief systems coexist together in the United States, we must make an effort to devise some kind of common moral vocabulary by means of which we can speak to each other fruitfully as we tackle divisive issues in the public square. Whether or not such a thing is possible, the mere suggestion is not obviously foolish or contemptible; if a natural law that binds all men really does exist, it is at least plausible that people of diverse backgrounds might be able to recognize common values. But the Progressives were going much further than this.

Sociologist Albion Small spoke explicitly of the need to invent a new religion, a national creed that could unite Americans on essentials and lift them out of the dual parochialisms of geography and religion. “By 1915,” writes historian Eldon Eisenach in The Lost Promise of Progressivism, “Small is really codifying the results of a long-standing theological-ethical enterprise when he concludes that the symbolic centerpiece of this ‘new’ national religion is the now historically recovered ‘Weltanschauung of Jesus’ excavated from barbarism, superstition, church, and dogma.”

According to Eisenach, Progressives held that “all social knowledge deserving a hearing must be cosmopolitan in origin and national in import.” They “invented a conception of citizenship that stipulated that the possession of social knowledge entailed the duty of reflecting on and articulating ideas of national public goodunmediated by party, interest, region, or sectarian religion” (emphasis added). No parallel societies allowed.

Not surprisingly—but again, unfortunately overlooked by scholars of the Progressive Era—the period was marked by numerous efforts to devise a new ethical system and a new foundation on which to ground moral behavior. The ethical culture movement, founded in 1876, sought to do exactly this: to construct a nonreligious ethic that could serve as the foundation for a better and more humane world. That sentiment persisted into the Progressive Era. In 1918, the National Institution for Moral Instructionawarded $5,000 to Oberlin College professor William J. Hutchins for his code of morality, which began with an exhortation “to be physically fit” and concluded by declaring loyalty to humanity to be the highest law. Another such proposal came from Lake Forest College’s professor Henry W. Wright, and still another from Harvard president Charles Eliot. In the Harvard Theological Quarterly Eliot proposed a nondenominational, nondogmatic “religion of the future.” In place of the personal God of old-fashioned Christianity he would substitute a “sleepless, active energy and will” that is recognized “chiefly in the wonderful energies of sound, light, and electricity.” Naturally, the religion of the future would also abandon “the official creeds and dogmas of the past.”

The rationale behind all these systems, in an eerie anticipation of modernbanalities, was that they had the potential to unite rather than to divide. That none of them survives as anything more than an interesting curiosity is perhaps a fair indication of how well they resonated with the population.

Education was a central plank of the Progressives’ plan to bring about the national community they sought. If children were to be emancipated from the stupid prejudices of their parents, educated in the values of progressivism, and lifted out of their “parallel societies,” they would have to be instructed in a government-run school staffed by people who shared the Progressive outlook. Private and/or religious education only compounded the problem that Progressive education aimed to solve. No wonder John Dewey said, with regard to the Catholic school system, “It is essential that this basic issue be seen for what it is—namely, as the encouragement of a powerful reactionary world organization in the most vital realm of democratic life, with the resulting promulgation of principles inimical to democracy.”

This had been a Progressive theme from the beginning. William T. Harris, the most prominent figure in the American educational establishment after the Civil War, and who possessed the mystical reverence for the state so characteristic of Hegelians, warned in an 1871 address to the National Educational Association: “Neither is it safe to leave the education of youth to religious zeal or private benevolence,” since “our State [will] find elements heterogeneous to it continually growing up.” We certainly can’t have that.

In my experience, the average homeschooled student is far more likely than his public-school counterpart to show good manners, to interact well with others, and to be able to hold a serious conversation with an adult. And, significantly, they are better equipped to interact with people unlike themselves (their unusual maturity and knowledge base serve them well in such situations), one of the very reasons they are typically said to need public education. (If a dignitary from a non-Western country came to town for a visit, would you expect a public-school student or a homeschooled student to be more likely to do or say something stupid and embarrassing? Does the question not answer itself?)

Someone who truly cared about the welfare of children would be delighted by homeschooling and the astonishing fruits it has borne even as it continues to receive no mainstream cultural support. But homeschooling is the ultimate repudiation of every grandiose scheme to pull children away from their families and train them in the values of social democracy. That, and not transparent claims about child welfare, is why all the usual suspects detest it, both in Germany and at home.

Government chases homeschool family

Mom, dad now seek help from human rights tribunal

http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=68432
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Members of a homeschooling German family who made a forced move to Austria where the activity remains legal now have fled again – this time to Canada – to escape continuing government actions that now also are the subject of a protest lodged at the European Court of Human Rights.

The case involving Andreas and Katharina Plett is being addressed by Joel Thornton, chief of the International Human Rights Group, who alleges Germany is violating articles 8, 9, 10, 14, and 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights with its persecution of homeschooling families.

The Paderborn family is among several in Germany who have challenged that nation’s Nazi-era ban on parents teaching their children at home. Thornton told WND in the Pletts’ case, one of the government maneuvers gave the authority to determine where the Pletts’ two youngest children live to the Youth Welfare Office.

It happened because of their homeschooling. According to a Brussels Journal report at the time, a plain-clothes policewoman rang the Pletts’ doorbell early one day, and when Katharina Plett opened the door, a team of officers who had concealed themselves forced their way in.

Katharina was able to notify her husband by telephone since he and the children were not at home, and instead of returning they traveled directly to Austria and set up a residence.

However, German authorities continue to try to impose their requirements on the family, since they still own property in Germany, and the Pletts now are challenging not only the authority to decide where the children will live but the other decisions in their case as well.

“About a month ago the family fled to Canada to be together without fear of government officials taking their children,” Thornton told WND about the family.

“Though the court has been unwilling to uphold international law in regards to parents’ rights in educational matters it is our hope that the court will look at the number of families continuing to have problems and decide to take the initiative to enforce the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights that are currently being violated by the German courts,” Thornton said.

The earlier decision came in the now-infamous Konrad case. There, the same court concluded that Germany’s ban on homeschooling – in place since the Nazis reigned – does not violate the convention’s religious rights provision, finding that it was important for the nation to avoid parallel societies created by religious groups.

The new case raises that issue, but several others as well.

“The Plett family has suffered the deprivation of their rights guaranteed under Article 8 of the Convention in that respect for their private and family life has been violated without demonstrated necessity for national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, the prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others,” the complaint, filed on Friday, says.

It also alleges violations of Article 9 in that their “religious convictions” have been violated and Article 10 violations involving “freedom of expression, particularly the freedom to impart information and ideas without interference by public authorities.”

Further, the court action alleges Germany is discriminating against them based on their religious convictions and under Protocol 1, Article 2 in that “in the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the state shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions.”

“The Plett family is asking this court to overturn the decision of all the German courts and declare that the state took improper custody of their children while exercising their rights. … The Plett family asks this court to clarify that the rights guaranteed under Articles 8, 9, 10 and 14 are not subject to governmental intervention without clear and convincing evidence that homeschooling their children would rise to the level of violating the interferences regulated by the Convention. That is not the case here,” the appeal said.

The action also seeks a cancellation of all fines imposed by Germany and the recovery of all costs.

Thornton told WND the children continue to live with the family only because the state Youth Welfare Office never has exercised its authority to determine where they are required to live. Such situations are not unusual in Germany. However, they create huge complications for families doing any traveling.

The Pletts have their roots in Germany but had been living in Russia before returning. They decided to homeschool after the parents” perceived a negative influence of the public school onto their children.”

It was in 2005 when German authorities ordered decisions about the children’s residence given to the Youth Welfare Office without a hearing. The result was the family’s sudden move to Austria. Their further move came after Germany continued to try to exercise control of the family even while living in Austria.

In 2006, the Strasbourg, France-based court ruled in the Konrad case. In that dispute, Fritz and Marianna Konrad, who argued Germany’s compulsory school attendance endangered their children’s religious upbringing and promotes teaching inconsistent with the family’s Christian faith, were told they did not have a case.

The court said the Konrads belong to a “Christian community which is strongly attached to the Bible” and rejected public schooling because of the explicit sexual indoctrination programs that the courses there include.

The German court already had ruled that the parental “wish” to have their children grow up in a home without such influences “could not take priority over compulsory school attendance.” The decision also said the parents do not have an “exclusive” right to lead their children’s education.

“The parents’ right to education did not go as far as to deprive their children of that experience,” the decision said. “Not only the acquisition of knowledge, but also the integration into and first experience with society are important goals in primary school education. The German courts found that those objectives cannot be equally met by home education even if it allowed children to acquire the same standard of knowledge as provided for by primary school education.”

A website for the Practical Homeschool Magazine noted one of the first acts by Hitler when he moved into power was to create the governmental Ministry of Education and give it control of all schools, and school-related issues.

In 1937, the dictator said, “The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.”

WND has reported multiple times on German’s attack on homeschoolers, including earlier this summer when a judge handed down three-month prison sentences for two homeschooling parents.

The sentences for Juergen and Rosemarie Dudek came in Germany’s equivalent of a district court in the state of Hesse, according to a staff attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association. The group, the premier homeschooling advocacy organization in the world, has been monitoring and helping in the Dudeks’ case since before a federal prosecutor announced his intention more than a year ago to see the parents behind bars.

Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has commented on the issue on a blog, noting the government “has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion.”

Drautz said schools teach socialization, and as WND reported, that is important, as evident in the government’s response when a German family in another case wrote objecting to police officers picking their child up at home and delivering him to a public school.

“The minister of education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling,” said a government letter in response. “… You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers. … In order to avoid this in future, 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.”

Why are German’s leaving their country?

You may like to respond to this article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine..

http://educatinggermany.7doves.com/2008/07/01/emigration 

One of Germany’s largest newspapers is looking for the stories of German citizens who have left the country (or returned to it) and the reasons why. Their angle appears to be the ‘brain drain’.

They ask you to write why you left, to include a photo that illustrates your journey, and will include the best.

It would be great if German homeschoolers who are now living outside the country or are strongly thinking about it, or even those who want to but can’t for any multitude of reasons, could write about their stories of persecution to highlight the issue. Include your qualifications, if any, too.

The address to email is auswandern@faz.de