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Monday, September 27, 2010

The Worst Offenders

Hi homeschoolers,

We’ll now start a series of articles about a country that completely forbids Homeschool. Their government works in horrifying and Machiavellian ways to end it. Yet this is another country that signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and agreed to abide by it. As you read in my last article, Article 26 of the UDHR says:

* (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
* (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
* (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Again, I ask you to pay special attention to that third paragraph. It states simply and clearly that it is the parent’s right to select the method of education that a child shall receive, and not the states.

So what country am I going to write about? Germany, the most suppressive state in the world over the past 100 years and they’re at it again. Here’s an excerpt from a story from CBN news, Wednesday April 28, 2010, by Dale Hurd. If you have a weak heart and love your homeschool child, this may be hard to read. At the end I’ll provide you a link so you can look at the entire article.
BERLIN - It sounds like Nazi Germany: families afraid of a loud knock on their door in the early morning, police bursting in, and taking away their children.

But it's not Nazi Germany. It's today's Germany.

In Berlin, when authorities came for 7-year-old Dan Schulz, his family secretly videotaped the abduction. On the tape, family members are crying and the boy can be heard screaming, "Mom I don't want to go!"

A German official responds, "Your mother can't help you here."

The boy was taken by Germany's notorious child welfare agency, the Jugendamt. The official reason young Dan was taken was that he wasn't in school, even though he had been homeschooled and then began private school.

Wrecking Normal Families
The Jugendamt, which dominates Germany's controversial family court system, takes children when it wants, from perfectly normal families. The Jugendamt's well-documented treatment of families, especially homeschoolers, has now become an international issue.

In January, the Romeikes, a German homeschool family, were granted asylum in the U.S. after an immigration judge ruled that Germany and the Jugendamt had violated their human rights. Mike Donnelly, with the Home School Legal Defense Association, was one of the attorneys for the Romeikes.

"The judge said that this policy was repellent to everything that we as Americans believe," Donnelly said. "He felt that these were basic human rights. These were the kinds of rights that no country had a right to deny their people. "

The Jugendamt undoubtedly does some good, somewhere, but it also has gained an international reputation as a ruthless organization that takes children from good families and wrecks homes.
"My experience with the Jugendamt has been terrible," Dan's mother Heidi Schulz said. "They destroy families; they torture people, and make money out of it."

She is still haunted by the morning her son was taken from her.

"He was screaming so much and he held me tight, and I couldn't do anything. Nothing," she recalled.

After he was taken, Heidi was only allowed sporadic visits and phone calls.

"And when I would call him, he would scream and say, 'Mama, come and get me!' And I would say, 'I don't know where you are,'" she said.

Here’s the link to read the rest of the article:

MY COMMENTS: Once again a state violates the agreement it signed, an agreement signed by nearly every nation on Earth since 1949. And since the state that is violating the international agreement happens to be Germany, you can be certain that they will add an element of violence, of atrocity to the violation. After all – that’s what German governments do.

Oh, I know I should be careful with my words here, for those of you who love the Fatherland. I was advised by a good friend that I should not go hard on the German people, just their government. But as Thomas Jefferson correctly asserted, a people get the government that they deserve. If you live in Germany, you elected your government. If you say nothing and do nothing, then you support their policies. Silence connotes consent. So if I’m rough on the German people, well…too bad. If you are a German and offended then I suggest that you set about cleaning your house! Your nation’s acts against homeschooling families are yet another (and current) confirmation of your bent as a nation. If you live in Germany and you are not actively working against such atrocities, well, we’ve all heard the line already about “I was just following orders”, haven’t we. If you are working actively to curb such atrocities, then you have my best wishes for a speedy triumph. By the way, nearly every nation has similar human rights violations in their portfolio where homeschool is concerned. Germany, however, seems to make a career of such human rights abuses.

What is the German government’s excuse for this disgusting act? The families being destroyed are…horror of horrors…homeschoolers. It gets worse. About 80 children a day are torn from their families and fed into a government system of Psychiatric drugging and “education”.

For those of us not living in Germany, try reading the article again and replace the names of those being brutalized with those of you and your children. If you lived in Germany and insisted on homeschooling, this would be you.

There is a bright side to the story. The nation of Germany, such as it is, is signing its own gradual death warrant by taking its best and brightest youngsters, its homeschoolers (who score higher on every test as a group, in nearly every nation) and, well, destroying them. No nation can survive such intellectual butchery. Every country requires the efforts of its best and brightest to survive and prosper.

There is something ironic about the fact that the land of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, the land of Goethe and Schiller and Hesse, of Leibnitz and Einstein is dooming itself to intellectual inferiority. Perhaps Germany will be replaced in a generation or so by another nation not quite so self-destructive. Or perhaps (though clearly unlikely) the German people will stop their habitual cries of “we didn’t know what was happening” and replace their government, a government that routinely violates basic human rights.

More to come.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Homeschoolers in Botswana interrogated, in spite of International agreements

On September 3 of this year, an article was run on a site which I'll provide you a link to momentarily. Essentially, it tells the horrifying story of 4 homeschool families interrogated by secret police in Botswana. Why - because they are homeschooling, essentially for religious reasons. First, an excerpt from the article, found at the Home School Legal Defense Association's site:
Four families who reside in Mahalapye, Botswana face an uncertain future due to an increasingly tense standoff over the issue of homeschooling. The families, adherents of the Seventh Day Adventist church, homeschool because of their religious and philosophical convictions. Despite their sincerely-held religious beliefs and the inability of the court to find any social or educational problems with the children, they have nonetheless been ordered by the local court to enroll their children in public school or face unknown consequences. On September 10, a judge in Botswana is scheduled to decide their fate. Attorneys for the family are seeking an urgent interdict to prevent the magistrate court from taking any action against this family. HSLDA is asking for your help.

Estimates suggest that only a few hundred children are homeschooled in Botswana, a country of 2 million located just north of South Africa and that has acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Social workers cited the UN treaty as the primary reason for initiating the court action. On May 24, 2010 Judge I.T. Molobe, a magistrate court judge in Mahalapye, ordered the families to enroll their children in public school and to cease home education. The written decision also ordered the families to forfeit their teaching materials to the state; these were subsequently taken by the police in a raid in July of this year. On August 20, Principal Magistrate Judge Jennifer Chikate denied a stay pending the appeal and ordered the parents to appear before the court on September 10 to report their compliance with the order. If the parents do not comply by sending their children to public school, they face contempt charges, possible jail time, and/or stiff fines. The families have told HSLDA that they are determined to continue homeschooling.
“I Must Obey God”

“There is no way I will enroll my children in school under any circumstances,” Mr. Modimoothata told HSLDA Director of International Relations Michael Donnelly. “I must obey God. The schools here are corrupt and teach my children things that go against our faith and our values. I cannot allow them to go to these schools.”

You can read the rest at:


At that page you'll also find links you can use to protest this ridiculous abuse. Please read the entire article and respond here, and on behalf of those being attacked.

Just for the sake of corroboration, here's a link to another article, September 10, from the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, regarding attacks of parental rights in Botswana:


Just have a look at the final paragraph from their article:

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself states in Article 26 that parents have the prior right to choose the kind of education their children receive. In Article 18, paragraph 4 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Botswana is also a signatory, parents are expressly given the right to teach their children in conformity with their own convictions. In addition, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights states in Article 18 that the family is the custodian of moral values and so protects the instruction of children on the basis of religious conviction.

If you read the article, you'll find (as has happened repeatedly in the United States and elsewhere) that a judge has imposed his personal beliefs on these families. Once again, a legal system has determined what is "right" for children, claiming to know more about those children than their own families.

In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was passed by the United Nations. Here is Article 26 from that all-important document. Have a look, homeschoolers!:

* (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
* (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
* (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

See that third paragraph? Pretty simple and incontrovertible, is it not? And note, Botswana is a signatory. That means that they agreed to the Declaration, and to abide by its principles. "Prior" means FIRST. Before governments, schools, administrators, children's services, teachers and teacher's unions - PARENTS have the first right to determine their children's education!

I believe in the Declaration of Human Rights, though it is clear that generally the U.N. has no power to enforce it. I certainly believe in a family's right to choose their children's education. And given that nearly every nation on Earth has signed this document, this right should be - well, universal by now.

Please note as well that the United States, Canada, England...even Germany, the most suppressive state in Europe regarding homeschooling, SIGNED THIS DOCUMENT!

Folks, I believe it's time we took the rights that we were promised. The U.N., and the Declaration were the result of WWII, when rights through much of the world were entirely eliminated, even to the point of mass murder. The U.N. and the Declaration were internationally agreed-upon efforts to protect nations and individuals, and their rights. As Article 26 clearly states, one of YOUR rights is to educate your own children at home, if you so see fit. Let's get together on this one. Given the abysmal failure of most public and private schools, homeschooling may well be the last, best hope for your children to receive any substantive and safe education. What is happening in Botswana has happened elsewhere, and will happen again and again. The only real protection homeschool can have in the future in safety in numbers, in volume, in noise, in a persistent and squeaky-wheel insistence that governments butt out of our children's educations, a place they never belonged in the first place.

What do you think? Your comments are invited.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Homeschool under attack in the U.K.

In the U.K. Telegraph, an article about homeschooling in the U.K. recently ran. Here’s the article, and then my comments:
New legislation is required to close a loophole which means that councils have no idea how many school-age children are being taught at home, the report advises.

While schools generally alert local authorities when a child is withdrawn from formal education, there is currently no way of knowing how many young people have never been enrolled at a school.

The report by Ofsted, the education inspectorate, also says that councils should do more to help parents whose children are being bullied at school keep them within the system.

Although some parents opt for home schooling for religious or philosophical reasons, the majority of those interviewed by the inspectors said they decided to act out of concern for their children's education and wellbeing.

The report recommends: "Local authorities should ensure that when parents express a wish to withdraw their children from school to educate them at home, the reasons for the decision are explored and that support, advice and mediation are provided to retain the child in the school if this is the parents' true preference."

Between 20,000 and 50,000 children are thought to be taught at home in Britain, with numbers growing amid concern about failing state schools.

The inspectors found that the nature of the education they received varied greatly, with some parents enforcing school-style timetables while others took a more flexible approach, giving children freedom to choose what they studied.

Christine Gilbert, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, said that local authorities could only ensure that the teaching was of a reasonable standard if they had a database of all home schooled children.

She said: “The report found that current legislation around elective home education means it is extremely challenging for local authorities to meet their statutory duty to ensure children have a suitable education.”

As well as obliging parents to register their intention to home-school, Ofsted also called for legislation enabling local authority officers to undertake annual home visits to monitor the children's progress.

The report was based on interviews with more than 250 parents and children with experience of home schooling, and consultation with schools and local authorities.

Fiona Nicholson, trustee of Education Otherwise, a home schooling charity, described the report's main recommendations as intrusive and unnecessary.

The independent Badman Report, published last summer, had also called for a register of home schooled children but its proposals were not passed into law under Labour after savage criticism by MPs.

Ms Nicholson said: "This report seems an irrelevance. I don't think there's the political will to push the changes through.

"We have always said that obliging parents to register for home schooling would be the first step towards forcing them to ask for permission."

Okay, my comments: Required registration of every homeschool student? WHY? Why would it matter how many people are homeschooling, unless schools were concerned (as they are) with their classroom head counts – as they get paid by the student?!

Why should regulation of homeschoolers be necessary? As the article states, state schools are failing. Homeschoolers could not possibly do a worse job than a school that has failed or is failing. Those failed schools were run by the state, and they used state mandated requirements. They’ve failed or are failing. The requirements were an instrumental part of those schools failures – yet the government would consider enforcing them on others? Why – must failure be universal?

The state has once again proven that it should not be in the education game, not at all. Yet parts of the British government insist on their right to register homeschoolers, to regulate what homeschoolers are taught – and to even step into the private residence of homeschoolers to police their activities? Bless the MPs who screamed “no”! The Magna Carta lives (for a while longer, anyway)!

The government inspector, in looking over 250 homeschool situations, found that “the education” of homeschoolers “varied greatly”. Yes, that’s because children vary greatly, as do their individual needs and wants. Education should vary greatly from child to child. Homeschoolers can tailor their efforts for their children. Schools cannot, and instead must rely on incredibly limiting generalities. In simple terms, a school needs to make a child “fit in” to a set and rigid pattern. If they fail, the teacher cannot handle the 30-40 students in their classroom, having only about 1 minute or so per student per school period. But a homeschool family can tailor their curriculum and methods precisely to the needs of a growing individual. Of course, whether or not government wants true individuals is a matter for a real discussion.

Schools live and die by the numbers, and your children are their numbers. Schools get paid by a head count; this is true of public and private schools. And if they ever claim otherwise, then they are lying. Hence schools must kill homeschool to get paid for the students who have fled their clutches.

Look at the reasons parents cited for homeschooling, folks! They were afraid for their children’s safety, and for the education (or lack thereof) that their children were receiving. And they have every reason and right to fear. Their schools have failed them, and this is not the case only in the U.K. – this is an almost universal malaise. As schools fail worldwide, more and more people determine to go the homeschool route. As they do, more and more governments attempt to intrude and force children back into failing and dangerous schools!

Do you see something terribly wrong with this picture?

Shouldn’t a government long for its young to be superbly educated, as a guarantee of the nation’s survival? And if schools have failed to deliver such a product, shouldn’t government be the first in line supporting those going another route, those families willing to work and walk the extra mile to see to it that their children will be an effective part of their nation’s future? Instead, we see many governments treat homeschool with distrust – homeschool where students almost uniformly score better on every test – and support schools that they fund and that have failed so many. The ultimate cost of this back-asswards approach to education will be (and often already is) a nation in education ruin.

Recently, I understand there was an interesting election in Australia. A very contentious vote was taken regarding schools. But it did not focus on the educational needs of the students there – it focused on school uniforms. Uh-huh, right – uniforms – that’s where we want our attention and resources dedicated. Not on improving in some substantive way the educational experience received by our young – but on what they wear to school.

Really, we don’t need to worry about public schools. They are run by governments. And nearly all government is clueless when it comes to education. They invariably lock onto the wrong issues – such as uniforms, or the constricting of the last bastion of educational freedom, homeschooling. If you are waiting for political answers for your children, political solutions to the education disaster of our times, then please, for the sake of your children, stop waiting and start homeschooling. And INSIST, with as many homeschoolers as will unite in the cause, on your right to homeschool without government oversight. This is probably our last, best hope to educate our children.

I invite your comments.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Change in this blog!

Hi folks

If you've been following this blog the you know that I've been using it to author a book on education. I've now removed all the early drafts of chapters that were on this blog as the book is complete, and every chapter that was here has been heavily rewritten. I will be putting up new posts starting this week, commenting on events in the world of homeschool and education, and inviting your part of the discussion. I will be also releasing the book in the next few weeks, and will let you know where it is available. Thanks for following!

Steven Horwich