BERLIN -- Leaders in the worldwide home-schooling movement gathered in Germany to defend the right of parents to educate their children at home.
During the Global Home Education Conference, home-schoolers and home-school leaders from dozens of nations heard reports of both home-schooling freedom in some countries and oppression in others.
The leader of the conference, GHEC President Jonas Himmelstrand, was forced to flee his native Sweden or risk losing his children.
"This [conference] is about families moving forward and taking the power back to raise and educate their children," he said.
German home-school victims like Dirk Wunderlich attended as well. Wunderlich moved his family to France to flee government persecution. When he was forced to return to Germany to look for work, he lost custody of his children.
The Berlin Declaration
The conference issued the Berlin Declaration, which reminds states that freedom to home-school without government interference is an established human right. And the conference challenged politicians from all nations to sign the document.
GHEC board member Michael Donnelly had a message for states like Germany that have been so hard on home-schoolers.
"The right of parents to choose the kind of education their children shall receive is a 'prior right.' It has first priority in time and first in rank, relative to any role the state plays in education," he said.
German parliament member Patrick Meinhardt addressed the gathering and called for more educational choice in Germany. But when pressed, he revealed his idea for decentralized education would still be under government control.
Attendees learned that one of the freest nations in Europe for home-schooling today is, surprisingly, Russia, which granted total educational freedom after the collapse of communism.
The worst nation in the world for home-schoolers, at the moment, is probably Sweden.