- parental autonomy (1) (remove)
- Compulsory education - in schools only? : divergent developments in Germany (2012)
- Germany is the focus of this paper, owing to the fact that since 1938 it has had the strictest laws on compulsory schooling worldwide. As a result, homeschooling in Germany has become virtually impossible. There are interesting divergences between policy and practice in the German setting, both in the country’s educational history and present educational problems. The Länder (federal states) have the responsibility for education, and they are taking a much stricter line against homeschoolers than a decade ago, especially by depriving parents of the custody of their homeschooled children at an early stage. The laws relied upon, however, were never intended to deal with such educational matters; they were designed to punish parents who abuse or neglect their children. The present, highly questionable legal action succeeds only because of the consent of state schools, state social welfare offices, and courts. The same laws are not used against the parents of the approximately 250,000 teens who are truant. The functioning of the legal and sociological machinery in Germany is being employed aggressively to stamp out homeschooling, while at the same time it ignores the crucial issue of parents who allow their children to skip school—thus depriving them of an adequate education at home or elsewhere. At the same time, the number of specialists in law and education, as well as politicians and governmental experts who argue in favor of homeschooling is growing, and media reports on homeschooling are much more positive than they were a decade ago.