Homeschooling in Germany and the United States
58 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2009 Last revised: 31 May 2010
Date Written: May 28, 2010
In March 2009, the Georgia House of Representatives passed House Resolution 850, urging the German Federal Government to legalize homeschooling. The resolution was one illustration of how advocacy groups throughout the United States have put pressure on Germany to change its draconian laws regarding homeschooling, laws that were enacted in 1938 during the Nazi regime. But while legislators are calling for Germany to change its laws, battles rage within the United States over the same issues.
This Note evaluates the state of homeschooling in the United States and Germany, both by considering the historical development in each country and through analysis of current cases. Although Germany and the United States have very different approaches to homeschooling and parental rights over the education of children, similar pressures threaten the status quo in each country. For Germany to concede rights to parents would undermine its strong nationalistic education system; individual judges in the United States feel that our relatively liberal homeschooling laws threaten the fabric of our pluralistic society and concede too much to individual - and often religious - beliefs.
In many ways, Germany and the United States are dealing with the same overarching policy questions despite their being democracies at very different stages of development. This Note helps to locate the normative questions that the countries will have to confront if they are going to develop any lasting policy on homeschooling.
Keywords: homeschooling, Germany, constitutional law, education law
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