Saturday, April 10, 2010

U.S. Government Supports Persecution of German Homeschoolers?

So many things have been happening in the homeschool arena while I was distracted that I have not written about. 

One of the most important recent events, and the one that has garnered the most national attention is the granting of asylum to the Romeike family because of the persecution they experienced in Germany. The Romeikes are Christians from Bissinggen, Germany, who fled persecution in August 2008 to seek political asylum in the United States. They are currently living and homeschooling in Tennessee.

On January 26, 2010, Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted the Romeikes asylum after determining that the German government’s treatment of homeschoolers was “repellent to everything we believe as Americans,” and that Germany was denying the family “basic human rights.  

This decision was hailed by the homeschooling community, but not everyone was so thrilled. There was considerable criticism of an asylum policy that could include homeschoolers and yet not victims of "female circumcision", which in any language is genital mutilation, but is also a cultural imperative in many nations that in this age of diversity the US Government is reluctant to criticize. I found a surprising negative buzz on the internet when I read comments on articles on the topic.

Now in another disturbing setback, the Agency for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has filed an appeal of the grant of asylum to the Romeike family. In this appeal, ICE describes homeschoolers as too “amorphous” to be a “particular social group” and that “United States law has recognized the broad power of the state to compel school attendance and regulate curriculum and teacher certification” as well as the “authority to prohibit or regulate homeschooling.

HSLDA attorney Michael Donnelly, who is coordinating the Romeike's legal defense, was quoted in an HSLDA release dated March 22:

“It is disappointing but not surprising that ICE has appealed,” Donnelly said. “Judge Burman appropriately noted that homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, and his decision reflects U.S. law which upholds the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing their children as an enduring American tradition, entitling the family to protection from persecution. ICE argues that Germany’s denial of a parent’s right to homeschool for any reason is acceptable. It is shameful that ICE, and by extension the U.S. Government, supports the persecution of German homeschoolers.”
Uh oh.  Here we go again. The last 20 years is flashing before my eyes.  Letters to school districts, being frozen out of competitions, H.R. 6, the DeJonges in Michigan, the Calabrettas in California, the threat of daytime curfews, the threat of raising the age of compulsory attendence, Loretta Weinberg's bill to mandate compulsory annual testing and medical exams, A 3123, "Education Begins at Home Act," The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Seems like we have been fighting forever.  And maybe we will be fighting forever.  Obamacare has some provisions that are threatening to homeschoolers, but that is another topic for another day. And maybe that is also why homeschoolers should never retire. 

Because there needs to be someone who still remembers the fight.  I have written extensively on the German "homeschooling problem." You can find additional articles in the keyword cloud under "Germany."

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