Homeschooling in Germany

From The Washington Post:

Earlier this month, a German teen-ager was forcibly taken from her parents and imprisoned in a psychiatric ward. Her crime? She is being home-schooled.
On Feb. 1, 15 German police officers forced their way into the home of the Busekros family in the Bavarian town of Erlangen. They hauled off 16-year-old Melissa, the eldest of the six Busekros children, to a psychiatric ward in nearby Nuremberg. Last week, a court affirmed that Melissa has to remain in the Child Psychiatry Unit because she is suffering from “school phobia.”
Home-schooling has been illegal in Germany since Adolf Hitler outlawed it in 1938 and ordered all children to be sent to state schools. The home-schooling community in Germany is tiny. As Hitler knew, Germans tend to obey orders unquestioningly. Only some 500 children are being home-schooled in a country of 80 million. Home-schooling families are prosecuted without mercy.
Last March, a judge in Hamburg sentenced a home-schooling father of six to a week in prison and a fine of $2,000. Last September, a Paderborn mother of 12 was locked up in jail for two weeks. The family belongs to a group of seven ethnic German families who immigrated to Paderborn from the former Soviet Union. The Soviets persecuted them because they were Baptists. An initiative of the Paderborn Baptists to establish their own private school was rejected by the German authorities. A court ruled that the Baptists showed “a stubborn contempt both for the state’s educational duty as well as the right of their children to develop their personalities by attending school.”

HT: Right Mind

Caterpillar Declamation

I must admit, when I first got this assignment, I was a bit confused about which character to pick. There are so many characters to choose, from the pokey little puppy and curious george, to mice who had mental disorders relating to cookies. Even spider man is an option, the comic books of whom I stole from my brother on a regular basis.
However, there was one story that was intense, exciting, fun filled, and never failed to put me to sleep at night. A story seeking truth, fulfillment, and the leafiest leaf there ever was. This story is called The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This caterpillar was the bravest, most destructive little guy ever to inch his way through the waxy pages of children’s literature. All he had to do was chew, chew, chew and then he would make progressively larger and larger holes in food items. With each fat, caterpillar shaped bullet hole, he would grow bigger and bigger. This caterpillar had drive. He had vision. He made holes in colorfully illustrated pie and cake and the occasional sausage link. This caterpillar was a diverse, unstoppable, eating machine. This story even followed me through my high school years, telling me that I, too, could go on. Every day, when I came through the glass double doors at Churchill county high school, I would think: holes. How could I make my own figurative caterpillar shaped hole in the public school system? Every time someone would say holes, I would smile secretly to myself.
Finally, at the end of the caterpillar’s munchings, he found what he had been searching for. A leaf to end all leafs. Destiny. In a sharp and calculating move, he ate that leaf. Then, conflict. A stomachache afflicted the caterpillar. Straining to fight this deplorable evil, the caterpillar wrapped himself up and then, just when all hope was lost, the caterpillar burst forth as a beautiful, inspirationally colored butterfly. So to you, I commend The Very Hungry Caterpillar. If you bore holes in everyone’s food supply, ruining it for general consumption, you will be beautiful too. Where is your leaf?

– Katie Travis, Sophomore Declamation
New Saint Andrews College, January 2007