Schools of Thought

The most overlooked story of recent days concerns a German family whose parents have been jailed after police invaded their home with a battering ram and took custody of their children, all for the crime of home-schooling. This sounds like an overlooked story from 1936, when the Nazis were exerting totalitarian rule over Germany, but it happened recently and America’s government is complicit in the outrage.
Chances are that you’ve never heard of the Romeikes, either, but they’re another German family who earlier this year sought political asylum in America after being threatened with the same draconian treatment for the same peaceable behavior. These folks apparently assumed that our longstanding tradition of protecting individual liberty would guarantee them safe refuge from such tyranny, but the Obama administration has decided to return them to the harsh justice of their homeland. Thus far the administration has not complied with a Supreme Court order to respond to the Reimeike’s petition for asylum, so one can only speculate on its reasons for such an outrageous decision. Perhaps it’s merely a diplomatic nicety, meant to compensate for previous indignities against the German state ranging from bugging its leaders’ phones to snubbing an invitation to participate in the anniversary of its re-unification, but the administration has gained a reputation exceptionally lenient in its attitude toward asylum requests coming from even the friendliest countries, so we can’t help suspecting it has more to do with domestic politics.
One likely explanation is the administration’s obligations to its loyal supporters in the teachers’ unions, who rightly regard home-schooling as a growing threat to its nearly monopolistic control of America’s educational system, but we can’t help further suspecting that that Obama has his own reasons for opposing the fundamental right and responsibility of a parent to educate his or her own children. In America as well as throughout Europe, the left insist that this right and responsibility be sole province of the state.
There is ample evidence that home-schooled children fare at least as well in life as their government-educated counterparts, and far better than the poor lads relegated to the most dysfunctional districts of the public education system, but the left has constantly sought to either ban the practice or exert control of it through regulation. The objections raised range from the home-schoolers’ alleged lack of socialization, as if failing to learn high school’s caste system of jocks, nerds, and stoners will somehow hamper them throughout their adult lives, to a hysterical insistence that home-schooling parents are all a bunch of Bible-thumping hillbilly anarchists. The popular stereotype of a home-schooled student as a socially-awkward religious nut is rooted in the true and entirely unembarrassing fact that many of them are evangelical Christians, as are the Romeikes, but it is belied by the fact that so many of them are clearly superior as citizens to their more secularly educated peers. In this country many home-schooled children are also products of distinctly non-religious and even hippy-dippy homes, which might explain why home-schooling has not yet been forcibly banned in this country, but even in those cases there is a nagging concern that youngsters might not be getting the officially-sanctioned lessons of the government.
In our conversations with the horrified opponents of home-schooling we have always reached an admission from them that they are most worried that the home-schooled children will question the approved opinions of global warming, cultural relativism, Darwinism in both its anthropological and sociological senses, and any number of other important issues. Only the state should decide what the young are taught about these matters, the left believes, and letting the Romeikes be free to form their opinions would therefore be intolerable.
If the Obama administration has a better reason for denying these people their rights as human beings, we will be eager to hear it when they finally get around to making their response.

— Bud Norman


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