Home Schooling: The Empire Strikes Back

With over two million children now schooled — usually quite well — at home, the education establishment and the teachers unions find themselves leaking students at an alarming rate. Driven by bad public education, the threat of school violence and a virtual prohibition against values-based learning in government schools, more and more Americans are taking advantage of their right to home school their children. The very success of their experiences — as measured by test scores, jobs after graduation, and college admissions — are violating the fundamental credo of the education hierarchy: That all children must go to schools we run.

Now the Obama administration is doing the bidding of the unions and the establishment by challenging the grant of asylum to a German family that migrated to the United States in order to home-school their children. Uniquely in Europe, home schooling in Germany is illegal and indistinguishable from chronic truancy in the eyes of the authorities. In order to avoid what German law refers to as a “parallel society,” the Fourth Reich seeks to assure that all children are shaped by the same influences, in the same classes, at the same schools.

The Romeike family didn’t see things that way and wanted to home-school their children. After harassment, threats and the prospect of losing custody of their children, they fled to the United States where home schooling is welcomed.

A Memphis judge approved their request for asylum but the Justice Department – which does little to stop twelve million people from coming here illegally — thought the case worthy of their intervention and got the Board of Immigration Appeals to overturn the Memphis decision and order the deportation of the Romeikes.

Through the auspices and intervention of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the Romeikes are appealing the verdict to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. They argue that the right to home-school is a decision of conscience protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These documents all attest to the power of parents to direct the moral and religious education of their children.

But the case goes far deeper than the right of asylum. Home schooling is providing an increasingly viable alternative as the ranks of adults with college education increases, the quality of public schools drops or stagnates, and the refusal of government schools to offer any sort of values education. The number of home-schooled students has risen from 1.5 million in 2007 to over 2 million in 2012 and is growing rapidly.

This movement to protect children on the one hand and our societal values on the other deserves our support, and we must stand with those abroad who seek the same right to home school we all enjoy.

Please take a moment to sign the attached petition to the Justice Department to drop its case against the Romeikes and permit them to stay in the U.S. to home school their children.

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