Germany, homeschooling, and the Left

In light of our coverage (review, interview, quotes) of Glenn Reynolds’ “The New School,” we thought it timely to point out an article over at National Review from friend of Blaze Books and author most recently of “What Doomed Detroit” (review, quotes), Kevin Williamson, on the German government’s campaign against homeschooling, Obama administration complicity and the Left’s perspective on homeschooling more broadly.

As TheBlaze noted back in November, the Obama administration ordered the deportation of a German family who had sought asylum in the United States after fleeing Germany so they could homeschool their children (an illegal act in their native homeland). The Roenike family appealed to the Supreme Court, which ordered that the Obama administration respond to the family’s petition. Thus far, the administration has neglected to do so.

While homeschooling is blotted out in Germany, as the cost of education exceeds its value to such a degree that the bubble begins to burst in America, as Glenn Reynolds argues, homeschooling will become an increasingly attractive alternative. This, says Williamson, poses a grave threat to leftists as:

“The institutional Left hates homeschooling, hates it with a remarkable intensity, even though homeschooling recently has come into vogue with a certain subset of Park Slope–style progressives. Robin West of Georgetown’s law school has written admiringly of the suppression of homeschooling and regimes under which “parents who did so were criminals.” She writes that homeschoolers are dangerous precisely because of the fact that, far from being docile sheep, homeschoolers are as adults more likely to be politically engaged, which Professor West worries might “undermine, limit, or destroy state functions that interfere with family and parental rights.” For good measure, she notes that many homeschoolers were enthusiastic about George W. Bush in 2000 — quelle horreur. Many others on the left argue that homeschooling should be either banned outright or effectively regulated out of existence.”

Echoing to a degree Reynolds’ analogy of the K-12 classroom to an industrial era factory, Williamson notes that:

“Homeschooling terrifies the Left because the Left is at its core totalitarian, seeking to bring political discipline to every aspect of life — and control of education is essential to that project. The public school is in miniature what the Left believes the world should look like: Everybody arranged in orderly rows and moving about on an orderly schedule punctuated by bells, being taught about diversity and climate change by nice union ladies who also lead them to their federally subsidized lunches. If you can say “no” to that, you can say no to any part of the Left’s vision. Homeschooling is an existential threat to the privileged position of the institutional Left. The schools are the factory in which it manufactures its future clients.”

Perhaps most ironically, our K-12 public education system is in and of itself is a Prussian system, imported by Horace Mann during the mid-19th century, as Reynolds discusses at length in “The New School.” So here we have a German family who sought asylum to escape the original Prussian system to freely teach their children, potentially being forced back into such a system at the hands of a Left that in Williamson’s reading needs to perpetuate Prussian-style rigidity in education.