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The days are long past when all but the financially well-heeled sent their offspring to government-run “public” schools. Today, a growing number of parents, though a minority still, opt for other choices.
Arguments for and against the different types of schooling available can be heated, but in the end it is the parents who have the responsibility to choose. And that choice can be difficult.
There is, of course, the financial consideration. Sending a child to an independent school can be expensive. Parents sending a child to an independent school pay fees, as well as paying school taxes like other property owners.
Nevertheless, thousands of parents—often parents of relatively modest means—choose that option. Others—and the number has increased greatly in recent years—have chosen to teach their children at home.
It is not our desire to be prescriptive and suggest that only one choice is appropriate. Rather, we want to call attention to the choices available, and give parents an idea of where to get more information.
Government-run schools (“public schools”) can vary widely. Whether or not parents choose to send their child to a province-run school depends on whether or not they feel it can provide a good academic, social, and moral environment on an on-going basis, and whether or not the parents feel that the school needs to reflect their faith views.
Parents who take their responsibilities seriously should realize that it will not do to simply send a child off to school and trust the educational authorities to do the rest. Parents need to make themselves thoroughly familiar with whatever school they send their child to, then support it, but also keep track on an on-going basis of the education their child is getting.
The establishment of “Traditional Schools” or “Fundamental Schools” was an outgrowth of the “Value School” movement of the seventies. The idea was to provide public schools which will give support to parental moral (not specifically religious) teachings. Judging by the huge number of parents seeking to enroll their children in such schools in Surrey and Langley, parents seem to feel they fill a need. Close parental involvement is one of the keys to their success. To our knowledge, such schools in British Columbia only exist in Surrey, Langley, and Abbotsford.
Independent schools vary widely. Some are church-run, some are parent-run, and some are run as businesses by individuals or groups. The Federation of Independent School Associations (FISA) publishes a directory of independent schools, both those affiliated with FISA and those that are not. Interested parents can write to FISA, 150 Robson Street, Vancouver, B. C. V6B 2A7 or they can visit the FISA web site and go to “School Directory.”
The number of students being home-schooled has increased greatly in recent years. Under current B. C. law, a parent may register his child “on or before September 30 each year” with a school in his school district, a regional correspondence school, or an independent school. The school that registers a home-schooled child is to provide some educational services, including evaluation and assessment services and the loan of educational resources. Parents interested in home-schooling may want to write to the BC Homeschool Association, 6225-C 136 St., Surrey, BC V3X 1H3 or visit the web page where a great deal of information may be found. .
Although distributed learning provides for learning at home, the British Columbia Ministry of Education draws a sharp distinction between home schooling and distributed learning. For a clear explanation of the difference, see "Distributed Learning vs. Homeschooling" on the Ministry of Education site. Note that distributed learning students "are enrolled in a public or independent school distributed learning program," whereas homeschooled children are "are registered as homeschooled children in a school within the school district where they reside, a francophone, or independent school." The distributed learning program "is the responsibility of the public or independent school," whereas the "homeschooled children's educational program is the responsibility of their parents or guardians." Any parents needing to compare the two programs should read the list of comparisons given on the Ministry site.
In Defence of Parental Interests
A number of
websites, including our own, are devoted to the defence of parental rights
and of children's well-being.
In a previous editorial (given immediately below), we talked about the necessity of parents taking steps to protect their children in the schools, given the fact that harmful propaganda is a possibility in the school system. British Columbia Parents and Teachers for Life is now offering what we think may be of some help: a "Parents' Directive Regarding the Education of Their Children," a document which parents can deliver to the school making clear their wishes with regards to the education of their children. We think that this document is written in respectful terms yet is firm in stating the parents' wishes. We do not take credit for the idea. Others have written similar documents. We present this as reflective of issues we feel parents should be concerned about, and hopefully reflective of the tone which such a document should have.
This document when sent to the school does not come from British Columbia Parents and Teachers for Life. It is only of value if it is recognized as coming from the parents who deliver it. Parents are responsible for the document when they use it. British Columbia Parents and Teachers for Life cannot be responsible for its use, and our name should not be attached to it when it is sent as a parental directive.
Should you as a parent wish to change the document in any way, you are entitled to do so. You may have other concerns which you wish to express, or you may wish to change it in some other way to suit your family's situation. Of course we are not responsible for any changes made. It would be well, in our view, to ensure that any changes retain a respectful tone and are carefully checked for wording before the document is delivered to your children's school. The text of our suggested directive followsbelow:
Directive Regarding the Education of Their Children
Conscious that parents are the first educators of their children and that they continue to bear a prime responsibility for their education, we are communicating the following statement of wishes regarding our children’s education. We request that this statement be kept on file in the school to which we have entrusted our children and that it be brought to the attention of all those teachers and other staff members who will be charged with dealing with our children.. We respectfully issue this statement as a legal directive to school authorities and personnel.
Holding certain principles regarding the family as the basis for our own teaching of our child or children, we desire that those principles should in no way be undermined. We hold as an ideal the concept of the family as founded on the life-long commitment of one man and one woman to one another in marriage and on their commitment to the welfare of their children. Nothing taught to our children in the school should undermine respect for this principle. The school should seek the welfare of all children entrusted to it and to the best of its ability protect all from harassment, but it shall in no way teach our children that concepts of the family diverging from our ideal are equal or superior to that ideal.
We hold to the belief that human life is sacred from conception to natural death, and nothing taught to our child or children in the school should undermine respect for this principle.
We as parents have signed two copies of this document as an indication of our wishes. We request that you return one copy with the signature of the school principal as an indication of his or her having received the document. We further request that any principal succeeding the present one shall likewise sign this document.
this ____________ day of _______________, in the year ___________ at
Note: The following links are given for teachers' and parents' judicious use. As always, BCPTL does not imply approval or total approval of material in a website when we give a link to it. But we hope that in the following sites teachers and parents may find material of use to them in furthering students' education.
The following are educational web pages which we have found, or which we have been referred to by teacher or homeschooling parent sources:
Arithmetic and Mathematics
Career and Personal Planning
A local site for people in Surrey, British Columbia:
[We think Francis Schaeffer's comments given here are--as Schaeffer says-- relevant not only to Christian schools but to other indepedent schools that are not specifically Christian.]
From a speech given in 1982...
Now, moving from public schools to private schools, what is the priority? Notice I am not saying Christian schools, but all private schools, including Christian schools. If you are really going to do something here, you have to think larger than your own interest. What we must do in the private schools, including the Christian schools, is to stand against those who have done so much to ruin our public schools in not allowing them to get a hold on the private schools, and specifically, the Christian schools, through a control of the curriculum. What we should be doing is struggling to see that the Christian school's curriculum is not controlled by those who have with their world view ruined the public schools.
This does not mean that the state does not have a legitimate interest in the safety of the pupils in such a thing as a firedoor. There are Christian schools that have said the state has no right even to tell them not to have a fire trap. That is not so. The state has a responsibility to say that a group of people meeting in a building like this we are meeting in have exit signs around the room, so that if there is a fire you will not all burn to death, and that is equally so for the kids in school. So the issue is not something like fire doors. The issue is that they must not begin to bring the same destructive teaching into the private schools by the back door of curriculum control that they have brought so dominantly into the public schools. We must not allow them to bring in through the back door a control of the curriculum and especially at the very point where the Bible's content is denied and contaminated. Therefore, the protection of the Christian school curriculum is another one of the priorities, which Christians ought to be consciously and intelligently standing for.
However, let me say another side of this question of the Christian school and our protection of it. While we are saying that the Christian school is not to allow its curriculum to be corrupted, we must also say that the private school, and specifically the Christian school, should give a good education.
We are to say we are going to control the curriculum. We are not going to let the state bring in the materialistic view as the final reality through the back door. But if we are going to say that with any validity the Christian schools must be giving a really good education. It should not just be a matter of not teaching what is wrong in a twisted education that rules out a Creator. Our Christian schools should not primarily be negative oriented. It is to be positive.
It is not just to be negative. It should be a superior education, if you are going to really protect the Christian school. It should certainly teach the students how to read and write and how to do mathematics better than most public schools enjoy today. It should do that but it should also appreciate and teach the full scope of human learning. Christian education is indeed knowing the Bible, of course it is, but Christian education should also deal with all human knowledge. We can think of what I said previously about the humanities. Christian education should deal with all human knowledge - presenting it in a framework of truth, rooted in the Creator's existence, and in his creation. Real Christian education, if we are going to protect our Christian schools, is not just the negative side, it is positive, touching on all human knowledge; and in each case, according to the level of the students, showing how it fits into the total framework of truth, the truth of all reality as rooted in the Creator's existence and in His creation. If the Judeo-Christian position is the truth of all reality, and-it is, then all the disciplines, and very much including a knowledge of, and I would repeat, an appreciation of, the humanities and the arts are a part of Christian education. Some Christians seem absolutely blind at this point.
If Christianity is not just one more religion, one more upper story kind of thing (as I speak of it in Escape From Reason and in my other books) then it has something to say about all the disciplines, and it certainly has something to say about the humanities and the arts and the appreciation of them. And I want to say quite firmly, if your Christian school does not do this, I do not believe it is giving a good education. It is giving a truncated education and it is not honoring to the Lord.
If truth is one, that is if truth has unity, then Christian education means understanding, and being excited by, the associations between the disciplines and showing how these associations are rooted in the Creator's existence. I do not know if you know what you are hearing or not. It is a flaming fire. It is gorgeous if you understand what we have in the teaching and revelation of God. If we are going to have really a Christian education, it means understanding truth is not a series of isolated subjects but there are associations, and the associations are rooted in nothing less than the existence of the Creator Himself.
True Christian education is not a negative thing; it is not a matter of isolating the student from the full scope of knowledge. Isolating the student from large sections of human knowledge is not the basis of a Christian education. Rather it is giving him or her the framework or total truth, rooted in the Creator's existence and in the Bible's teaching, so that in each step of the formal learning process the student will understand what is true and what is false and why it is true or false. It is not isolating students from human knowledge. It is teaching them in a framework of the total Biblical teaching, beginning with the tremendous central thing, that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. It is teaching in this framework, so that on their own level, as they are introduced to all of human knowledge, they are not introduced in the midst of a vacuum, but they are taught each step along the way why what they are hearing is either true or false. That is true education. The student, then, is an educated person. I just say in passing, John Harvard understood that when he founded Harvard University. It was founded with this whole thing in mind. The student, then if he is taught this way, is an educated person, who will have the tools to keep learning and enjoy learning throughout all of life. Is life dull? How can it be dull? No, a true education, a Christian education, is more than the negative, though that is there. It is giving the tools in the opening the doors to all human knowledge, in the Christian framework so they will know what is truth and what is untruth, so they can keep learning as long as they live, and they can enjoy, they can really enjoy, the whole wrestling through field after field of knowledge. That is what an educated person is.
In short, Christian education should produce students more educated in the totality of knowledge, culture and life, than non-Christian education rooted in a false view of truth. The Christian education should end with a better educated boy and girl and man and woman, than the false could ever produce. Protecting the Christian school must carry with it more than the negative; it should produce a superior education in all areas of. knowledge, and notice I am saying all areas of human knowledge.
Permission is granted in advance by the author to anyone who wishes to reproduce this speech in part or in full provided that the following credit is given wherever it appears:
Copyright by Francis A. Schaeffer, 1982, "Priorities 1982". Two speeches given at the L'Abri Mini-Seminars in 1982.
The above permission is granted for non-commercial purposes only, not the be reproduced for financial gain in any form. For additional information write to: Franky Schaeffer V Productions, P.O. Box 909, Los Gatos, CA 95031.
School choice advocates are celebrating back-to-back-to-back victories.
On April 4, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the tax-credit scholarship program in Arizona, which allows nearly 30,000 low- and moderate-income students to attend private schools.
Under the program, individuals can receive a 100 percent tax credit for donating up to $500 annually to scholarship-granting organizations. The organizations then award scholarships to students. Just a day after the ruling, the state Senate voted 27-1 to increase the individual donation limit to $750 ($1,500 for couples). The legislation now goes to the governor.
At least other eight states also have tax-credit scholarship programs.
On Friday, congressional leaders and the president agreed to restore the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to low-income students so they can attend better schools. The extension lasts for five years. President Obama and Congressional Democrats had begun to phase out the program.
An Indiana Senate committee was expected to vote
today on legislation that would provide scholarships to low- and
middle-income families so they could enroll their children at a school
of their choosing. HB 1003 has already cleared the House.
By Patrick B. Craine
QUEBEC CITY, Quebec, December 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Sovereigntist Parti Quebecois, the opposition party for the province, is calling for a major revision of Quebec's new Ethics and Religious Culture program (ERC), following the release of a new study lambasting the highly-controverted state-mandated curriculum.
Minister of Education Michelle Courchesne has indicated she has no intention of reopening the debate, however.
The new curriculum, mandated by the Quebec Ministry of Education as of September 2008, has sparked a loud outcry from numerous sectors of the province, including secularists, nationalists, and religious believers. Spanning grades 1 to 11, the relativist course aims to promote an "absolute respect" (as one course developer described it) for the spectrum of religions and ethical choices. It replaced a previous religious education program that allowed parents to choose between a Catholic, Protestant, or secular curriculum.
"This is not a course in religious culture. It is a course in multiculturalism," said the new study's author, Joelle Querin, a sociologist and researcher who works with the Institut de recherche sur le Québec (Institute of Research on Quebec). "All conceptions of life are considered valid," she says. "The only thing presented as indisputable is the way to cope with this ethical diversity. There stops the relativism, since children must 'select privileged actions that promote coexistence,' that is to say, acting in accordance with the doctrine of pluralism."
"As parents seek to inculcate certain values to their children of six to eight years of age," she says further, "[the children] learn in school that these values are relative and that they are free to develop their own ethical life."
The curriculum, for example, presents homosexual families as normal. In grade 1 and 2 the course has the goal: "to bring children to explore the diversity of relationships of interdependence between members of different types of families."
Pauline Marois, leader of the opposition Parti Quebecois, said she was distressed at the revelation that the program is promoting a multiculturalism that is contrary to Quebec's own identity. She called today for a new commission to evaluate the program and institute appropriate reform. "We have reservations following the publication of analyses that seem to suggest that the course has deviated from its original goals," she said.
Marois said, however, that she does not agree with the fundamental critique of the program, instead insisting on her party's support for the principles of the curriculum. She noted that it was her party that initiated the deconfessionalization of Quebec's schools in 1998.
At the same time, the Action Democratique du Quebec (ADQ) party has gone one step further, renewing their call for a moratorium on the course, in order to conduct a complete overhaul. The party advocates "implementing a moratorium, taking a time out to ask what we want to teach our children, what heritage we want to leave them with this course," said ADQ leader Gerard Deltell.
In the curriculum for grade 8, he pointed out, "a questionnaire asks a student: are you a boy, a girl, or do you not know?"
"We have gotten to there. What is this?"
The ERC curriculum, Querin explains in her study, was developed methodically over several years as a "key" part of "a vast enterprise of social transformation." Motivated primarily by political, rather than pedagogical ends, she says the course aims to "indoctrinate" the province's youth into a relativism, pluralism, and multiculturalism.
Such an approach exalts the province's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, adopted in 1975, over Quebec's cultural and historical identity, she continues. "Under the pretext of gathering students by teaching them the foundations of our common culture," she writes, "the ERC course consecrates a conception of Quebec as a strictly civic nation, defined not from its history and its cultural specificity, but only from its Charter of Rights."
Thus far, the Quebec Ministry of Education has received over 1,700 requests for exemptions to the program, but has refused every single one. In August, Catholic parents from Drummondville lost a court case in which they sought exemptions for their children. They have since filed a motion to appeal that decision.
Even private schools are being forced to implement the course, such as Loyola High School, a private Catholic boys' school which currently awaits a court decision on their petition to opt out of the program.
According to Barbara Kay, in an article today for the National Post, "[ERC] is a creepy state foray into social engineering. Disguised as multicultural feel-goodism, the program is in reality the utopian Quebec Left's strategic plan for societal transformation."
"Their tactics," she says, are "the appropriation of parents' natural and rightful authority over their children's religious upbringing; the willful erosion of children's pride in their Quebec patrimony; and the slow suffocation of students' inherent curiosity and intellectual autonomy."
"If Quebec does not wish to end up in the sick ward of Western cultures," Kay concludes, "[ERC] must be excised in the operating theatre of popular resistance."
By Patrick B. Craine
September 4, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Quebec's Coalition pour la Liberté en Education (CLE) has expressed their shock over the Monday court ruling in Drummondville that shut down parents' attempts to have their children exempted from the province's recently imposed school program in relativism, 'Ethics and Religious Culture' (ERC).
Questioning the legal basis of the ruling, CLE president Marie-Josée Croteau criticized the judge for basing his decision on the teachings of the Catholic Church. "We are surprised and indignant," she said. "This decision is based on an interpretation of the Catholic religion, so we demand respect for the rights of all citizens, believers and atheists."
"The courts are qualified to rule on the sincerity of the religious or philosophical belief of the plaintiff," said CLE spokesman Richard Décarie. "The State is not capable to act as an arbiter of religions and will not become so."
Décarie reiterated in an interview with LifeSiteNews that the
fundamental problem with the judge's ruling is his "basing [his]
argumentation on the Catholic faith instead of the right to freedom of
religion and conscience."
In connection with the announcement of the British Columbia government in 2009 that it will fund full-day kindergarten beginning in September of 2010, concerns have been expressed that the government is taking over too great a share and control of children's lives. One organization concerned about such potential inroads is "Kids First Parents Association of Canada."
One of the reasons for concern is a philosophy expressed in some quarters that would deny the unique role of the family in the upbringing of young chidren. An example of the expression of this philosophy is expressed in the following passage:
An integrated approach to the ECEC system Within this section I would like to propose an approach to an integrated system of ECEC which I have developed since my doctoral thesis (Haddad, 1997), in which ECEC is seen as a third model. This new model builds on the removal of the inconsistencies of the previous models of child care and early childhood education, the recognition of their positive qualities, and the addition of a new element, which gives a dynamic and evolutionary meaning to the whole. The new element comes from the paradigm shift from an exclusively family responsibility to a shared responsibility, which is the legitimation of out-of-home child socialization. This means that a significant portion of the upbringing process has now become a public concern and calls for: • a redefinition of public (state) and private (family) relationships concerning children’s affairs; • the recognition of the child’s right to be cared for and socialized in a wider social context than that of the family; • the recognition of the family’s right to share the care and education of the child with society; • the professionalization of care and the enlargement of the concept of education. It is essential to comprehend the implications of this third approach for policy and programme implementation so that efforts may converge and strategies of integration can be fully effective.
[Note: British Columbia Parents and Teachers for Life has not taken a position on the value or otherwise of all-day kindergarten. The concept that partents are the prime educators of their children is central to our philosophy.]
WorldNetDaily,December 11, 2009
An international human rights organization today announced it will pursue a civil lawsuit on behalf of parents who want to control their children's education and withhold them from explicit sex education and play-acting classes required by the German government.
Joel Thornton of the International Human Rights Group told WND the government in Salzkotten, Germany, is sending the fathers of the children to jail for terms of one week because they have refused to turn their children over to school officials for mandated sex classes.
According to a report from Richard Guenther, European director for the IHRG, eight families of Christians have decided to withhold their children from required sex education classes in Salzkotten.
Sex education classes in Germany are explicit, and the issue is one of the major reasons why families – and not just Christian families – choose to homeschool their children even though the government has maintained its illegality since the days of Hitler
The students who are being held out of sex education classes also are not being allowed by their parents to participate in a play-acting program called "My Body Belongs to Me," which essentially teaches children how to engage in sex, the report said.
Guenther reported that one father already has served his week in jail and is scheduled to be released this weekend, while the fathers of seven more families still are facing a similar fate.
The government already has imposed fines on the families, which continue to accrue. Thornton said the families are being targeted with a "Bussgeld," a fine described as "repentance money" designed to show contrition for wrong behavior.
The families so far have refused to pay because that would be admitting guilt.
Thornton said the cases being brought against the families – whose names are being withheld for the protection of the children – reveal the dedication among German officials to punish parents who refuse to hand over their children to the state for education purposes.
[See the whole article on WorldNetDaily.]
Peter J. Smith
the full story here: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/jul/09071009.html
and Petra Schmidt, residents of southern
to the International Human Rights Group (IHRG), the Schmidts are
committed Christians, who chose to educate their children at home in
order to preserve their two sons from the hostile moral and secular
environment of German public schools.
think this case shows the seriousness of the situation in
though there is only one child involved now, and the family has done an
accomplished job with the other son, the government is increasing their
attacks," said Thorton.
having educated their two children, Josua, 16, and Aaron, 14, for over
nine years with great success, the government earlier this year
initiated proceedings against the Schmidts as part of a clampdown on
state has leveled heavy fines on the Schmidt family to the tune of a
staggering €13,000 ($18,300 USD), which has broken their finances and
pushed them to the brink of bankruptcy. Hans Schmidt has only a
modest income through assisting those with disabilities to learn a trade
at a vocational center. With the family unable to pay all 26 fines, the
government has placed a lien on their home.
Armin and Gabriele Eckermann, of SchuzH, a German homeschooling advocacy
group, along with IHRG, are representing the Schmidts in a July 21 trial
over the payment of € 9,000.
the Schmidts, however, the greatest battle involves the Jugendamt (Youth
Welfare Office), which has demanded custody of their youngest son,
Aaron. The Jugendamt was created in 1937 for the purpose of effecting
the uniform educational and social formation of the youth of the Third
Reich at the direction of Fuehrer Adolf Hitler. The Jugendamt has
repeatedly attempted to seize custody of German children in
homeschooling families, with the most infamous case being the abduction
of 15-year-old Melissa Busekros in the Busekros affair. (see coverage here,
Jugendamt are trying to take custody from the parents through the
to IHRG, the Schmidts have made a good faith effort to prove to the
authorities the effectiveness of their homeschooling - both sons were
tested by school officials and proved their excellent academic and
social competencies. Josua, 16, was awarded his high school diploma
after scoring very high on the state exams, which are mandatory for
graduation. Although Aaron also scored very high, German law makes him
ineligible to receive his diploma until he is sixteen-years old,
requiring him to continue compulsory school attendance in the state
shows how much the German system hates permitting anyone to step outside
accepted government educational practices," said
have to work with these families or
have dealt increasingly with Germany's estimated 300-500 homeschoolers
in a draconian manner consistent with a statist regime, as parents face
imprisonment, heavy fines, the state seizure of their children, or are
forced to seek asylum for their convictions in neighboring countries.
recent flight of German homeschooling parents Uwe and Hannelore
Romeike and their family, seeking asylum in the
does seem like there has been more interest in reporting on the
homeschooling issue in German in the last couple of years," said
attorney Mike Donnelly of the Home School Legal Defense Fund (HSLDA).
"We are hoping that as the issue becomes more reported and talked
about in the mainstream press which is starting to pick it up that it
will become more an issue for politicians, and lead to a change in the
laws and regulations on homeschooling," said HSLDA attorney Mike
explained that the German state and the courts have viewed homeschooling
as a "parallel society" in competition with the state. In the
eyes of the state, they view, "If you control the kids, you control
is an element of totalitari
are hoping that through cases of the Schmidts, Roemeikes, and others
that it will get the attention of lawmakers and policymakers in
Parents Convicted after Withdrawing Daughter from Explicit Sex-Ed
Program: Appeal Filed
Homeschooling Family Applies for Asylum in US
Homeschooling Parents Sentenced to Three Months in Prison
Homeschooling Family Flees to England After Mayor Attempts to Seize
- HomeSchooled Teen in Germany Begs for Help to Go Home to Family
European Human Rights Court Rules
By Tim Waggoner
June 19, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The parents of a homeschooling family in the German state of Hesse have each been sentenced to three months in prison for the crime of homeschooling their seven children.
According to a staff attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the sentence was issued to Juergen and Rosemarie Dudek after the federal prosecutor, Herwig Muller, said last year that he was dissatisfied with the fines the couple had already paid for homeschooling their children.
As reported by WorldNetDaily (WND), staff attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association, Mike Donnelly, was appalled by the decision.
"Words escape me, it's unconscionable, incredible, shocking." He then affirmed, "They will appeal of course."
He concluded by summarizing the actions of the prosecutor: "You guys are rebelling against the state. We're going to punish you."
Homeschooling is illegal in Germany under a law dating back to the Hitler era. Homeschooling families in the country have faced increasing persecution in recent years, with police in several cases physically transporting children to school and even removing one teenager from her parent's care.
A spokesperson for the German homeschool advocacy group, Netzwork-Bildungsfreiheit, commented on the mandatory public school attendance laws, which deem homeschooling families to be in breach of the state's criminal code.
"It is embarrassing the German officials put parents into jail whose children are well educated and where the family is in good order," wrote Joerg Grosseleumern. "We personally know the Dudeks as such a family."
WND also reported that Judge Peter Hobbel, who originally imposed the fines on the parents, criticized the school system for denying the requests of the parents to have their "private school" recognized.
In a previous WND article, it was noted that the Dudek's wrote a letter to the HSLDA regarding a new law that gives German authorities the right of "withdrawal of parental custody as one of the methods for punishing 'uncooperative' parents." The law is essentially enacted when "child abuse" is suspected. Conveniently, German courts have consistently deemed homeschooling a form of child abuse.
"The new law is seen as a logical step in carving up family rights after a federal court had decided that homeschooling was an abuse of custody," read the letter signed by Juergen Dudek.
In a blog, Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, attempted to defend these new developments, saying the government "has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion."
Arno Meissner, the chief of the government's local education department, has also promulgated the government's intolerance of homeschooling families, confirming they will continually rely upon the mandatory school attendance law.
See related news:
German Homeschooling Family Flees to England After Mayor Attempts to
Action Call as German Homeschooled 15-year-old Sentenced to Child
Judge orders homeschoolers into government education
Court: Family's religious beliefs 'no evidence' of 1st Amendment violation
. . .February 29, 2008
By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily
A California court has ruled that several children in one homeschool family must be enrolled in a public school or "legally qualified" private school, and must attend, sending ripples of shock into the nation's homeschooling advocates as the family reviews its options for appeal.
The ruling came in a case brought against Phillip and Mary Long over the education being provided to two of their eight children. They are considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court, because they have homeschooled all of their children, the oldest now 29, because of various anti-Christian influences in California's public schools.
The decision from the 2nd Appellate Court in Los Angeles granted a special petition brought by lawyers appointed to represent the two youngest children after the family's homeschooling was brought to the attention of child advocates.
"We find no reason to strike down the Legislature's evaluation of what constitutes an adequate education scheme sufficient to promote the 'general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence,'" the court said in the case. "We agree … 'the educational program of the State of California was designed to promote the general welfare of all the people and was not designed to accommodate the personal ideas of any individual in the field of education.'"
The words echo the ideas of officials from Germany, where homeschooling has been outlawed since 1938 under a law adopted when Adolf Hitler decided he wanted the state, and no one else, to control the minds of the nation's youth.
Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has said "school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct, encourages dialogue among people of different beliefs and cultures, and helps students to become responsible citizens."
Specifically, the appeals court said, the trial court had found that "keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where (1) they could interact with people outside the family, (2) there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children's lives, and (3) they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents' 'cloistered' setting."
The appeals ruling said California law requires "persons between the ages of six and 18" to be in school, "the public full-time day school," with exemptions being allowed for those in a "private full-time day school" or those "instructed by a tutor who holds a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught."
The judges ruled in the case involving the Longs the family failed to demonstrate "that mother has a teaching credential such that the children can be said to be receiving an education from a credentialed tutor," and that their involvement and supervision by Sunland Christian School's independent study programs was of no value.
Nor did the family's religious beliefs matter to the court.
Their "sincerely held religious beliefs" are "not the quality of evidence that permits us to say that application of California's compulsory public school education law to them violates their First Amendment rights."
"Such sparse representations are too easily asserted by any parent who wishes to homeschool his or her child," the court concluded.
The father, Phillip Long, said the family is working on ways to appeal to the state Supreme Court, because he won't allow the pro-homosexual, pro-bisexual, pro-transgender agenda of California's public schools, on which WND previously has reported, to indoctrinate his children. . . .
A spokesman for the Home School Legal Defense Association, one of the world's premiere homeschooling advocacy organizations, said the group's experts were analyzing the impact of the decision.
"It's a very unfortunate decision," he said.
Randy Thomasson, of Campaign for Children and Families, said under California law parents have the legal right to create a private school in their home and enroll their own children. . . .
A legal outline for parents' homeschool rights in California, published by Family Protection Ministries, confirmed Thomasson's description.
The state's legal options for home educators include establishing a private school in their home by filing a private school affidavit with state regulators or enrolling in private school satellite instruction programs or independent study programs, it said.
The Long family had been involved in such a program with Sunland Christian School, but the appeals court took the extraordinary step of banning the family from being involved in that organization any longer, since it was "willing to participate in the deprivation of the children's right to a legal education."
A number of groups already have assembled in California under the Rescue Your Child slogan to encourage parents to withdraw their children from the state's public school system.
It's because the California Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger worked together to establish Senate Bill 777 and Assembly Bill 394 as law, plans that institutionalize the promotion of homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism and other alternative lifestyle choices.
"First, [California] law allowed public schools to voluntarily promote homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality. Then, the law required public schools to accept homosexual, bisexual and transsexual teachers as role models for impressionable children. Now, the law has been changed to effectively require the positive portrayal of homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality to 6 million children in California government-controlled schools," said Thomasson.
Even insiders joined in the call for an abandonment of California's public districts. Veteran public school teacher Nadine Williams of Torrance said the sexual indoctrination laws have motivated her to keep her grandchildren out of the very public schools she used to support.
The Discover Christian Schools website reports getting thousands of hits daily from parents and others seeking information about alternatives to California's public schools.
The new law itself technically bans in any school texts, events, class or activities any discriminatory bias against those who have chosen alternative sexual lifestyles, said Meredith Turney, legislative liaison for Capitol Resource Institute.
There are no similar protections for students with traditional or conservative lifestyles and beliefs, however. Offenders will face the wrath of the state Department of Education, up to and including lawsuits.
"SB 777 will result in reverse discrimination against students with religious and traditional family values. These students have lost their voice as the direct result of Gov. Schwarzenegger's unbelievable decision. The terms 'mom and dad' or 'husband and wife' could promote discrimination against homosexuals if a same-sex couple is not also featured," she said.
Karen England, chief of CRI, told WND that the law is not a list of banned words, including "mom" and "dad." But she said the requirement is that the law bans discriminatory bias and the effect will be to ban such terminology.
"Having 'mom' and 'dad' promotes a discriminatory bias. You have to either get rid of 'mom' and 'dad' or include everything when talking about [parental issues]," she said. "They [promoters of sexual alternative lifestyles] do consider that discriminatory."
The California plan still is facing a court challenge on its
constitutionality and a possible vote of the people of California if an
initiative effort succeeds.
Follow-up article to the one immediately above:
By Heather Sells
CBN News Reporter
March 10, 2008
CBNNews.com - California Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger says he'll intervene if a court ruling against
homeschoolers is not overturned. And some homeschooling parents say
they'll leave the state, rather than give up their rights to educate
The majority opinion says that parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children. And it requires homeschooling parents to obtain teaching credentials.
Brad Dacus represents the family whose case prompted the ruling. The next stop is the California Supreme Court -- but Dacus says they'll take it to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.
"It's a clear violation not only of the statutory rights of
parents in California but of the constitutional rights of parents,"
"Parents -- we're encouraging them to continue to homeschool," Dacus said. "But they need to have their eyes wide open because this is now established case law as it stands right now."
Dacus and others believe many California homeschool families will leave the state, rather than send their children to public schools.
The Jackier family has already talked about the possibility.
"We really believe that educating our children at home is our only option so if the state of California decided that that is something we could not do, we would have to leave the state," Jackier said.
Governor Schwarzenegger weighed in on the side of parents on Friday, saying they have the right to decide what's best for their children. And the governor promised to intervene, if the courts don't overturn the ruling.
2.2.2007 - News Release from "Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit"
day before Christmas, the German newspaper, Erlanger Nachrichten
published a picture of the eight-member Busekros family standing happily
together around an advent wreath. The title of the accompanying article
was “Only families open the way for new perspectives“. On the first
of February this year, the Busekros’ oldest daughter was torn from her
family by force, thanks to a judge’s ruling : Compulsory admittance to
the Klinikum Nuremberg-Nord, a psychiatric clinic for children and young
people and loss of parental custody.
summer 2004, Melissa was told that she would have to repeat the 7th
grade at the Christian Ernst Gymnasium (a high school where one can
obtain the Abitur, the highest German high school diploma) due to her
bad grades in math and latin. The situation in the class played no small
part in creating this state of affairs - the high noise levels and
cancelled classes prevented her from receiving the educational
assistance she needed during school hours. As Melissa had good
grades in all the other subjects, repeating the whole year would be
mostly a waste of her time, as well as the fact that she would now be in
a class even more problematic than the previous year’s. Thus, it was
decided by Melissa and her parents that she would be tutored
individually at home to meet her specific needs. At her own wish,
Melissa only took part in Music and sang in her school choir. The school
and the local school authorities were not satisfied with this solution,
and consequently expelled Melissa from the school, allocating her to the
local Hauptschule (the lowest in the German three-tier high school
Busekros continued educating their daughter at home, with their other
school-age children still attending school. At the end of the school
year 2005/2006, Melissa was no longer subject to full-time compulsory
schooling. In spite of this the Youth Welfare Office (Jugendamt) in
Erlangen appealed to the local Family Court, which ordered Melissa and
her parents to appear at a hearing, which was consequently attended
solely by her father. Melissa was overseas at that point. However, the
authorities didn’t relent and wanted to know in detail where Melissa
was, resulting in an unannounced visit to the family by the Judge of the
Busekros family is known and much loved by all their neighbours. Their
willingness to be photographed for an article in the local newspaper
demonstrates that they have nothing to hide. That was not good enough
for the officials. On Tuesday 30th January just after 7am, Mrs Busekros and
her children – Mr Busekros had already left for work – were startled
by the appearance of the judge of the Family Court,social workers and
police officials who demanded that Melissa, now aged 15, be handed over
to them immediately. They had as authorisation a decision by the
Erlangen Court (case no. 006 F 01004/06) of the 29th of
January. It stated “The relevant Youth Welfare Office is hereby
instructed and authorised to bring the child, if necessary by force, to
a hearing and may obtain police support for this purpose.”
was brought into the Child Psychiatry Unit of the Nuremberg clinic and
was subjected to an interrogation in the presence of the specialist Dr.
Schanda. After this interrogation, about three and a half hours after
she was coerced into the clinic, Melissa was returned home. Her relieved
parents and her five younger siblings, who didn’t know when they would
ever see Melissa again, as well as Melissa herself didn’t know that
the worst was still to come.
the afternoon of the 1st of February, the judge of the Family Court,
representatives of the Youth Welfare Office, along with fifteen police
officers, marched up to the Busekros home, to haul Melissa off to the
Child Psychiatry Unit of the Nuremberg clinic. The judicial decision
authorising this also removed Melissa from her parents’ custody,
according to her father, Hubert Busekros.This treatment was justified by
the psychiatrist’s finding, two days previously, that she was
supposedly developmentally delayed by one year and that she suffered
from school phobia. The fact that the less than optimal testing
environment and the unexpectedness of the tests could have impacted on
Melissa’s performance were not taken into account in this decision. It
is not known when Melissa’s parents and siblings will be able to see
her again, as the official approach in cases of “school phobia” is
to completely prevent the “patient” from having any contact with
those closest to him or her, as such contact supposedly enables the
article, "Only families open the way for new perspectives "
was accompanied by the photo of a happily smiling Melissa surrounded by
her loved ones – in her current situation, she can’t have much to
smile about. Will her smiles disappear completely, while the bureaucrats
who placed her in this situation remain smug in their certainty that
they have made her life better? What is being done to a sensitive and
musical young girl, just because the bureaucrats want to set an example?
In their zealous drive to enforce compulsory schooling (which by
Melissa’s age is only part-time) at all costs, they readily accept the
trauma caused to the unassuming and lovable Melissa.
Melissa had lived in Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, the
UK or Belgium, all those involved – the schoolgirl, her parents and
the educational officials involved – would have been, at the very
least, unperturbed that she was being educated at home. In these
countries, as in practically the rest of the world, home education is a
legally recognised alternative to school, which can be a boon to
children with special needs and gifts. Many of those German school
pupils who have had to repeat grades would have been able to complete
their schooling without stress in these countries if they had parents as
involved as Melissa’s. Melissa, on the other hand, has been turned
into a psychiatric case : a German schoolchild’s nightmare.
Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit condemns this inconsiderate and totally
incommensurate behaviour on the part of the officials involved and
demands that they give Melissa her freedom and return her to her family
immediately. Additionally, the Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit calls all
politicians and those in political offices, in Erlangen and the rest of
Germany, to ensure that such human rights abuses and and high-handed
behaviour by government officials are stopped, even if it requires
by Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit e.V. (Network for freedom in education)
person: Elisabeth Kuhnle, Tel. +49-721-611979, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
An interview with the father Hubert Busekros (in German) and some photographs of Melissa
By Peter J. Smith
The parents of Melissa Busekros, the German teen who was taken by
police from her home and placed in a psychiatric ward because she was
homeschooled, now are being billed by the government for the cost of her
forced stay, according to attorneys who are working on her case.
originally reported more than a year ago when Busekros, then 15, was
taken into custody from in front of her shocked family by police
officers bearing the following court order:
"The relevant Youth Welfare Office is hereby instructed and
authorized to bring the child, if necessary by force, to a
hearing and may obtain police support for this purpose."
A New Jersey Superior Court Judge said last week that home schooling allows child abuse to go undiscovered, World Net Daily reported.
"In today's threatening world, where we seek to protect children from abuse, not just physical, but also educational abuse, how can we monitor the educational welfare of our children" if state law allows home schooling, wrote Judge Thomas Zampino in a child-abuse case.
Christopher Brennan, a New Jersey attorney, said the judge is wrong to assume that home schooling is abusive.
"He's presenting this as though it's authority," he said. "He's just making this up, with no basis whatsoever."
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