Regulation of the Day 122: Home-Schooling in Germany

It is illegal to home-school your children in Germany. Even so, German parents Uwe and Hannelore Romeike believe home-schooling will give their children a better education than sending them to a school. So they pulled their children out of school, hoping the law would not be enforced.

They were wrong. The New York Times lists what they were threatened with:

[F]ines eventually totaling over $11,000, threats that they would lose custody of their children and, one morning, a visit by the police, who took the children to school in a police van. Those were among the fines and potential penalties that Judge Burman said rose to the level of persecution.

Facing the facts, the family decided to pack up their belongings and move to Morristown, Tennessee.

A Memphis judge recently granted the family asylum so they could remain in the U.S., and so they can educate their children the way they see fit.

The Romeikes’ troubles are not over, however. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is appealing their grant of asylum. It is unclear why the agency would do such a thing. Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Romeike pose a threat to national security. They are not criminals. They are not a drain on the economy; Mr. Romeike earns an honest living as a piano teacher.

American parents don’t have much in the way of educational choice. But it does appears they do have more than German parents do. Immigration and Customs Enforcement should stand up for the Romeikes’ rights.

(Hat tip: Megan McLaughlin)

One response to “Regulation of the Day 122: Home-Schooling in Germany

  1. Interesting. I was raised in the states but live in Germany where I am raising my kids in the German system. Apparently the grass is always greener on the other side. My kids go to clean, safe schools, are perfectly bilingual – which is encouraged and have a choice of several school options from vocational to commercial to technical to university, depending on their skills, talents and interests.
    Technically, home schooling is allowed – I teach my children English, US history and culture and we have started Spanish at home. No one is stopping us. However, yes, they have to attend school as well. These people knew that, and knew that the law is strictly enforced. However, school starts when children are 6 or 7 years old and only goes for a couple hours a day – generally home for lunch! So there was never anything stopping them from teaching their children at home, but there is a law requiring the children to attend school through 9th grade.
    And quite honestly, even though I’m a university graduate myself, I wouldn’t feel qualified to pull through an entire German grade school curriculum, much less upper grades. There is no support network for that here either.
    If they really wanted to home school and take their kids out of the German system they could have gone to Austria, where home schooling is tolerated and there are work or residence permit issues for them either.

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