No Right To Homeschool In Europe

by Venomous Kate

The European Court of Human Rights recently declared that German parents have no right to educate their children at home. This is the most recent blow in a campaign against German homeschooling parents, one which has resulted in heavy fines and jail time for parents who persist in education their children at home. (A .pdf copy of the decision can be found here.)

The German homeschooling community had been awaiting the results in this matter, considered a “test case” by many European parents who view compulsory education, particularly in the area of mandatory sex education, as a violation of their religious beliefs.

This would seem to be a clear-cut matter under Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states:

No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions. (Emphasis mine)

The Court, however, declared that the interest of the state outweighs parental convictions and, more troubling, deems the State better able to determine what is in a child’s best interests than that child’s own parents. (Ironically, this decision comes on the heels of a industry study which found that German schools are experiencing “educational poverty” and fare poorly at educating students sufficiently to replace retiring workers.)

While the Court postured itself as defending the rights of the child and declared the State to know better than parents the best interests of their children, it also endorsed a “carefully reasoned” decision of the German courts indicating the State had an interest in subordinating value systems competing with the state’s secular values. The Court agreed with the finding of Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court which stressed “the general interest of society to avoid the emergence of parallel societies based on separate philosophical convictions and the importance of integrating minorities into society.” (Source)

Register your protest with the German Embassy:

Wolfgang Ischinger
German Embassy
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
(202) 298-4000
or send an email.

UPDATE: More on the notion that parental rights arise only after the State exercises its rights with respect to a child at Principled Discovery.

11 Responses to “No Right To Homeschool In Europe”

  1. Sorry about the sarcasm, but Germany has such a wonderful history in the area of social integration that I’m sure they know exactly what they are doing, right?

    I had to read that part about the interpretation of Article 2 of Protocol 1 twice to try to make sense of it. It really seems to me that they somehow got to the opposite of what it actually says.

  2. I fail to see the point in complaining to the German ambassador to the United States when this is a decision made by the European Court of Human Rights which, when I don’t forget myself, is based in Strasbourg, France.

    As to integration, all sdarcasm aside, yes, Germany has a considerably better record of integration than most other European countries – one merely needs to take a glance at recent racial problems in France and, not all that long ago, Los Angeles. Such problems have not raised their head in Germany at all.

  3. Home-schooled kids are kinda weird. I think it’s because they are brought up in this bubble with only their parents’ neuroses as a reference point.

  4. And your point is an example of the kind of logic and reasoning the public schools produce?

  5. I would guess that the big influence leading to this decision was not the underlying law but on going panic at the increasing number of unintegrated Muslems in Europe.

  6. There is no cut answer to this debate. I am personally not a big fan of governments telling us how to raise our kids though.

  7. Just one comment to “Observer”:

    And you don’t think public schooled children are weird? They’re all insecure (me included), constantly looking to peers for validation and affirmation, don’t get the big picture of anything (me not included there), can’t mingle well with vertical age groups… the list goes on.

  8. I couldn’t tell whether or not home-schooled kids are weird, but I am sure public schooled children live fully in their own time. I respect the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, even though it is probably not a “watertight” one.

  9. Whats going on in the SOVEIT EUROWEENIE UNION is just what the NEA supports they want all kids sent to these schools where they can be brainwashed with leftists ideas and that why we should also withdraw from the UN

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