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Thursday, June 22, 2006
Homeschooling and the “Nanny State”:
My wife and I are committed to homeschooling our kids. Our reasons for doing so are beyond the scope of this post. I bring up our intentions so that I can properly convey my anger at this article.
Read the beginning:
“In today’s Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen Bob Van de Voorde, the spokesman of Frank Vandenbroucke, the minister of Education, says:
“One of the conditions [for homeschooling] is that the homeschoolers must sign a document in which they promise to rear their children along the lines of the UN Convention on Children’s Rights. These parents have not done this. This is why the ministry has started an inquiry.”
The parents Mr Van de Voorde is referring to in the paper are my husband (TBJ editor Paul Belien) and myself. The “inquiry” is a threat to prosecute us.
Homeschooling is a constitutional right in Belgium. We have homeschooled four of our five children through high school. Only the youngest is still being homeschooled because the others are already at university. And yet, as if they have nothing better to do, the Belgian police and judiciary are conducting an “inquiry” into our homeschooling to see whether we “rear our children along the lines of the United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights.”
A promise to rear the children as per government declaration. As I assimilated that sentiment, I became incensed. How dare the EU intervene in the lives of these parents and make such ludicrous demands? This is a compelling reason to never live in the EU, and a more compelling reason for the US to avoid signing any international treaties espoused by the UN.
You see, if the USA were a signatory to this policy, no doubt American homeschoolers would be under similar fire. Never mind that I object to much of what is taught to school aged kids today. The fact that an international body can make such a demand infuriates me.
Read further and you will learn how homeschoolers are treated in Germany:
Since Adolf Hitler prohibited homeschooling in 1938, Germany is the worst place for homeschoolers in Europe. Many parents have already been fined, and even sent to jail. Last March a court in Hamburg sentenced a German father of six to a prison sentence of one week for homeschooling his children, while the children were forcibly sent to school by the police, who pick them up each morning. The father, a conservative Christian, had previously been sentenced to a fine of 1,500 euro, but this did not persuade him to stop homeschooling. The court did not imprison the mother, but said it would not hesitate to do so if the parents continue violating the law. The bill prohibiting homeschooling is one of the very few Nazi laws that are still on the books in Germany. Today other countries, such as Belgium, seem intent on copying Germany’s Nazi system, whilst invoking the UN Convention.
All of this is just a means to and end, that being the state maintaining control over as much of its citizenry as possible. Since homeschooling is anathema to statism, the end result is coercion and intimidation. In the US, in 2006, this would never happen. In the EU, it is apparently the norm.
There is a lot about the US and its current cultural and social climate to which I object. However, reading articles such as these make me grateful that I live in this country.
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