Thursday, June 18, 2009

The New Homeschool Profile

In support of a new proposal tightening regulations of British homeschoolers, the Daily Mail suggests they are necessary to protect children from abuse that would likely be detected if they were not schooled at home. The article begins with a very tragic story of abuse by a homeschool family and then states,
"My point, of course, is not to suggest that all home-schoolers are abusers. But it is to say that they could be and, if they are, they stand a better chance than most of getting away with it.
This article and others like it attempt to create a new profile of parents who choose to home educate as potential abusers. Government officials use these stories for poltical purposes and bolster their desire to increase regulation upon all homeschoolers.

But as Judy Aron rightly pointed out over a year ago,
Sadly child abuse and neglect is a problem which occurs in all segments of society. It is not a homeschool issue; it is a societal issue. There are mechanisms already in place in most state statutes to deal with parents that do not take care of their children, no matter how those children are educated.
A subtle presumption of guilt based on an educational choice is used to demand proof of innocence. This is backwards. In a free society we are innocent until proven guilty. The state must first allege that a crime was committed based on some amount of evidence. A parent should not be required to prove their innocence simply because they chose to home educate. Unless homeschoolers - here and abroad - fight the profile as potential abusers we will find ourselves at a strategic disadvantage in defeating increased regulation.
A lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is putting on its shoes. Mark Twain
UPDATE: In the comments under another thread John Green doesn't believe a parent should object to the change of policy and added that we can all relax and celebrate now because "The statement below was posted on the DirectGov website last Friday about the proposed legislation. If the Obama Government wish to adopt a similar system for the USA you should all celebrate." Here's an excerpt from the statement he referenced,

"We have to balance the rights of parents with the pre-eminent rights of children to a decent education in a safe environment.

"These recommendations are proportionate and reasonable. The fact is most developed countries require registration to home educate, with the majority also having a process of systematic monitoring. It’s only right we afford our own children and young people the same checks and balances."
For some reason, I just don't feel like relaxing and I certainly don't feel like celebrating.

Dana at Principled Discovery is also discussing homeschooling regulations aborad and looks at the possibility that it may become illegal in Sweden based on the UN Rights of the Child.

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