Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Homeschooling Heartaches in Germany

In 1938, Adolf Hitler outlawed homeschooling in Germany. It has remained illegal ever since. Nevertheless, small numbers of German citizens have followed their consciences and have taught their children themselves. They have suffered for their educational choices.

Most recently, Katharina Plett, a homeschooling mother of twelve, was arrested. On Thursday, September 7, a plain-clothes, female officer called on Katharina Plett. When Plett opened the door, police officers who had been hidden, forced their way in. Her husband fled to Austria with the children a couple days later. Others have fled from Germany to Austria which may be able to provide safe haven since homeschooling is legal there for a trial period of a year. After that time, Austrian authorities determine if the family will be allowed to continue their home education pursuits.

It is not surprising that homeschooling would be banned under a dictator. Schools provide an excellent means of isolating children from parental control and values and allow the state to inculcate children with its own propaganda. What is more surprising is that Germany did not lift that ban after becoming a democracy after Hitler's demise. However, a recent poll in Germany reveals that many of its citizenry do not value democracy as a viable form of government. (via RightWingNews) Perhaps there is a connection between the state's refusal to relinquish control of children to the rightful authority of their parents and the populace's lack of value for self rule?

Read more about the Plett's plight at The Brussels Journal.

Hat tip to Carole of Mt. Pleasant Classical Academy for the link to SpunkyHomeschool where I first heard of this particular family.


At 12/28/2006 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poll isn't that surprising when you consider that most of the people really dismayed with democracy are from former East Germany. The pessimism of the German is sort of interesting...but I think a lot of that has to do with their history. It is complicated, but there are a lot of people still alive who lived through Nazi Germany and suffered quite a bit. But there isn't much that can be spoken of publicly.

I read an interesting comparison recently but can't remember the source. It was talking about American patriotism as viewed by Germans. For us, love of country means to love what it stands for and the principles of its founding, not everything in its history. For the German, love of country implies love of everything about the country...its current politics and its history.

Germans tend to be both highly regional and international. They will quickly identify themselves as "Bavarians" or "Europeans" but rarely as Germans. I thought it interesting when I was over there. I'm starting to ramble. I honestly did have a point, but I think I've forgotten it. Oh well. I'm enjoying your blog!


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