German pilgrims denied, persecuted for homeschool beliefs

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike came to the U. S. from Germany because they wanted the freedom to do something that is legal in every state here:  homeschool their children.  Now they face deportation.

The Romeike Family came to the U.S. in 2008, seeking political asylum. The German government was prosecuting them for refusing to send their children to traditional schools.

Homeschooling Illegal?

Homeschooling in Germany is not legal, but the Romeikes believe it is their right to educate their children at home, in accordance with their religious beliefs. In 2010, an immigration judge in Tennessee granted the family asylum, but that decision was overturned by the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2012.   The Supreme Court has now refused to hear the case.  Apparently, the courts here deem this case is simply a matter of a family not liking the laws in their native country, and not a case of religious persecution.

12 million illegal immigrants reside in this country, but this family was denied help when they sought residency through legal channels.  They came here seeking an opportunity to raise their family according to their religious convictions. Kind of like the pilgrims did.

The number of homeschooled students in the U.S. is estimated to be between 900,000 and 2,000,000.   The exact number of homeschoolers in this country is unknown, but almost everyone knows someone who is homeschooled.  Nevertheless, it seems many people cannot live and let live when it comes to allowing parents to educate their children at home. The legal defense associations for home educators are kept busy defending homeschooling families from school districts and social services, in cases that more often than not are found to be more about harassment by the prosecutors than illegal activity on the part of the families.

Diversity in Education

There are choices within choices when it comes to the method of education for children in this country.  Parents of public school children often transfer students to a different school, or even to a different district, than the one they are assigned to based on their home address.  Private schools often identify themselves by the teaching method they use:  Montessori, Classical, etc.  Homeschoolers may be taught primarily at home or be part of a co-op or support group.

Homeschool portrayal in culture

However, education is another area where diversity rankles rather than pleases the masses.  Based on how it is depicted on television, homeschooling seems to be the most out-of-favor approach to education. I can’t come up with one positive portrayal of a homeschooling family, but I can think of several where they were creepy or criminal.

If you are a parent, how did you decide on a method of education for your children?

homeschool apples

Image courtesy of Ambro/”.


Virginia Cruz

Virginia Cruz is an Hispanic hockey mom with roots in El Paso, TX.

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