Military homeschoolers in Germany
Clarification: For some reason, I edited this out when the original got too long, but there are not actually any American military bases in Niedersachsen, and they certainly have no authority over anyone in any other state, American or not. I am more curious about their stance in general. Would it stand in court? Can a Host Nation direct a family on base to send a child to school? Would the Host Nation bother, even if it were clearer? States have historically displayed an interest in the education of foreign nationals. Many homeschoolers are foreigners. The example of military bases was raised in the paperwork which the state rejected. (Thanks, Valerie!)

I think the German state is way off on this one, but it is their country. And our citizens. The following is from a rejection letter to a homeschooling family in Niedersachsen. This family is not American, nor military, but the following paragraph effects such families directly:
For comparison consider the situation of children in foreign armed forces in Niedersachsen. According to Number 3.1.1 of the decree of the Ministry of Education and Culture, "Supplementary regulations to compulsory school attendance and to the legal relationship to school" of August 29, 1995, the compulsory school attendance exists independent of citizenship. Children of members of stationed military forces are therewith fundamentally under the compulsory attendance law even in Germany. They fulfill their compulsory schooling, however, through attendance at schools run by the stationing armed forces. If this were not to occur, they would be required to attend school at a German school, and that would be regardless of the length of stationing of the parent, or parents.
HSLDA has stated previously:
In summary, military families do have the right to home school. If a military home school family resides in the United States, they must abide by the state's compulsory attendance law. If the military family lives on foreign soil, however, they are not under the jurisdiction of the foreign country's compulsory attendance law. Nor are they under any regulatory authority of the DoD.
This is based on a case in which American military officers tried to enforce compulsory education laws on military homeschoolers. The eventual decision stated:
Public education within the United States is a matter which our constitutional system leaves to the discretion of each State. Each State, therefore, makes its own laws pertaining to education. These laws are binding on all persons within the State's border, including the dependents of the Department of Defense (DOD) (including the Military Services). The Secretary of Defense does not have the legal authority to issue the kind of regulatory exemption from State eduction law. The DoD has a specific statutory authority to operate a school for DoD dependents who are assigned overseas.

Our statute, unlike the many State statutes which do not apply overseas, does not compel the attendance of any DoD dependent in DoD Dependent Schools. Therefore, a dependent may choose not to enroll in our program (DoDDS) and to elect, instead, an alternative enrollment; for example, a foreign language school, a private school, or in a home schooling program. Our statute imposes no duty on the DoD to finance the cost of any alternate educational benefits. For these reasons, there is no reason for the Secretary to issue a regulation...regulating home schooling for overseas DoD dependents.
So the military cannot enforce compulsory education, but can the host nation? That is unclear under SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement). Largely, it is based on some ambiguities. US military children are under the authority of the host nation's laws, but so long as their misbehavior remains "in house" the correction remains largely "in house." The host nation has no compelling interest in regulating the relationships between people living on the base.

And what interest does the host nation have in the education of foreign citizens? Niedersachsen seems to think it does have an interest, both in the education of civilians (to whom this letter was addressed) and of military families stationed in Germany.

For more information on the complicated issue of homeschooling as a military family in Germany, I found this article at NHEN to include a lot of helpful information. If you know any more information, please share!

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