Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mandatory 'integration' of children pursued

A government bureaucrat in Germany says that nation demands all children attend government-approved schools because they all must be "integrated" into society the same way."This is one of the great developments of the 19th century towards emancipation and democracy," a recently dated letter to a homeschool advocate said.WND has reported a number of times on Germany's aggressive enforcement of its Hitler-era ban on homeschooling, and even when parents decided they would flee to Iran to seek a less-oppressive educational environment for their child.One German student, Melissa Busekros, at one point simply was taken into custody by members of a team of police officers and confined to a mental institution for her crime of being homeschooled. 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 or motivated by different world views and in integrating minorities into the population as a whole."Drautz said homeschool students' test results may be as good as for those in school, but "school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct, encourages dialogue among people of different beliefs and cultures, and helps students to become responsible citizens."Now comes the newest response to an inquiry from a homeschooling advocacy organization, Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit, whose officials had asked the government to reconsider the ban on homeschooling.An English translation of the response, which was in German, was provided to WND, and in it, the government stated plainly its right to educate children trumps any parental or religious rights others can suggest."State Secretary Siegfried Schneider and State Undersecretary Bernd Siebler have asked the responsible legal department to respond to your e-mail of Jan. 2nd, 2008. Our response to your concerns is as follows:," the letter said."Mandatory school attendance in Bavaria is regulated by Articles 35ff of the Bavarian Law for Education. Those meeting the age requirements and being residents of Bavaria are subject to mandatory school attendance according to Art. 35, part 1 BayEUG. To comply with the mandatory school attendance law it is imperative that a public or private school is attended. Homeschooling is only allowed when strict conditions (involving an illness) are met. Accordingly homeschooling is only possible for the long term sick children or students with health conditions, which prevent them from attending school," the letter, identified as having come from an education "ministry," said.
"Concerning the question of mandatory school attendance, in 2002 the Bavarian Constitutional (Supreme) Court decided on the basis of the Bavarian Constitution, and in 2003 the German Federal Supreme Court decided on the basis of the German Constitution that homeschooling does not meet the constitutional requirement of mandatory school attendance. These court decisions were again confirmed by the Federal Supreme Court on 31 May 2006. The state's responsibility to educate is the basis for mandatory school attendance and – according to the courts – takes precedence over parent's rights and freedom of religion," the letter said.The letter noted the Federal Supreme Court decision even "upheld the partial withdrawal of custody rights and the right to determine where children will stay" if a parent refuses to order their children into public schools because such failure "constitutes an abuse of parental custody rights, which adversely affects the well-being of a child and which require actions by the family courts…"Educators have been told to notify authorities if any such cases develop so they can be prosecuted, the letter said."The general mandatory school attendance law is considered an indispensable condition to warrant a free and democratic system and at the same time an indispensable prerequisite to safeguard the economic and social welfare of society. The purpose of mandatory school attendance is not only to convey knowledge, but particularly also to teach social competence to children," the education officials said. "Besides supporting social competence, the school also fulfills the function of looking out for the well-being of a child during class.""The Bavarian Constitution wants to integrate all children the same and comprehensively into society by way of mandatory school attendance. This is one of the great developments of the 19th century towards emancipation and democracy," the letter said.The homeschool advocates called it "not a day of good news.""There is an attitude of refusal and ignorance towards the concerns of homeschooling families," a Germany organization spokesman said in an e-mail to a U.S. organization, the Home School Legal Defense Association, which has worked actively in trying to help the homeschoolers of Germany."It looks not good here in Germany," the spokesman said.WND has reported that even Americans who are in Germany for various assignments, including that of a special ministry, have been targeted with legal action for homeschooling."German officials appear to be more determined than ever to rid their country of influences that may contribute to the rise of what they call 'Parallelgesellschaften,' parallel societies," the HSLDA said in a statement earlier. "Never mind that Germany has hundreds of thousands of genuinely truant youth hanging around street corners; school officials have determined that parents diligently educating their children at home are a greater danger to German society.""The German education system is very hostile to devout Christian faith," said Joel Thornton, of the International Human Rights Group. "Their health education in public middle schools is very explicit regarding human reproduction. It is often nothing short of pornographic, even in the lower grades. Their science curriculum is very heavily weighted in its discussions of evolution. Also, there is a lot of teaching on occult practices."

As in the days of Noah...

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