Wednesday, February 08, 2006

German Schools

While we head down a path with increasing federal control in education, it is worth taking a look at a few places where our theory has met with reality. Germany might provide one such example. The state controls all areas of schooling and parents are seen as incapable of teaching their children. So how are the schools in Germany? According to one mother, Gerlinde Unverzagt's whose book The Teacher Hate - A Mother's Reckoning Up has topped the German Amazon best sellers list, the results are not impressive. Her controversial book has sparked a debate over how well the German schools are actually doing. Mrs Unverzagt told the Sunday Telegraph:

"My four children have a spent a total of 26 years in Berlin schools and my anger has steadily increased over this time. Teachers' work is never subject to controls - if they perform badly it has no consequences. They don't enforce discipline, most just do what they want - and that is grossly unprofessional."

She describes a primary teacher who takes pride in her pupils' unlimited spelling mistakes. "In my class children can write how they like," she says. "If we were to insist that they spell correctly, we would only frighten them."

Teachers were outraged and demanded the book be banned. Frustrated parents are now forced to teach what they schools have failed to do. They are forced into teaching their children because the schools are not doing their job. Which may be a good thing. However, homeschooling is not permitted in Germany. So the students must sit in the governement schools and then the parents make up the difference after hours.

Sheila Lange recently posted about a public school teacher in Germany who was fired because her husband was homeschooling 4 of their 7 children. The Lange's are trying to homeschool in Germany without much success. Several other fathers were arrested last summer for homeschooling their children.
The targeted parents are all Christians, whose faith encourages them to act upon their principles, but the fierceness of the authorities’ reaction is telling. The dispute is not about religion (though that alone would be bad enough) but about the hearts and minds of the children. In Germany schools have become vehicles of indoctrination where children are brought up to unquestioningly accept the authority of the state in all areas of life. It is no coincidence that those who have escaped from indoctrination under the Soviets discern what the government is doing in the schools and are sufficiently concerned to want to protect their children from it. What is worrying is that 'free-born' Western parents accept this assault on their freedom as normal and regard the Christian parents who want to opt out of the state system with suspicion.
I don't think homeschooling will become illegal in the United States. However, the "free-born" Western parents accepting the state system and the accompanying loss of freedom as normal could very well become a reality. Especially as the state continues to become the parent to our nation's children.

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For more articles on education visit Edwonk's Carnival of Education. The Carnival is celebrating its one year anniversary.

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