Transterrestrial Musings  

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay

Alan Boyle (MSNBC)
Space Politics (Jeff Foust)
Space Transport News (Clark Lindsey)
NASA Watch
NASA Space Flight
Hobby Space
A Voyage To Arcturus (Jay Manifold)
Dispatches From The Final Frontier (Michael Belfiore)
Personal Spaceflight (Jeff Foust)
Mars Blog
The Flame Trench (Florida Today)
Space Cynic
Rocket Forge (Michael Mealing)
COTS Watch (Michael Mealing)
Curmudgeon's Corner (Mark Whittington)
Selenian Boondocks
Tales of the Heliosphere
Out Of The Cradle
Space For Commerce (Brian Dunbar)
True Anomaly
Kevin Parkin
The Speculist (Phil Bowermaster)
Spacecraft (Chris Hall)
Space Pragmatism (Dan Schrimpsher)
Eternal Golden Braid (Fred Kiesche)
Carried Away (Dan Schmelzer)
Laughing Wolf (C. Blake Powers)
Chair Force Engineer (Air Force Procurement)
Saturn Follies
JesusPhreaks (Scott Bell)
The Ombudsgod
Cut On The Bias (Susanna Cornett)
Joanne Jacobs

Site designed by

Powered by
Movable Type
Biting Commentary about Infinity, and Beyond!

« Pet Peeve Alert | Main | Demonstrating Their Priorities »

She Must Be Crazy

A German teenager has been locked in a psychiatric ward because she was being home schooled. And the court in Strasburg has no problem with the Hitler-era law under which this was done.

Ah, the enlightened Europeans. I wonder if this is one of the "foreign court decisions" that some Supreme Court justices think should guide their own?

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 28, 2007 08:55 AM
TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference this post from Transterrestrial Musings.

This article is nonsense.

"In Germany, schools have become vehicles of indoctrination, where children are brought up to unquestioningly accept the authority of the state in all areas of life."

I'm on a german school and you don't have to share the teacher's opinion. Furthermore it's the parents decision whether their children visit the "religion" - lesson. It's the parents task to teach their children values.

Visit a german school and decide yourself, whether all children "unquestioningly accept the authority of the state in all areas of life."

Posted by German at February 28, 2007 10:39 AM

So, accepting that criticism, are you denying the main point--that a young girl has been declared insane and institutionalized because she was being home schooled? If not, does that concern you?

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 28, 2007 10:41 AM

No, she has been institutionalized because of "school phobia".
If she only has been home schooled, she would have been sent to school.
In germany it's the government's task to ensure that every child get's a minimum of education (knowledge).
Furthermore - as said in the article - the school is important for the child's development.

I have read somewhere that one family didn't want to send their children to school because they feared that their children would get in contact with children, whose parents are divorced. They thought this would be an diadvantage for the children's future development.

Posted by German at February 28, 2007 11:07 AM

No, she has been institutionalized because of "school phobia".

And the evidence of this is...?

And since when are people hospitalized for phobias?

Sorry, but we believe that, barring clear abuse, parents are responsible for children here, not the state. That includes their education. You're basically confirming the attitudes described in the article. They may be German ones, but they're not ours, and we aren't interested in importing them.

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 28, 2007 11:11 AM

I'm on a german school and you don't have to share the teacher's opinion.

You, my friend, are seriously deluded. In American schools -- in every school -- you need to share (or pretend you share) the teacher's opinion if you want to do well. School is pretty much by definition a narcissist groupthink hell.

I mean, think about it: you've got one person in charge who has absolute power. He's not elected and can't be recalled, he sets the terms of the debate, and his job is to force a set of ideas down your throat and get you to successfully parrot them back. (Yes, you're allowed minor variations, to please the teacher's vanity that he isn't merely a galley slave driver.)

This is justified when you're teaching algebra and chemistry. There's little point in entertaining debate about whether 2(x+2)=2x+4 or whether carbon has 4 valence electrons. It's arguably mildly justified when it comes to English and history, too. Everyone should know how to write a sentence in the past perfect passive subjunctive, when the War of 1812 was fought, and the color of Washington's white horse.

But the rest of it is pure social indoctrination, and personally I share with a lot of Americans the attitude that a healthy skepticism for it and awareness of it is a good sign in children.

You're missing the awareness, apparently. Hard not to conclude that you're so deep in the Kool-Aid you don't realize what you're breathing. Scary.

Posted by Carl Pham at February 28, 2007 11:37 AM

It appears that the German state has taken a page from the Soviet Union in that they are now committing opponents of the state and state education system to mental hospitals.

Posted by Kurt9 at February 28, 2007 03:31 PM

Hmmm... the notion behind the anti-home-schooling
policy (based on the linked article) seems to be
that "everyone has a duty to receive the standard
societal indoctrination provided by the State-run
schools"... this may be a mainstream attitude of
the German culture, but I think it unlikely to
gain much traction in the USA...

-dave w

Posted by dave w at February 28, 2007 03:48 PM

I distrust the state. I especially distrust the competence of state school teachers.


Yes, we really do need some minimum standards of socialisation. The Rights of the Parents to teach their kids what to believe does not include the right to teach them that White Folks are Human, and Mud People are not. That the Earth is Flat and 6000 years old as it says in the Koran/Bible. That women should be beaten if they get uppity, and that the Joos are responsible for all the Evil in the world. Or that killing unbelievers is right.

These are political beliefs, not "2+2=4" facts. Yet where do we draw the line? Because if we don't draw it somewhere, the state will compel belief in, say, the authenticity of the Rather memos, and that Bush is the AntiChrist.

In the case at hand, I cam easily believe that the Beamters are at fault: but I can more easily believe the kid has a genuine phobia. The point is, is that phobia causing a disability, or is it a harmless eccentricity? We just don't have nearly enough facts to make a judgment here, but one thing's for sure, it should be investigated.

Posted by Zoe Brain at February 28, 2007 04:11 PM

Zoe, you seem confused about the term "right." (It's a common confusion.) A right is something that pre-exists government, and does not infringe on other people's exercise of the same rights. So my right, for example, to enjoy the use of my property does not prevent you from enjoying yours. My right to educate my children how I choose does not preclude you from educating your children how you choose. And neither of those rights depends on government mandates or control.

That said, I have an absolute right, should I so choose, to teach my children anything I want, including every single thing on your list and the polar opposite of every single thing on your list. Either would be detrimental to my children's welfare, as well as fundamentally wrong from my point of view.

But it seems at first that you argue that teaching political views is not the parents' responsibility, which you then follow by saying it's not the state's responsibility, either, because you perceive (accurately, I think) that if you give the state the power to teach compel children to learn that Earth is not flat, they could as easily decide to compel children to learn that Earth is indeed flat.

So let's look at the downside of each approach, in its worst incarnation. Let's say that I teach my children that killing unbelievers (in my case, that would be some 98% of humanity, I expect) is absolutely just and beneficial to them, and that when grown they act on this belief. Now let's say the state teaches that to millions of children, and when grown, they act on this belief. Which is worse?

For me, I believe strongly that the government should be denied almost any ability to interfere in the lives of its citizens: its power is simply too great to be trusted with that privilege. In particular, I wouldn't want my children educated by the state: even on the factual stuff, they tend to do a poor job, and on the opinion stuff it's much, much worse.

Posted by Jeff Medcalf at February 28, 2007 04:29 PM

Minimum standards of socialization? The canonical text on the subject of peer group socialization among school children is a book called "Lord of the Flies". Is that what you want? The quality of socialization provided by bulk schooling was as large a factor in our decision to homeschool our son as was the quality of education.

Posted by triticale at February 28, 2007 07:37 PM

Speaking philosophically and not constitutionally...I believe that it is a conflict of interest for a government barred from controlling the flow of information through the press to the public at large, to be allowed to control the flow of information through the schools to the nation's children.

Posted by Alan K. Henderson at February 28, 2007 09:35 PM

Well Alan, get ready for some culture shock. Almost every state has a board of appointed(by the governor usually) book reviewers that decide what books get used at public schools. There is public comment but this board of unelected people get to decide and thus, control the information fed to the nations children.

Posted by Bill Maron at February 28, 2007 10:55 PM

Bill, I rather suspect Alan knows that...

Posted by McGehee at March 1, 2007 07:56 AM

Post a comment

Email Address: