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England and the Human Right to Home Educate January 31, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, politics, Relationships and Family.
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As a parent who educates his four children at home (ages ranging from 2 to 15 … we start early here) in the classical Christian model, I watch closely for government intrusion in this, the most ancient and, in many cases, best modern instructional option for many families.  Not only am I observant of what America’s politicians are pursuing in regards to education, but I keep an eye out for international indicators as well; I think the instruction of children by their parents, particularly for religious reasons, is a basic human right, as basic as the freedom of religion and association.

To the point, Peter Hitchens has penned a well-written, yet troubling article on England’s move to review home education in Great Britain.  This review has a preconceived end in mind and is not at all interested in truly understanding the breadth of excellence resulting in home education.  Here is a sample of Hitchens’ notable quotes, though I heartily recommend its full digestion, for America has the unusual knack of following Europe on societal and philosophical matters:

Why should [the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families] be less than keen on home education? Why is she even interested in it?  English law since 1944 has allowed parents to educate their children at home without any state interference at all. In this, we are quite unlike Germany, for instance, where it is a criminal offence to do this – a law, I believe, dating from 1938, when Hitler wanted everyone brought up as a National Socialist,   but somehow not repealed by the new Germany.  …

… Certainly the home education movement is largely Christian, and Christian in a pretty uncompromising and Protestant way – that’s why it has rejected state schools from which Christianity has been expelled thanks to an absurd misreading of the US Bill of Rights. Roman Catholics tend to use the network of parochial schools instead. But the education achievements of homeschoolers have been considerable, and they regularly capture many of the best scholarships at Ivy League universities. There are also a lot of them, sharing many non-school activities, which disposes of the cliche (invariably trotted out by opponents, and based on nothing)  that home-schooled children do not have any social contact with others of their own age. What they do have is much more contact with adults who think it worthwhile to say ‘no’ to them when it matters, who read to them and converse with them and teach them morals and manners. But let that be, I’m sure we’ll have a chance to debate this.

What the modern left really don’t like about homeschooling is that it is independent of the state, and threatens its egalitarian monopoly from below. If it became a mass movement, it would be very dangerous to their project of enforcing equality of outcome, while using the schools to push radical ideas on sex, drugs, morality and politics.

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