I think I need to throw a couple of things out there right off the bat. First, I don’t homeschool. So I don’t have a direct stake in this. Second, while this isn’t a political blog, my political philosophy (small-government conservative) is as much a part of who I am as being a woman, a mother, a Catholic, etc. It fundamentally affects how I see the world. So sometimes my politics are going to leak through…but I promise I’ll try my best to show all sides.
I doubt there are many homeschooling families who aren’t already familiar with this case. If you’re not, you can read about it here. (This is not an objective source, but it hasn’t been a top news story in a while.) The latest development is that the family has asked the Supreme Court to hear the case and, this week, the Court ordered the DOJ to file a response. That doesn’t mean the Court will hear the case, but it’s a tiny step in that direction.
I promised I’d be fair, and I did find a really good explanation of the government’s position. It basically says that being persecuted for your religious beliefs is very different from being prosecuted for breaking your country’s laws. That makes sense, and I can see why the DOJ wouldn’t want to set that kind of precedent. But intrinsic in the government’s position is the argument that there is no fundamental right to homeschool…that no rights are violated as long as everyone is forbidden to homeschool. HSLDA, a homeschool advocacy group, offers a good examination of why that position should concern homeschooling families.
While I can see part of the DOJ’s position, I think it’s downright chilling that they claim no rights are being violated because no one in Germany is allowed to homeschool. And I’m not even a homeeschooler…but I am a parent. And I’m worried about what this case says about our government’s stance on parental rights.
What do you think? I’m particularly interested in hearing from homeschoolers as well as those who can offer a good defense of the DOJ’s position.
If you’re interested in the topic of parental rights, read my post on another case here.