- The Washington Times - Friday, April 12, 2013


While I can appreciate Robert Knight bringing attention to the plight of the Romeike family, and his criticism of Germany’s home-schooling ban (“The sound of tyranny,” Commentary, Tuesday), his harsh characterization of the German school system is frankly a bit extreme.

As a former Fulbright Scholar, I had the privilege of teaching English in a German public high school in Munich from 2009 to 2010. As a way to improve my students’ language proficiency, I led numerous debates on a wide range of social issues, including immigration, gun-control, marriage and religion, among others. These debates, which arguably would be heavily criticized, if not prohibited in American schools, allowed my students to openly express their independent thoughts and opinions on contentious issues.

Further, the anecdote of the Romeike family is overstated. They immigrated to the United States because they thought the secular German school system was undermining their children’s Christian upbringing. However, their situation is arguably no different from or worse than other Christian families in any Western country. In fact, unlike in the United States, religious courses that explore not only Christianity, but other faiths such Islam and Judaism, are part of the German public school curriculum, at least in the state of Bavaria where I taught, and I have several German Christian friends who are studying to become teachers to lead those very classes.

Germany’s ban on home schooling is admittedly unconstitutional by most Americans’ standards, but their education system isn’t as Orwellian as Mr. Knight depicts. Like Jim Crow laws, Prohibition and other transient American policies that were abolished, I am confident that Germans will eventually do away with their own relic sooner rather than later.


Burke, Va.

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