Homeschooling in Germany has Become Legal Now

“Der Schulzwang wird fallen wie die Berliner Mauer” (source: Bildungsvielfalt) stands for Compulsory education will eventually [sic] fall like the Berlin Wall. This has happened now.

Now, without further ado in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, homeschooling is suddenly the norm. Everyone in Germany is getting home schooled – without any bureaucracy.

1919 saw the beginning of Compulsory Education (Schulpflicht) in Germany. Over the years, there had been various appeals by individuals and petitioners to change the law.

In April 2010, a petition signed by 5400 people, was submitted to the German Bundestag asking for impunity for parents who teach their children at home. This petition was turned down in November 2011.

I had supported this petition back in 2009, and had published this post: Petition for Homeschooling in Germany

Homeschooling in German: der Hausunterricht or der Heimunterricht

Private Education in Germany

I just wish Germany would legalize homeschooling. Then Germans, like the Romeike family, would not have to live as asylum seekers in the United States.

From Time magazine:

In Spain and the Netherlands, homeschooling is allowed only under exceptional circumstances, such as when a child is extremely ill. In Germany, parents can be fined and lose custody of their children for homeschooling them. In Sweden, parents have to get permission to teach at home. In Austria, homeschooled kids have to take annual tests. France regularly monitors homeschooling families, and Britain may adopt a similar system.

Read Time magazine’s full article Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Homeschool.

And now the story continues on our side of the ocean. Political pressure in parts of Germany has tightened regulations even more to keep German students in public school. Not only does it take a special permission to attend a private school (thus saving the German government 8000 euro per student on average), but one also has to give specific reasons in addition now.

Message received from our school on 09 March 2010:

Political Developments Affecting New Students Holding German Passports Entering Grades 1-9

In January, the Ministry of Culture and Education in Wiesbaden issued a new decree that amended guidelines for German students applying to the school in Grades 1-9. Due to the school’s status as a supplementary school (Ergänzungschule) with an international curriculum, new students not only have to apply for a special permit to attend (name of school) as in the past, but must also give specific reasons for doing so. The new guidelines are seen as a reaction by the educational authorities to recent developments at other area supplementary schools. At present we are discussing the implications for (name of school) with educational officials and will keep you abreast of any news from this sector.
Please note that this does not affect current (name of school) students. We will be sending out a separate letter to those Primary School families who could be affected by the decree.

This political development is beginning to look more like a case of shutting doors instead of opening gates to higher education.

A little spark on the horizon – one of my friends is in the midst of writing a Homeschooling Program for Sailing Families. Available for purchase on the internet later on. Obviously, this program is not intended for German students.

Most Germans could not fathom the idea of packing up their kids, selling their beloved home, giving up job security, sailing around the world, and homeschooling the children at the same time. I have to admit, the first time I heard of such endeavor, I was taken aback too. One of my son’s classmates, his sister, and his parents went sailing on a yacht around the world for two years. Between ports, the children were homeschooled via internet and other material. While in port, the children were taught by private teachers on board.

And yes, it was feasible and legal, because one parent was non-German.

German Socialism Lacks Billing Transparency

One thing we can learn from the United States is how much more transparent their medical billing service is.  Medical insurance policy holders get to see their medical bills before being passed on to the insurer. But some bills might make you sick after you have just been cured from some other ailment such as in the case of a friend of mine.

She wrote:

“Guess how much just my Dilation and Curettage (DNC) hospital bill was for the out patient surgery?. $30,000.00, just for the hospital, plus 925.00 for the doc and 225.00 for lab work, I am sure I will get more  bills. 80% should be covered by the insurance and my 2,500 deductible. Can you believe this? America is so messed up with health care….“

– end of quote –

Go back twenty years: The same friend had to use her credit card to charge the delivery of her daughter. It took her five years to pay off the birth of her child. This makes me wonder how much hospitals charge for a birth over here in Germany. Does the average German know? I doubt it.

At the same time I have to question the American medical system and wonder whether it is partially to blame for the credit crunch. I wonder what percentage of “purchases” is actually going to clinics, hospitals, doctors, and medicine in form of paying for medical care?

In the case of most Germans, under the national insurance package, they never get to see any bills at all. But I think the time has come that all charges should be accessible to the patient. We need to take more control as paying citizens and value the insurance company’s money as if it were our own. For the longest time, Germans – and I am sure others – have not cared how much the billed amount was until they had to pay it out of their own pocket. I believe we should have more transparency in the billing system for medical purposes, as well as educational services.

In the educational sector, homeschooling is illegal in Germany. Attending school is not only compulsory, but also police-enforced, and therefore placing the sole control of education in the hands of the German government. If German taxpayers could see how much elementary schools, secondary schools and universities are charging the German government per student enrollment (click here for a list of charges), then they might reconsider the value of education. Homeschooling should be an alternative to conventional education and the choice should be left up to each family.

Germany’s university education is rather inexpensive. Last year some German university students went out to demonstrate against the recently implemented college tuition charge of €500 per semester. Consider this amount (at two semesters a year) to be a fragment of what universities are charging the government for each enrollment in return. The student’s seat in the lecture hall of a German university is valued at €10,425 a year, which leaves the student only paying 10% of the total charge. I wish German college students knew how much a university education costs in other countries, e.g. Duke University in the U.S.A costs about $51,000 a year. This is why we international parents start college funds as soon as a child is born. Germans feel entitled to free education. On the other hand, they have no qualms about spending lots of money on holidays. Some Germans find our family’s two-week summer holiday too short to recuperate….

There are just too many hidden bills wrapped up in socialistic packages. Germans need to know how much their visit to the doctor costs in order to appreciate it and to question a possible overcharge, if warranted, as well. Right now we are like little kids in this Vaterland, with Daddy covering all our bills. All forms of public services, such as education (primary, secondary) is free, tertiary education is very low-cost, vocational training is free, medical care is free, rehab for overly fatigued mothers is free, etc. But SOMEBODY is getting paid well by being a service provider: BIG business buoyed along by taxpayers’ ignorance.

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