Brits tighten screws on home schooling

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    A recent British report calls for the government takeover of home schooling.....

    .........."It would require all home schoolers to have to register with the equivalent of the federal government here [in the U.S.]," he says. "Secondly, they would have to be available for home visits...from government officials to separate them and ask them questions about their home schooling, whether they like it, etc."........

    ......Smith says Badman used Articles 12 and 29 from the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child Treaty to justify the report.


    http://www.onenewsnow.com/Education/Default.aspx?id=693664
     
  2. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    We have had a very similar law in place here in Ireland since 2002. The Irish constitution gives parents the right to decide on the education of their children.

    It works beautifully. We had an initial assessment that was very fair and very basic. Its purpose was to simply insure that the children were being educated. The assessor was totally impressed with our education, curriculum, and record keeping and we had a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with him.

    We now have total freedom to operate our own home school according to the dictates of our conscious. We told them that we were homeschooling in order to insure that our children received an education based on our own Christian and biblical principles.

    We have total freedom to teach our children (one child now) along with all of the benefits of having our children in school. I wish we had this when we first arrived in Ireland in 1995.

    I would have to read the section on 'controlling the curriculum' to know what it actually says instead of the views expressed in the article. If indeed it tells the parents exactly what curriculum they must use I would have an issue, but I suspect it is similar to here and that they just must prove that the curriculum is providing a proper education.

    I am looking for the actual report but have not found it. If you come across it would you post it please?

    Found it

    Here it is

    It looks like it is only one man's recommendation as well. From a first perusal it looks like it is a way to bring home education 'out of the closet' and to recognise and support it. It does not appear to be a 'screw tightening' by any means.

    I am uncomfortable with the 'talking alone' recommendation. Ours was one on one with each child, but we were in the room.
     
    #2 NaasPreacher (C4K), Sep 24, 2009
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  3. Crabtownboy

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    Should homeschoolers be checked to ensure they are really teaching their kids. I know some parents who have given their kids excellent an excellent education ... and I have known a few, thank goodness it is a few, whose kids have gotten a very poor education. What kind of standard, if any, whould be set?
     
  4. Matt Black

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    The standard would be that set by the National Curriculum; provided parents adhere to this, the usual Health and Safety regs and are willing to submit themselves to occasional inspection (the same as any other educational establishment), there shouldn't be a problem.

    [ETA - I'm on the Christian Legal Centre's (conservative evangelical organisation) mailing list here and this doesn't seem to have hit their radar; they're normally very hot on this sort of thing so I'm thinking it's not that big a deal]
     
    #4 Matt Black, Sep 24, 2009
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  5. abcgrad94

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    I don't know about England's homeschool laws, but I do know that here in the USA, we homeschoolers are subject to much more scrutiny than regular school systems. When I taught in a Christian school, I had much less paperwork required of me than I do now as a homeschool parent.

    This whole idea of letting a stranger come into your home to talk to your children alone sounds too much like the Gestapo to me. I don't let any stranger do so now for ANY reason, why should I start simply because we homeschool? I'm watching this one, because as England goes, the US generally follows.
     
  6. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    That's my thought on this Matt. I am on the list as well, plus none of the British home education sites seem too upset.

    It is, after all, only a report, and we all now how much of reports survive a parliament/congress.
     
  7. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Did you read the proposal? It hardly sounds Gestapo like. I agree that I have some concerns about the 'alone' bit, but then again we have the problem of people home educating just to avoid authorities and hide abuse. This is a fine point that would have to be worked through, but the rest sounds reasonable.
     
  8. Jim1999

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    If one doesn't have standards in home teaching, how can the children expect to enter advanced education? Even public (private in America) schools had to follow prescribed programs. At one time Form 6 included entry exams to either Oxford or Cambridge Universities. I understand now there are two levels of Form 6.

    In my day, one could advance according to his ability through the levels so that one could actually complete first year of university in Form 6; he still had to write the appropriate examinations.

    I can't imagine my parents, who could barely read or write, homeschooling! There must be some regulations. I thank God they were clever enough to send me to an Anglican Public Boarding School.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. Matt Black

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    LOL - we think it's the other way round!

    But - serious point - schools as educational establishments in the UK are subject to rigorous inspections by the likes of OFSTED - and rightly so (one of the first things my wife and I did when deciding which school to send our son to was to look at the OFSTED reports for the contenders), so why should homes which purport to be educational establishments be treated any different?
     
  10. abcgrad94

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    No, I did not wade through all the numerous pages of fine print, but I did read what I felt was enough to understand the concept. I have a problem with some things mentioned in Number 8 (Safeguarding). There seems to be an idea that homeschoolers bear watching because of abuse. Parents who care enough to spend 24/7 teaching and training their children are hardly child abusers hiding from the government and do not need to be scrutinized any more than other parents.

    Also, it seems the parents may not have complete control over their child's curriculum. From what I read, it looks like the government would have the right to chose what is taught. As I said, the print was very small and I did not read every singe bit of it, but this is what I gathered from what I did read.
     
  11. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    In the UK, like Ireland, there must be some control because every student must take the same basic set of exams at the end of their schooling in order to go to university. Curriculum does not mean textbooks here - it is a national course of study to prepare for the exams.

    While it is admitted in the paper that the vast majority of home educators are doing an excellent job, home educating can create conditions ideally suited for child abuse. That is something that cannot be ignored. Not every home educator is a Christian seeking the best interest of their child.

    While I have an issue with the concept of 'meeting alone' with a child, I think generally that the recommendations in this report, and remember they are only recommendations, are for the most part a reasonable guide to find a balance between the inherent right of British parents to educate their children and the need to see that children are protected.

    The Irish law grew out of a couple of cases where 'home educators' were using their children as 'farm slaves' where they received no education and lived in similar conditions to the cattle and sheep. Because there was no law and no regulation nothing could be done.

    When our inspector came they asked those questions of the boys, but they had no problem with us being in the room. It was obvious from our home and the lad's demeanour and appearance that there was nothing to hide here.

    We must get past the concept that only dedicated Christians home educate. We considered joined a home education group when we first arrived here, but discovered for the most part that home education in those groups was nothing more than a cover-up for parents who were too lazy to get their kids to school and took advantage of their 'constitutional right' to decide about every aspect of their child's education.
     
    #11 NaasPreacher (C4K), Sep 24, 2009
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  12. abcgrad94

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    I see.

    About 99% of the homeschool parents I know or have met in our homeschool groups ARE very caring for their kids. Not all are Christians, but neither do they treat their children like slave labor. But, at least in WV, we have to have our kids tested every year or provide a portfolio for evaluation to prove the child is learning. We parents also must provide a copy of our diploma, address, children's names and ages, etc. every year. The requirements in PA, TN, and GA are even tougher than they are here in WV. So perhaps those requirements prevent the child abuse cases from happening.

    In the article, it was mentioned that the kids would be asked questions like "Do you like homeschool?" Would they ask public school kids if they like school and use that answer as a basis tor evaluate the teachers? I think not. So, while some restrictions and/or accountability is needed, it must be kept balanced.
     
  13. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    That is why this is a report and only a recommendation for further consideration.

    Until 2002 there were no controls on home education in Ireland and there are still none in the UK. Something needs to be done and this looks like a good place to start to me.
     
    #13 NaasPreacher (C4K), Sep 24, 2009
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  14. Matt Black

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    Er...yes they do: the OFSTED inspectors do interview a random selection of pupils and ask them questions like that. I know this in part because one of my good friends from church is an OFSTED inspector.
     
  15. abcgrad94

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    Wow. If someone asked me that as a kid, I'd say I hated school except for lunch and recess! It had nothing to do with the teachers' performance, though.
     

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