Thursday, February 08, 2007

German Homeschooled Child Sentenced to a Child Psychiatry Unit

The following letter was sent to us by our friends at Home School Legal Defense Association. Please take a the time to write a letter if you have the time.

February 5, 2007

HSLDA--German Homeschooled Child Sentenced to a Child Psychiatry Unit

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

The situation for homeschoolers in Germany is getting worse each week. Just last Thursday, a 17-year-old homeschooled girl was forcibly removed from her parent's custody by over 15 police officers. The homeschooled girl has been placed in the child psychiatry unit of the Nuremberg clinic.

Homeschooling is not legal in Germany. There are over 40 cases currently in court or being appealed. Christian families are fleeing Germany for safety in nearby countries. The unconscionable treatment of sincere and faithful Christian homeschool families is a sad legacy from Germany's past. Homeschooling was first banned under Adolf Hitler, and that ban is still enforced today.

Many families who have had their children forcibly taken from their home each day and taken to government school have since fled Germany, but there are still some homeschoolers. The latest incident involves 17-year-old Melissa Busekros, the girl sent to the Nuremberg psychiatry unit. What is being done to this sensitive girl--just to set an example of enforcing the compulsory schooling at all costs--is reprehensible and causing trauma to unassuming and lovable Melissa.

In the summer of 2005, when Melissa was 15, she was told she would have to repeat the seventh grade at the government school because she was failing math and Latin. She had good grades in the rest of her classes, so her parents tutored her at home for those two subjects. When the school officials found out they were angry and then expelled Melissa, so the family began to homeschool full time.

However, the Youth Welfare office then took the family to court because they were homeschooling. Then, on Tuesday, January 30, 2007, social workers and police officers came to the Busekros home and forcibly took Melissa to the child psychiatric unit where she was questioned for four hours before she was returned home. Then two days later, 15 police officers and social workers came to the Busekros home and took Melissa away from her parents by force and placed her in the child psychiatric unit.

According to Melissa's father, Hubert Busekros, this treatment was justified by the psychiatrist's finding two days previously that Melissa was supposedly developmentally delayed by one year and that she suffered from school phobia.

Nevertheless, one organization concerned with education expressed outrage at the treatment of Melissa Busekros.

"The Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit [the Network for Freedom of Education] condemns this inconsiderate and totally incommensurate behavior on the part of the officials involved and demands that they give Melissa her freedom and return her to her family immediately," the group was quoted in an article on its website. To view the site, as well as more information and a photograph of the Busekros family, go to http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3697 .

ACTION

We ask you to take a moment and do two things: First, call or email the German Embassy and give them this message:

"We are shocked to hear of the Busekros' homeschooled daughter Melissa being removed from the custody of her parents and being placed in a child psychiatric unit. This is an outrage that hearkens back to the Nazi era. We cannot believe a free nation would put a homeschooled child in a psychiatric ward for 'school phobia.' The attack on the
homeschool families throughout Germany must stop."

The German Embassy can be contacted at:

Dr. Klaus Scharioth
Ambassador
German Embassy
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
(202) 298-4000

The embassy can be emailed from its website: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3696 .

Second, pray for the German situation. Only God can change the situation for homeschoolers in Germany. Attempts by German homeschoolers to organize or to change the laws through court continue to be lost, but with God all things are possible. We ask that you cry out for the German homeschool families.

BACKGROUND

German parents have been fighting for the right to homeschool for the last seven or more years. However, all efforts have failed in the face of the stubborn German government and their official response that they cannot "allow a counterculture to exist."

We believe the hope for Germany will be via the international pressure bearing down so that they abandon their witch-hunt after homeschoolers and their terrible treatment of these innocent families.

Homeschoolers remaining in Germany are hoping to legalize homeschooling in one state and thereby make a safe-haven for
homeschoolers. However, the German homeschoolers are so few and the attacks so intense that it is hard to make any progress in this area.

If you wish to assist the Germans in their struggle for homeschool freedom, or with many other struggling countries, you can donate to HSLDA's international fund via the Home School Foundation at http://www.homeschoolfoundation.org/ .

Your donation will be used to meet the homeschooling needs in Germany. After meeting the known homeschooling needs in this country, if there are remaining funds, this money will be transferred to the Foundation's International Fund to meet homeschooling needs in other countries.

Thank you for standing with these families and taking a moment to assist them.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel
Director of State and International Relations

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Valedictorian Complains of ‘Hollow’ Public School Education

The following piece appeared on the BLOG Political Party Poop.com.

Valedictorian Complains of ‘Hollow’ Public School Education
Snoop June 29th, 2006
By Kate Monaghan
CNSNews.com Correspondent
June 29, 2006

(CNSNews.com) - The valedictorian of a Blue Ribbon-awarded high school in New Jersey has left teachers and administrators with a sour taste in their mouths after using his June 20 valedictory speech to describe his education as “hollow” and one filled with “countless hours wasted in those halls.”

“I felt like the most important questions were not asked.” said Kareem Elnahal, the top rated student at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood, N.J. “Things like ethics, things that defined who we are, were ignored so in that way I thought it was hollow.” he told Cybercast News Service Wednesday.

Mainland High School was ranked 403rd among the nation’s top 1,200 schools in Newsweek Magazine’s “America’s Best High Schools” report from August 2005.

But at the June 20 commencement, Elnahal told his audience that “the education we have received here is not only incomplete, it is entirely hollow.”

“[It is] grade for the sake of a grade, work for the sake of work.” Elnahal added, according to a transcript of the speech posted on the Press of Atlantic City website.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the spirit of intellectual thought is lost,” Elnahal said. “I know how highly this community values learning, and I urge you all to re-evaluate what it means to be educated,” he concluded before leaving the ceremony without collecting his diploma.

Elnahal told Cybercast News Service that teachers refused to discuss certain topics because they were too closely tied to religious views. In his valedictory speech, he argued that there is a connection between a person’s faith and that person’s power of reasoning.
“Is there a creator? And if so, should we look to it for guidance,” Elnahal asked the audience gathered at the high school graduation ceremony. “These are often dismissed as questions of religion, but religion is not something opposed to rationality. It simply seeks to answer such questions through faith.”
Elnahal said the reaction to his speech from fellow students was the most dramatic development on the night of June 20. “I think the story really is not me or what I said but what the reaction was. If you were there you would have seen the kids stand up and clap,” he told Cybercast News Service.

“The reaction from the students to me has been overwhelmingly positive.” he continued. “For some reason, I don’t know if for the same reason, I think they were all disappointed in some way or unfulfilled and I think that’s what the school should be thinking about.”
Daniel Loggi, superintendent of the Atlantic County, N.J., School District, said he was not troubled with Elnahal sharing his thoughts, but disagreed with the manner in which he chose to do it.

“I don’t have any problem with anybody speaking what they feel.” Loggi told Cybercast News Service. “But there are certain parameters when you have a graduation or any kind of ceremony where you prepare for it. I don’t believe the way he did it was appropriate.”
Loggi added that the student did not give school administrators the chance to either approve or disapprove. “Who knows whether the Mainland administration would have approved it or not. Maybe they would have, but he didn’t give them that opportunity.”
He also defended the quality of education at Mainland Regional High School. “I know Mainland is one of our top high schools in this county.” Loggi said. “They’ve been a Blue Ribbon school and received a lot of awards. The education [Elnahal] received there is permitting him to go on to Princeton.”

Elnahal said he would have chosen another occasion to say what he thought, but that his graduation seemed to be the only one available. “Had there been another venue I would have used it, but there really wasn’t,” said Elnahal. “So I felt I had to do it there. I felt it was the right thing to do.”

Had he not chosen to speak out, Elnahal said, the opportunity for change would have been lost. “I felt like nothing would change. I felt like it had to be said and if this was the only time I could say it, then I should.”

Quote of the Day

"I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is practiced in most schools today and wonder that we could have tolerated anything so primitive. "--John W. Gardner

Sunday, February 04, 2007

TEA's check register now online! Texas leads the way in public education financial transparency

The following is from Peyton Wolcott's Website.

" You have no idea how much pleasure it gives me as a native Texan to be able to write this headline.

After toiling in the grassroots education reform vineyards as a volunteer for many years, suddenly late last
September a light bulb went off and I realized that many of our public records issues could be addressed by a very simple remedy: School districts could post their check registers online.

Thus of a simple remedy was born a very simple project, The National School District Honor Roll, honoring those
districts posting their check registers online. Texas Governor Rick Perry (left) with Texas Commissioner of Education Shirley Neeley and Deputy Commissioner Robert Scott

Increased transparency: clearly an idea whose time has come. Responding to questions earlier today regarding the
Texas Education Agency's decision to post its check register online this week (link below right in red box) in conjunction with the governor's press release today (below right, grey box) deputy TEA commissioner Robert Scott pointed out that increased transparency was the governor's initiative. "It's something he feels very strongly about, Scott said. "We at TEAwholeheartedly agree."

To view the rest of the story click here.


The following press release from the Texas Governor is also on Peyton Wolcott's website.

Gov. Perry's press release
"Texans deserve a budget that make sense. Perry today offered budget reform proposals that he says are meant to promote
fiscal responsibility and transparency in state government. The list includes....requiring all Texas agencies to publish expenditures online in a clear and consistent format. Perry says Texas has a record budget surplus, so it's time to make one-time payments to reconcile past accoun- ting maneuvers and accurately balance the budget. The governor also
says--starting today-- expenditures made by his office will be available to view online.
DATE: 01/31/07



Quote of the Day

"Superintendents and school boards would have to be willing to be perceived as being anti-open government and anti-
transparency to turn down your request that they post their check registers online."

Peyton Wolcott