Homeschooling Under Threat
Given just how really bad the situation is throughout the Western world, many concerned parents – whether religious or not — have opted for other options, such as private schools, Christian schools, homeschooling, and the like. But sadly these are not problem-free.
Regrettably many so-called Christian schools peddle just as much secular and worldly worldviews as the public schools — and sometimes they have to, dependent as they are on state funding. I have heard plenty of horror stories coming from worried parents about the Christian education (or lack thereof) that their kids are getting at such schools.
Thus many parents look to homeschooling as a last resort. And that is certainly a real alternative; it is a growing movement in places like America and Australia. But even here, there are dangers to be found. The state wants access to our children so it can turn out compliant, obedient and servile citizens. So it is not crazy about parents educating their children independently of the state.
If the state does not ban it outright, it will seek to severely restrict it. Consider a few more recent examples of this. Brazil is one country which does not allow parents the option of choosing homeschooling. A bill put forward there late last year to allow homeschooling was unanimously rejected.
Christian activist Julio Severo comments: “Although homeschooling is common in many developed countries and is associated with higher levels of academic achievement, the increasingly-intrusive and socialist government in Brazil has not only abolished its constitutional tradition of home education, but has also repealed several homeschool bills in the Brazilian Congress since the 1990s.
“Control over people requires quality and freedom to be discarded and sacrificed on behalf of compulsory indoctrination. For a State possessed by socialism, it does not matter if schoolchildren are not learning to read and write satisfactorily. What matters is to turn away children from parental sphere, authority and values in order to indoctrinate them directly into the state interests.
“This indoctrination is a proven reality throughout Brazil. In a long story on the Brazilian schools, Veja magazine (the Brazilian counterpart of Time magazine) made the following revelations:
* A prevalent trend among Brazilian teachers of imposing leftism in the minds of children.
* Leftist indoctrination is predominant in private schools. It is something teachers take more seriously than classroom subjects, as a CNT/Sensus poll, ordered by Veja, found.
* It is embarrassing that Marxism has stayed alive only in Cuba, North Korea and in the Brazilian classrooms….”
He continues, “Now, we have only two choices: homeschool illegally and suffer the massive and violent state intervention in our parental, natural choice, or let our children suffer social, moral, psychological and spiritual violence in the public educational ‘jails’.”
But in places where homeschooling is legal, the state often can and does seek to greatly control it. Consider some recent developments in Alberta, Canada. Earlier this year some ominous activities were occurring there. As one report states:
“Homeschooling groups are sounding the alarm this week as the Alberta government prepares to pass a bill that they say threatens to mandate ‘diversity’ education in the home. The province’s new Education Act, re-tabled Feb. 14th by Alison Redford’s majority Progressive Conservative government to replace the existing Schools Act, stipulates in section 16 that all instructional materials in schools ‘must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act.’
“But, in addition to publicly-funded school boards, the proposed Act defines ‘school’ to include private schools and ‘a parent providing a home education program.’ Paul Faris of Canada’s Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) says the law subjects homeschoolers’ entire families life to the Human Rights Act, the provincial version of ‘human rights’ legislation that has been used to target Christians and conservatives across the country, particularly those espousing traditional views on homosexuality.
“‘Basically what it would mean is all learning that goes on in the home, all material that goes on in the home, would essentially be subject to the Alberta Human Rights Act,’ Faris explained. ‘At least when the child leaves the school and goes home it no longer applies, but for a homeschooling family they never get away from this,’ he added.”
Another report says this: “Under Alberta’s new Education Act, homeschoolers and faith-based schools will not be permitted to teach that homosexual acts are sinful as part of their academic program, says the spokesperson for Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk. ‘Whatever the nature of schooling – homeschool, private school, Catholic school – we do not tolerate disrespect for differences,’ Donna McColl, Lukaszuk’s assistant director of communications, told LifeSiteNews on Wednesday evening.
“‘You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction,’ she added. Reacting to the remarks, Paul Faris … said the Ministry of Education is ‘clearly signaling that they are in fact planning to violate the private conversations families have in their own homes’.”
Homeschoolers south of the border are very worried about all this. “Homeschool defenders in the United States are wary of proposed legislation in Alberta, Canada, that could set a philosophical precedent for government intrusion into what parents are allowed to teach their homeschooled children.
“‘This is concerning to us because this is the first time we’ve seen anything like this on North American soil, where a government has actually proposed to include homeschools in a law that would constrain what parents could teach their children or to alternatively require them to teach something in a certain way,’ Michael Donnelly, staff attorney for the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association, told Baptist Press….
“Donnelly mentioned California becoming the first state last summer to mandate the teaching of gay history in public schools, requiring social science classes to include the ‘role and contributions’ of ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.’
“‘You see increasing attempts across the country by legislators – Massachusetts too – to impose teaching requirements on public schools,’ Donnelly said. ‘From there the next step is private schools and then incorporating homeschools. So it certainly appears to be part of a larger plan. I don’t know that there’s any kind of conspiracy or they’re connected with one another, but there certainly seems to be an agenda to try to control what children learn from the government,’ Donnelly said. ‘That certainly is a very serious concern. One of the things we pay attention to here is watching legislatures in all 50 states to make sure they don’t do things like this’.”
Thus homeschooling too is very much under threat. But for many parents it may still be the best option currently available. But as always, freedom has to be fought for, and it has to be fought in the area of homeschooling just as much as in any other area.