School was denied accreditation despite following state criteria
The association’s application was ignored by state educational authorities for 3 years. In 2017, they filed a suit due to the inaction, with the first court hearing taking place only in 2019, appeal in 2021, and third instance court in May of 2022. The Constitutional Court rejected the last domestic appeal in December 2022.
For nine years, while the accreditation was pending, the school’s founder successfully operated the Dietrich Bonhoeffer International School. The school employs state-approved teachers and follows a set curriculum. Students graduate with the same examinations as those in public schools and maintain above average grade points.
School combines “modern technology, individual student responsibility and weekly classroom attendance”
“Children have a right to education. At our school, we can provide families with an first class education that meets their individual learning needs and allows students to flourish. It is our great hope that the Court will right this injustice and rule in favor of educational freedom, recognising that our school provide innovative and high-standard education through modern technology, individual student responsibility, and scheduled weekly classroom attendance,” stated Jonathan Erz, Head of the association for decentralized learning.
The Association has been denied approval for the two private schools. The administrative courts acknowledged the satisfactory level of education, however criticized the model on the basis that due to the hybrid nature of the school, students spend little time together during breaks and between lessons. In a questionable extension of existing precedents’ reasoning, the administrative courts held that this is an essential part of education that hybrid schooling fails to provide.
Germany in violation of international law
Germany, with a ban on homeschooling and severe educational restrictions, is in violation of the right to educational freedom as enshrined in its own constitution and in international law.
“It is established clearly in international law that parents are the first authority for the education of their children. What the German state is doing to undermine education is an overt violation of not only freedom of education, but also of parental rights. Moreover, distance learning during Covid-19 lockdowns demonstrates that a complete ban on independent and digitally supported learning is out of date,” stated Böllmann.
International law specifically recognizes the liberty of bodies, such as the Association, to establish and direct educational institutions without interference, subject to “the requirement that the education given in such institutions shall conform to such minimum standards as may be laid down by the State”. (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 13.4)