Hillary said, “It takes a village.” Professor Harris-Perry says, ”We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize the kids belong to whole communities.” In case anyone failed to understand her meaning, she elaborated: “We as a society, expressing our collective will through our public institutions, including government, have a right to impinge on individual freedoms in order to advance a common good.”
As adequately demonstrated throughout history, impinging on individual freedoms for the common good eventually requires the use of force. But it’s not necessary to look to history. In Germany homeschooling is verboten and violating that dictat can result in forcible removal of children and jailing of parents.
Which brings us to Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, evangelical Christians who fled to the United States to continue schooling their five children at home. The parents said their children were being taught things that were against the family’s religious beliefs. They were awarded asylum by federal immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman in 2010. The judge ruled:
The rights violated here are basic human rights that no country has a right to violate. Home schoolers are a particular group that the German government is trying to suppress. The family has a well-founded fear of persecution.
The judge further characterized the German persecution as “repellent to everything we believe as Americans.”
The German government justifies the ban, originally instituted by the Nazis in 1938, by stating that its purpose is to “counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.” This is political correctness on steroids! No one is to be allowed to deviate from government-approved groupthink.
When Judge Lawrence O. Burman called the German persecution “repellent to everything we believe as Americans,” he obviously forgot about Attorney General Eric Holder.
Holder wants the Romeikes deported, whatever the consequences.
The Justice Department argument is embarrassingly lacking in logic or constitutional standing. According to Holder, such policies do not constitute a violation of fundamental human rights so long as everybody’s rights are infringed upon equally. In other words, even a total ban on homeschooling does not violate fundamental rights. Holder also claimed that there was no religious persecution involved because not all homeschoolers are religious and not all Christians choose to educate their children at home. The case, Romeike v. Holder, is before the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. To this writer’s knowledge a decision is pending.
Readers may recall that on March 14, 2013 the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement admitted that his agency released 2,228 people from immigration detention centers across the country for “budgetary” reasons. Some are felons and others are guilty of multiple drunken driving and misdemeanor crimes. The backlog of immigration cases is so large that immigration judges are closing cases that have no hope of being heard. But the Holder administration has sufficient time and resources to pursue the Romeikes?
A possible answer to that question hasn’t much to do with the Romeikes, who are targets of convenience, but a great deal to do with the Obama administration’s education agenda. Consider that 45 states have signed on to Common Core Standards and its Statewide Longitudinal Data System. According to the National Data Collection Model, the information to be collected includes health-care history, family income and family voting status, among other items. These systems will aggregate massive amounts of personal data to track students from preschool to workforce entry. By regulatory means, the Obama administration altered the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act to be able to make that data available to third parties.
The Department of Education, of course, denies it will develop a nationwide database of information on every student. However, there is reason for doubting the denial. As the New York Post explained:
“The department says this won’t happen. If the states choose to link their data systems, it says, that’s their business, but “the federal government would not play a role” in operating the resulting megadatabase.
This denial is, to say the least, disingenuous. The department would have access to the data systems of each of the 50 states and would be allowed to share that data with anyone it chooses, as long as it uses the right language to justify the disclosure.”
Could it be that the Obama administration wants to close the home school escape hatch? According to EdNews.org:
Since 1999, the number of children who are being homeschooled has increased by 75%. Although currently only 4% of all school children nationwide are educated at home, the number of primary school kids whose parents choose to forgo traditional education is growing seven times faster than the number of kids enrolling in K-12 every year.
The article further reveals “consistently high placement of home-schooled kids on standardized assessment exams.” Home-schooled children “typically score between 65th and 89th percentile on such exams, while those attending traditional schools average on the 50th percentile.”
It appears the development of such “religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies” is not to be tolerated. The fate of charter schools is uncertain. District-run charters will probably have to abide by the Common Core and provide the required student data. Privately run charters may escape, at least temporarily. Though one wonders about recent efforts to discredit charters that have been appearing in the MSM.
Those who dismiss these concerns as overblown might want to consider that this is the government in which the Internal Revenue Service, having first denied, now admits targeting and harassing conservative organizations and even sharing confidential information with liberal groups. And, of course, it is the same government that consistently misled the public about Benghazi.
We can hope, but change seems unlikely.
According to the Pew Research Center:
As Barack Obama begins his second term in office, trust in the federal government remains mired near a historic low, while frustration with government remains high. And for the first time, a majority of the public says that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.
Parents’ rights to control their children’s education have been challenged before. Most notably in 1922 when Oregon passed an initiative requiring all children to attend public schools. It was challenged by the Society of Sisters to defend parents’ right to choose a parochial education. Lawyers for the state argued that the state had an overriding interest to oversee and control education providers in Oregon. One even went so far as to call Oregonian students “the State’s children.” Hillary Clinton and Professor Harris-Perry would have been pleased.
Associate Justice James Clark McReynolds wrote the opinion of the Court. He stated that children were not “the mere creature[s] of the state” (268 U.S. 510, 535), and that, by its very nature, the traditional American understanding of the term liberty prevented the state from forcing students to accept instruction only from public schools. He stated that this responsibility belonged to the child’s parents or guardians, and that the ability to make such a choice was a “liberty” protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.
Take that Eric Holder!