25th IVR World Congress: Law, Science and Technology Frankfurt am Main 15–20 August 2011 ; Paper Series
25th IVR World Congress Law and technology Frankfurt am Main 15–20 August 2011 Paper Series
- educational freedom (3) (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.
- Creature of the state? : homeschooling, the law, human rights, and parental autonomy (2012)
- The demarcation of authority between parents and the State regarding education of children has become an increasingly complex issue over the past three decades. During the same period the number of parents around the world choosing educational alternatives such as homeschooling has grown exponentially, causing significant legislative and jurisprudential shifts in the United States as well as other Western nations. If the State is responsible for education or has a significant interest therein, then it must have broad authority by which to prescribe the method, mechanism, and acceptable outcomes of education; it must also be able to review and enforce these desired outcomes. If parents, on the other hand, are responsible, then it is the State’s duty to defer to parents absent a compelling reason to interfere. A survey of the philosophical foundations from ancient to modern times demonstrates the tension between the State and parents in the realm of education; however, modern human rights norms contained in post-1945 international human rights documents provide explicit grounds on which the State must defer to parental choice in education.
- The justification of homeschooling vis-a-vis the european human rights system (2012)
- The very idea of the European Convention on Human Rights is to bring the laws of contracting states into line with fundamental human rights principles. Where the Convention is not explicit, the Court should never rule restrictively so as to reduce the scope of a general right. In the case of homeschooling, the Convention sets forth the general principle that “the state shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.” It must not, therefore, allow a contracting state to eliminate a means of achieving this desired by parents—unless the state can show that the means in question is ineffective.