UN Putting Education in Government’s Hands and the End of Homeschooling

Homeschooling is a growing trend in the United States today. Many thousands of parents wary of government indoctrination of their children, not to mention tired of the plummeting level of actual education threatening our kid’s futures, are taking their children’s education into their own hands and setting up homeschools. The trend is also starting to alarm the bureaucrats in government that count on using our children as a device to bring in state and federal tax money as well as teachers unions that relish the power of controlling our progeny. Consequently, state governments are increasingly looking at regulations meant to hamper homeschooling efforts.

But it isn’t just American bureaucrats and unions looking to justify their jobs that homeschoolers should worry about. From outside the U.S. there is a looming threat to homeschooling. Not only education sits in the crosshairs but the very the rights of parents to decide what is best for their own children could be threatened. This threat will likely manifest itself if the U.S. ratifies the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Currently the U.S. is not a signatory to this treaty and it would be better for parents if that remains the case because the UNCRC, if ratified, could set the stage for a complete government takeover of all education regardless of the desires or religious convictions of parents throughout the United States. And as mentioned this treaty also has the potential to eliminate parent’s rights altogether and, not just with education. Current events in Great Britain, a signatory to the treaty, are being closely watched by American homeschoolers and evidence seems to be mounting that worries about the UNCRC are well founded.

Last week, British homeschoolers were alarmed to find that the British Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families accept a report on British education created by Graham Badman, a former Managing Director of Children, Families and Education in the County of Kent.

The report recommended that the national government forcibly register all children that are not attending class in state schools and also suggested a mandate that homeschools be further regulated. Additionally, it was recommended that the state assume the power to enter the private homes of homeschooled children in order to make sure that government strictures are being observed.

The underlying source by which Badman claims legitimacy for his report is the UNCRC. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association here in the states, the treaty “will be used to significantly restrict the freedom to homeschool in England.” And if it happens in England, a nation that has ratified the UNCRC, it will happen here if we do the same. It should be noted that President Obama has been a strong proponent of the UNCRC,.

One of the most frightening aspects of the UNCRC is that it decouples the traditional relationship between parent and child and replaces it with a relationship between government and child. Worse, the treaty gives the child autonomy from his parent and bestows upon him the right to decide for himself what sort of education or even religion he shall pursue. The government is then charged to enforce the will of the child over that of the parent.

Naturally, this outrageous excision of parents from children will preclude the traditional right of the parent to make educational and religious choices for their minor children.

For his part, Badman asserted that children might be open for “abuse” in homsechool situations and insisted that the UNCRC gives him the standing to ascertain what the kids want and enforce that upon parents.

I am not persuaded that under the current regulatory regime that there is a correct balance between the rights of parents and the rights of the child either to an appropriate education or to be safe from harm.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) gives children and young people over forty substantive rights which include the right to express their views freely, the right to be heard in any legal or administrative matters that affect them and the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. Article 12 makes clear the responsibility of signatories to give children a voice:

“Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.”

Yet under the current legislation and guidance, local authorities have no right of access to the child to determine or ascertain such views.

So, according to the British government, homeschools are dens of abuse and children have the “right” to decide for themselves what sort of education they should pursue. And parents? Well they simply must bow to the rule of the state.

It seems clear that British homeschoolers are on the verge of being made illegal. If the United States is foolish enough to join Great Britain as a signatory member of the UNCRC, it cannot be long before our homsechools are in the same position.

(Crossposted at PubliusForum.com.)

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