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English Homeschoolers: The Canary in the Mine for All Parents

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You may not be aware, but the practice of homeschooling is seriously threatened in England as the government considers its Children, Schools and Families Bill; actually it’s Schedule 1 of that bill, specifically. Home educators have done a bang-up job of expressing their grievances through their representatives, but it may be to no avail.

CanaryIf you’re homeschooling in the U.S. – and especially if you’re not even a home educator anywhere – you may think the tribulations of homeschoolers in another country have nothing to do with you. I rely on a letter with over 1,000 signatures that appeared in the January 11, 2010 Guardian online to help explain that all parents everywhere had best take note of this impending attempt to seriously restrict parental interests in the upbringing of their children.

The Guardian editorial begins: “We believe that Schedule 1 of the Children, Schools and Families Bill represents an unacceptable imposition of state control over families. Although it is aimed at children educated outside the school system, it has implications for all families. Most parents would not make home-based education their first choice; but any family might need it if school seriously failed their child. Currently, the choice is lawfully available to all parents. If enacted, the bill would – for the first time – transfer responsibility for a child’s education from the parents to the state. We believe this is a matter which should be of great concern to everyone.”

Let’s forget for the moment that it’s important to understand the reasons why a government feels so threatened by an educational practice that it’s willing to take on this responsibility even against the will of its citizens. Let’s also forget for the moment that the effectiveness of homeschooling is recognized around the world. Let’s ask: Who is thinking about the best interests of the kids?

“…Schedule 1 is concerned mainly with setting up a bureaucratic system administered by local authorities. They would be given the power to deny parents permission to home-educate, at any time, unless parents adapt their educational approach to fit in with the requirements of the system.” One of many reasons homeschooling works so well is because citizens are free in their own homes to create an education that works best for the child, not the system.

“Schedule 1 contravenes two principles of the government’s own children’s plan: that families bring up children, not governments; and that services need to be shaped by and responsive to children, young people and families, not designed around professional boundaries.”

The trend around the world is most definitely moving in the direction of more government intervention in the parental responsibility of deciding upon how, when and where children are educated, among other things. History has shown when you give an inch, they gladly take a mile. Parents at the Helm: consider England’s homeschoolers your canary in the mine of parental rights, freedom, and responsibility. There is a problem here, and any one of us could be the next affected. Be vigilant, follow this story, and please keep these homeschoolers in your hearts and thoughts.

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One Response to “English Homeschoolers: The Canary in the Mine for All Parents”

  1. […] January 11, 2010 · Leave a Comment Read Linda Dobson’s post on the Canary in the mine. Her blog is called: Parent At The Helm. […]

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