vee haff ways of making you schpell.

Here’s a news item that’s been debated at Castle Frostbite recently:

German family applies for asylum in the United States because they want to homeschool their kids.

Germany has compulsory public school attendance–no exceptions of any kind.  Parents who refuse to send their kids to the public schools are subject to increasingly severe fines, prison time, and (eventually) loss of parental custody.  The family in question objects to public schooling because the textbooks in German schools contain materials that are “objectionable to the family’s values.”

Should they be granted asylum?  Are they in danger of persecution for their beliefs?  Or should they be sent back to Germany, and be forced to put their kids into public school?  If you were the immigration judge in that particular case, how would you decide?

(I’m putting up a poll, but feel free to explain your choice in the comment section.)


30 thoughts on “vee haff ways of making you schpell.

  1. Jeffro says:

    Heck, we apparently have a policy allowing unchecked illegal immigration – why not? The Germans in question are not being allowed rights that are still (supposedly, at any rate) inalienable for us.

    Getting a “liberal/progressive legislate from the bench” judge to agree might get kinda tough.

  2. i reject most anything compulsory…let ’em educate their kids as they see fit.

    as for asylum? here? f ’em…we’re gonna need all the asylum space for ourselves.

    what? not that kind of asylum? f ’em anyway; let ’em deal with it over there. we’ve got more problems than we can handle already.

    in fact, eliminating inbound immigration entirely for the foreseeable future is a premise i would find hard to argue against.


  3. Kommander says:

    I think the pawnbroker is absolutely correct! Immigrants have never contributed anything to this country. Take this blog for example. Do you think an immigrant could produce such a fine piece of literature? Especially a German immigrant. If we let this go where will it end? Next well have famous German physicists and Austrian musclemen trying to get in. It will be pure pandemonium!

  4. Bunnyman says:

    “After me/my parents/grandparents come in, close the borders.”

  5. ditto says:

    And when can I be allowed to run away from my problems?
    Why aren’t they working to change the laws in their own country?
    We do it here, everyday.
    People from other countries see our lives as being very good. But that is looking in from the outside.
    When you are on the inside looking out you realize that there is work and sacrifice going on that outsiders don’t get to see.
    Not to mention the learning curve of american values. We did not get to the level of technology, environmental protection, business ethics (some never learn) and plain capitalist stature in a few years. It took decades of trial and error. (see prior)Countries just now moving toward a capitalist form of commerce haven’t learned, or just don’t care about established methods.

  6. Marko says:


    that’s why I have such trouble getting used to the idea of individual freedom and laissez-faire capitalism, while established tenth-generation American families like the Kennedys have internalized those values. 😉

  7. LittleRed1 says:

    I’d like a little more data. What is this couple trying to teach their children? Free-market economics? Separation of church and state and the value of independence? The centrality of sharia and Islamic jurisprudence? Scientology? Shinto practices? Can the couple support their family if they get work permits? Have they attempted to gain asylum from other countries?

    I’d consider some of that as grounds for admittance to the U.S.

  8. […] Kloos -vee haff ways of making you schpell: Germany has compulsory public school attendance–no exceptions of any kind.  Parents who refuse […]

  9. kommander: that is a simplistic and predictable response…aboriginal peoples of all continents have benefitted and suffered from the mobility of man. many have even perished due to it.

    it isn’t the nineteenth century anymore; the new world is well-peopled now, even overly so. native Americans might wish european colonization had never occurred, notwithstanding their cool shiny beads and boomsticks. but it did, and it’s irreversible. that’s not my fault, nor my father’s or grandfather’s.

    but changes in immigration are nothing new. we don’t bring in boatloads of africans to do our work anymore, but is it really so different that we look the other way while millions breach the southern border to do our building, yardwork, and housecleaning? and isn’t it just a matter of monetary differentiation that we encourage and depend on the education and abilities of germans, asians, and indians to do our engineering, fix our computers, and doctor our ills?

    at what point do we reach saturation? when do the resources that sustain us deplete? and how dare we siphon the best and brightest of the world to serve us, welcome those, like our host here, who embrace our freedoms and beautifully extoll its virtues, while rejecting those who would use us and displace us? and who decides which is which?

    other cultures acknowledge that their ability to absorb is not infinite. America may be, and is, a nation built on centuries of absorption and blending, but it too, is finite. it isn’t the 1800’s anymore.


  10. Interesting case — curious to see how it plays out. Thanks for the link!

  11. Brandon says:

    This one’s fairly straightforward for me. I believe in the right of parents to educate their children as they see fit and am a supporter of homeschooling. My own kids go to the local public schools because they’re fairly decent, and with two working adults in our house, homeschooling would be difficult logistically. However, should we ever run into a problem with the school system that can’t be resolved, be it an issue of policy, curriculum, or otherwise, out the kids will come to be homeschooled.

    If those parents are ultimately facing punishment by the state for wanting to homeschool, then that strikes me as grounds for granting asylum.

  12. john b says:

    I can’t focus today because of a head cold. But I can’t see where this is a serious issue. Homeschooling is a tactic to marginalize your children. Though I suspect some public school systems marginalize children more efficiently. One person can not hope to provide the width and breadth of knowledge that a growing kid needs. Hell, with the totality of the Intarweb, I can’t keep up with the demands of 4 hungry little minds. When a 10-year-old asks me if “Buffy, Charmed, and Angel, are REAL, I am forced to dispute the adage that the only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked. Maybe I’m just cranky from being pulled away from my hobby of building a time machine, so I can go back and give condoms to the parents of democrats.

  13. Ted says:

    Let ’em in, because if there is one thing that separates us from everyone else (American exceptionalism), it’s the ability to tell the government to take a hike.

    Everything is relative, of course, and things are much better in New “Live Free of Die” Hampshire than here in the People’s Soviet of Massachusetts. But even here you can home school. And have guns (yes, kids, it’s true!).

    I say welcome aboard.

  14. KingsideRook says:

    john b,

    I was homeschooled, and dislike the assumption that I was in any way marginalized by the experience. In fact, I’m the oldest of 8 homeschooled children, all of whom have/are scoring in the highest percentiles on the standardized annual state testing. I cannot see how individualized attention to the education of a few children is more harmful than sitting anonymously in the back of a classroom, scraping by. My mother took the TV out of the equation, thus neatly avoiding the “Buffy” question, and brought many, many books in, and encouraged us to self-teach our own lessons from the textbooks, and she would guide, explain, and check our work. The disastrous, no-child-left-behind, push ’em through even if they can’t read, mentality of the public schools would never fly with MY teacher…she knew where I lived.

    I graduated high school at 16, because I wanted to finish early, and my subsequent 4.0 college average tends to speak well for the education I received, and I will offer my children the same advantage over the local public-schoolers, no matter what the cost to my wallet or schedule. If that’s marginalization, I’ll take all I can get.

    Disclaimer – I even managed to shed many of the mistaken religious preconceptions I was raised on, so please, don’t think that homeschool was by any means a brainwashing. I am as capable of independent thought as your local D-average high school graduate… possibly even more so.


  15. ChrisB says:


    They’re not trying to run away from debt or justice, they want to come to a country that is more in line with their values, kind of like the ancestors of most Americans.

  16. Yankee Luso says:

    No political asylum should ever be granted for opportunism masquerading as religious oppression. The fact that they are not happy with a law requiring compulsory school attendance is not a basis for granting political asylum. Civil disobedience is not without consequences. Thus, the ultimate question for a grant of asylum should be: would they be imprisoned or put to death if they sought to change the law by peaceful means?

    They also are not devoid of choices as the German constitution guarantees the right to establish private schools. If Wikipedia is correct they had the choice of sending their kids to a “Ersatzschulen”. I stand to be corrected.

    Like many others they just want to cross the “Rio Grande”. Disclaimer: I have also crossed the “Rio Grande” (albeit legally and with no subterfuges).

  17. Scaramouche says:

    You know what?

    Let ’em in. We all have ancestors that were blessed enough to grow up in the United States, and these parents are making the effort to educate their kids. The father has taken the trouble to read the school curriculum, and to decide for a variety of reason that it is not healthy for his children to read it. He knew what the school was trying to teach his children, and he didn’t like it. I sure think we could use more people like that in the United States, we shouldn’t boot them because we have too many immigrants, or whatever. We need parents that pay attention to what their children are taught.

  18. Anonymoose says:

    “One person can not hope to provide the width and breadth of knowledge that a growing kid needs.”

    That’s why you find a special someone to be your partner in crime, child raisin’, dish washin’, and pinochle games.

  19. MarkHB says:

    Interesting. Under the stipulation that asylum is granted for those wishing to escape oppression, then I’d say having the right to educate your own offspring rather than having to try to deprogram them from the government’s platform of education would definately count. After all, what’s more precious than the inside of your kid’s skull?

    So yeah, I say let ’em in and good shout on ’em.

  20. absolutely. don’t like compulsory state education in one of the most productive (and well-educated) “states” in the world?

    come on down to uncle sam’s, friend to the politically disenfranchised and forcefed educated!

    hey! you dark-skinned french-speaking boat people! not you! hunger, misery, and fear for your life do not qualify!

    *this message sponsored by the selectively progressive nazi party of america…the spnpa*


  21. MarkHB says:

    “Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free..”

    I’m sure I read that someplace once.

  22. and which of those qualifiers applies to the home schoolers? oh, and it’s “yearning to breathe free…”

  23. MarkHB says:

    That would be the one, yes.

  24. Eric Hammer says:

    Jeffro makes the most important point so far as I am concerned: the government is pretty keen on making illegal immigration a non-crime, so they really ought to be honest about it and just let everyone in instead of punishing people for following the laws.
    Granted, I would rather they had abolished Welfare, Medicare and the whole of the nanny state entitlements first, but at this point pretending that we don’t look the other way for illegals so long as they don’t try to get better work than gardening and construction is just stupid.

  25. MarkHB says:


    In this instance, the people concerned are trying to be *legal* immigrants, even. It probably would have been easier for them to sneak in under the proverbial radar, but they’re trying to enter legally in order to live someplace where the Government won’t get to preach their party line into their kid’s brain most of their young life.

    Sounds like yearning to breathe free, to me. I’d far rather see parents wanting a free upbringing coming to America’s shores than just “Oh, I could get 500 pesos an hour for cleaning toilets there”.

  26. vinnie says:

    Any immigrant stupid enough to go through the system is probably so stupid that they would try to pay their health care bills too. Kick em out. /sarcasm
    If every parent doesn’t homeschool they are doing it wrong. I do mine before 8 am and after 3 pm. I LIKE that my son is exposed to that crap, he needs to build immunity.

    As for political asylum: Let them in the military for 2 years….longer for officer material, then give them a free (secret) ride home with whatever they can afford out of their military pay that they saved.
    (let them buy weapons at cost)
    If they will work to defend our country we will train them to fix theirs.

  27. Windy Wilson says:

    Considering what counted as potential persecution when the refugees were fleeing Somoza, this family ought to get asylum if they can prove they will be “looked at funny” by the other people when they go to the supermarket.

    And yes, yearning to breathe free should trump every other reason, including thinking the streets here are paved with gold.

  28. Dave says:

    April 4, 2009 at 6:54 am

    I’d like a little more data. What is this couple trying to teach their children? Free-market economics? Separation of church and state and the value of independence? The centrality of sharia and Islamic jurisprudence? Scientology? Shinto practices? Can the couple support their family if they get work permits? Have they attempted to gain asylum from other countries?

    I’d consider some of that as grounds for admittance to the U.S.
    Some? Some? Tell me, please, which particular beliefs are acceptable for a free man to hold, and which a government shouldn’t recognize.

    I don’t personally agree with all of the things you listed, but I freely and with my whole heart agree that the believer ought to be free to believe in each and every one without the government telling him which are acceptable. We ought to be accepting those who seek the freedom to be different without worrying about whether their particular brand of “different” is “different” from ours.

  29. Dave says:

    (Unrelated: I’m having more trouble with italics tonight….)

  30. MarkHB says:


    Runaway italics or not, I do believe I agree with you. If you’ve got a country built on freedom from oppression and freedom from interference, then the only criterion which can apply is someone banging on the door saying “I would like to be free, please” – at which point, they’re free to go to Hell in the handbasket of their choosing as long as they don’t try to take anyone with ’em.

Comments are closed.