Thursday, March 07, 2013

Hostility to homeschoolers in the Obama admin.

Some sentences are made of words while others are made of jail time. And home-schooling families focused on the former kind of sentences are increasingly finding themselves under the threat of the latter—even in America.

For example, consider Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, the Christian couple who fled Germany in 2008 after the government levied them with heavy fines and even once had their children removed from their home and placed in foster care all because they home-school.

Germany bars parents from educating children at home even when the children flourish in that environment. Applying laws actually enacted during the Nazi period of the 1930s, Germany has long been at war against home-schooling families—even sentencing some parents to jail terms for teaching their children at home.

The Romeike were granted asylum in the United States in 2010, and they have peacefully lived in Tennessee and educated their outstanding children at home ever since. Uwe and Hannelor teach their children at home for religious reasons and by every standard their children are thriving.

But their German nightmare has begun all over again with Attorney General Eric Holder taking the position that German laws against home schooling did not violate the family’s “fundamental rights” to educate their children at home and therefore were not sufficient grounds for asylum.

Holder ignores the fact that several million children are home-educated in the United States every day and in every state, and virtually all home-educating parents would argue that they are exercising a fundamental right as parents to oversee the education of their own children. He also ignores settled Supreme Court precedent establishing both religious and parental grounds to home-educate children.

The Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security has also lined up against the Romeikes, as has the Board of Immigration Appeals. Of course, the virulent opposition of the public school teachers union—a core Obama administration financial and voting constituency—to the Romeike’s asylum request cannot be understated.

The teachers unions, as most people who follow these issues know, is in a bloody knife-fight to kill home education in the United States.

The stakes are extraordinarily high. The Romeikes have five school-age children the German government will likely snatch from their home if forced to return. And, of course, there are also the fines and jail sentences hanging like the Sword of Damocles over their heads.

All of this because the parents have decided that the better course for their children is home education.

The Romeikes are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit to give them permanent refugee status. The Home School Legal Defense Association says it could take a full year for the circuit court to rule.

The significance of this case will become even more obvious as the political agenda of the Obama administration and its teachers union allies clash with the fundamental right of parents to determine how their own children will be educated.

Every American should hope that the only sentences the Romeikes and their children face are the ones in text books.


The Coddling of College Hate Crime Hoaxers

Michelle Malkin

American college campuses are the most fertile grounds for fake hate. They're marinated in identity politics and packed with self-indulgent, tenured radicals suspended in the 1960s. In the name of enlightenment and tolerance, these institutions of higher learning breed a corrosive culture of left-wing self-victimization. Take my alma mater, Oberlin College. Please.

This week, the famously "progressive" college in Ohio made international headlines when it shut down classes after a series of purported hate crimes. According to the Oberlin Review (a student newspaper I once wrote for), anti-black and anti-gay vandalism/"hate speech" have plagued the campus since Feb. 9.

"'Whites Only' was written above a water fountain, 'N*gger Oven' was written inside the elevator, and 'No N*ggers' was written on a bathroom door" at one dormitory, according to the publication.

Swastikas and epithets were drawn on posters around the school. Activists implied the incidents were tied to Black History Month. The final straw? A menacing presence on campus who allegedly donned a "KKK hood" and robe near the segregated black dormitory known as "Afrikan Heritage House."

Oberlin President Marvin Krislov and three college deans ostentatiously published an "open letter" announcing the administration's decision to "suspend formal classes and non-essential activities." The campus body immediately jumped to conclusions and indulged in collective grievance-mongering. The New York Times, Black Entertainment Television and The Associated Press all piled on with angst-ridden coverage of the puzzling crimes at one of the first U.S. colleges to admit blacks and women.

Oberlin alumna Lena Dunham, a cable TV celebrity who starred in a pro-Obama ad likening her vote for him to losing her virginity, took to Twitter to rally her fellow "Obies." The Associated Press dutifully reported Dunham's plea as news: "Hey, Obies, remember the beautiful, inclusive and downright revolutionary history of the place you call home. Protect each other."

But what the AP public relations team for Dunham and the Oberlin mau-mau-ers didn't report is the rest of the story. While Blame Righty propagandists bemoaned the frightening persistence of white supremacy in the tiny town of Oberlin, city police told a local reporter that eyewitnesses saw no one in KKK garb -- but instead saw a pedestrian wearing a blanket. Yes, the dreaded Assault Blanket of Phantom Bias.

Moreover, after arresting two students involved in the spate of hate messages left around campus, police say "it is unclear if they were motivated by racial hatred or -- as has been suggested -- were attempting a commentary on free speech."

Color me unsurprised. The truth is that Oberlin has been a hotbed of dubious hate crime claims, dating back to the late 1980s and 1990s, when I was a student on campus. In 1988, giant signs reading "White Supremacy Rules (Kill All N*ggers)" and "White Supremacy Rules, (F*uck (slashed out and replaced with 'Kill') All Minorities)" were hung anonymously at the Student Union building. It has long been suspected that minority students themselves were responsible.

In 1993, a memorial arch on campus dedicated to Oberlin missionaries who died in the Boxer Rebellion was defaced with anti-Asian graffiti. The venomous messages -- "Death to Ch*nks Memorial" and "Dead ch*nks, good ch*nks" -- led to a paroxysm of protests, administration self-flagellation and sanctimonious resolutions condemning bigotry. But the hate crime was concocted by an Asian-American Oberlin student engaged in the twisted pursuit of raising awareness about hate by faking it, Tawana Brawley-style.

Segregated dorms, segregated graduations and segregated academic departments foster paranoid and selective race-consciousness. While I was on campus, one Asian-American student accused a library worker of racism after the poor staffer asked the grievance-mongering student to lower the blinds where she was studying. Call the Department of Justice!

A black student accused an ice cream shop owner of racism after he told the student she was not allowed to sit at an outside table because she hadn't purchased any items from his store. Alert the U.N. Commission on Human Rights!

In 2006, I went back to Oberlin to confront the campus with the hate crime hoax phenomenon. As I told students back then, liberals see racism where it doesn't exist, fabricate it when they can't find it and ignore it within their own ranks. I documented case after case of phony racism by students and faculty, from Ole Miss to Arizona State to Claremont McKenna, and contrasted it with the vitriolic prejudice that tolerant lefties have for minorities who stray from the political plantation.

The response from "students of color"? They took offense, of course, and characterized my speech as self-hating hate. Just as their coddling faculty and college elders have taught them to do.

I repeat: Mix identity politics, multicultural studies, cowardly administrators and biased media -- and you've got a toxic recipe for opportunistic hate crime hoaxes. Welcome to high-priced, higher mis-education, made and manufactured in the U.S.A.


Australia: Teachers angry over lost perk

The new conservative government is moving fast.  And Queensland is unicameral:  No pesky upper house to hold things up

QUEENSLAND is taking "a giant step backwards" in the classroom and defying world best practice by banning teachers from professional development during school time, national education experts warn.

Principal and teachers warn student learning will suffer in state schools as a result of the controversial move.

But Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek says parents want to see their children have the same teacher throughout every school day and denies the move is a cost-cutting measure.

The State Government has sparked widespread concern and surprise by its decision to ban Professional Development (PD) during school time in state schools, amid a national focus on improving teacher quality in a bid to boost student results.

Grattan Institute school education program director Dr Ben Jensen said the ban was a giant step backwards.

"It goes against what the best schools in Australia are doing and what the best systems around the world are doing and directly runs against the idea that schools should operate in a way that continually improves learning and teaching, which should be our objective,'' Dr Jensen said.

He said schools needed to move towards a model in which professional learning was built in to how they operated daily, rather than running largely ineffective PD courses and workshop.

Professor Brian Caldwell, who was hired by the State Government in 2010 to provide a review of teacher education, backed Dr Jensen, saying PD was essential to boost teacher quality.

But Mr Langbroek said it was better for students if PD happened outside school time.  "Parents expect continuity with respect to teaching in the classroom," he said.

"For this reason the Government made the decision to limit professional development to the six pupil free days each year, school holidays or afternoons after school."

He said concerns had been raised about some instances in which it was difficult to do PD outside school hours and the Government was working towards "an appropriate solution'' around those.

Queensland Association of State School Principals president Hilary Backus said the six pupil free days for PD was not enough time given the introduction of new national curriculum, increasing technology and workplace demands.

"QASSP absolutely supports teacher continuity...however, If we are to improve student outcomes we have to improve teacher quality,'' Mrs Backus said.

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said if the ban remained students would "miss out on a whole range of opportunities - not as a consequence of teachers not being willing to - but teachers not being able to deliver the newest educational practices and theories''.


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