Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » LOCAL STORY

    Filed at 5:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    Must fight the HSLDA pull…. Arrrghhhh!


    In all seriousness, I don’t know anything about German law or culture (other than that Schweinschnitzel is REALLY good and they serve beer in half-liter mugs).

    5 Responses to “LOCAL STORY”

    Comment by
    February 26th, 2007
    at 8:11 pm

    You missed the liter mugs (which would be pun-nish in English because that size is called a “Maß/Mass” [the ‘a’ being an ‘ah’ sound as in ‘hot,’ not an “aaah” sound as in ‘hat’]?

    Still, it’s a _mass_ of beer.

    For anyone who’s interested, you can order a Maß here in the Kansas City area at the Rheinlaender in Independence. Makes daughters’ significant others drop their jaws.

    And even better than the varieties of schnitzel is the German version of Cordon Bleu.

    (not to make light of the plight of the Busekros family, which is sad … and baffling to a degree)

    German law (what little I know of it — never having got on the wrong side) can have a very different point of view than American law. I remember one tragedy in Augsburg where a boy ditched class from the American elementary school and tried crossing the Autobahn on foot to get back to the American housing area. He was killed by a car whose driver wasn’t expecting to see a child on the Autobahn in the first place,* and who apparently didn’t have time to react in the second place.

    (*when we were there, it was illegal to walk along the Autobahn for anything less than an emergency — which running out of gas isn’t, that’ll get you a ticket for your carelessness)

    As I remember the report, the family of the dead boy was required to pay the medical costs of the driver, who was apparently seriously traumatized by having killed a child. The ruling came down in favor of the driver because the boy wasn’t supposed to be on the roadway — the child, and therefore his family, was at fault.

    The German criminal code is the Strafgesetzbuch:

    Other differences are:
    — no capital punishment (some people have not been extradited to the US despite murder charges because capital punishment is still a possibility here)

    — insults are punishable, even to include rude gestures on the highway (if you’re caught); tapping of the forehead to indicate the other person is feebleminded is … not recommended.

    — allowing your car to idle to warm it in the winter

    — violating quiet hours 1-3 pm daily, 10 pm – 6 am daily, all day Sundays and holidays, which means no mowing the lawn on Sunday.

    (using USAREUR Pamphlet 550-19 as a guide, also ….)
    Sec. 189: reviling the memory of the dead (imprisonment not exceeding 2 yrs.)
    Sec. 201 “violation of the confidentiality of the word” (recording someone — two people can’t talk on the same landline in the same house — only one phone is operable at a time)
    Sec. 202: “violation of the secrecy of correspondence”
    Sec. 203: “violation of private secrets”
    Sec. 330c: “Failure to render aid” — this is a biggie if you come upon an accident, you are required to help, and it is mandatory that each car have a first aid kit

    It’s not America with a Sergeant Schulz accent.

    Comment by
    February 27th, 2007
    at 9:51 am

    In a lot of ways, German laws make a lot more sense than american ones. If you’re driving a car, such as in the above example, and you hit a pedestrian in the US, it is ALWAYS your fault, no matter how stupid the pedestrian. In Germany, they are able to differentiate between the two.
    Overall Germans are more practical and blunt about this sort of thing.
    And I hate to rabbit on about this all the time, but the negative German attitude towards homeschooling does not just stem from the nazis. It’s around 200 years old and began with the prussians opening the first mandatory schools in Prussia. Now Germans associate “bildung” (education and so much more) with schools so much that not geing “eingeschult” (schooled) means that you’re going to be an idiot and dumb. Most likely, it also means that you will n ever have a chance in German society. You can’t go to university without an abitur. You can’t get an abitur without going to Gymnasium. You can’t even get an apprenticeship without going to Berufschcule or Realschule…so in Germany’s situation, homeschoolin is not going to help your kids much in their future. Better off moving to a neighboring country where not sending your kids to school doesn’t mean they will neer having a chance at getting a job.

    Comment by
    February 27th, 2007
    at 11:42 am

    Exactly Rochelle- applying US mores and standards to Germany is silly. Even when HSers were doing it illegally in the US, there was a strong case that the Constitution was on our side and the law was misapplied. Ultimately, all 50 states agreed with that assessment to some extent. There is nothing like that baseline expectation of freedom in Germany.

    Comment by
    March 1st, 2007
    at 9:23 am

    minor correction, Rochelle, you can get the Abitur without Gymnasium. Homeschooling has been occurring in Germany for awhile, and those who are interested are generally able to take the Abitur…or enter an apprenticeship, which I believe is the more common route.

    There is an alternate route to taking the Abitur which missionaries and (I’m fairly certain) Germans employed overseas use to take it and homeschoolers can use this option as well.

    As to an apprenticeship, that is based more on the employer. The homeschooling advocate in Germany I interviewed said that you need some sort of a certificate to present, but many employers see benefit in the character of the homeschooled child and accept the “unofficial” certificate.

    And the history of centralization of education goes back further…to Charlemagne in the 9th century and Martin Luther in the 16th century. Germany’s current law is almost identical to one passed in (1919?) the early 20th century. My understanding is that a protest from the states about central control lead to it not being enforced, at least not by the central government. Hitler gave the law the power of enforcement and removed the alternative of private education altogether.

    But Germany’s stance isn’t built on “Bildung.” In fact, the consular general has stated,

    “…Homeschooling may be equally effective in terms of test scores. It is important to keep in mind, however, that school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct. Daily contact with other students from all walks of life promotes tolerance, encourages dialogue among people of different beliefs and cultures, and helps students to become responsible citizens….”

    It isn’t about “Bildung” but a fear of “parallel societies,” an argument brought up in every level of the court trials to date, including before the Constitutional Court and the EU court.

    There are a number of organizations working together in Germany at the moment, and I hope they are able to influence the politics in their favor. That’s hard…we had the advantage of being legally protected while the culture came to expect it. Homeschooling hasn’t always been so supported here, and it really is still only a fifty-fifty thing, from the statistics I have read, with perhaps 90% believing we should fall under increased regulations and be required to have all the same state testing. (That statistic is a bit old and the opinions regarding homeschooling have historically grown more favorable in time, so I don’t know how accurate it is now).

    Sorry to go on so long. But I’ve been talking to a number of homeschoolers in Germany recently, and believe it or not, they are not taking their orders from HSLDA. HSLDA seems to have very little influence from what little I can see.

    Comment by
    March 1st, 2007
    at 12:25 pm

    “minor correction, Rochelle, you can get the Abitur without Gymnasium.”
    Yes, you can, but you still have to attend some sort of classes to get it and then take the tests. It isn’t like just showing up to take the SAT or anything like that.

    “It is important to keep in mind, however, that school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct.”
    I think that in a lot of ways that is considered part of Bildung in Germany–becoming part of society and learning more or less one’s role in it. Can’t have people running around thinking they don’t owe something to the group 😉