It is important to follow what is happening around the world in relation to homeschooling. Its growth has not been without opposition. Ron Paul (a Christian, who was one of the Republican candidates for the Presidential nomination in 2012,) served as a US Senator for many years, and has been a great supporter of homeschooling.
Homeschooling: The Future of Liberty
By Ron Paul, 8/4/2013
A common feature of authoritarian regimes is the criminalization of alternatives to government-controlled education. Dictators recognize the danger that free thought poses to their rule, and few things promote the thinking of “unapproved” thoughts like an education controlled by parents instead of the state. That is why the National Socialist (Nazi) government of Germany outlawed homeschooling in 1938.
Sadly, these Nazi-era restrictions on parental rights remain the law in Germany, leaving parents who wish greater control over their children’s education without options. That is why in 2006 Uwe and Hannalore Romeike, a German couple who wanted to homeschool their three children for religious reasons, sought asylum in the United States. Immigration judge Lawrence Burman upheld their application for asylum, recognizing that the freedom of parents to homeschool was a “basic human right.”
Unfortunately, the current US administration does not see it that way, and has announced that it is appealing Judge Burman’s decision. If the administration is successful, the Romeikes could be sent back to Germany where they will be forced to send their children to schools whose teaching violates their religious beliefs. If they refuse, they face huge fines, jail time, or even the loss of custody of their children!
The Administration’s appeal claims that the federal government has the constitutional authority to ban homeschooling in all fifty states. The truth is, the Constitution gives the federal government no power to control any aspect of education. Furthermore, parents who, like the Romeikes, have a religious motivation for homeschooling should be protected by the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.
The federal government’s hostility to homeschooling is shared by officials at all levels of government. Despite the movement’s success in legalizing homeschooling in every state, many families are still subjected to harassment by local officials. The harassment ranges from “home visits” by child protective agencies to criminal prosecution for violating truancy laws.
Every American who values liberty should support the homeschoolers’ cause. If the government can usurp parental authority over something as fundamental as the education of their children, there is almost no area of parenthood off limits to government interference.
Homeschooling has proven to be an effective means of education. We are all familiar with the remarkable academic achievements, including in national spelling bees and other competitions, by homeshcooled children. In addition, homeschooled students generally fare better than their public school educated peers on all measures of academic performance.
It makes sense that children do better when their education is controlled by those who know their unique needs best, rather than by a federal bureaucrat. A strong homeschooling movement may also improve other forms of education. If competition improves goods and services in other areas of life, why wouldn’t competition improve education? A large and growing homeschooling movement could inspire public and private schools to innovate and improve.
When the government interferes with a parent’s ability to choose the type of education that is best for their child, it is acting immorally and in a manner inconsistent with a free society. A government that infringes on the rights of homeschooling will eventually infringe on the rights of all parents. Homeschooled children are more likely to embrace the philosophy of freedom, and to join the efforts to restore liberty. In fact, I would not be surprised if the future leaders of the liberty movement were homeschooled.
I believe so strongly in the homeschooling movement that I have just announced my own curriculum for homeschooling families. Please visit this revolutionary new project at RonPaulCurriculum.com.
Attorney General Holder: Homeschooling is not a Fundamental Right:
Our nation has long been a haven for the persecuted, but if Attorney General Eric Holder gets his way, a German homeschool family who found refuge in the U.S. following intense harassment by authorities in Germany will have their grant of asylum suspended.
The family is the Romeikes, and they’ve found themselves in the cross-hairs because of their decision to homeschool in Germany, a country where the practice is almost universally illegal. After enduring harassment by local police and having thousands of dollars of fines levied against them for simply teaching their children at home, Uwe and Hanne Romeike fled Germany to America with their five children.
Thanks to the able representation of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) in Immigration Court, the Romeikes, who are a devout Christian family, were granted legal asylum in America in January of 2010 in a significant ruling by U.S. Immigration Judge Lawrence Burman. In his decision, Judge Burman formally recognized the fundamental importance of the right of parents to raise their children according to the dictates of their conscience, noting that the rights being denied the Romeikes were “basic human rights that no country has a right to violate.”
However, the U.S. Government Agency for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appealed this decision that granted legal asylum to the Romeikes, and the Board of Immigration Appeals sided with ICE and against the Romeikes.
HSLDA then appealed the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments in Romeike v. Holder will be heard on April 23.
HSLDA Founder Michael Farris has pointed out that the arguments Attorney General Eric Holder has made in the government’s case against the Romeikes not only threaten their personal liberty, but send a “wrong message” about the liberties of America’s homeschoolers.
According to Farris, the head of our Justice Department maintains that “there is no fundamental right to homeschool. . . . The Attorney General of the United States thinks that a law that bans homeschooling entirely violates no fundamental liberties. It is important that Americans stand up for the rights of German homeschooling families. In so doing, we stand up for our own.”
If the Attorney General and his fellow cronies get their way, the Romeikes will face deportation back to Germany where prosecution awaits, with heavy fines and the potential loss of custody of their children.
I was privileged to serve with HSLDA for six years, defending homeschool families as an attorney and advocate, and would urge you to pray for their efforts in this important case.
Doug Phillips, Vision Forum, April 2013.