The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is reporting that homeschoolers in Northern Ireland are under threat. A proposed policy would grant the government additional new powers such as entering homes, asking children their opinions, and arbitrarily assessing situations for approval.
What makes this proposal that much worse is that the education authorities there are citing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). As if local and federal governments aren’t bad enough, now we are dealing with what is essentially an international government.
Similar proposed measures were fought back in 2009 in England. It is no surprise that much of Western Europe is not friendly to the idea of homeschooling.
Of course, it is much worse in other countries. In Germany, homeschooling is illegal. A couple of months ago, a German family seeking asylum in the U.S. was finally told that they would not be deported after it was looking likely that they would be. If they had been deported, the parents would have been sent to prison in Germany.
Imagine that. You go to jail for committing the “crime” of trying to teach your children at home. In Germany, the state really does own the kids.
United States – Land of the Free
I am a huge critic of the U.S. government, and that isn’t going to stop here. It is also disappointing to see liberty being eroded away over time.
But I also see the positive side of things. I think homeschooling is one of those things. It was rare a few decades ago and now it is becoming more common and more acceptable. It is still a very small minority, but I think more families will choose to homeschool as time goes on. Not only will failing schools encourage this, but online education programs will also make it easier for parents to attempt.
In the realm of homeschooling, the U.S. really is a great deal freer than many other places in the world. There are still some really tough restrictions in some states, but at least it is a feasible choice in most states.
The homeschool movement in the U.S. will still have to work hard to gain more ground, but the trend is quite positive. And there really are different degrees of liberty. It is better to have some liberty than none at all. You can see this in the case of homeschooling in comparing the U.S. to totalitarian Germany, at least with this issue.
Before you go thanking your politicians for allowing us some freedom, I will quickly point out that it isn’t because the U.S. government is that much better than the German government. The reason for the difference is popular opinion.
I believe there is a greater sense of individualism in the U.S. There is a greater sense of independence, generally speaking. More Americans are less likely to be obedient citizens. I mean that in a good way.
Homeschooling is becoming more and more popular, especially in places such as Florida, where the government school system is not exactly top-notch. In addition, homeschoolers tend to be passionate about what they do and they will take a stand against others trying to interfere with the way they want to raise their kids. It is this outspoken small minority that keeps politicians from interfering too much.
The cat is out of the bag and the politicians in the U.S. are not going to stop the homeschool movement in the long run. They may be able to impose some minor roadblocks here and there, but those will only be temporary bumps in the road. With the internet and the thousands of educational videos going online every week, the homeschool movement is only going to get stronger. This is good news for liberty. It means that fewer children will be learning from the state.
Let’s hope that the liberty advocates of Northern Ireland can fight off more intrusions by government. And let’s hope the German people start to see the light and start demanding that homeschooling be legalized. They must ultimately choose if parents own their children or if the state own their children.