Americans have it pretty good when it comes to homeschooling. The federal government leaves homeschool families alone. Individual states are left with the decision to manage homeschool, and it is legal to homeschool in every state. However, this may soon change. A dark cloud is rising over U.S. parent’s right to homeschool. It is starting with the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. CBN News quoted Holder on March 18, 2013, saying that homeschooling is not a fundamental right.
It started in Germany
It began in 2008 with the Romeike family from Germany. In Germany homeschool is illegal. The Romeike household was homeschooling their children against German law and the government stepped in. The Reimkes experienced enormous fines and the German government threatened to take their kids away from them. In 2008, the Romeike family ran away to the U.S., finding political asylum. They were allowed entry into the U.S. and ever since, they have actually been homeschooling their children, without incident, in Tennessee. Now, the Obama administration is seeking to deport the Romeike household. UNITED STATE Attorney General, Eric Holder, leads the deportation procedure, saying that homeschool is not an essential.
A red flag for American homeschools
The winds of change are starting to blow. What we value as a right in America may be facing very real challenges in the near future. If the courts side with Attorney General Holder's sentiment that homeschool is not a fundamental right, it jeopardizes the right of every homeschool family in America. A ruling by the courts against homeschool sets the precedence that homeschool is not a given right. It opens the door for the federal government to step in with regulations taking the right to homeschool away from U.S. families. The threat is real and it should not be taken lightly.
Homeschooling in the United States
Homeschooling is legal in every state of the union. There are no laws at the federal level regulating homeschool. It is generally accepted that homeschooling is secured under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The federal government enables the states to regulate homeschooling; that is why homeschool laws vary greatly from state to state. If a federal court policies that homeschool is not a fundamental right; homeschooling may lose its security under the 14th amendment. Once that right is liquefied, we will not get it back easily. This situation opens the door for homeschooling to come down with legislation on education and learning reform. Homeschooling is an easy target-- homeschools are in the minority. Every homeschool household should see the Romeike situation carefully.
The Home School Legal Defense Association is representing the Romeike family with their deportation troubles. If you are concerned about protecting your right to homeschool, the best thing you can do is to join an organization whose mission is to protect the rights of homeschoolers. There are many organizations; choose one that fits best with your family’s world view.
Lynda Altman has homeschooled her 4 children over the last 15 years and has 2 children in homeschool. She believes that homeschooling is a parent’s God given right. She writes a blog called Homeschooling When Mom has Cancer. Get notices when this page is updated by clicking on the subscribe link, by email, or contact Lynda @fusgeyer on Twitter.
A version of this column originally appeared in examiner.com.