Monday, May 28, 2007

Statist "family friendly" policies for Europe?

I stumbled across this report the other day and alarm bells went off. It refers to an initiative being undertaken by Germany, which has the current EU presidency. The professed aims are laudable - to make Europe more family friendly. However this sentence, which really raised my hackles, makes me wonder whether the goal is rather to increase state control of families across Europe :
So, on the basis that this initiative recognises the shared responsibility of parent
& state in raising children, it is to be welcomed.

I didn't know that it was universally accepted that the state and parents have a shared responsibility in raising children. Although the German government maintains that it has a mandate to raise children, which means that parents have to give up their school-age children to the state for a certain period of time, this is by no means recognised across Europe.

There are a couple of things about this initiative that really disturb me. Firstly, is it going to be used to push the German idea of an "Erziehungsauftrag" onto the rest of Europe? Secondly, is compulsory schooling in Germany going to be extended into compulsory preschool (something which many people are calling for) ?

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