Friday, August 05, 2005

HOMESCHOOLING: Hitler's Ghost Haunts German Parents

In Germany, the State owns the children, not the parents. Sound familiar?

Of all religious groups Baptists were among the most fiercely persecuted in the Soviet Union. They were not just Christians but they also distrusted the state, preaching an institutional secession from state-run institutions. Many Baptists belonged to the German-speaking minority in Southern Russia and Kazakhstan. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, they emigrated to Germany, the land where their forefathers had originally come from. Today, these Baptist immigrants from Russia, as well as the Low-German Mennonites, are being prosecuted in Germany because they are unhappy with what their children are learning in the German public schools, which they consider too secular. Children are not allowed to opt out of classes or school activities and homeschooling is illegal in Germany since Adolf Hitler outlawed it in 1938.

Last week, a court in Paderborn in the German state of Westphalia ruled that two Baptist couples lose their parental authority over their own children in educational matters. The court said it was interfering "in order to protect the children from further harm." It stated that the parents had shown "a stubborn contempt both for the state's educational duty as well as the right of their children to develop their personalities by attending school." The court appointed the local Paderborn social service as guardian over the children to ensure that they attend public school.

The two couples belong to a group of seven families with a total of fifteen children of elementary school age who do not attend school. The parents were brought to court by the local education board of the county whose director, Heinz Kohler, argued that homeschooling cannot be allowed because it is "a right of the child not to be kept away from the outside world. The parents' right to personally educate their children would prevent the children from growing up to be responsible individuals within society." Kohler was backed by the Westphalian minister of Education, the Socialist politician Ute Sch„fer, who stated that the obligation to attend a government approved school follows from the "right of a child to free education and maturation."

Last January, a court in the Westphalian county of Guetersloh sentenced a couple to imprisonent, six days for the mother followed by six days for the father, because the parents had refused to let their children attend a Christmas school play after Grimm's fairytale "K”nig Drosselbart" (King Thrushbeard), which they considered blasphemous. The prison sentences were demanded by Sven-Georg Adenauer, the Christian-Democrat Landrat (governor) of Guetersloh county, because the parents refused to pay the fine of 150 euros which they had received for not sending their children to the school play.

Upon the conviction Hermann Hartfeld, a Baptist preacher from Cologne who is also an immigrant from Russia, wrote to Adenauer: "These parents did not give in to the intimidations of the Communists. Do you really believe that they will give in to you?" However, Germany's Christian-Democrats, who are likely to win the coming general elections in September, are as opposed to homeschooling as are the ruling Socialists. The German mentality, even among its so-called conservatives, is very statist. Parents are considered to be incapable of schooling their own children. In this respect the German mentality does not seem to have changed much since the days of Adolf Hitler, when the Germans were expected to look upon the state as a caring parent. Ironically, Sven-Georg Adenauer is the grandson of Konrad Adenauer, the first post-Nazi Chancellor of Germany.

The initiative of the Paderborn Baptists to establish their own private school was rejected by the authorities, who argued that such a school is but a cover for homeschooling and that "the living room is not a class room." The Baptist families received the support of Hermann Stuecher, a 68-year old Christian pedagogue who from 1980 to 1997 homeschooled all his seven children, despite a government prohibition. Stuecher runs the Philadelphia School in Siegen, another Westphalian town. The Philadelphia School, which is not recognised by the German authorities, was established to assist homeschooling families. Stuecher called upon all Christian parents in Germany to withdraw their children from the public schools which, he says, have fallen into the hands of "neomarxist activists propagating atheist humanism, hedonism, pluralism and materialism." Manfred Mueller, the Christian-Democrat Landrat of Paderborn county, has threatened to take Stuecher to court on charges of "Hochverrat und Volksverhetzung (high treason and incitement of the people against the authorities) - a charge which the Nazis also used against their opponents. Mueller considers homeschooling to be high treason because "die Schulpflicht sei eine staatsbuergerliche Pflicht, ueber die nicht verhandelt werden k”nne" (the obligation to attend school is a civil obligation, that cannot be tampered with).....

What is one to make of modern-day Germany, a country which happily appoints a former marxist fanatic and condoner of terrorism to the post of minister of foreign affairs but accuses ordinary citizens of treason when they voice concern about what the schools are teaching their children? Clearly they have learned nothing from their experiences with state totalitarianism in the last century.



Merit-based schooling advocated

The comprehensive school system should be scrapped and replaced with academic selection for all pupils from the age of 11, a teachers' union said yesterday. Delegates at the annual conference of the Professional Association of Teachers said generations of pupils had been failed by the "one-size-fits-all" approach, and called for grammar schools to be reintroduced across England and Wales. Peter Morris, from Bishop Gore comprehensive school in Swansea, told the conference that grammar schools had been "the most successful type of school Britain has ever seen".

Following the 1964 general election, the Labour government instructed all local authorities to draw up plans to introduce a comprehensive school system. However, there are still 164 grammar schools spread over 36 local authorities. They only represent 5% of secondary school education, but they account for more than 40% of the best 100 schools in terms of progress made by pupils between the ages of 11 and 16.

But last night, Judie Harrington from the Campaign for State Education, said that reintroducing selection at 11 would be bad news for pupils. She said that although grammar schools' results were higher than the national average, the majority of children in those areas went to other schools, where they were "failed" by the system. Ms Harrington said international research had shown that a comprehensive education system that included children of all abilities and backgrounds offered the best results, and she called on the government to limit the opportunities for pupils to "opt out" into private, church or grammar schools.

But Mr Morris said the government should reintroduce grammar schools as soon as possible. "Social inclusion is wonderful in theory, but does not produce the results anticipated prior to its introduction." He said most 16-year-olds today would not be able to get good grades in the old O-levels, which were replaced 20 years ago with GCSEs.

Tony Reynolds, a primary school teacher from Cambridge, said that the comprehensive system had let down the brightest pupils. "I have taught many pupils who have had to hide their academic brilliance to survive in comprehensive schools," he said. "If grammar schools allow them to show their true worth, I am all in favour of their reintroduction."

Yesterday the government reiterated its opposition to grammar schools. "The government does not support academic selection at 11 and does not wish to see it extended," said a spokeswoman for the Department for Education and Skills. "Where selection exists, the government believes in local decision making as to whether it should continue, and has put in place mechanisms to allow this to happen."



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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