Friday, May 17, 2013

The Romeike Family Story

There's this German family....the Romeike family....that left the country in 2008 and came to the US, more or less asking for asylum   The deal?  The family wanted to home-school their kids, and the German legal system isn't made to accept that idea.  You either attend a public school or a private school, period.

So this week....the asylum case came up in the US, and the court struck it down.  Next step?  They will appeal, and maybe get one more shot here.  If the appeals court agrees to hear the case....it'd likely take another ninety days or more before this comes up, and buys them some time.

Here's the nuts and bolts to the argument, for an American to understand the whole situation.

The German government provides what you'd consider a bit of a complex education offering.  For the bulk of Germans (at least fifty percent)....it means you get a tenth-grade education, and then launch into a trade/apprentice program (like a mini-community college situation), and around age eighteen to nineteen, you'd have the knowledge level of a US student at the end of two years of technical community college.  It might be light on math (depending on your field), but it aims at you being capable of doing real work.

So if you took a look at the program....you (as an American)....would eventually come to say that most Germans really have a tenth-grade education.  If you tested the German kids and their American counter-parts, you'd realize that the German kid was already at the 12th-grade level in comparison to the American system.

The Germans look at this and generally believe that you just wouldn't want a kid staying at home, and being taught by a substandard teacher....like your dad or mom....who likely came through the apprentice program.

If they knew all Germans were college-degreed?  They'd likely come to a different viewpoint, but that's not the case.

So the Germans wrote up alternate methods here.  You can go to various private schools and get certified just as easily.  Costly?  Yeah, it won't be free.

This family wanted a third method....home-schooling.  And the German government wasn't going to sign up to this.

How many German families would want such an option?  No one is clear about this.  It might be several hundred....it might be several thousand.  No one has ever conducted a poll that I know....where you'd know these statistics.

What likely happens to this German family in the US?  I suspect by December....they will have used up every trick in the book and be asked to leave.  Canada next?  That's the strange thing about this....Canada has a growing number of Germans who have gotten tired of the various routines in Germany and found work there.  If you have a good trade background....Canada generally welcomes all Germans.  A weekly TV show in Germany has run for years....telling the various stories of Germans who packed up and moved to Canada.

Why haven't they used the Canadian option and just resettled....and not sought asylum?  That's a question that I'd like to see posed to the family.  I would speculate that some US group is housing the family and using them as a tool against the current administration.

It's become a soap opera of sorts.  And the German government?  They aren't even actively watching the family asylum request.  I suspect they know the Canadian option is sitting there and will be the last resort solution to the whole problem.

2 comments:

blurij said...

As of 3/5/14 the Romeike family has been inexplicably granted an indefinite stay in the U.S. after the Obama administration harassed them for 3 years. They were not granted asylum.

As much as I enjoy the essays from Schnitzel Republic, this accounting fails to tell the whole story. The German government was about to take away this family's children and imprison the parents. In the town of Hesse, where I think the Schnitzel blogger lives, the Dudek family were sentenced to prison terms for home schooling their children.

This German intolerance of home schooling goes back to the days of Hitler. The German government purportedly has this policy to control home fascist movements, yet it uses fascist threats to curb its notions of fascism. The Romeike family left for religious reasons.

In the German newspapers every comment I've read by the readers since the Romeike reprieve call this family religious spinners and seem to have no understanding of religious freedom. Every comment disparaged the Romeike family and bid them good riddance. As someone born in Germany myself I am appalled and embarrassed.

I thank God that the Romeikes get to stay in America, but something tells me it is just temporary until the 2014 elections so that Obama doesn't have to suffer the wrath of the Christian voters.

R Hammond said...

I've been off for two weeks, and read over the entire Romeike update situation and offer this.

If you took the German system of education and laid it over as a template for the US....it'd work like this. A class of twenty-five fifth graders would wrap up school, and the teacher and director would meet. Seven kids would be destined onto some designed program centered on university attendance later. Ten kids would get a fair amount of education (of a lesser nature) and move on. Then you'd come to the final eight kids...who were the ones who never brought in homework, barely did projects, and didn't have any positive attitude. They'd get a marginal program, with four years more of school, and then go off to some apprentice program.

So you have this nephew who finished school of the marginal education...marries Wanda...who did the same thing, and have kids. Ten years later...your nephew wants to home-school his kids. You sit there and know that he's barely got a marginal education and his wife is the same. Something isn't right...but he ought to have the right. But then you wonder...will this kid have issues from this episode?

So I come to another issue with this...why after all this...does the Obama Administration change its mind? They wasted tons of hours and paperwork....probably well over $2 million in legal costs....and then after the court makes its decision....going against the family....the adminstration says they can stay? When in the last fifty years have you seen such a thing?

So, the final thing....I keep seeing this Nazi comment made when the Germans changed their system and disallowed home schooling back in the 1930s. Well...I'd read into this and it's an odd thing. You see....up until the 1800s...there were 300 German city-states, empires, kingdoms, etc....then they started to form a union of sorts....states, within Prussia (later Germany). The states between 1850 and 1880...form the three basic paths of German education and the states run their own management of the individual programs. Curiously, when the Nazis come along (1930s)....they do two changes. One....they bring management of the state school systems under a national umbrella, and two....they set up a national agenda....national standards. So you sit and pause over this....what country do you know of....recently....that is bringing national standards into place, and a national management team? You might sit there for a while and think about that.

I will leave you with this one thought....you have freedom of religion.....but you don't have freedom of education....which is what the Romeike got all hyper about. Any state can make a change to their constitution and suddenly....home-schooling would be out the front door. This whole gimmick....only works while states allow it. Sooner or later....it will come up as a topic, and get more attention.