SCOTUS declined to hear Romeike v. Holder and demanded the government to respond to their petition for asylum which was granted. For those not in the homeschool universe the Romeike family is a conservative religious family that didn’t want to follow Germany’s mandatory public school requirement because it was too secular.
First, since secularists often consider all homeschoolers to be either religious or the parents of high-need children I must say we home schooled all three of our children more or less for reasons of travel and lifestyle. My oldest son was accepted on scholarship to Beloit and was on the Dean’s List his first year. One daughter received the highest math honor in her middle school (she chose to go to school at 14). The other daughter has had all A’s and has chosen to homeschool a year or two because of bullying and the mindless routine of public schools here.
To be blunt, if your children are smart or stupid schools have declined in their ability to support them. Around here parents of either population shuffle their kids around to various institutions trying to cobble together a decent education. It’s not just Tiger Moms but education-starved children.
I would homeschool my children more if we could afford it. The idiotic routines and mind-numbing activities of underfunded, undersupported, underachieved, and too-religious public schools easily convince me. The middle-school science text in my town does not mention evolution or even change over time. It is an idiotic book that should be thrown out. I also find the moralizing posters and facile motivations in the hallways and class walls horrifying.
Especially now there are many secular homeschool resources available. It helps to remember that homeschooling was originally distance learning for those who couldn’t get to schools. It was hijacked by religious separatists. There are many ways to ensure children meet minimum education standards and if we actually had competent schools we wouldn’t need SAT and ACT tests to prove it long after the fact and long after it can be changed.
I welcome the schools to keep the money they have not had to use to educate my children. They need all of the financial help they can get.
My spouse is now a school teacher and hates it. The authoritarian ego trips and lack of ability to discipline children combined with low parental support means she is little more than a class police woman and she hates it. She is the only teacher with a Phd at her school. I make more money painting houses. This means we are also trying to change the system and not be secular separatists.
With all of these caveats in mind…
Religious separatists have found common ground with libertarians in championing home school. They both want to dismantle the government. The one because they don’t want government and should be more properly called anarchists and the other because it is the wrong government. Religious separatists would be happy under church authority and obedience to their sacred texts and canons. It is a disingenuous or mistaken alliance. While libertarians want the freedom separatists wish to change the goals of the authority and not remove authority.
HSLDA is a hyperconservative homeschool advocacy business that sells home schoolers insurance again litigation. Yep, for a small fee you can buy some legal insurance in case you have to go to court over homeschooling. They often use scare tactics to convince home schoolers they are going to be litigated and litigated soon if they don’t stand up for parental rights whatever the hell that means. It certainly doesn’t mean they think you can have an abortion, later or early. Nor does it mean they think religion should be out of government or schools. Nor does it mean they would allow me to teach Buddhism, or in some schools, Yoga, even historically.
The Romeikes could have moved to another country in the EU that is more tolerant of homeschooling. HSLDA was thrilled to ensconce them in their circle of scare tactics and hold them as the poster family of religious freedom. Even the asylum granted is proof to them the US is going to avoid their issue of parental rights where you can do anything you want with your children as long as it follows a christian ideal. Though which denomination seems rather unclear.
This is the so called immutable characteristic that HSLDA wishes to assign to home schoolers. But there is no canon, no constitution, no binding characteristic of home schoolers as a group. If home schoolers could call themselves Amish, or Menonite, or any of a number of formal separatist groups of tradition they could claim asylum as that group but not because they are home schoolers. You can’t ask for asylum because you have a changeable characteristic like carpenter, knitter, prostitute. That’s the law part which most don’t care about but that’s why SCOTUS, conservative as they are now, wouldn’t touch it.
Germany created the public school mandate in response to its Turkish immigrants who moved in or were born in such large numbers as to outnumber the Germans. Further these immigrants balkanized themselves into social and religious ghettos (they are not a homogeneous group either) and do not wish to participate in German society. They want all of the welfare but little of the responsibility.
In Denmark this balkanization with muslims has been such a problem that liberals have given way to conservatives who seem oddly correct that a country does have a character that should be maintained. That certain laws of governance and morality are more universal than the ethnicity of its citizens.
This should be familiar to Americans since that is precisely why we created the public school system here. Too many immigrants who could not speak the language, know the constitution, and participate in society. The US needed workers who would show up, stay at work, and then go home. It is renewed problem as it is not just theocrats in the Carolinas and Texas that would like to secede but parts of California and elsewhere that are in hispanic majority. Who understanding the US is a democracy would like their own kind of hispanic governance, representation, and if necessary separatism. HSLDA would not approve.
HSLDA falls back on the old libertarian canards of commerce law to squeeze out legitimacy for state’s rights as expanding to parental rights. This tactic fails big. Most citizens don’t know law very well–no lawyer would make more than an “opinion” outside their area of expertise. Most people don’t get that neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties, states, and other nations have different levels and effects of standing, jurisdiction, and jurisprudence. Most just see themselves in reference to themselves. This kind of myopia is a problem. We should teach much more law in schools.
HSLDA preys on this ignorance by emphasizing that Romeike should be allowed asylum. Since the US allows homeschooling so should the entire world. It confuse US law with international law, US rights with other countries’ rights. Indeed if religious separatists wish for that they should not insist that every country have the same laws. It is clear it is not a function of governance but the specific issue itself. While claiming separatism they really wish everyone would follow their law. Again they don’t want tolerance they want rulership across the board. Even if a country votes for mandatory public school they insist that country is wrong.
Unless you wish to expand the UN to a global legal empire that not only enforces all rights but all law, countries by long agreement and demand have their own governance. You can’t criticize Nazi’s in Germany but you can here. Do you wish for Germany to demand the US change its laws?
Just because you have a right in America does not make it an international right. The right to homeschool is not under any international law. Oddly HSLDA has fought against any US involvement in international law for decades until now. Just as conservatives wished to “Americanize” immigrants for decades, a century or two, they now wish to Americanize the world. It’s not a libertarian issue, it’s a theocratic issue.
If the Roemeikes had been deported the worst that would have happened to them is their children would have to go to school or they could move to another more accessible country. They are not in danger of persecution. So much so why do we turn away people who are physically abused and tortured but allow this?
The Romeikes can teach their children churchy stuff at home just as I have to teach evolution to my children at home even if I don’t homeschool.