Police in Darmstadt, Germany have taken four children from their home and away from their parents. The crime? The parents were home-schooling their children. Bob Unruh, writing for World Net Daily, writes that “HSLDA, the world’s premiere advocate for homeschoolers, said the family of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich has battled for several years Germany’s World War II-era requirement that all children submit to the indoctrination programs in the nation’s public schools.” Apparently, according to the article, the children were aggressively taken by police armed with “a battering ram.” The parents will have to meet with government officials to discuss options for the return of their children, but any agreement will likely include demands that the Wunderlichs abandon their home-school operation.
The National Homeschooling Legal Defense Association reports that “The only legal grounds for removal were the family’s continuation of homeschooling their children. The papers contain no other allegations of abuse or neglect. Moreover, Germany has not even alleged educational neglect for failing to provide an adequate education. The law ignores the educational progress of the child; attendance—and not learning—is the object of the German law.” Think that the arrest and persecution of parents who home-school their children is impossible in the United States? Think again. The government already has a dark history in this country of apprehending parents and taking their children out of home school environments. During the early 20th century, with progressives pushing compulsory schooling as a way to “reform” the system and to ensure standardization of quality and content, the Amish were persecuted for attempting to educate their own children in Amish schools.
Concerned that government schools would teach their children values and ideas that are contrary to their beliefs, the Amish continued to educate their children in traditional one-room school houses until one fateful day in 1965 when local school officials attempted to take Amish children by force from their school house and to transport them by bus to a local public school. The public was enraged by the very idea that the government could take their children by force and ultimately the Amish took their fight to the Supreme Court where in the 1972 case of Wisconsin v. Yoder, they were exempted from the public school requirement and allowed to educate their own children. Unfortunately, the vast majority of American parents did not join the Amish fight against the injustice of mandatory government schooling and watched idly as the government seized control of American education which had previously featured schools operated locally with a large degree of independence and academic freedom.
While it is true that home-schooling is a growing movement across the United States, and that American parents are not required to send their children to government schools (also known as “public schools”) as long as they provide an approved alternative education or send their children to independent schools, we must be cognizant of the fact that the progressives are diligently working against this movement and seek nothing less than making the home-schooling of American children a crime. You may remember that the Romeike family had previously fled Germany to live in the United States with the hope of educating their children at home, and an immigration judge initially ruled that they could stay in the country. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama’s Justice Department appealed the decision to a higher court and sent the family back to Germany. Remember, this is the same president who believes that millions of illegal aliens from Mexico have a fundamental right to an education in the United States.
The Obama administration’s involvement in the case of the Romeike family is just one example of the left’s attempt to advance the broader agenda of compulsory government schooling. The Christian Post web site reports that the White House responded to a petition which garnered over 100,000 signatures by stating that while the administration, “understands why parents would value the freedom to homeschool, the administration, through the Justice Department, has been trying to deport the Romeikes back to Germany, where they could lose custody of their children if they were to continue to homeschool. In the various court cases, the Justice Department has argued that the right of parents to decide their children’s education is not a fundamental right, and it agreed with a German court’s opinion that banning homeschooling teaches tolerance of diverse views.” Clearly, the Obama administration did not become involved in the Romeike case because the family had violated immigration policy. The real issue here, it seems, is that the Romeikes are Christians and that they are seeking to educate their children at home and not in America’s public schools. Moreover, by allowing the Romeike family to remain in America and to teach their own children, progressives would be giving in to the very movement they are seeking to destroy. Remember, the Obama Justice Department took a very aggressive step in this case and has set a bold and dangerous precedent by proclaiming that parents do not have a right to educate their children.
Compulsory schooling is one of the dark ironies of a progressive movement that claims to embrace free-thinking and truth but instead desires a society comprised of obedient, narrow-minded statists. Our most impressionable minds are sent to government schools where they are “enlightened” by progressive ideas in order to ensure that they will be productive members of the community and will easily submit to authority. What happened in Germany to the Wunderlich family is a direct assault against the very ideals of a free society and an attempt by the government to ensure that every child is indoctrinated with a pre-approved government curricula. That this is happening in a country like Germany that has not fully eschewed the ideology of the Nazi regime is one thing; that such ideas are being spread by progressive propagandists in the United States is quite another. What has happened to the Wunderlich family forebodes a dark future in America where the government dares parents to raise children with values not approved by the state.