Friday, November 30, 2007

Homeschooler Question Of The Day

How can homeschoolers in the UK be so easily duped into thinking they actually have freedom?
Bravo to Irdial for posting this:
The guidelines covering Home Schooling in the UK have been published by the DfES. Some HE people think that they are fine, and are actually celebrating them as some sort of triumph. I beg to differ.

As a matter of principle, If you are a free person, your relationship with government must be unambiguous, and the powers of government clearly delineated. You must also have protection from being the victim of false accusations. These guidelines enshrine ambiguity and false accusation as a pretext for investigation (violating the ‘innocent before proven guilty’ principle).

It doesn’t matter what else the guidelines say that is positive for Home Schoolers; as long as the bad sections are in there, your rights are effectively nullified.

The problem with these guidelines boil down to a few words:

under Section 437(1) of the Education Act 1996, local authorities shall intervene if it appears that parents are not providing a suitable education

This means that upon the judgement of an individual in a Local Authority, by his prejudices and background, you can be compelled to account to him that you are educating your children to his satisfaction. What constitutes ’suitable education’ is not defined in the law, and in fact the guidelines say this, so the onus is placed on individuals to make up standards as they see fit.
That is just the problem. When we start getting into judgment statements like "providing a suitable education", or "equivalent instruction", or "educational neglect" we can get into some very dangerous waters because while it seems like reasonable wording, it really gives a lot of latitude to those making the judgments, and can, and does, in fact allow false allegations to be levied against parents. Quite frankly, if the state cannot even guarantee "a suitable education" or "equivalent instruction" within their own system how can they demand it of those outside of their system?

Homeschoolers everywhere should not be satisfied with any law that allows others to make such vague judgment calls and should certainly not view it as any victory with regard to their freedom to homeschool.