News of the Romeike family’s asylum ruling is making the rounds. This is the first piece on the Romeike decision that I found which has done independent reporting and provides some context to this situation in Germany.
“Homeschoolers are a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress,” Burman [Immigration judge Lawrence O. Burman] was quoted as saying. “This family has a well-founded fear of persecution… therefore, they are eligible for asylum.”
The parents identify themselves as evangelical Christians and say religion was the primary reason why they chose to homeschool their children. Hannelore Romeike said public education can never be neutral.
“During the last 10-20 years the curriculum in public schools has been more and more against Christian values,” she told the Associated Press.
While religious homeschoolers are often covered in the media, they don’t represent all German homeschooling families, said Dagmar Neubronner, a publisher and therapist in Bremen who moved her children from Germany to France to homeschool them.
The German laws mandating public-school attendance date back to Germany’s first experiment with democracy in 1919, according to Hans Bruegelmann, an education professor at the University of Siegen.
Bruegelmann said previously private education was only available to the elite, and that the public-school mandate was a clear political choice.
“The school is an embryonic democracy and will help to integrate children and young people coming from different backgrounds into the democratic culture,” he said.
Integration into democracy and learning to get along with those who hold opposing opinions are important skills that children cannot learn when homeschooled, Bruegelmann said, and that is especially true with highly religious parents.
When asked about Germans’ opinions on the public school mandate, Bruegelmann said he thought most Germans supported it.
He admitted, however, that he could not say whether that was because they truly believed in it or if it was simply what they were accustomed to.
Spiegel Online‘s coverage comes under the head, Religious Persecution? German Home-Schoolers Granted Political Asylum in US
The comments section of this piece from a German English language site is worth reading.
To get a broader understanding read Valerie Moon’s coverage of homeschooling in Germany from this blog . (Coverage dates back to February 2007.)