From the HSLDA E-lert Service:
< BACK TO ARCHIVE

Date:
From:
Subject:

5/10/2007 1:39:46 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA: New Strategy for Securing Homeschool Freedom in Germany

======================================================================
From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
======================================================================


May 10, 2007

HSLDA: New Strategy for Securing Homeschool Freedom in Germany

Dear Members and Friends,

Many of you have been following the terrible plight of homeschoolers
in Germany. It seems as if a week doesn't go by without another family
being threatened with fines, imprisonment, or the loss of their
children. Many of you have asked how you can help our German brothers
and sisters. I have just returned from a fact-finding mission where we
met with German attorneys, professors, homeschool leaders, and
homeschooling families.

I would like to share more about the current situation of German
homeschoolers and describe a new strategy for helping them attain the
freedom to homeschool that we enjoy here in the United States. This is
a longer letter than I would otherwise send, but it is important that
I give you some historical and political context. The legal situation
for homeschoolers in Germany is a complicated problem and its solution
requires careful thought and planning.

Over the last seven years, HSLDA has chronicled through email alerts
the escalating persecution German homeschoolers face. Since the late
1990s, scores of these families have been involved in court cases.
While there have been a few instances where families have been able to
continue to homeschool after or while paying fines, or when the local
authorities turn a blind eye, this is by far the exception. In most
cases families are fined, in some cases thousands of dollars, or when
threatened with the removal of their children by German Youth Welfare
authorities, have fled the country. Other families have been (and
remain) separated for years--the fathers remaining in Germany to
provide for their families and mothers and children living in another
country where they are able to safely homeschool. Mothers and fathers
have been also imprisoned, had their bank accounts confiscated, their
wages garnished, or their businesses ruined by the actions of their
local government.

The now infamous Konrad v. Germany case has clearly demonstrated that
German homeschoolers have no hope of relief from their courts. When
the Konrad family appealed to the European Court of Human Rights under
the European Convention on Human Rights, the Court refused to hear the
case. In an unusual procedural response, the Court explained its
rationale for rejecting the hearing on the merits of the case.
Although the Court agreed that homeschooling was an exercise of
protected parental liberties, it determined that these liberties were
overridden by concerns raised by the lower German courts that
homeschooling could create a parallel society.

In the United States, such a decision would be tantamount to the
Supreme Court ruling that states could outlaw homeschooling.

While German families will continue to require legal representation,
it appears that, barring a miracle, a court-based legal strategy will
not yield freedom for German homeschoolers. To win, a legislative
solution is needed. And in order to convince a German legislative body
to change the law in favor of homeschooling, public opinion in Germany
will have to be changed.

For a number of cultural reasons, the average German doesn't
understand the notion of homeschooling. Many German officials fear
that active support of homeschooling will result in parallel
societies, such as Islamic fundamentalism, that would endanger their
country's safety and stability.

In the United States, we understand that homeschooling supports
pluralism (a term which essentially means that people of different
races, religions, and views should live together with mutual respect
and as equal citizens), that individuals have a natural right to
direct the upbringing and education of their children, and that the
protection of this right is an important function of free and
democratic governments.

In America, and other countries, research demonstrates that
homeschooling does not isolate or create parallel societies but
rather, it allows students to become highly engaged in society,
enjoying a diverse and real-world educational experience, especially
when compared to the institutional, uniform, and age-segregated public
school system. But these notions about homeschooling are foreign to
the average German citizen.

Despite their 20th century history of national aggression, Germans can
trace a long tradition of excellence in a wide variety of national
pursuits. They are proud of their culture, history, and expertise, and
are reluctant to apply to their own country lessons and experience
from other countries. However, once a new concept is validated by
respected German academic and professional institutions and a viable
solution is developed and implemented with some success, Germans
readily adopt new ideas, including ideas about education.

A NEW STRATEGY

German homeschool leaders agree that a court-based solution to the
problem of homeschooling is hopeless and that a political solution is
needed. For these and other reasons, a multi-prong strategy is
required to effectively support German homeschoolers in creating
conditions that will pave the way for legalizing homeschooling in
Germany.

This strategy will include engagement with academic and professional
institutions that influence the opinions of judges, politicians, and
government officials. Government officials need credible and
authoritative research and opinion from German experts to inform their
judicial opinions, lawmaking, and administrative decision making. This
strategy must include support for embattled homeschooling families who
continue to homeschool but must pay heavy fines, and humanitarian
support for families who flee Germany in the face of intense
government persecution. This strategy must also include applying
political pressure to Germany from the international community in the
form of public pronouncements, diplomacy, media reports, and
grassroots activity.

HSLDA has determined to encourage this political strategy by providing
support wherever and however we can to these courageous German
homeschoolers and their friends who seek to protect the basic human
right of parents to determine the best form of education for their
children.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Your help is vital because German homeschooling families lack the
numerical and financial resources to effect meaningful change.

First and foremost, we ask you to pray for German homeschooling
families enduring persecution. Pray also for their leaders, who are
working hard to change the current state of affairs. We ask you to
pray that God would change the hearts of the German people and their
elected and appointed officials so that homeschooling will be allowed
in Germany. HSLDA also asks for your prayers that God will guide our
actions and give us wisdom as we work with German homeschooling
families and their leaders to equip, support, and encourage them.

German homeschoolers are greatly encouraged by your prayers, support,
and example in maintaining the cause of homeschooling freedom in
America. At times, we will ask you to write letters and make phone
calls, particularly to U.S. officials when we need them to bring
specific pressure on Germany.

And we will also ask you to prayerfully consider how you can support
this work financially. Initiating and sustaining this new strategy
will require significant resources.

While there are those in Germany who have provided funds to support
this effort, German homeschooling families are few and tend to be
working class families unable to supply much financial support. We
know that this is also true of many of our members and we ask you to
be prudent regarding your own responsibilities when considering
supporting this cause financially.

If you are able, there are many specific needs for funding, and your
generous donations will help accelerate change and improve the
situation in Germany. These needs include funding for research studies
and books, conferences providing public opinion leaders and academics
a chance to engage in dialogue about homeschooling, conferences to
support and equip homeschoolers, legal fees to help support families
who are most persecuted, and aid for families who must flee Germany.

German homeschoolers face a situation not unlike the situation
American homeschoolers faced 25-30 years ago. However, Germans face
this battle in a culture that does not place a high value, in its
official documents or official action, on religious or educational
freedom. That is why German homeschoolers need our help.

If you feel that this is a battle you should be involved in, will you
join us in praying, lobbying, and financially supporting homeschool
freedom in Germany? By getting involved, you can help secure freedoms
for German homeschoolers who can't on their own. You will also help
prevent the repression of homeschooling from spreading to other
countries in Europe and even to America.

To give to our International Homeschooling Fund for Germany, please go
to https://secure.hslda.org/HSF/support.asp. In the near future you
will also be able to go to our Germany webpage at www.HSLDA.org to
stay current on the status of homeschooling in Germany.

Thank you and may God bless you.

Michael Farris
HSLDA Chairman & General Counsel

----------------------------------------------------------------------
-> Is customer service an art or a science?

For us, good customer service is both an art and a science
-it should appeal to our members and be effective. Consider what
our members say about us:

We're thankful for the support HSLDA membership provides us. We'd
never homeschool without them. We highly recommend HSLDA to all
homeschoolers. - North Tonawanda, NY

I cannot imagine our homeschool journey without HSLDA's strong
leadership, protection, and guidance. God bless HSLDA!
- Alta Loma, California

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1940

----------------------------------------------------------------------
======================================================================
The HSLDA E-lert Service is a service of:

Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733
Email: info@hslda.org
Web: http://www.hslda.org

----------------------------------------------------------------------
How To Subscribe:

- Subscribe to the HSLDA E-lert Service at our website:

https://secure.hslda.org/hslda/elert/account.asp?Process=Subscribe

- Or send an email with name and complete mailing address to:

subscribe@hslda.org

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Subscription Information:

- You subscribed to the HSLDA E-lert Service as:

##ToAddress##

- To unsubscribe from the HSLDA E-lert Service send an email from
the email address you want to unsubscribe to:

unsubscribe@hslda.org

- To change your email address or make other changes to your
subscription, visit the HSLDA E-lert Service account web page at:

https://secure.hslda.org/hslda/elert/account.asp

----------------------------------------------------------------------
POSTMASTERS: This message is being sent to the most recent address we
have for our subscribers. If this is an invalid email address or you
have other problems, please reply to webmaster@hslda.org.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
DISCLAIMER: This is considered a private and confidential message
from HSLDA to its bonafide HSLDA E-lert Service subscribers.
HSLDA cannot attest to the authenticity of copies posted, forwarded,
or sent by any party other than HSLDA.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
NOTE: Please do not reply or otherwise use this email address;
hslda@hslda.org is for broadcast purposes only and is not intended to
receive incoming messages. We cannot reply to any email sent to this
address. If you have comments or questions, please send email to
info@hslda.org or call HSLDA at 540-338-5600. HSLDA members can also
email staff directly through the Members website at
http://members.hslda.org/contact.asp. Thank you for your cooperation.
======================================================================