Archive for the 'Home Schooling' Category

Home Education in Norway, a criticism

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Whilst googling around, I came across this paper, and couldn’t resist tearing it to shreds:

UNIVERSITY OF OSLO, INSTITUTE OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH. Article from the research project: Home education in Norway.

HOME EDUCATION AND SOCIAL INTEGRATION
Dr. Christian W. Beck
A. Professor of Education

Institute of Educational Research
University of Oslo, Norway
email c.w.beck@ped.uio.no

Abstract
If school attendance is important to social integration, then out of school practice like home education (HE) could represent a threat to social integration. The findings of a Norwegian research project that surveyed socialization among Norwegian HE- students from different regions are presented and discussed in terms of socialization theory and a theory of cultural order. Among the conclusions: Pragmatic motivated HE-students are often well social integrated. Religious motivated HE- students with value distance to society, is not necessarily social isolated HE-students. With more openness and more communication HE-students could better meet criteria to social integration.

School attendance is not important to social integration, this is simply not the case. For generations and right to this very day societies are tightly integrated without mandatory school attendance. Out of school education is a threat to brainwashing of the type that produces people who create articles like this. In this very first part of the article, the author says that HE students are often well social integrated (sic) but then says that with more openness and more communication HE students could better meet ‘criteria to social integration’. If HE students are already ‘well social integrated’ then what more is there to say? The socialization argument is MOOT. Of course, anyone that has done a real study of HE and is willing to report about it without a biased agenda, knows that lack of socialization is a myth propagated by people who are hostile to Home Education.

1. Introduction
Socialization is the process whereby the helpless infant gradually becomes a self aware, knowledgeable person (Giddens 2006). Education can be seen as methodical socialization of the young generation (Durkheim 1956). Education must assure, among the citizens a sufficient community of ideas and sentiments, without which any society is impossible (Ibid). Sufficient community is for Durkheim solidarity and the meaning of social integration. Social integration includes systems of integration, but also reciprocity of practices and communication between either actors or collectives (Giddens 1988).

I do not agree with any of this.

The process of a helpless infant becoming self aware happens well before school age, and is done by the nurturing provided by the parents. It has nothing to do with formal education. Children are not born as the property of a state, and therefore, the education they recieve does not have to convey a ‘community of ideas and sentiments’ if the parents do not wish to teach their children whatever that is. Solidarity with a society, obedience to it and integration with it is something only an adult can decide to choose to do; in fact, children must be protected from the predations of the state and its aparatchicks. People are not born as property of a collective. This is absolutely fundamental to human life and freedom.

Home education is increasing in Norway and other modern countries (Beck 2006).

Why is it increasing? It is increasing precisely as a result of the destruction of every decent value that people hold, at the behest of monsters who are trying to engineer a new world. Any decent person runs away from these predatory social engineers if they have the chance, and Home Education is a very effective way to do it, without any cost other than financial, and a plethora of benefits.

If school attendance is considered important to social integration, non-attendance due to home education can be viewed as a threat to integration.

Home Education is a threat; it is a threat to the robotic, socialized, collectivist, immoral nightmare world that a small group of social engineers are trying to create. It is a threat because it creates people who, while law abiding, will not go along with the non legislated agenda that the state relies upon to maintain order.

Home education challenge how strong parental rights and other fundamental human rights should apply in democratic societies before they counteract the idea of public education and social integration. Too restrictive practice of such human rights could on the other hand counteract reciprocity between home educators and society and the increase the possibility of segregation of home educators.

Home education is not a challenge to anything, except the absolute power of the state, and the social engineers who want to eliminate the family as the centre of human life. The fundamental human rights that all men have when they are born exist and will continue to exist no matter what these inhuman beasts try to foist upon everyone. The ultimate question is wether or not these people will assert themselves en masse or not. Certainly in the USA it is too late to outlaw Home Education. THere are literally millions of people doing it, and they are an army. In europe however, where the people are more cowed, inured to ‘democracy’ and being slaves, it is proving to be easier to steamroller the already partially flattened population.

The social integration of home-educated students has become controversial, following a recent ruling of the European Human Rights Court (2006) in a case concerning home education in Germany.

That ruling was completely wrong, in the same way that courts which ruled in favor of miscegenation were wrong. The people who uphold those Nazi era laws should all be ashamed of themselves.

The ruling expresses concern about the development of parallel communities comprising distinct ethnic groups and immigrants in European countries.

This is a completely bogus pretext. First of all, ethnic Germans are the ones who are Home Educating. Second, distinct parallel communities can be kept distinct and segregated by the members of the group forming their own religious schools and then attending them. This ruling is aimed not at the Turks, but at the Christian Germans.

To avoid such social fragmentation, the Human Rights Court put the childs right to an education above parental rights. The state must guarantee the rights of children to an education which according to the ruling must also guarantee the childs right to social integration through participation in the school community.

This is total nonsense. First of all children do not have rights in the same way that adults do; they are a special form of property that is the responsibility of parents (the people who made the children). Since children are human beings, they are born with all the rights of a human being, but some of these rights only become active when the parents decide that the child has reached her ‘majority’ where she is able to then make decisions for herself without having to refer to her parents.

Education is a good not a right. Children have the right to life, but it is up to the parent what form and pace of education their children should have. It is not the proper role of government to compel people to be educated, or to create rights out of thin air which they use as a pretext to engineer social control. That is exactly what the UN and this illegitimate court decision are doing; engineering social control.

The ruling also asserts that parents religious influence over their children must occur in such a manner that the children understand the consequences of their religious training.

It is not the place of the state or of any court to specify how religious practice should occur. This is one of the most fundamental features of a free society; that people can practice their religion free from interference.

The ruling represents a shift from previous rulings in similar cases, in that the status of parental rights has been diminished. The conflict has become more pronounced in democratic societies between the need to integrate immigrants into the main society and the need to preserve the rights of individuals in the context of human rights.

This ruling, once again, is bogus. No court can diminish your rights, any more than they can change the nature of a hydrogen atom. Immigration problems and the need to integrate them into society is not a problem of the ethnic Germans; if immigrants will not integrate, then some other form of plan must be hatched to make them conform. As I said above, if these immigrants (Muslims) are allowed to form their own schools and then attend them, then any idea that school has something to do with social integration should be thrown out of the window and HE families left in peace.

The aim of this article is to give further knowledge about home education pupils and their socialization and integration in to society. The article is structured as follows:

1. A brief introduction to the international status of home education.

2. Analysis of motives for home education as a possible cause for poor social integration of home educated pupils.

3. Socialization theory and international research on socialization of home educated pupils.

4. Presentation of a survey of home educated pupils in Norway and a regional analysis of results concerning such pupils` socialization and social integration.

5. A further discussion based on Mary Douglas theory about cultural codes and cultural purity.

6. Concluding remarks.

Watch me….

2. The international status of home education
Legal, social and educational frameworks that encourage home education vary among countries and within them. In Sweden and Estonia, for example, home education is treated as an exemption from compulsory schooling. In most US states, in the UK, Australia, and other English-speaking countries, and in the Nordic countries other than Sweden, home education is a way of providing compulsory basic education on a par with school attendance. Other countries take some position mid-way between the two (Beck 2006, Glenn 2006, Leis 2005). Although home education is prohibited in Germany, some 500 families in Germany practice home education (Spiegler 2004b).

The prohibition of home education in Germany stems from a Nazi era statute, the specific aim at the time the law was passed, was that Hitler wanted a cohesive society. It is very important to state the true origin of the Home Education ban in Germany, so that those who support it must also explain why they are in favor of a law written by Nazis.

Students educated at home in effective learning environments appear to achieve the same scores as school attendees on tests of their knowledge (Baumann 2002, Welner and Welner 1999), although there are large groups of home-educated students over whom public authorities have limited oversight and control (Opplinger and Willard 2004).

This is not the case. Home Educated children routinely outperform school educated children. This is one of the reasons why parents choose to Home Educate; not only do their children outperform their peers, but they also have a better family life and all of the other benefits of Home Education.

Registered home-educated students, however, appear to be well socialized into society (Medin 2000), although there is concern in several countries regarding isolated home-educating families and their children. An estimated 40 percent of home-educators in Quebec, Canada, are not registered (Brabant, Bourdon, and Jutras 2004).

This is absurd. Home Educated students are not separate from society and school is not the only place that people learn how to get along with each other, form friendships and do all of those other important things. The basic premiss of this report is flawed; that school is the key place where people are ‘socialized’ it is simply not the case, and anyone doing real research into this subject would find that out within ten minutes of hitting the Google.

Wether Home Educators are registered or not also has nothing whatsoever to do with being ‘well socialized’, whatever that means.

3. Motives for home education
There are various categories of home educators; the categories are based on the familys primary reasons for choosing home-based education. Differences in assessed social integration that may result from the varying motivations have been the subject of research. Two early attempts at categorizing home educators are found in Mayberry (1988) and Van Galen (1988). Mayberry describes four motivational categories: religious, academic, social (students are better off, in terms of social factors, at home than at school), and New Age (alternative lifestyle). Van Galen distinguishes between ideological and pedagogic home educators. Ideological home educators emphasize family values and conservative values, and are motivated by disagreement with schools as to values; they are often loosely referred to as religious fundamentalists. Pedagogic home educators consider breaking with institutional schooling key, along with pursuing more desirable pedagogic approaches.

ok….

The intensity of the home educators motivation can be a reflection of his or her sense of conflict with society-at-large.

This is almost meaningless. When a parent decides to Home Educate, there is no ‘intensity’ after the choice is made; you simply start to do it. It is neither intense or sedated; it is what it is, depending on the people who are doing it. That a parent choses to Home Educate in the first place shows only that they are motivated parents demonstrating a proper and admiral level of care for their children. Home Educators should be held up as model parents in this age of feral children who murder children and all the other gradations of crime beneath that. In britain the state is considering fining parents who are not looking after their children properly. Instead of putting resources into those people, they instead, with the sophisticated and loquacious justifications of academics and lying ‘experts’, are trying to eliminate good parenting in the form of Home Educators. How STUPID.

For some, home education is an act of conscience in a secularized society and secularized schools. The US sociologist Mitchell Stevens (2001) distinguishes between heaven-based and earth-based drives for homeschooling. The heaven-based category expresses motivations that are mainly matters of principle, religion, and life view, and adherence to ideological pedagogic approaches. According to Stevens, earth-based home educators are acting on situation-specific, pragmatic, and other specifically pedagogic issues. Thomas Spiegler (2004a) has concluded that the growth in home education in Germany is most pronounced among families acting on so-called heaven-based motivation. Because of their religion or life view, they tend to find themselves in conflict with schools more frequently than so-called earth-based home educators. Thus, they stand to gain more than earth-based home educators by withdrawing their children from school and home-educating them. Nevertheless, earth-based reasons for homeschooling are also cited by the heaven-based category.

There is an ass for every seat. Quelle surprise.

Social costs are associated with home education. Home educators may find themselves in conflict with their local communities, schools, and school authorities. Heaven-based home educators are better able to minimize such social costs than earth-based home educators, due to their faith and their fellowship with others who share their faith. Home education based on religion and life view may tend to make home educators more prone to stronger bonds within their particular subcultures.

The rich Home Educators also never have any conflict with anyone. Schools and school authorities do not go up against anyone with money and therefore full access to the law.

In the United States, some 40 percent of home educators cite religious or moral convictions as their key motivating factors, although more than 90 percent of them also cite pedagogic reasons for homeschooling (Bauman 2002:9-10). In Canada, motivations are largely pedagogic or related to other home- and family-centric values; a mere 14 percent of Canadian home educators cite religious reasons as key (Brabant, et al. 2003:117-119). In another Canadian survey, 72 percent of respondents stated that they home educate for pedagogic reasons (Priesnitz 2002: 5). In the UK, the majority of home educators cite pedagogic reasons as primary. Educational freedom and flexibility, as well as providing individualized education, are cited by about two-thirds of UK home educators. Only 4 to 5 percent of UK home educators report that they are homeschooling for religious reasons (Rothermel 2003: 79).

And it is the pedagogic rationale that is the most threatening to the established order. Home Educated people numbering in the millions will change society if they are not stamped out now. As this report says, Home Education is growing in Norway. If the Norwegian state wants to keep its insane speeding regulations (for example) then they need to stop Home Educators right now, otherwise, the very nature of their society will change forever.

4. Home education, socialization and social integration
Some educators question whether home education does more than remove children from school, and actually isolates them from society-at-large.

Yes indeed. These are the education professionals whose livelihoods and position in society are directly challenged by Home Education. Every time a statistic comes out showing that Home Educated children outperform state schooled children, it is a stinging humiliation for them; here are a group of children who are learning without teachers and who are performing better than their institutionalized children. Home Education is a threat to them, not only because it makes people question wether or not teachers are needed, but it also puts pressure on them to greatly improve their performance. To sum up, teachers do not like Home Education. Period. When they chime in on this subject, their words must be taken with a pinch of salt, since they have a vested interest in destroying all forms of education that do not involve them.

Similarly, many have expressed doubts as to whether home educated children are sufficiently socialized. Apple (2000) believes home educators in the United States isolate themselves into separate clans, which undermines both school and society.

First of all, Home Educated children are socialized to a greater degree than school educated children. Secondly people do not exist to serve schools or society, so to say that Home Educators undermine schools is absurd; children are not the property of the state. They are not on this earth to bolster a school or unwillingly serve any man.

Michael Apple views homeschoolers as playing an important role in populist, neo-liberal, and neoconservative movements that have gained a great deal of influence in the present-day United States. Apple perceives homeschooling families as viewing themselves as stateless due to the secular humanism that now characterize public schools. Also, they find themselves in a deep value conflict with public schools ideology (Apple 2000). The great socio-cultural distance between secularized and post-modern values in schools and conservative Religious values anchored in the family, can engender more conflict than might seem necessary. A dispute in Norway concerning dancing in schools ended up in the supreme court the countrys highest court as a home education case (Straume 2004).

Unbelievable.

Necessary TO WHOM? And none of this has anything to do with the core of this subject: who owns children? The groups mentioned above all have one thing in common; they all believe that the state does not own the citizen. In Germany, Sweden and other retrograde countries, the people believe to some extent that they really are the property of the state. That is their affair; what they cannot do is simultaneously claim that they are free people.

Social integration include both a cultural, life-view-oriented aspect and an instrumental social interest aspect (Hom 1978). Hom distinguishes between specific and general parts of the socialization process, which may be home and school, respectively. Successful integration relies on a sufficient commonality of values and interest between specific and general social elements.

Culture is an emergent property that is constituted from the collected interactions of families that all live in a geographic area. Examples of this are Morris Dancing and Swiss Coin Music. When the practitioners of these acts of culture cease to exist, the culture dies with them. Morris dancing is not superior to or a substitute for Swiss Coin Music. There should be no state ordained culture that everyone should be forced to participate in – the sort of people who believe that there should be are Nazis. It has to be pointed out that Home Educators are more likely to be eager participants in Morris Dancing than children who go to school.

Obviously, home educators and schools have, to a greater or lesser extent, a conflict of interest.

Actually, they do not. Schools are interested in educating children, and Home Educators are also interested in the same thing. The conflict that exists between these two groups is over who owns the children and who has the right to ultimately direct the development of children. The schools are trying to usurp the role of parent. They are against nature, against the family and are most certainly in the wrong. That parents all over the west are waking up and fleeing them seems not to faze them in the slightest. No matter what they produce (hoards of foul, feral illiterate children) it seems that some schools are hell bent on getting every child into their maws. Knowing that they are not capable of outperforming Home Education but persisting in having EVERY child no matter what is a testament to their corrupted nature. And we must remember that the schools we take for granted today are a very recent phenomenon in human history. Schooling is by no means ‘normal’ for human beings, and it is quite easy to imagine a time when schools as we know them today cease to exist entirely.

However, that does not necessarily mean that their interests or values conflict with those of society-at-large. Self-sufficiency, a focus on home life and equality are key Norwegian values (Gullestad 1985). These very values constitute the values of home educators (Beck 2006). Different groups of home educators have varying degrees of value and interest commonality/conflict with school, their local/regional community, the national community, and global society, regarding overarching social elements. Here, it is probably best to focus on conflicts with society-at-large, and to a lesser extent conflicts with schools.

There is no such thing as society:

[…]
But apart from these difficulties in the Georgist position, the natural-rights justification for the ownership of ground land is the same as the justification for the original ownership of all other property. For, as we have seen, no producer really “creates” matter; he takes nature-given matter and transforms it by his labor energy in accordance with his ideas and vision. But this is precisely what the pioneer the “homesteader” does when he brings previously unused land into his own private ownership. Just as the man who makes steel out of iron ore transforms that ore out of his know-how and with his energy, and just as the man who takes the iron out of the ground does the same, so does the homesteader who clears, fences, cultivates, or builds upon the land. The homesteader, too, has transformed the character of the nature-given soil by his labor and his personality. The homesteader is just as legitimately the owner of the property as the sculptor or the manufacturer; he is just as much a “producer” as the others.

Furthermore, if the original land is nature- or God-given then so are the people’s talents, health, and beauty. And just as all these attributes are given to specific individuals and not to “society,” so then are land and natural resources. All of these resources are given to individuals [p. 35] and not to “society,” which is an abstraction that does not actually exist. There is no existing entity called “society”; there are only interacting individuals. To say that “society” should own land or any other property in common, then, must mean that a group of oligarchs in practice, government bureaucrats should own the property, and at the expense of expropriating the creator or the homesteader who had originally brought this product into existence.

[…]

For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto – Murray N. Rothbard

Human beings are not the property of the state, or of any ‘society’. This is the central problem with the propositions in this article and all articles that are against Home Education. Men and women get married (or not) have sex, and produce children. While the fetus is in the mother’s womb, it is the property of the mother alone. When the child is born, it is the property of both the parents, but the child is a special form of property that is different to all other forms of property in that it is a human being born with rights. None of what I have just written has anything to do with the state or ‘society”.

Home Educators like the ones in these two videos come to this realization not through political indoctrination, but through the irrational knee jerk reactions of school educated (brainwashed) people, who ask them every manner of absurd question, and not only that, but different people keep asking the same absurd questions, verbatim. When you are confronted with this phenomenon of different people all thinking exactly alike and irrationally, you cannot help but come to the conclusion that there is something fundamentally wrong with school education, you immediately sense that since you are successful, happy and centered, that it is possible to be like that without being brainwashed. It becomes clear to you that the sky will not fall if people do not go to school, and more than that; people would be better off if they did not. There would be more people who could think for themselves and the country would be a much better place for it.

A meta survey on how home educated students develop socially and emotionally has been conducted (Blok 2004). Blok asks whether they learn interaction with other children and adults, if they develop character traits such as endurance and self confidence. He reviews eight studies, most of them qualitative, with a participation of between 20 and 224 students. The conclusion drawn is that home-educated students appear to be as well adapted as school students or better. Blok concludes his review by pointing out that it is incorrect to claim that home-educated students grow up in isolation from other children and youngsters.

All true. And this means that any fears about Home Education isolating people should be permanently put aside. It is clear that they are performing academically, are socially integrated, and are not causing harm to anyone. What the state is doing however, is causing a massive amount of harm to people in its insane and relentless quest to make everyone uniform. It is not only immoral, but there is no scientific reason to do it, if that were to be the basis of such an immoral plan.

Medin (2000) characterizes research on socialization of home-educated students as a young research discipline without a developed theory and with poorly developed research design and measurement methods, poorly defined research questions and is often studies featuring self-selection of a small number of interview subjects. Nevertheless, Medin draws the following conclusions from the available research:

1. Home-educated students participate in the daily life of the families and networks they are part of.
2. They are not isolated; rather they associate with and feel close to all sorts of people.
3. Parents encourage home-educated students to maintain social contacts beyond the family.
4. They have solid self-esteem.
5. They appear to function well as members of the adult community.

So despite hostility to the methods, research design, research questions and measurement methods, Medin still finds that Home Educated children are performing and functioning properly. So, what is the problem? The problem is that Sweden and Germany do not want citizens with solid self-esteem and all the other things that Home Education brings. They want a population of brainwashed drones who will repeat by rote and obey everything that is poured into their ears in a classroom.

A preliminary conclusion must be that organized and registered home education does not pose particular problems as to students socialization.

Registration has no effect on any aspect of the effectiveness of Home Education. The author simply cannot stand the idea that there are people who are prospering outside the aegis of the state. Get over it. No one needs the government to tell them how to educate their children; it is not the proper role of government to register families in this way, and anyone who calls for it is a promoter of totalitarianism.

5. The Norwegian home education survey a regional analysis
A Norwegian survey based on a questionnaire answered by parents for 128 home educated pupils (90 % of all asked), from all regions of Norway, about 36 % of the Norwegian home educated pupils population estimated to 365 (2002). The difference 237 (365 128: 64 %) could be a tentative but clearly overestimated guess of numbers of unregistered home educated pupils in Norway. The analysis identified four main groups of home educators (Beck 2006):

1. Structured home educators. These are frequently religious well educated middle-class parents who are role- and position-oriented and well educated (Bernstein 1977), and who provide traditional, curriculum focused education in the home.
2. Unschooling. Well educated, often with radical political and cultural viewpoints, middle class, anti-establishment, person- and identity-oriented (ibid), who provide child-centered home education with a low degree of structure and planned curricula.
3. Pragmatic home educators. Typically rural, working-class families with limited formal education, who emphasize home education anchored in practical work.
4. Unregistered home educators. Romanis; unregistered immigrants; socially troubled families, frequently with substance abuse problems; and some fundamentalist religious families, some of these appear to use home education as part of a self-imposed isolation from society.

Unschoolers: Well educated, with ‘radical political and cultural viewpoints’. There is no such thing as a ‘radical political viewpoint’. People who may have advocated the freeing of slaves during the Roman Empire would have been called ‘radical’ were they right or wrong? The same goes for the insane marriage laws that stopped people from ‘mixing’ were the people who said these laws were wrong right or wrong? That is the only thing that matters; what is radical today is common sense tomorrow. Academics should not use the word ‘radical’ to describe someone’s beliefs; they should spell out what they are without passing judgment on them, lest they find themselves on the wrong side of history.

The more you read about Unschoolers, the more they become attractive. If you are a radical thinker that is.

The four categories of home educators may have varying degrees of value and interest commonality and/or conflict with schools and national society

The conflicts that home educators are involved in are, primarily, conflicts of interest with the schools in which their children would otherwise be enrolled. Schools want to educate their children; parents want to educate them themselves, at home

No. This is, once again, about who owns the children. Schools do not own children, and so it is entirely wrong and inappropriate to say that, “schools want to educate THEIR children”. Schools do not produce children, they are there to provide a SERVICE to PARENTS which parents may avail themselves of or not. Schools and parents are NOT equal in status. Any conflict that occurs here comes from a misunderstanding of the role of schools and the government on the part of the people who work at schools, who are mistakenly appropriating the role of the parent.

While such conflicts may be founded in a value conflict between home and school, this is generally not the case. If schools view the non-educational aspect of school participation as valuable and necessary, then a limited disparity of interests and values between home and school regarding the provider of education can develop into a more severe, principled rift over value differences regarding home-based and school-based education.

This is all irrelevant. Schools need to understand what they are and what their proper role is. They are SERVANTS not MASTERS or OWNERS.

Seen as a whole, unregistered home educators generally comprise groups that in various ways may be said to be poorly integrated into the national community.

This is complete and utter nonsense. The performance of Home Education has no relationship to registration or non registration.

A key, articulated concern is that their children may become isolated in socially deviant, religious fundamentalist home environments.

“A key, articulated concer”” is academic speak for ‘Some people say‘. Once again, we have an academic paper trotting out illogic in the push to eliminate Home Education. On the one hand, the author gives plenty of evidence that Home Education is perfecly fine, but litters the piece with references to registration, and now, this unfounded nonsense about social isolation (when previously the paper said that HE people are NOT isolated) and the very strange phrase ‘socially deviant’…. which means WHAT exactly? And as for ‘religious fundamentalist home environments’ I am quite sure that this author is not talking about Muslims, who are never to be questioned at all an in any way. In fact, if you want to Home Educate and be guaranteed that no aparatchick will disturb you, convert to Islam, and then it will be ‘hands off’.

In the worst cases, there is suspicion that such isolation covers up inadequate parenting or even child abuse in some instances. Only limited research and documentation are available to shed light on such suspicions.

And here we have the lie that is clearly spreading like a disease in the sick minds of ‘experts’. We all know that there is no evidence of any of this, and that in fact, Home Educators are statistically safer than school educated children (thanks to AHED) so why include this line when there is no evidence to support any of it?

Why indeed.

I snipped out the next section, because I do not live in Norway, and I do not care about he petty details. Norwegian parents have the same rights as every other human being. Period. Wether they are able to get it together to take their rights is a problem they have to face.

5. Conflicts in home education a cultural anthropological explanation
Activities and functions that promote the spirit of a community are prominent features of schools. In Norway, as in other countries, public schools are perceived as key to national community (Telhaug 1994: 130-131).

This perception is false. National community existed before compulsory state schooling, so this is just nonsense.

Slagstad (2001: 388-394) emphasizes the role of public schooling in nation building. He establishes that public schools task was to raise a nation and to provide public education. Schools most important tasks were to level out societal differences and to implement social integration. Public schools importance to national cultural community, social justice, and national independence is emphasized. Breaking with school becomes a threat not just to school itself but to national identity.

And there you have it, put explicitly. Schools are there to build nations, to raise a nation, and the schools most important tasks is to level out societal differences and to implement social integration. In other words, school exists to destroy the individual, to break her and make her subservient to the state; to create supplicants, serfs and slaves. The idea that breaking with school is a threat to national identity is completely wrong; who is it that defines what national identity is? If it is people like New Labour, or Hitler, or the Swedish government or the author of this paper, you can see what sort of nightmare nation you would end up with.

Mary Douglas provides analysis of the connection between cultural codes and what she calls cultural purity. In her classic work, Purity and Danger, she hypothesizes that what is anomalous or impure in a community is an outgrowth of that communitys order and rules of cultural and societal rules. The purpose of a society is to protect what is pure. In this way, all societies feature some aspects that would be considered dirty, something impure that needs to be dealt with (Douglas 2004). This can apply to the most profound and religious sensibilities. Generally, the concept here involves morality. A society has norms for right and wrong. If one violates these, one becomes a criminal to be punished, or one is regarded and treated as one who has deviated. Such an understanding of purity also applies to daily life, in the form of common rules for proper behavior (Wuthnow 1987: 84-92). Douglas points out how quickly changes in and of themselves may increase the threat to the established social and cultural order, as well as social unity.

This is the sort of thinking that is undermining the very foundation of the west. This is the talk of social engineering. This is the sort of thing they are reading and which informs their misguided, irrational policies.

Mary Douglas presents a hypothesis on the interconnection between the drive toward cultural purity, and cultural classification and boundary setting. Applying Douglas analysis is useful to understanding the high level of conflict associated with home education.

The hypothesis is about the position of what is pure or impure/dirty. Douglas sets forth the claim that which is impure or dirty in society is not so in and of itself, but because of its position (Douglas 2004: 43-50.

Home educators may, to varying degrees, deviate from the educational content provided by public schools. Most home educators accept the importance of a shared foundation of knowledge in society and they largely support the fundamental values of society and institutions of society beyond school. It is neither home educations content nor methods that are perceived as threatening by public authorities, but the fact that home educators break with the public school system and conduct students education in the home, outside of established schools.

If we are to take any of this seriously, it is the mere fact that people are different that is causing the problems, not the content or intent of what they are doing. Well I have one thing only to say about this.

Get over it.

False perceptions, wrong headed ideas and the need to make everyone the same are all perfectly fine, but as soon as you contract to use violence against people who you do not agree with, you are immoral. Whatever people want to believe is their own business. Mind your own business and there will be no problems between anyone. This is the libertarian idea; voluntary interactions between all, and never ever violence or force against anyone.

Returning to the notion of things that are out of place being threatening, home education becomes a threat to public school and to national community. Home education in and of itself is not dangerous, but its placement outside of school is. Applying M. Douglass terminology, home education is declared dirty to protect social unity and to prevent the shutting down of public schooling. When the place at which education is conducted, is moved from the schoolroom to the home, it becomes important to both public authorities and home educators to maintain and defend their values and interests based on the choices made and to proceed according to the new situation that has arisen.

And the author buys right into this delusion by calling for registration with the state to turn Home Education from ‘dirty’ to ‘clean’ since the state is the detergent that washes away all sins as defined by society.

Hogwash!

Public authorities accomplish this by a negative attitude towards home education and ill will toward flexible solutions. Nowadays, compared with just a few years ago, public authorities seem to be more restrictive when it comes to allowing split solutions that provide some school attendance and some home education. Public authorities may thus be emphasizing the border that distinguishes school participation and home education. A national community under pressure may in and of itself be an independent factor that reinforces the conflict level between home education and public schooling, and may promote the fear that home education leads to social segregation.

Once again, who owns the person? This is the core, not what is written here.

Embarking on home educating is a difficult choice for a family to make; for most people, the threshold to cross is very high. Once the choice is made, many experience stigmatization by schools and, perhaps, by others in the community. Like-mindedness is an issue. Douglass purity hypothesis may hold particular internal significance to home educators who begin to home educate due to religious beliefs. These often break with public schooling because, in their view, it has become inadequately religious and over secularized. The holy and pure in their lives is threatened. Thus, they seek greater community in their own religious environments and with other religious home educators. Mary Douglass purity hypothesis is turned upside down. Religious home educators may perceive school authorities as dirty and threatening to the purity of their own beliefs and in their own home education.

This is not the case. Religious Home Educators do not want their children indoctrinated with the actual dirt that is being taught in schools. There is also the matter of taking religious instruction and acting on it. “Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate” is an example of a clear instruction to separate yourself from the unbelievers. That any state thinks it should stop people from obeying their religion, once again, is an outrage of the first order. Douglas’s purity hypothesis does not stand when we are discussing Home Educators and their need to do what they do. Home Educators are are a real thing, society is not.

Having been placed outside of the school environment, home educators tend to seek out contact with other home educators. They seek advice from experienced home educators, with whom they exchange advice and opinions regarding home education, public authorities, and other topics.

“no man is an island entire of itself”

In interactions between home educators and school authorities, new social and cultural boundaries between us and them are readily codified. Both home educators and authorities characterize the other party as dirty and apart from their own environment, and they prefer to stick with the pure. The outsiders easily become scapegoats for anything and everything that goes wrong. This pattern maintains and reinforces conflicts associated with home education; it may also be an independent reason for inadequate social integration of families that home educate.

These boundaries were always there. They are the result of the state adopting a posture other than servant. They are caused by the irrational and hysterical behavior of Local Authorities, who set themselves up as the masters of the people they are meant to be serving. They kidnap children and cause people to live in fear. All of this has nothing to do with the purity hypothesis, but rather, the practical realities of having your children brainwashed, kidnapped, abused and your life destroyed, as the German Home Educators are finding.

6. Concluding remarks
Sustained, long-term home education can occur due to parents religious beliefs and practices, pedagogic preferences, and pragmatic needs for fulfilling childrens compulsory, basic education outside of public or established private schools. Home education, particularly among the religiously motivated, can challenge social unity. Nevertheless, among homeschoolers who are registered and monitored, home-based education also appears to produce well-socialized students. The greatest difficulties regarding social integration are in the category of unregistered home educators.

There you go with the registration again. Completely ridiculous and without rigor. There is no difficulty regarding social integration in the imaginary category of ‘unregistered home educators’. This is just total and unrefined garbage.

Post-modern national society is overloaded with subjective identity-management tasks that are best handled at a local level (Bauman 1997). When a centralized public school emphasizes universal national, secularized, and objective values, home educating environments may constitute post-modern, particular, local communities of shared values, which could be a threat to social integration, but could also be constructive and essential for maintaining social diversity and necessary to overall social integration. Home education on individual, local and national levels depend on Giddens` reciprocity of practices, upon an atmosphere of open-mindedness and open communication. With such conditions home education could be an integrated part in a more pluralistic public education.

[…]

The original paper in PDF

Open communication with WHOM? Home Educators communicate frequently, intelligently and vigorously. What this author is talking about in a very roundabout way is communication with the STATE of a COMPULSORY kind.

Home Education is here to stay. It is going to continue to grow, and as they have found in New Zealand, wasting money monitoring and regulating them is just that, a waste of money.

Hopefully the practice of analyzing and recommending changes to Home Education, which is in vogue at the moment, will soon fade away, and these busybody statists will find some other subject to suck their salaries off of.

A new blogger appears: Tom Paine’s Daughter

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Mimi Magick points us to a new blog, which if this first post is anything to go by, will be something to watch carefully:

[…]

“Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamities are heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer…”

From Common Sense by Thomas Paine, who died 200 years ago this year, and who argued that people are born with a set of natural rights and that any society that violates those rights is flawed and should be changed..

Now, it is quite clear that today's Germans have absolutely nothing to do with their country's Nazi past and as one German commentator recently remarked; the Germans were probably the most pacific country in Europe. Yet their government has gone to some considerable length to get a square peg into a round hole and ensure their ban on EHE remains law. This is very problematic for the rest of us and should be challenged because the logic they have used would be persuasive if you are ignorant of, and thus fearful, and so hostile to EHE and its place in society. It would be even more problematic if Germany believed its own logic and was pushing for a Europe wide ban. Or if one's government thought that schools can deliver equality.

One of our problems is that the British government are wrongly associating equality with a some sort of good that can be distributed. Neither equality nor education are goods that can be divvied up. They are instead dynamic, the function of processes and relationships. Related to their confusion about equality and distribution is their conflation of equality with standardisation. If equality or education were things you could distribute then giving out the same thing repeatedly might make some sense, but since neither are static in this way, the standardisation agenda is not only misconceived, it is counterproductive. Giving everyone the same experience is not giving them an equal experience because people are different in such complex and irreducible ways. A real concern for equality would recognise that very different approaches, experiences and outcomes can have equal worth within a society.

[…]

http://tompainesdaughter.blogspot.com/

From out of the woodwork comes a legion of people who were willing to go along with almost anything, as long as there is a minimum amount of liberty. Now that that minimum is being taken away, everyone, on both sides of the atlantic, are up in arms and are simply not going to take it.

It starts with polite discourse and ends with the restoration of balance.

Its about time.

DANGER! Unschoolers on the lose!

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Two clips from Unschooling: The Movie.

These are the sorts of people who are the great threat. Clear speaking, clear thinking, highly educated people who do not conform. This is the sort of young woman that the governments of Germany, Sweden and now the UK want to completely destroy and prevent from coming into being. They reflexively challenge and parse every piece of nonsense that is thrown at them. They are self confident, secure, self reliant and solid as a rock. They do not have a fear centered mentality; the absolute key to the kind of totalitarianized, brainwashed population that the monsters want to produce in their factories.

The unschoolers and autonomous learner young adults that I have met have all been polite, bright eyed, engaging, well spoken and grounded. They shake your hand firmly, look you straight in the eye when they speak to you and exude the sort of confidence that any parent would surely be proud of.

Public Education Lacks A Moral Foundation

Friday, September 4th, 2009

This is from an article entitled, Publik Edumacation Яefermation By Jerry Salcido

[…]

The concept of morality presumes that men come into this world with certain natural rights, including the right to life, the right to the fruits of ones labor, and the right of liberty. The right of liberty endows all men with the freedom to act in whatever manner conceivable, so long as such actions do not infringe on the natural rights of others.

Under the right of liberty, therefore, if someone has gained rightful possession over some thing, there is but one way for another to obtain that thing through voluntary exchange. The only other way to obtain it is through force, but that runs counter to the possessors natural rights.

Thus, if Shane has a pair of new shoes and Jason wants them, Jason can obtain those shoes in several ways. Jason can offer some form of value in exchange for the shoes, and assuming Shane is in agreement, the transaction is in accordance with the natural rights of both parties. Jason could also act by himself through aggression to force Shane to give him the shoes. Everyone would agree in that situation that Jasons acts would be immoral. Even more sinister, Jason could combine with his friends Jeff, Kelly, Candice, and Heather and jointly vote in a democratic process to force Shane to give Jason the shoes.

Public education is based on the latter example, that is, it is founded on democratic force, aggression, and the violation of natural rights. In a public education scenario, Shane and Candice cannot get Jeff and Kelly to voluntarily fund their childrens education, so Shane and Candice combine with Jason and Heather to force Jeff and Kelly to either provide for the education of Shanes and Candices children or go to jail. Elementary my dear Watson… or so it would seem.

To most Americans the public education system is sacrosanct, and to attack it, let along advocate its abolition, is in and of itself immoral. That is because somehow Americans have created and accepted a notion that everyone is entitled to an education at his neighbors expense. This underlying assumption was evident in President Obamas Race to the Top speech when he said that “The future belongs to the nation that best educates its people.” A nation has no right or obligation to educate anyone. Instead, the states only role is to protect the right of the free individual to secure his education of choice by his own means.

Even the more conservative and libertarian types have a difficult time accepting that public education is immoral, but those same people will turn around and protest President Obamas healthcare plan. The principles are the same for either socialized medicine or socialized education. Plain and simple, public education is founded on theft and force, and such a system can never become moral, and therefore, can never be reformed.

[…]

http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=171

Read the comments on this article to have any doubts you might have about this cleared away.

COUPEZ!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

The title of this post comes from a chapter of The Incal, something that you should read if you get a chance. Here we have the members of the Church of Industrial Saints (commonly referred to as the Techno-Technos or the Technopriests, a technocratic cult which worships the Dark Incal) whipped up into a religious frenzy after hearing the words of the Techno Pope:

Which brings us to an interesting article by a medical student on circumcision from Lew Rockwell’s site.

Let’s see…

Circumcision for All; Free Choice for None

by Stephanie R. Murphy

I was shocked, surprised, and flabbergasted to hear it. Im sure that you’ll never believe it, either. The federal government is get this, readers butting into your most personal and private business.

A good start!

[…] The CDC is now considering a campaign for universal circumcision in the US.

This is entirely wrong. It is wrong because the government has no right to tell you what you can put into or take off of your body, or your child’s body.

The reason for pushing this one-size-fits-all policy stems from the results of several studies, all done in Africa, which have demonstrated the benefits of male circumcision for reducing the transmission of HIV.

The studies on circumcision and HIV transmission are very interesting. They are large, randomized, controlled trials; the methodology is solid. They show, on average, a 4060% reduction in the risk of a circumcised, HIV negative man contracting the virus from an HIV positive woman, as compared to an uncircumcised man. The precise mechanism of circumcisions protective effect is unknown. […]

The rationale offered for circumcision in this case, based on a well designed scientific study, is entirely irrelevant. This is about rights and the proper role of government, not scientific data. If one day they discover that female students are not as proficient at medicine than male students are, should that be used as a basis for banning females from practicing medicine? I am sure that there are some people out there that would say yes. That does not make it right.

However, when considering the benefits of circumcision, there are some significant caveats. For one, circumcision is not a panacea; it does not completely prevent transmission of HIV, it just lowers the probability that a man will contract the virus during any given sexual encounter with an HIV positive woman. It should be noted that these studies only examined the effect of circumcision on transmission of the virus from an HIV positive woman to an HIV negative man. While this is a relatively common scenario in Sub-Saharan Africa, HIV epidemiology in the US is different. Overall rates of infection are lower. Also, HIV in the US is relatively more common among men who have sex with men (MSM). There is no evidence that circumcision protects against HIV acquisition in MSM. […]

All of this, once again, is irrelevant. Science can be used to demonstrate lots of things. None of them should form the basis of legislation.

Circumcision also has risks and demerits. My personal philosophy on medicine leads me to look skeptically at any procedure that removes a part of the body which is not causing harm, pain, or annoyance to the patient; in other words, dont mess with success. […]

And here is where we encounter the truth of this matter. Some people have an opinion that circumcision is not right, and so they want the state to use violence to stop other people from doing it. Some people think that circumcision is good, for whatever reason, and they want to use violence to make people do it.

Both of these positions are WRONG. No one has the right to force you to do something that you do not want to do. Libertarians are against the use of force to make people do things, and they are against the use of collective force, which is as illegitimate as force employed by a single person.

As with any surgical procedure, infections and pain after circumcision are both possibilities that should not be ignored. Medical errors should be considered as a legitimate risk during circumcision, too. There are rare case reports of penile amputation that have occurred during botched circumcisions. There are also many more reports of less extreme, but still real, consequences resulting from circumcision mishaps.

This is all irrelevant. Medical mistakes happen. Doctors should study hard and practice their art so that they do not happen often. They should never do their procedures on people who are being forced to have something done to them.

Of course, the question on the minds of many who are considering circumcision is that of whether the procedure impacts sexual enjoyment and satisfaction. That question is, in my opinion, impossible to answer accurately. To distill the immense debate surrounding this issue to its barest essence, choice seems to play a significant role in how men view their foreskins (or lack thereof). Men who choose to get circumcised tend to be happy that they did so; those who did not have a choice in the matter because they were circumcised at birth are more likely to lament it.

It may or may not be the case that men who are circumcised lament it. Once again, this is irrelevant to the core of this, which is who has the right to use force against another person so that their personal opinion is the rule of law that everyone is compelled to obey.

That brings me to my main point in writing about the prospect of universal circumcision: the issue of choice. If my patient asked me about circumcision, I would discuss with him the information above. I would also encourage him to do his own research about the procedure if he felt interested. He would make his own decision about whether he wanted to have the surgery.

Correct.

By contrast, the CDCs attitude demonstrates a lack of consideration for patient autonomy and consent, two essential elements in all medical decisions.

FALSE. And here we get to the center of this argument; is a child property or is it not property? In a very real sense, children are a special form of property. First, lets look at the unborn child

[…]

This brings us to the more complex case of abortion. For the libertarian, the “Catholic” case against abortion, even if finally rejected as invalid, cannot be dismissed out of hand. For the essence of that case not really “Catholic” at all in a theological sense is that abortion destroys a human life and is therefore murder, and hence cannot be condoned. More than that, if abortion is truly murder, then the Catholic or any other person who shares this view cannot just shrug his shoulders and say that “Catholic” views should not be imposed upon non-Catholics. Murder is not an expression of religious preference; no sect, in the name of “freedom of religion,” can or should get away with committing murder with the plea that its religion so commands. The vital question then becomes: Should abortion be considered as murder?

Most discussion of the issue bogs down in minutiae about when human life begins, when or if the fetus can be considered to be alive, etc. All this is really irrelevant to the issue of the legality (again, not necessarily the morality) of abortion. The Catholic antiabortionist, for example, declares that all that he wants for the fetus is the rights of any human being i.e., the right not to be murdered. But there is more involved here, and this is the crucial consideration. If we are to treat the fetus [p. 108] as having the same rights as humans, then let us ask: What human has the right to remain, unbidden, as an unwanted parasite within some other human being’s body? This is the nub of the issue: the absolute right of every person, and hence every woman, to the ownership of her own body. What the mother is doing in an abortion is causing an unwanted entity within her body to be ejected from it: If the fetus dies, this does not rebut the point that no being has a right to live, unbidden, as a parasite within or upon some person’s body.

The common retort that the mother either originally wanted or at least was responsible for placing the fetus within her body is, again, beside the point. Even in the stronger case where the mother originally wanted the child, the mother, as the property owner in her own body, has the right to change her mind and to eject it.

http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp

[…]

I completely agree with this. A child has no ‘right’ to remain in its mother’s womb, otherwise, the mother becomes property.

When a child is born however, it becomes a human being with all the natural rights that human beings are born with. It cannot fend for itself in any way; it needs special care and nurturing. Since it is the creation of two people, those parents are, naturally, the people with the responsibility of caring for that child; the child is the ward of the parents.

Being a ward in this way is a special form of property. While you are in the care of your parents, they have total responsibility for you and can have procedures performed on you that they feel are for your benefit. Some parents circumcise their children. Many vaccinate them. Some parents have scars cut into their chldren’s bodies. When they are born, some parents allow silver nitrate to be dropped into the eyes of their children, and allow their children to be injected with vitamin K. All of these procedures, when done with the best interest of the child are completely legitimate, and no doctor, or do-gooder or moral crusader has the right to use force to compel a parent to do or refrain from doing any of them.

The CDC would like every baby boy born in America to be circumcised, no matter the opinion of his parents and, more importantly, without the boys consent.

Now there are TWO problems in this sentence. The first one is that the CDC wants to mandate a medical procedure. They have no right to do this. The second part of this that is completely wrong is the idea that an infant boy must give his consent to be circumcised. This is totally absurd, and contrary to common sense and the natural relationship between parents and children. This fallacious idea is a part of the move towards ‘children’s rights’ which is a back door way to allow the state to become the ultimate parent of all children, usurping the natural role of the parent. The UN is pushing for it, governments all over the world are picking up this fallacious reasoning as a lever to ban Home Education or even to stop people sailing around the world.

If circumcision were a medically necessary and life-saving procedure with no possible ill effects, things might be different.

This is false reasoning. What is or is not medically necessary, like vaccination or dropping silver nitrate in the eyes of newborns, or injecting them with vitamin K on the day they are born, is a matter of opinion, and it is up to the parent, not the state, or a PhD doctor with the coercive force of the state behind her to make these decisions.

In reality, it is a surgical procedure that is not essential for the health of a normal man;

Wether or not circumcision is essential is irrelevant; circumcision, like piercing the ears of girls is the personal business of parents, and should not be the domain of the personal opinions or prejudices of doctors.

furthermore, it has both risks and benefits.

Everything has risks; it is up to the parent to weigh the risks and make these private family decisions, not doctors or the state.

The relative importance of those risks and benefits is subjective. Every man may value them differently. For that reason, its essential that each individual be afforded the choice about what to do with his own foreskin.

FALSE. If we extend this logic, then no infant should be vaccinated, lest when he becomes an adult he should have a religious objection to it. I wonder how many doctors would agree with that?

To be perfectly blunt, I do not see any justification for removing a part of a baby boys body without his consent.

Then do not remove the foreskin of your son. If you have a son, I presume that you have not done this. If your husband has no foreskin, he might have had something to say about this. Either way, what you do with your own children is your own business. It is not your place to tell anyone that they should not circumcise their boys, or that what they are doing is wrong and it is entirely immoral to call for the state to stop circumcision.

The people who think that circumcision is correct think that YOU are dead wrong. Both groups can live side by side very happily, as long as one does not try and compel the other to do something, or refrain from doing something, that they do not want to do. This is the very core of Libertarianism. Understandably, emotionalism clouds the thinking of even the best people. When emotionalism and science are mixed together, you get a cocktail that is completely intoxicating; in a drunken stupor the force of the state is then invoked to make sure that, “the right thing is done”. It is however, ALWAYS the wrong thing, and the case of forced circumcision or the banning of circumcision is yet another example.

Men can always get circumcised as adults if they wish; by contrast, once the foreskin is gone, its gone forever.

Irrelevant. No child is put onto this world without being created by its parents. If men were self made out of eggs or they grew like fruit from trees neither of which anyone owned, and they could look after themselves from birth like some animals or amoebae do, then you could make an argument like this. The same argument could be made of what a child is fed; if a child wanted to become a pure vegan as a moral response to ‘animal cruelty’, should we refrain from feeding it meat until it becomes an adult? Of course not; what we choose to feed our children is one of the many choices a parent makes, quite legitimately. That also goes for what we feed our children’s minds, and of course, there are ‘experts’ out there who think that children must be taught certain things in a certain way, and these same people are ready to use force to make parents comply with their personal prejudices.

It is all wrong and immoral.

Most people will concede that the procedure is painful even for babies, but they insist that the pain is justified because the baby will not remember it.

It is most certainly painful, and the number of people conceding this is irrelevant. Lots of procedures are painful, like getting a vaccination, one of the 24 that infants up to the age of two receive. Getting a disciplinary slap is also painful; and the pain is one that parents who practice that form of care certainly want a child to remember. There are many things in the world that hurt; hurt cannot be avoided, and the people who try and eliminate all danger and hurt from life either do not understand what life is, or do not have any experience of being a parent.

I wince at the thought of causing pain to a newborn boy. I say that even if he does not remember the physical pain as an adult, he may still suffer from the psychological sting of having had a body part removed without his permission.

This is squeamish emotionalism, and personal weakness. Both of these things have nothing to do with parents and circumcision, and certainly, infants have no concept of giving or withholding permission. Even if they did, children are made to eat things that they do not like every second of the day, ‘for their own good’; should this too be outlawed? Utter nonsense!

Another argument from the advocates of universal circumcision is that it makes good hygiene easier. This is a typical government one-size-fits-all solution: parents are too stupid, in the minds of government agents, to teach their sons good hygiene, so instead we should just circumcise everyone. People are also too stupid to practice safe sex, so we should circumcise them all because they will gain a marginal reduction in the overall risk of contracting HIV. Ive also heard arguments for circumcision based in religious tradition and cultural norms. Sure, circumcision is common and a very old tradition in some religions and cultures. But does that make it right?

It does not make it wrong. That is for sure, and it also does not make it any of our business what other people do.

I dont think thats for us to decide. I think that each individual, the owner of his own body, should make the call about whether or not circumcision is appropriate for him.

But the subtext here is that infants cannot defend themselves, and so the noble doctor, backed by the force of the state, should step in and protect it, using the ‘rights of the child’ as the pretext. It simply will not wash. And yes, that is why some people circumcise!

Its difficult for me to assume the mindset of statists who advocate for this kind of thing,

And for the record it is very difficult for me to get into the mindset of people who want to use the state to make other people comply with their personal prejudices. I cannot contemplate going into someone else’s houses and demanding that they eat as I eat, think as I think, or do as I do. It is anathema to me. I also understand what asking for things does in the real world; in the real world, when you ask for something to change, there are consequences in this case, the consequence is, “The federal government butting into your most personal and private business” by telling you that you must, or as this author is advocating, must not, circumcise your boy.

so I raised the issue of universal circumcision in conversation with a few people whose opinions I thought would be unencumbered by that pesky philosophy of leaving others alone and letting them make their own decisions. In addition to the religious and culturally based arguments that several people trotted out, one colleague had an interesting comment. He thought that universal circumcision was a good idea, envisioning a world where no more would awkward teens have to worry about getting teased in the locker room, because “everyone would look the same.” Oh really? The last time I checked, people came in all shapes, colors, and sizes, and that was a good thing!

So is it a good thing that some people are circumcised or not?!

I guess that if everyone looked alike, wore the same clothes, and had the same hairstyles, nobody would ever have to worry about not fitting in. Would this egalitarian also propose to redistribute the wealth from the best-endowed men to those who are not quite as blessed by Mother Nature? Ridiculous.

Many people are brainwashed out there. Some are brainwashed to believe that children have ‘rights’. Since this is the case, it is most logical to not advocate that your personal opinions be made into law. Its hard to do when we are talking about something so wrapped up in emotion, but really, it is the only way to make sure that you do not become the enemy. Follow the non aggression principle; “is what I am asking for going to end up causing force to be used against someone?” If the answer to that is ‘yes’ then you should not do it or ask for it, and you should re-assess your thinking.

I certainly cannot agree with the CDCs move toward making a blanket recommendation that all boys should undergo a medical procedure at birth, without their consent.

There is the subtext again. The next step is using the state and the medical industrial complex to STOP circumcision under the false pretext of ‘children’s rights’. We could also extend this logic to the very act of birth itself; no child asks to be born – should we seek the permission of a child before it is created wether or not it wants to be created? After all, being born is a sentence to live out up to eighty years in a world full of brainwashed, state loving, warmongering, fear soaked squeamish busy bodies who all have designs on your body and mind from day one. Certainly, some people would rather not be born; life itself is a far bigger pain to suffer than circumcision.

And there you have it; FALSE REASONING.

I want each man to have the opportunity to make his own decision about what to do with his foreskin when he reaches an age at which he is capable of doing so,

“I WANT” hmmm. If you want this, then when you have children, make sure that you have them with a man who is not circumcised, and who does not come from a culture where they do it. Then you can leave YOUR son’s foreskin for him to chop or not chop. What YOU WANT has NOTHING to do with ANYONE ELSE IN THE WHOLE WORLD, PERIOD.

based on his understanding of the risks and benefits, and how much he personally values each. The bloated, overreaching federal government apparently does not want the same.

[…]

http://www.lewrockwell.com/murphy-s/murphy-s12.1.html

But in fact, what they want is EXACTLY THE SAME AS WHAT YOU WANT; they want to CONTROL OTHER PEOPLE based on their PERSONAL PREJUDICES. They just happen to be on the ‘other side’ of the argument.

Scientist says, "EVERYONE CALM DOWN!"

Monday, August 24th, 2009

This article from New Scientist applies to everything, from panics and over reactions over hand guns causing irrational bans, to Home Education being banned… only in the case of Home Educating being banned, the risk is not real, but is instead a lie used to make people frightened and the cause is not to make people safe but to exercise control over free people:

[…]

"Perhaps the greatest danger of overreaction, though, happens when a government feels it must respond to popular clamour after a high-profile event involving an innocent or vulnerable victim. When a baby is killed, or there is a murder by someone identified as mentally ill or someone on probation, people are reasonably shocked and feel that "something must be done" to prevent such things happening again.

Why do they think that extra bureaucracy will help? While the causes of individual tragedies may be apparent, this does not mean that similar events can be easily prevented in future. That's because they are essentially unpredictable: the underlying problem is that the most shocking "bad" things happen to, or are done by, people deemed to be low-risk, and so attempts to prevent all "bad" things often have a high cost for little apparent gain. This idea is probably best explained through an example.

Let's consider what are officially termed "serious further offences" (SFOs) in the UK. Suppose 1 in 1600 of the total number of people on probation commits such an offence, but that some are more likely to offend than others. These high-risk people offend at three times the rate of the low-risk. Suppose 7.5 per cent of probationers are classified as high-risk. If you locked them all up, what might be the consequences? It is counter-intuitive, but you would make very little impact, and all for considerable cost and loss of liberty.

How so? Imagine you had 8000 people on probation. Of these, 600 (7.5 per cent) are high-risk, and 1 of them commits an SFO. The other 7400 are low-risk – only one-third as likely to commit an SFO – and 4 of these offend. Overall, by locking up all high-risk cases you will prevent only 1 out of the total of 5 offences: 80 per cent of the SFOs will still occur. So what appears to be a reasonable policy could be an overreaction."

David Spiegelhalter is Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge

New Scientist

Which brings us on to New Zealand, where it seems that people in government have at least half a working brain-cell:

Echoing then Minister of Education Dr Lockwood Smith in 1994, that he could not justify the expense of regular reviews on such a low-risk group as home educators, Chief Review Officer Graham Stoop wrote in February this year that reviews of home educators are not efficient or effective. Posted on the ERO website is the following: “From 1 July 2009 ERO will carry out reviews only when requested by the Secretary for Education, or in other particular circumstances.”

This is in line with the present central government’s drive to cut bureaucratic costs. Minister in charge of the ERO, Anne Tolley, said in February: “I have asked ERO to identify schools that are performing consistently well and, accordingly, from March 1, these schools will be exempt from the current three-yearly ERO reviews and will instead be reviewed every four to five years.”

In December 2008, the Finance Minister advised Cabinet to do a line-byline review of expenditure. Home Education reviews were found to account for $283,000 out of a total budget of $28,675,000 or 0.987% (less than 1%). Graham Stoop wrote: “This programme is considered to be low risk to the education priorities of the Government. In 2007/08 ERO completed 644 homeschooling reviews from a total of 6,169 homeschooled students [at an average cost of $439.44 per review]. ERO could not provide assurance that the terms of exemption were being met in only 35 of the 644 reviews [a 5.4% “failure” rate]. This has been the pattern over many years.”

About 35 reviews a year will continue to be made, reviews initiated by the MoE as a result of concerns brought to the Ministry’s notice about particular home educating families. It was felt by home educators in discussions with the ERO back in the years from 1994 to 1999 when no regular reviews were being held, that the bad eggs rose to the top and became very obvious to everyone. Consequently, more exemptions were revoked during that time, with fewer reviews being held, than in the years prior to 1994.

A senior member of the ERO, with with every race, every ethnic background and every level of citizen. It is best to have this experience when one is equipped to discern the difference between ability and pretense, morality and stupidity, propinquity and friendship. And when one can defend what one knows and believes. It is, after all,  crucial to understand and respect differences, but first one must establish one’s own identity. Education is slow; socialization is quick.  (From the foreward of Otto Scott’s Great Christian Revolution: How Christianity Transformed the World. The Reformer Library. Windsor, New York 1995) much experience in dealing with home education reviews, wrote the following in an email dated 30 July:

The reality is home schooling has been found to be low risk. Several things stand out in my mind relating to home schooling and they are:

  • home schooling families have support from other homeschoolers and access to people through support networks and
  • through the Internet;
  • home schooling families are no longer isolated unless they choose to be;
  • there is easy access to a considerable range of resources;
  • the skills of home schooling parents are well used;• home schooling is being seen more as a viable educational option;
  • ICT is a powerful communication and information gathering tool and home schooling families use this tool;
  • people liked the affirmation that home schooling reviews affirmed good practice; and
  • despite initial concerns the feedback ERO has received relating to the home school review process is mostly positive. This person also felt that home  education reviews would not be reinstated for quite some time.

Conjecture will not be slow among home eduators in relation to “what will the MoE do now? Will they make it more difficult to get an exemption?” There is no particular reason to believe this, apart from the obvious fact that National has the same totalitarian tendencies as does Labour…they only tend to move a bit slower. This coalition with the ACT Party, however, does changethings a bit.

Heather Roy of the ACT Party is an Associate Minister of Education… home education fits perfectly into their philosophy of freedom of choice for parents in education and freedom of self determination in how to order one’s family affairs.

Back in 1995, the MoE instituted, for one year only, voluntary written reviews wherein home educators wrote to the MoE about how their home education enterprise was doing. The MoE said they really enjoyed reading the reviews as it was the only feedback they ever got from home educators after issuing the exemptions, the ERO being the ones to contact home educators after that. But the MoE also caught a lot of flak as a result of requesting these reviews, being accused of going outside their statutory powers in asking for such reviews and of trying to get home educators to  incriminate themselves, etc.

What we home educators need to remember just now is that the current coalition government with ACT MPs holding Ministerial portfolios means we have friends in Parliament and an officially friendly MoE philosophy for the time being. This is a time to raise the flag of accomplishments, achievements,  discoveries, the joys, benefits and satisfactions of the home education option to the population at largeand to the MPs in particular.
From TEACH Bulletin
No 130 July 2009
To see the rest of the articles in the July 2009 TEACH Bulletin:
http://hef.org.nz/teach-bulletin/

And there you have it. Perhaps Home Educators in the UK will consider moving to New Zealand to remain free. All those who are fat need not apply of course.

Which brings us to this superb post from Sometimes its Peaceful:

I've been through the twelve parts of my critique of the Badman report [opens pdf] with a highlighting pen now, and it seems that the main points arising from it can be separated into five distinct categories:

  • Language issues, in which sentences are carefully crafted to partially obscure their full meaning, or selective quoting is employed, or certain key or trigger words are used to convey a message not explicitly stated;
  • Safeguarding and child protection issues;
  • Legal issues;
  • Logical issues – or otherwise! By which I mean those points that are contradictory or just not logically coherent; and
  • Financial issues.

In today's post I'm focusing on the main points arising in the category of 'Language':

1.4 I have taken account of the views of local authorities who are strongly of the opinion that the current guidelines are unworkable in that they are contradictory and confer responsibility without power.

(Carefully not mentioning the views of local authorities who are not of that opinion, thereby giving the appearance that they don't exist.)

1.5 However, there has to be a balance between the rights of the parents and the rights of the child.

– and several other similar phrases, such as:

11.2 I have sought to strike a balance between the rights of parents and the rights of the child..

– but nothing about the parental duty set out in Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act. This is reinforced so frequently throughout the report that I think it must be deliberately contrived to set up the erroneous implication that there is some conflict between children's and parents' rights.
From Recommendation 1:

■ Registration should be renewed annually.

But the proposal is not actually for registration, but for a system of licensing. There must be a reason why it's not given its proper name and this can only be to do with presentation.

Recommendation 7

■ That parents be required to allow the child through exhibition or other means to demonstrate both attainment and progress in accord with the statement of intent lodged at the time of registration.

– convoluted, illogical phraseology ('required to allow') straining to conceal its real meaning ('compelled to coerce') behind a mask of artificial geniality. The reason for this can only be that the author knows the true meaning is publicly unpalatable and I'm therefore delighted that home educators have been exposing it for what it is.

8.4 I understand the argument but do not accept it in its entirety in that attendance at school brings other eyes to bear, and does provide opportunity for the child to disclose to a trusted adult.

This is a cunningly slipped-in suggestion that the only trusted adults are to be found in schools. There are quite a few other similar semi-subliminal messages contained in the report.

There are also many explicit and implied references to 'support', in recommendations 1, 10, 12, 17, 18 and 20 as well as throughout the text, but nothing about the consequences to a family, parent or child who opts to decline such offers of 'support'. However, read in context the unspoken threat becomes apparent: permission to home educate will be denied. Such 'support' is actually therefore compulsory coercion and nothing resembling the "act of sustaining, advocacy, help, backing" or "encouragement" described in my dictionary's definition of the word.

With all of the above plus the liberal peppering of the report with such buzzwords as 'safeguarding', 'outcomes' (only certain varieties of these are acceptable), and 'targets' (set by governments, not families), amongst others, I think it's a strong defence to call the whole thing out, and for exactly what it is. Our language is being stolen from us, in this and the rest of the endless tsunami of reports, recommendations, guidances and regulations with which the people of England have been besieged in recent years. We need to claim it back.

In subsequent posts I'll briefly outline the main points of the other categories before moving onto the letter from Ed Balls. http://sometimesitspeaceful.blogspot.com/2009/08/stress-testing-badman-report-points.html

[…]

This is one of the most important posts on the Badman report.

What the report does, by a deliberate misuse of language is sneak in the licensing of Home Education. If you are a Home Educator, and you accept to 'register', you are in effect, applying for a license to be a parent, and if you fail to comply with the terms of what the Local Authority thinks you should be doing as a parent, then your license will be revoked, and they will take responsibility for your children by forcing you to send them to school.

Absolutely dastardly and unacceptable.

If the report had been written honestly, and had used English correctly, then the word 'license' would have been used to describe the recommended process or registration and annual review.

But you already know about the true nature and intent behind this report.

New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

As we have said before on BLOGDIAL, and as others have said, changing the laws on Home Education in the UK using the pretext of ‘child safety’ is utter nonsense. Thanks to AhED, we now know scientifically that Home Educated children are in fact SAFER than children who are sent to school. It has to be said that no matter what case they bring to the attention of the press, the fact is that the vast majority of families are perfectly safe, do not need to be spied upon and should be left alone to get on with the business of the pursuit of happiness. The current and nauseating fad of holding up exceptional cases as a pretext for putting everyone under suspicion is morally wrong, socially corrosive and the result of bad thinking.

But I digress…

The only other pretext they have left in their quiver of evil is to claim that Home Educated children are not achieving academically. This has already been proven to be false, and now it has been proven yet again; the HSLDA has just released a new study proving that Home Educated children out perform state schooled children in every way. There are those who say that exams should not be the sole way that success is measured, and I agree with them; how you as a parent measure success is your own affair. What the HSLDA is doing is proving that Home Education should not come under scrutiny because people believe that the families that do it cannot achieve anything.

Finally the only reason why Home Education is under attack in the UK is that a bunch of Hard Core Socialists are hell bent on eliminating what they see as privilege, and will do anything to prevent a free thinking, high achieving superclass from coming into being. The same jealous urges that drove Labour to vow to close Eton and Harrow drives the call to ban Home Education. An army of Home Educated people, vast in number, would be a real threat to the established order and to the Socialist Utopia that is the wet dream of Ed Balls and his ilk.

What this report shows is that Home Educated children perform well across the board, and that the factors that the insane Socialists think are the divisive causes of inequality make no difference to the level of achievement; in other words, when the state is left out of education, all people do better as a result and income, gender, level of education of the parents has no effect on the much beloved outcomes. This is what they hate even more than ‘privilege’; the fact that everyone can not only live without them, but that everyone would be better off without them entirely.

Children who are not brainwashed and who can think for themselves, numbering over 100,000, constitutes a game changing army. As the state system continues to churn out illiterate, immoral, violent and destroyed people, and as the penny drops about how and why this is happening, more and more people will opt for Home Education, normalizing it and forever breaking the poison spell that has hypnotized people for generations; the spell that made people believe that the only place children can learn is in a school with a professional teacher.

[…]

New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement
Ian Slatter
Director of Media Relations HSLDA

August 10, 2009

Each year, the homeschool movement graduates at least 100,000 students. Due to the fact that both the United States government and homeschool advocates agree that homeschooling has been growing at around 7% per annum for the past decade, it is not surprising that homeschooling is gaining increased attention. Consequently, many people have been asking questions about homeschooling, usually with a focus on either the academic or social abilities of homeschool graduates.

As an organization advocating on behalf of homeschoolers, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) long ago committed itself to demonstrating that homeschooling should be viewed as a mainstream educational alternative.

We strongly believe that homeschooling is a thriving education movement capable of producing millions of academically and socially able students who will have a tremendously positive effect on society.

Despite much resistance from outside the homeschool movement, whether from teachers unions, politicians, school administrators, judges, social service workers, or even family members, over the past few decades homeschoolers have slowly but surely won acceptance as a mainstream education alternative. This has been due in part to the commissioning of research which demonstrates the academic success of the average homeschooler.

The last piece of major research looking at homeschool academic achievement was completed in 1998 by Dr. Lawrence Rudner. Rudner, a professor at the ERIC Clearinghouse, which is part of the University of Maryland, surveyed over 20,000 homeschooled students. His study, titled Home Schooling Works, discovered that homeschoolers (on average) scored about 30 percentile points higher than the national average on standardized achievement tests.

This research and several other studies supporting the claims of homeschoolers have helped the homeschool cause tremendously. Today, you would be hard pressed to find an opponent of homeschooling who says that homeschoolers, on average, are poor academic achievers.

There is one problem, however. Rudners research was conducted over a decade ago. Without another look at the level of academic achievement among homeschooled students, critics could begin to say that research on homeschool achievement is outdated and no longer relevant.

Recognizing this problem, HSLDA commissioned Dr. Brian Ray, an internationally recognized scholar and president of the non-profit National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), to collect data for the 200708 academic year for a new study which would build upon 25 years of homeschool academic scholarship conducted by Ray himself, Rudner, and many others.

Drawing from 15 independent testing services, the Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics included 11,739 homeschooled students from all 50 states who took three well-known testsCalifornia Achievement Test, Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, and Stanford Achievement Test for the 200708 academic year. The Progress Report is the most comprehensive homeschool academic study ever completed.

The Results

Overall the study showed significant advances in homeschool academic achievement as well as revealing that issues such as student gender, parents education level, and family income had little bearing on the results of homeschooled students.

National Average Percentile Scores

Subtest Homeschool Public School
Reading 89 50
Language 84 50
Math 84 50
Science 86 50
Social Studies 84 50
Corea 88 50
Compositeb 86 50
a. Core is a combination of Reading, Language, and Math.
b. Composite is a combination of all subtests that the student took on the test.

There was little difference between the results of homeschooled boys and girls on core scores.

Boys87th percentile
Girls88th percentile

Household income had little impact on the results of homeschooled students.

$34,999 or less85th percentile
$35,000$49,99986th percentile

$50,000$69,99986th percentile
$70,000 or more89th percentile

The education level of the parents made a noticeable difference, but the homeschooled children of non-college educated parents still scored in the 83rd percentile, which is well above the national average.

Neither parent has a college degree83rd percentile
One parent has a college degree86th percentile

Both parents have a college degree90th percentile

Whether either parent was a certified teacher did not matter.

Certified (i.e., either parent ever certified)87th percentile
Not certified (i.e., neither parent ever certified)88th percentile

Parental spending on home education made little difference.

Spent $600 or more on the student89th percentile
Spent under $600 on the student86th percentile

The extent of government regulation on homeschoolers did not affect the results.

Low state regulation87th percentile
Medium state regulation88th percentile

High state regulation87th percentile

HSLDA defines the extent of government regulation this way:

States with low regulation: No state requirement for parents to initiate any contact or State requires parental notification only.

States with moderate regulation: State requires parents to send notification, test scores, and/or professional evaluation of student progress.

State with high regulation: State requires parents to send notification or achievement test scores and/or professional evaluation, plus other requirements (e.g. curriculum approval by the state, teacher qualification of parents, or home visits by state officials).

The question HSLDA regularly puts before state legislatures is, If government regulation does not improve the results of homeschoolers why is it necessary?

In short, the results found in the new study are consistent with 25 years of research, which show that as a group homeschoolers consistently perform above average academically. The Progress Report also shows that, even as the numbers and diversity of homeschoolers have grown tremendously over the past 10 years, homeschoolers have actually increased the already sizeable gap in academic achievement between themselves and their public school counterparts-moving from about 30 percentile points higher in the Rudner study (1998) to 37 percentile points higher in the Progress Report (2009).

As mentioned earlier, the achievement gaps that are well-documented in public school between boys and girls, parents with lower incomes, and parents with lower levels of education are not found among homeschoolers. While it is not possible to draw a definitive conclusion, it does appear from all the existing research that homeschooling equalizes every student upwards. Homeschoolers are actually achieving every day what the public schools claim are their goalsto narrow achievement gaps and to educate each child to a high level.

Of course, an education movement which consistently shows that children can be educated to a standard significantly above the average public school student at a fraction of the costthe average spent by participants in the Progress Report was about $500 per child per year as opposed to the public school average of nearly $10,000 per child per yearwill inevitably draw attention from the K-12 public education industry.

Answering the Critics

This particular study is the most comprehensive ever undertaken. It attempts to build upon and improve on the previous research. One criticism of the Rudner study was that it only drew students from one large testing service. Although there was no reason to believe that homeschoolers participating with that service were automatically non-representative of the broader homeschool community, HSLDA decided to answer this criticism by using 15 independent testing services for this new study. There can be no doubt that homeschoolers from all walks of life and backgrounds participated in the Progress Report.

While it is true that not every homeschooler in America was part of this study, it is also true that the Progress Report provides clear evidence of the success of homeschool programs.

The reason is that all social science studies are based on samples. The goal is to make the sample as representative as possible because then more confident conclusions can be drawn about the larger population. Those conclusions are then validated when other studies find the same or similar results.

Critics tend to focus on this narrow point and maintain that they will not be satisfied until every homeschooler is submitted to a test. This is not a reasonable request because not all homeschoolers take standardized achievement tests. In fact, while the majority of homeschool parents do indeed test their children simply to track their progress and also to provide them with the experience of test-taking, it is far from a comprehensive and universal practice among homeschoolers.

The best researchers can do is provide a sample of homeschooling families and compare the results of their children to those of public school students, in order to give the most accurate picture of how homeschoolers in general are faring academically.

The concern that the only families who chose to participate are the most successful homeschoolers can be alleviated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of parents did not know their children’s test results before agreeing to participate in the study.

HSLDA believes that this study along with the several that have been done in the past are clear evidence that homeschoolers are succeeding academically.

Final Thought

Homeschooling is making great strides and hundreds of thousands of parents across America are showing every day what can be achieved when parents exercise their right to homeschool and make tremendous sacrifices to provide their children with the best education available.

[…]

http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/200908100.asp

Government child supervision planned for American families

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

It looks like the Balls Badman effect is spreading to the USA. At least in America, the people are getting rowdy over it:

Dirty Secret No. 1 in Obamacare
by Chuck Norris

Health care reforms are turning into health care revolts. Americans are turning up the heat on congressmen in town hall meetings across the U.S.

While watching these political hot August nights, I decided to research the reasons so many are opposed to Obamacare to separate the facts from the fantasy. What I discovered is that there are indeed dirty little secrets buried deep within the 1,000-plus page health care bill.

Dirty secret No. 1 in Obamacare is about the government’s coming into homes and usurping parental rights over child care and development.

It’s outlined in sections 440 and 1904 of the House bill (Page 838), under the heading “home visitation programs for families with young children and families expecting children.” The programs (provided via grants to states) would educate parents on child behavior and parenting skills.

The bill says that the government agents, “well-trained and competent staff,” would “provide parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains … modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices,” and “skills to interact with their child to enhance age-appropriate development.”

Are you kidding me?! With whose parental principles and values? Their own? Certain experts’? From what field and theory of childhood development? As if there are one-size-fits-all parenting techniques! Do we really believe they would contextualize and personalize every form of parenting in their education, or would they merely universally indoctrinate with their own?

Are we to assume the state’s mediators would understand every parent’s social or religious core values on parenting? Or would they teach some secular-progressive and religiously neutered version of parental values and wisdom? And if they were to consult and coach those who expect babies, would they ever decide circumstances to be not beneficial for the children and encourage abortions?

One government rebuttal is that this program would be “voluntary.” Is that right? Does that imply that this agency would just sit back passively until some parent needing parenting skills said, “I don’t think I’ll call my parents, priest or friends or read a plethora of books, but I’ll go down to the local government offices”? To the contrary, the bill points to specific targeted groups and problems, on Page 840: The state “shall identify and prioritize serving communities that are in high need of such services, especially communities with a high proportion of low-income families.”

Are we further to conclude by those words that low-income families know less about parenting? Are middle- and upper-class parents really better parents? Less neglectful of their children? Less needful of parental help and training? Is this “prioritized” training not a biased, discriminatory and even prejudicial stereotype and generalization that has no place in federal government, law or practice?

Bottom line: Is all this what you want or expect in a universal health care bill being rushed through Congress? Do you want government agents coming into your home and telling you how to parent your children? When did government health care turn into government child care?

Government needs less of a role in running our children’s lives and more of a role in supporting parents’ decisions for their children. Children belong to their parents, not the government. And the parents ought to have the right — and government support — to parent them without the fed’s mandates, education or intervention in our homes.

[…]

Town Hall

Poor old Chuck; he almost gets it right in the end; government needs less of a role and no role at all in supporting parent’s decisions for their children not MORE of a role. More of a role means MORE GOVERNMENT.

In any case, this sounds very much like the home invasions outlined by Balls and Badman, “for your own good”, to make sure that you are teaching your children ‘correctly’. It’s all completely bogus of course, but what is interesting is that there seems to be a simultaneous move both here and in the USA to usurp the parent and replace the state in that sacred role.

Americans will not have it, and they will go to war over it. Thank heavens for real people.

Rothbard on Education

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Public and Compulsory Schooling
Until the last few years there were few institutions in America that were held more sacred — especially by liberals — than the public school. Devotion to the public school had seized even those early Americans — such as Jeffersonians and Jacksonians — who were libertarian in most other respects. In recent years the public school was supposed to be a crucial ingredient of democracy, the fount of brotherhood, and the enemy of elitism and separateness in American life. The public school was the embodiment of the alleged right of every child to an education, and it was upheld as a crucible of understanding and harmony between men of all occupations and social classes who would rub elbows from an early age with all their neighbors.

Going hand in hand with the spread of public education have been compulsory attendance laws, which have forced all children up to a high — and continually increasing — minimum age, to attend either a public school or a private school certified as suitable by the state apparatus. In contrast to earlier decades, when a relatively small proportion of the population went to school in the higher grades, the entire mass of the population has thus been coerced by the government into spending a large portion of the most impressionable years of their lives in public institutions. We could easily have analyzed compulsory attendance laws [p. 120] in our chapter on involuntary servitude, for what institution is more evidently a vast system of incarceration? In recent years, Paul Goodman and other critics of education have trenchantly exposed the nation's public schools — and to a lesser extent their private appendages — as a vast prison system for the nation's youth, dragooning countless millions of unwilling and unadaptable children into the schooling structure. The New Left tactic of breaking into the high schools shouting "Jailbreak!" may have been absurd and ineffective, but it certainly expressed a great truth about the school system. For if we are to dragoon the entire youth population into vast prisons in the guise of "education," with teachers and administrators serving as surrogate wardens and guards, why should we not expect vast unhappiness, discontent, alienation, and rebellion on the part of the nation's youth? The only surprise should be that the rebellion was so long in coming. But now it is increasingly acknowledged that something is terribly wrong with America's proudest institution; that, especially in urban areas, the public schools have become cesspools of crime, petty theft, and drug addiction, and that little or no genuine education takes place amidst the warping of the minds and souls of the children.

Part of the reason for this tyranny over the nation's youth is misplaced altruism on the part of the educated middle class. The workers, or the "lower classes," they felt, should have the opportunity to enjoy the schooling the middle classes value so highly. And if the parents or the children of the masses should be so benighted as to balk at this glorious opportunity set before them, well, then, a little coercion must be applied — "for their own good," of course.

A crucial fallacy of the middle-class school worshippers is confusion between formal schooling and education in general. Education is a lifelong process of learning, and learning takes place not only in school, but in all areas of life. When the child plays, or listens to parents or friends, or reads a newspaper, or works at a job, he or she is becoming educated. Formal schooling is only a small part of the educational process, and is really only suitable for formal subjects of instruction, particularly in the more advanced and systematic subjects. The elementary subjects, reading, writing, arithmetic and their corollaries, can easily be learned at home and outside the school.

Furthermore, one of the great glories of mankind is its diversity, the fact that each individual is unique, with unique abilities, interests, and aptitudes. To coerce into formal schooling children who have neither the ability nor the interest in this area is a criminal warping of the soul and mind of the child. Paul Goodman has raised the cry that most children would be far better off if they were allowed to work at an early age, learn a trade, and begin to do that which they are most suited for. America was built by citizens and leaders, many of whom received little or no formal schooling, and the idea that one must have a high-school diploma — or nowadays, an A.B. degree — before he can begin to work and to live in the world is an absurdity of the current age. Abolish compulsory attendance laws and give children their head, and we will return to a nation of people far more productive, interested, creative, and happy. Many thoughtful opponents of the New Left and the youth rebellion have pointed out that much of the discontent of youth and their divorce from reality is due to the ever-longer period in which youth must remain at school, wrapped in a cocoon of dependence and irresponsibility. Well and good, but what is the main reason for this ever-lengthening cocoon? Clearly the whole system, and in particular the compulsory attendance laws, which preach that everyone must go perpetually to school — first to high school, now to college, and soon perhaps for a Ph.D. degree. It is the compulsion toward mass schooling that creates both the discontent and the ever-continuing shelter from the "real world." In no other nation and in no other age has this mania for mass schooling so taken hold.

[…]

http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp

The principles that you need to understand

Saturday, August 1st, 2009


Watch Pam Probst – History of Government Schools (The Libertarian Alternative) in Educational  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

10
Under the doctrine of Meyer v. Nebraska, we think it entirely plain that the Act of 1922 unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control. As often heretofore pointed out, rights guaranteed by the Constitution may not be abridged by legislation which has no reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the state. The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.

[…]

http://openjurist.org/268/us/510

A beautiful part of the Supreme Court decision mentioned in that video. Sadly, the rest of the decision (as far as HE is concerned) is not what it should have been, but the principle here is spelled out correctly. Children are not creatures or property of the state. The state has no right to standardize children. Those who nurture children and direct their destiny, THE PARENTS, have THE RIGHT coupled with the HIGH DUTY to prepare them for additional obligations. Note how ‘additional obligations’ is not defined. What those obligations may be and to whom is up to THE PARENT and not THE STATE.

People who advocate the opposite of this, that children should be standardized, that the state has the right to do this, and to determine the obligations that a child must prepare for (the Every Child Matters outcomes) are, by definition, anti-liberty, anti-family and fundamentally wrong headed.

But you know this!

Jeremy Yallop Destroys Simon Webb and Badman in the TES

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Jeremy Yallop is a home-educating parent who thinks attempts to intervene are based on faulty evidence, and says No, learning is both more enjoyable and effective without coercion

Some parents, we are told, believe that their children should be free to follow their own interests at their own pace. Mr Webb finds this bizarre; he apparently prefers to force them to learn things of no interest to them at a pace outside their control.

In fact, the autonomous educators so despised by Mr Webb simply practise what most people know instinctively: that learning is both more enjoyable and more effective without coercion. Every teacher knows the impossibility of teaching disaffected pupils; anyone with a hobby knows the joy and effortlessness of learning when the interest is engaged. Such learning may involve teaching, books, conversations, experiments and whatever else proves helpful. Extensive research by Dr Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison at the Institute of Education in London has shown the autonomous approach to be astonishingly effective.

Chris Ford, now completing a biomedical research PhD, was autonomously educated from birth until he went to college, aged 14, to take A- levels.

Alex Dowty, autonomously educated from the age of eight, decided against GCSEs and A-levels; instead, he took Open University courses in politics and humanities, which led to an unconditional offer to read law at Oxford. So autonomous education does not bar children from the professions, as Mr Webb fears.

Graham Badmans review of home education is a striking example of what happens when there is no interest in the subject studied. He has produced a pitiful excuse of a report, the shortcomings of which include an embarrassing failure to understand the existing law. The confusion between rights and duties that Mr Webb rightly deplores does not reside with home educators but with Mr Badman, who assures us that he will not argue against the rights of parents as set out in section 7 of the Education Act 1996, although he does imagine a need to balance these with the rights of children. In fact, the passage he refers to does not confer rights at all; instead, it imposes a duty on parents to provide a suitable education. The propaganda about balance fails in the face of this simple truth. Nobody will believe that parents duties are incompatible with childrens rights.

Mr Badman wishes to appear very concerned for childrens rights, especially their right to have a voice. Strangely, he did not consider giving them a voice in his report. There are quotes from vested interests (teachers unions) and irrelevant campaign groups (the British Humanist Association). There is a quote from the Church of Englands submission, carefully cropped to conceal the fact that it opposes the reports recommendations. Yet, although he received about 2,000 submissions from home-educating parents or children, Mr Badman fails to mention the view of a single child. The charity Education Otherwise surveyed 588 such children, who overwhelmingly rejected Mr Badmans proposals.

What are these proposals that children reject so strongly? One of the most shocking gives local authorities the power to enter the homes of every home-educating family and take children from their parents for interrogation. A second abolishes the freedom to educate at home without official permission. Instead, a licence is required, which may be refused.

Politicians of all parties are joining home-educated children in condemning the proposals. Fifty-six MPs have signed early day motions expressing concern. A parliamentary inquiry into the review is already under way.

Mr Badman was tasked with linking home education and child abuse in order to justify a change in the law. He failed spectacularly, producing only a single sentence of evidence, which falls apart under scrutiny: the number of children known to childrens social care in some LAs is disproportionately high relative to the size of their home educating population. In fact, talk of proportions is meaningless, as the number of home educators is unknown, and the statistic itself is irrelevant, since children may be known to social care because of poor health, referrals by neighbours alarmed by children not at school, or many other reasons. Freedom of information requests submitted to all local authorities by Action for Home Education reveal that abuse is actually significantly rarer among home educators than in the general population.

Ill-informed prejudice and shoddy statistics are poor grounds for changing the law. Mr Webbs and Mr Badmans failed arguments only confirm there is no convincing case to be made.

[…]

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6019184

and that, my friends, is what we call ‘total pwnage’.

Despite the unprecedented outrage, universal condemnation, and being proven wrong, they still plan to ‘legislate in the autumn’. If they dare to do so, everyone will call on the Tories to undo this utter nonsense after the general election, where Neu Liebour will be wiped out. I imagine that the Tories will use the instrument of a single act to erase the total evil that has been unleashed upon Britain; ‘The Restoration of Liberty Act’, which will at a single stroke, remove from the statutes every ill conceived, fascistic, totalitarian pice of garbage Bliar and Brown and their corrupt cohorts brought in. It will simultaneously remove:

  • the ID Card
  • the National Identity Register
  • ContactPoint
  • the ‘anti paedophile database’
  • RIPA
  • for starters.

    Not surprisingly, we have been over this before on BLOGDIAL, 2006.

    In the meantime, if they dare to enact any legislation to try and control Home Educators, they will create a new class of criminal – up to 120,000 of them – who will all refuse to allow the state to interfere in their rights and duties. Many who do not want to be criminalized are already planning to escape to Scotland and places beyond this beleaguered place.

    And there you have it. No matter what evil the dying scorpion manages to squirt out of its bladder before it is crushed under foot, no one is going to obey it, and the Tories are going to erase it.

    Translation… YOU LOSE you swines!

    Divide and conquer!

    Thursday, July 30th, 2009

    The Independent, that bird-cage liner which is ferociously opposed to Home Education, has let rip again with a piece designed to divide Home Educators and set up a pretext for the government agenda of ending Home Education.

    What the author, ‘Simon Webb’, fails to understand is that first they come for the most ‘other’ group and then they move on to you. You all know the poem:

    First they came for the Autonomous Learners
    and I did not speak out – because I was not an Autonomous Learners.

    Then they came for the Christian Home Educators
    and I did not speak out – because I was not a Christian.

    Then they came for the Structured Learners.
    and I did not speak out – because I was not a Structured Learner.

    Then they came for me –
    and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.

    Pastor Martin Niemller

    Once they enshrine home inspections as perfectly reasonable, they will then begin to shut down all types of Home Education that they do not like. If you are Home Educating for religious reasons, they will shut you down if you do not teach their ideas of how religion should be taught, or what a moral person is or is not, or anything to do with sin. For example. If you do not like the state curriculum, they will shut you down. And in this context, ‘shut you down’ means kidnap your child and force it to attend a school.

    Autonomous learners are an easy target. I will be making a post about them shortly. In the meanwhile, lets pick apart this piece of writing:

    Simon Webb: We must get tough on home schooling

    Who is the ‘we’ that he is talking about? Autonomous learners are not a part of the ‘we’ he is describing, that is for sure. What Simon Webb is advocating is that violence should be used against Autonomous Learners to stop them from Home Educating in this way. The very title of this piece uses the phrase ‘get tough’, which explicitly implies the violence he is calling for.

    He is calling for the state to organize raiding parties to kidnap the children of Autonomous Learners so that they can be put into schools. This is violence pure and simple. He is willing to use others to commit violence to force his own opinions on Autonomous Learners.

    Most people, if asked about home education, would probably picture a child being tutored at home by his parents; perhaps working at the kitchen table rather than sitting in a classroom. This was indeed the case with my own daughter whom I have taught since she was a baby. Sadly, this image is very much the exception in British home education.

    All of this is irrelevant. There are as many ways to Home Educate as there are people doing it. Some are Autonomous Learners. Others are not. Some people live in a small house where the biggest flat surface is the kitchen table. Others live in houses with plenty of space. Whatever the ‘many people’ in this paragraph choose to believe, people have the right to Home Educate as they see fit, and Simon Webb and his ilk do not have the right to contract with others to use violence to make people conform to his notion of what is good and bad education.

    The most popular educational method used by those who withdraw their children from school in this country is known as autonomous education and involves nobody teaching children anything at all!

    How do you know this? There are no statistics detailing the numbers of Home Educators, and there are no numbers saying what sort of Education each family has chosen to do. This is a statement that is not based on facts.

    I believe this peculiar technique is causing incalculable damage to the thousands of home educated children upon whom it is used.

    What you believe is your own business. Some people might think that you should not be Home Educating your daughter, and in fact, if you went to live in Germany, you would be committing a crime by doing so. Just because you BELIEVE something, that is not in any way a basis for violence to be called for against the people who are educating in a way that you do not agree with.

    Autonomous education is based on a simple principle: that children alone are the best judges of what they should learn and when they should learn it. If a child wishes to spend the day slumped in front of a television or games console, this is not a problem, the choice is his. Many autonomous educators go even further, asserting that it is for the child to decide on bedtimes, diet and other aspects of lifestyle. To see how this works in practice, we cannot do better than look at “How People Home Educate” on the website of Education Otherwise, a registered charity working in the field.

    A mother writes about educating her children, aged 10 and seven, whom she describes as “night owls”, at home. They apparently have no bedtimes and get up “later than I would like”. She says: “Their days are often filled with television and lots of play”.

    And what on earth does this have to do with Simon Webb? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Autonomous Learners do not try and force you to become one; you can Home Educate in any way you see fit. What is most disturbing here is that Simon Webb thinks that his experience of life applies to everyone else equally. This is a fundamentally wrong, almost autistic view of the world, where other people are not real, but are objects without any will or separate internal dialogue; only SIMON is able to think, only HIS WORLD VIEW is the right one, and when he goes to sleep, the world doesn’t even exist until he wakes up again. Other people DO exist, they are very real, they have their own thoughts and their own lives, their own priorities and philosophies and those lives and thoughts are nothing to do with anyone else but them. If that is not the case, then they become the property of someone else, the property of a ‘Simon Webb’ who knows best about what is good for all families.

    There is no academic work at all. Neither child can read but she says: “They will read one day and will do so because they want to, not because somebody tells them to.”

    1 in 5 adults in the UK cannot read. Many leave school semi literate. Autonomous Learners are learners who are learning in their own time and in their own way. I have met some of them (at an examination centre this summer for an English Language paper) without even knowing I was speaking to an Autonomous Learner. That says all you need to know about them. And even if they do not want to take exams, that is none of anyone’s business.

    As a description of the odd week or so during the school holidays, this is perfectly acceptable; as a long-term lifestyle for growing children, it verges upon the neglectful. Yet this account is quoted with evident approval by the largest organisation for home educators in this country.

    And this, my friends, is the government line; that Home Education is somehow linked to child safety. Now we see that they are going to spin their pretext around to neglect, and Autonomous Learners are going to be the example they hold up to prove that Home Education must be ‘brought under control’.

    Autonomous Learner families are not neglectful in any way. They are families just like any other, who have great care for their children. A person with an intact moral centre and principles will instantly understand that Autonomous Learning is just another choice that people make, just as converting to a religion is, or moving to another country is. These choices are personal, private, not the affair of the state, and they are certainly not the affair of busy body statists who are violent.

    No wonder such parents are vehemently opposed to new legislation which would enable local education authorities to check up on the education being provided for children taught at home.

    All decent Home Educators are vehemently opposed to new legislation. They are fully aware that any changes in the law could bring a total end to Home Education in the UK. They are not naive, prejudiced or stupid when it comes to their Home Education, or their rights. They understand that this is a threat to not only them and their Home Education, but it is a threat to all parents in the UK. They also understand that this is not just a threat to their children now, but it is a threat to their children should they become parents in the future. They also understand that holding up Autonomous Learners to be sacrificed is completely despicable, wrong, unjustified and evil.

    As I have said over and over, there are many types of Home Educator, many different philosophies and approaches. This Simon Webb character is a certain type; a statist, prejudiced, collectivist. The difference between him and an Autonomous Learner is that an Autonomous Learner is quite happy to have Simon Webb and his daughter Home Educating in whatever way they see fit, without making a judgment on them. Simon Webb on the other hand, wants only his narrow vision of what Home Education is to be the norm. This is a most unpleasant sort of philosophy; one that is not accepting of other people.

    The disadvantages of this system are probably obvious to most parents.

    And the advantages are totally unknown to most parents, since many people, including journalists, in the UK know nothing whatsoever about Home Education in the first place. There are many advantages to Autonomous Learning. In the United States they call it Unschooling. It is being done because it works.

    Once again, what is obvious to most parents today might not be so obvious at another time. There was a time when it was ‘obvious’ that people from different ‘races’ should not be married and have children, or that people should own other people as property, or that the death penalty is completely right. Some people think that all those things are completely legitimate even today. What the majority thinks is not a rubber stamp or guarantee of moral correctness.

    Our children are most decidedly not the best judges of what is wholesome and good for them.

    We do not know about your children Mr. Webb. If you say that they are not the best judges of what is wholesome and good for them, we will take your word for it; you are their parent, you know them best, you have their best interests at heart, and you can be trusted to do what is right for them.

    Or are you having pronoun problems again?!

    Many children and teenagers, if left to their own devices, would not surface until lunchtime. Following a sugary snack of biscuits and fizzy pop, they might spend the afternoon playing computer games or watching television.

    So what?

    Do you REALLY think that it is your business, or the business of the state to know what time a child gets up in the morning… or afternoon? Do you REALLY believe that it is your business to know if a child eats s sugary snack of biscuits and fizzy pop? Both of which were bought by the parents, with their own money? Do you REALLY believe it is your affair that a child, under the supervision of its parents plays computer games (which, once again, were bought with the parents own money and explicit approval) or watches television all afternoon?

    Just what sort of world is it that you are advocating?

    I think we know what sort of world it is; a dystopia, a totalitarian nightmare, a world of total surveillance, right into the home, where your every action is monitored and controlled by the state.

    Lo and behold, Mr. Balls and Mr. Webb concur:

    The British government is to put the more irresponsible families under CCTV supervision in their homes just to ensure their children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals. Private security guards will also be sent round to carry out home checks, while parents will be given help to combat drug and alcohol addiction, Childrens Secretary Ed Balls says.

    […]

    http://www.medindia.net/

    It would be a rare child who chose instead to get up at 7am or 8am, eating a healthy breakfast of wholemeal toast washed down with a glass of mineral water before settling down to teach himself algebra! That is why we as adults assume responsibility for the welfare, physical and mental, of our offspring.

    So, getting up ‘early’ is more beneficial than getting up ‘late’. For what reason? To learn regimentation that will be necessary when the child enters the workplace as a drone perhaps. And once again, we have Mr. Webbs ‘breakfast of champions’; this, according to him, is ‘healthy eating’. No doubt his CCTV surveilled families will be made to swallow it.

    Parents do not “assume responsibility for the welfare, physical and mental, of our offspring”. By virtue of becoming a parent, an automatic duty, responsibility and right comes into being. Foster parents assume responsibility; what Mr. Webb is implying is that children are not attached to their parents in any moral or legal way when they are born. But of course, this must be the case, if ‘we’ are going to use violence to force Autonomous Learning to be outlawed.

    As the law stands, any parent can withdraw a child from school simply by notifying the head in writing.

    And why should this not be the case? Children are not the property of the state, or of a school; they are the sole responsibility of the parent, and if the parent, who voluntarily contracts with a school for the service of education, does not for any reason require that service at any time, he or she or they have the ABSOLUTE RIGHT to withdraw a child,, with or without prior notice.

    The LEA can make informal enquiries about the education being given to the child, but has no right to enter the home or interview the child.

    This exactly as it should be, except for the part where the LEA makes informal inquiries. Removing your child from school is the choice of a parent. They are not and should not be answerable to anyone. If they are, then they become property.

    For many, this is the end of their education.

    This is simply not so. There are no statistics to say it is so. So why has Mr. Webb said it?

    According to the recent review of home education conducted by Graham Badman,

    And we know all about that.

    there may be as many as 80,000 home-educated children in Britain.

    And there you have it. There MAY BE 80,000. There are no statistics, and so every assertion in this sad article that refers to figures is known not to be true by Mr. Webb because he knows there are no numbers.

    Under current arrangements, nobody has the slightest idea what sort of education, if any, many of these children are receiving.

    But we do know what sort of education people are getting in the state schools, which may be the reason why Mr. Webb, who lives in ‘inner London’, has educated his own child from birth at home.

    I wonder how Mr Webb will have responded to all the queries he is bound to have had about socialization; if he has kept his child at home in a small room all these years, surely it is missing out on the playground ‘rough and tumble’ that so many people think is essential to becoming a well rounded person; and what about the exposure to different cultures and peoples that Mr. Webb’s child would undoubtedly have met in an inner London school? Multi Cultural society needs to be actively engaged with and inclusive; if his child has never met anyone outside its cultural group, it will surely be disadvantaged… and no, eating a curry on a saturday night is not sufficient.

    Just what is it that Mr. Webb is running from?

    I could have gone much further with all of that, but I am sure you get the point. The point is that Simon Webb wants the best for his child, and so he home educated it. That is his right. No one has the right to come into his home uninvited to tell him how he should educate his child, and certainly no one has the right to use violence to take his child from him and sent it to an inner city London school. Perish the thought.

    This is hardly a satisfactory state of affairs.

    Utter rubbish. Satisfactory TO WHO? The Autonomous Learners are VERY SATISFIED with what they are doing. Just what the hell are you talking about?

    My daughter and I welcomed the representative of our LEA into our home once a year to show what we had been doing, but many parents are determined not to allow the LEA any access to their homes.

    You welcomed the representative of the LEA into your home. That is your choice and your business. Just because you did that, it cannot be extrapolated that everyone everywhere must ALSO do it. Why do you not go further:

    “I home educated my child from birth; everyone in Britain should do so also.”
    “I sent my child to a State School; everyone in Britain should do so also.”
    “I sent my child to a Public School; everyone in Britain should do so also.”
    “I sent my child to a live with my relatives in Australia; everyone in Britain should do so also.”
    “I sent my child to a Koran Chain School; everyone in Britain should do so also.”

    Its just totally absurd.

    Under those circumstances, it is impossible for the local authority to have the least idea what is happening with regard to the child’s education.

    And there is no problem with this. It is not the Local Authority’s place to know what is happening with the education of children that are not in the school systems they are responsible for. The curriculum that children in private schools follow is not the responsibility of the Local Authority, and the same is true for Home Educators.

    It is high time that LEAs were given the power to check up on the wellbeing and educational attainments of these children.

    Why? Home Education has been working brilliantly for decades (actually generations) with no interference whatsoever. Why NOW is it ‘high time’? This is more unsubstantiated nonsense by a promoter of the nanny state. And of course, the very idea that Home Educated children need to have their wellbeing checkup up on is completely false. Statistically, Home Educated children are more safe than children who attend schools; thanks to AheD we are now in the possession of ACUTAL STATISTICS that prove this.

    The furious opposition to any change in the law is spearheaded by autonomous educators who are, not surprisingly, anxious to prevent anybody from assessing the efficacy of their educational provision.

    Once again, unsubstantiated nonsense. As for the proficiency of their educational provision, I would not even go there. Despite what everyone might think is the case, Autonomous Learners and Unschoolers do very well… whatever that means which is not up to you or me.

    While fighting for their own “rights”, such people are denying their children one of the most important rights that other children in this country enjoy; the right to a proper education.

    Astonishing. There are people who would say that Mr. Webb is denying his child a proper education by keeping it out of school. They would say that it is missing out on all the things I listed and more. Who is going to stick up for Mr. Webb when it is decided that his form of Home Education is unacceptable?

    The writer is a home-educating parent who works with children with special needs in inner London

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/schools/simon-webb-we-must-get-tough-on-home-schooling-1764348.html

    This is a matter of principle. It is a matter of what a parent is and what the proper role of government is.

    There are people in Britain, ‘The Cancer That is Killing Britain’, who are willing to give up their liberties to make the ever present other ‘safe’. I fear this article is written by one of those people.

    The idea that one type of Home Education is superior to another is false. Home Education is tailored to the needs of the children who receive it. Only the parent can decide what that should be and how it should work. If the state decides, then the child becomes the property of the state.

    People who advocate this are advocating the ownership of people, which is slavery.

    Quite apart from this, the statistics have shown that Home Educated children are LESS likely to be at risk than children who are sent to school. They outperform all schoolchildren academically… if you read BLOGDIAL, you know all of this and the rest.

    The real reason why the collectivists are scrambling to shut down Home Education is that the people this process produces are a real threat, and Autonomous Learners are the most dangerous of all Home Educated people. They are the ones who were never spoon fed education; who came to the realization themselves that they needed to read, and who then go on to university purely because they want to, with the powerful idea instilled in them that they can do and achieve whatever they want, and that nothing can stand in their way.

    A person like that is a fearful prospect for those that want every nail to be hammered down.

    FURTHERMORE

    Look at all the comments that are flooding in on the article at the Independent website from where we get this gem:

    Where Mr. Webb feels the heat of an ignoramus hurling vile insults at him and his daughter. In the light of this, HOW is it possible that he can launch an attack on Autonomous Learners like this, having suffered this way himself?!

    and NOW we see why this piece was written and published; take a look at this GoogleDocs document!!!

    Social workers need to be reigned in

    Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

    Another article from the radical social worker has trickled down the internets. Here we go…

    The reform of child protection by so-called ‘experts’ has failed disastrously. Very urgent action is required to re-assert the fundamentals of good practice and restore public confidence in the social work profession.

    At the root of the problem is a government that has undermined child protection work by introducing the Common Assessment Framework which requires social workers to gather masses of information on children not at risk of harm. Social workers find it difficult to focus on those at greatest risk because they are overwhelmed with paperwork and computer-based work. It is obvious that the public wants child protection services to be improved – as shown by the outrage over child abuse scandals – and expects social workers to rescue children suffering appalling treatment at the hands of their parents. A stronger focus on child protection would not only be popular but would also make services more responsive to the local community.

    Serious weaknesses in child protection have lead to shocking failures to spot abuse or dangers in high-risk cases. Reform is urgently needed to improve social work practice in the following areas:

    Formal Investigations into Abuse and Neglect

    Social workers have a legal duty to investigate where there are suspicions, or allegations, of abuse or neglect. This does not mean they carry out a criminal investigation but they do have a lead role in gathering evidence which may later be used in care proceedings. Unfortunately, an over-emphasis on early intervention and prevention has diverted attention away from this work.

    Child abuse is a crime. If a crime has been committed, then the criminal process must be initiated. What is unacceptable is that there is a parallel legal system, where the normal standards of evidence are not applied to something that is a crime.

    Social workers operate as a law unto themselves, as we have seen in the case of the man who had his children kidnapped because he believed they were at risk. If social workers are to be able to do their jobs properly, they need to follow the rules of evidence and be subject to the same controls and procedures as the police are. It is completely wrong that they can invade a home and remove children from their parents or initiate investigations on the basis of anonymous phone calls or rumors in ways that the police are not able to do.

    It is well known that the competence with which the investigation is handled will crucially influence the effectiveness of subsequent work. Usually, the focus is on a single incident and some critics have complained that this is unfair and causes unnecessary stress on families. However, a speedy investigation of the incident may provide the oppportunity to obtain medical evidence of abuse which could be useful in legal proceedings.

    Once again, if there is evidence of a crime, then a criminal case should be opened, full stop.

    The social work investigation involves more than looking for physical injuries (important though this is) and gathering facts about the reported incident or concerns. Judgements also have to be made about the quality of family relationships, verbal and non-verbal communication from the child, and any other possible risk factors that might become apparent.

    My emphasis. This is where the problem starts. It is not the proper role of government to say what is or is not ‘a quality family life’. No one but a parent can determine this, and no one has the right to come into your house and make a judgement on you and your family and how you conduct yourself in private. This is how, in the United States, children have been kidnapped from their families when social workers find piles of dirty plates in the sink, and then scream ‘HEALTH HAZARD’.

    Therefore, it is essential that all authorities should have a centralised investigation team that is fully staffed and has good management back-up so that all child protection (section 47) referrals are thoroughly and promptly dealt with. Social workers in this team need to consider the dilemma of how to intervene both minimally and as early as possible and should not take crucial decisions without managerial involvement. They need different skills and style of working from social workers who provide family support. Ideally, initial investigations should be carried out by experienced workers working in pairs, as this ensures greater objectivity.

    Social workers should only be engaged when a crime is committed. Anything else is not social work, but is instead, social engineering.

    Some cases where child maltreatment is suspected may be dealt with by the district team if it is felt the initial assessment should be carried out over a longer period of time. However, there are advantages in a specialised team carrying out initial investigations because the focus of work is more likely to be kept firmly on the concerns reported and on gathering evidence. In some cases it is good practice to arrange a joint interview with the Police to avoid the need for the child to repeat their story twice.

    If the police have been called, then it should be a police investigation into a crime. Social workers should not be able to make up law as they desire, based on their personal standards and prejudices.

    It is anticipated that referrals will increase as new guidance to agencies on spotting early signs of abuse takes effect. Early identification of children suffering abuse and neglect should lead to better-informed decisions and more effective interventions. Children’s social work services have a lead role and carry greater responsibilities than other agencies and therefore a more pro-active approach may sometimes be necessary.

    No. This will lead to more false positives, more harassment and an eventual curtailing of the powers of social workers. One day soon, these people will mess with the wrong family and find themselves at the receiving end of a multi million pound lawsuit that will be successful. The entire culture of social work will be fixed soon after that.

    Every Child Matters

    The Every Child Matters programme has been driven by a government more interested in social engineering and surveillence than good social work practice.

    This doesn’t make any sense. Those who read BLOGDIAL know about the story of a fat child who was kidnapped from his parents because he was fat.

    Someone went into that family’s house and made a judgement that a child was ‘too fat’, and then kidnapped that child, “for its own good”. This is social engineering; where a social worker, who is actually in this case acting as a social engineer, decides that a child does not fit in with ‘societal norms’, and should therefore be ‘adjusted’ so that it becomes ‘normal’.

    Social workers with principles need to decide wether or not they are social engineers or not. They need to decide wether or not their role is to look after those children who have no one else to care for them, or wether they are the third parent to all families.

    As for surveillance, social workers are colluding in the most Orwellian surveillance systems ever seen on this earth. More on that below.

    It is over-ambitious, unrealistic and unworkable.

    And it is IMMORAL. It is not the proper role of government to set the goals that families should strive for when it comes to their children.

    The Government’s aim is for every child, whatever their background or their circumstances, to have the support they need to ‘be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being’.

    And this is total nonsense. Not everyone can be a rock star, or more appropriately for these days, the winner of Big Brother. This is the same flawed thinking that has resulted in examinations becoming less than worthless; everyone, no matter what their ability is, ‘deserves to pass an exam’ for the sake of inclusiveness. There have been many writers that have explained why this is complete madness, and I will not delve into it here. Suffice to say that Neu Liebour is totally insane in its social engineering agenda, and crazed and insatiable in its need to make everyone equal. It does not work, it cannot work, and it can and has wreaked havoc everywhere it has been applied.

    It involves agencies sharing information and working together, to protect children from harm and help them achieve what they want in life.

    Totalitarianism.

    When a child is identified as vulnerable professionals are to assess the needs of the child and share personal information about the family with other professionals.

    What does ‘vulnerable’ mean? In the case of this child, it means merely being fat.

    The computerised Integrated Children’s System for recording this information has been a bureaucratic nightmare for social workers resulting in masses of meaningless data. It should therefore be scrapped.

    And yet, the only reason why it is full of a mass of meaningless data is because social workers put it there, without question, without analysis, without introspection or an application of any principles whatsoever.

    ContactPoint will would have been just as bad, and the fake charities are all lining up to say how good it is. Social workers must reject, on principle, ContactPoint or anything like it that may be proposed in the future. They need to do this not only so they can be moral people, but so they can do the real work of being a social worker.

    Problems have arisen because this programme has been driven by top-down policies that have distorted the social work role and produced an enormous amount of confusion throughout children’s services. It has given social workers a free rein to behave coercively because of unthinking assumptions about the protection of children.

    No programme can cause a person to be immoral. The people who kidnapped that fat child acted immorally because they are immoral, as were the people who ambushed a father outside of his school. The new tools at the disposal of these wicked people are nothing more than an ‘Amazon for kidnappers’ where they can see, ‘other cases like this in your area’ and every other database driven way of connecting entries. Absolutely despicable.

    Also, government is encouraging social workers to ‘nanny’ families where ‘concerns’ are identified in order to prevent children from becoming a problem for society.

    There is nothing in this world that can make a social worker violate the rights of any person. They willingly and gladly do it, for wages. The role of a social worker, like the proper role of government, should be extremely limited. They should not be measuring the waists of children, monitoring how they are dressed, ‘running CAFs‘ on them or any of the completely insane, immoral, intrusive and ridiculous things that they are called upon to do.

    It is not easy to differentiate between good social work practice and harassment by the ‘nanny state’ – but it is an important distinction.

    On the contrary, it is EXTREMELY easy to differentiate between good social work practice and harassment. Lets see if we can come up with a short list on the fly:

    • Social workers calling on Home Educators because they have received an anonymous phone call that someone is Home Educating: HARASSMENT
    • Social workers kidnapping a child for being fat: HARASSMENT
    • Social workers ambushing a father for asking a head teacher if he can pick up his children inside the school because they might be at risk: HARASSMENT
    • Social workers judging a mother to bee ‘too stupid’ to look after her own child: HARASSMENT
    • Social workers kidnapping children because the kitchen sink is ‘dirty’: HARASSMENT
    • Social workers kidnapping children because the mother has quintuplets: HARASSMENT
    • Social workers kidnapping an infant because the mother has questions about breast-feeding: HARASSMENT
    • Social workers taking a child into care when its parents are killed in a car accident and there are no relatives: NOT HARASSMENT

    See? Not that difficult. The principle here is that social workers are not parents, and when they act as if they are parents, then they are doing wrong. When they take children from their parents and no crime has been committed by the parent against he child, then this is doing wrong.

    Good practice requires social workers to have a clear understanding of their statutory powers and to be as open and honest as possible about their concerns.

    No. Social workers must have their duties outlined very clearly. They must not have ‘powers’ in the same way that the police have powers. They should be there to provide a service to the public only, and they should not have the power to control any intact family, i.e. a family where there is at least one living parent or close relative available to act as a parent.

    An appropriate balance between care and control must be negotiated with the family.

    This is absolutely and totally wrong. And once again, we hear another stock totalitarian phrase; you know the ones I mean, “You are who you say you are”, “we must strike a balance between…”, “justice must be seen to be done”, “paying their fair share” etc etc. Care and control are the remit of the family, and are not the business of the state. Social workers, when they are acting properly, are a temporary safety net in cases where there are no parents or relatives. They have no business telling people what to eat, how much they should eat, how children should be educated or disciplined or anything else. This is the fundamental philosophical failing of social workers; they believe they have the right to control other people, making those people into property – their property. That is wrong in every way that something can be wrong.

    Let me help those who are having trouble understanding this. If we were talking about a slave who did not want to be a slave, the master’s slave manager would opine, “we must strike a balance between the needs of the slave and the needs of the household”. Not very palatable for the slave is it? But that is exactly what social workers are advocating; that people are property, and that they are the managers of that property on behalf of the property owner, THE STATE.

    The role of the social worker is like that of a good parent.

    NO it is not. And this is the fundamental failure of principle that is the core of the problem.

    Very often the social worker provides support and encouragement to families struggling to cope but occasionally a more controlling approach is necessary, signalling that certain behaviour is unacceptable.

    This is absolutely wrong. The state and its aparatchicks do not have the right to tell people what behavior is right and wrong. If someone is committing a crime, then the state comes into play. Anything else is up to the individual and the family, and the state has no say in it. This is the gray area that social workers inhabit, where they can, through the dirty lenses of their own prejudices, say what is and is not appropriate behavior. It is unacceptable, totalitarian, unprincipled and completely WRONG. Social workers are making up bespoke law when they determine that a child is too fat, or that a relationship in a family is ‘unacceptable’… unacceptable to WHO?

    However, the social worker who tends to ‘nanny’ people, or harass them, is less respected and can appear weak and ineffectual. In the same way, parents who nag a child, or make threats that they do not carry out, teach the child not to respect parental authority.

    This is pretty sickening stuff.

    The social worker who tends to ‘nanny’ people should have no power to do that in the first place. They do not deserve respect because they have no principles and are nanny state aparatchicks. They deserve only contempt. It is not in any way ‘the same way’ when a parent ‘nags’ a child. First of all, who is to say what nagging is or is not, and secondly, a parent is not in any way equatable with a social worker. Social workers ARE NOT PARENTS. Thirdly, how can a child come to respect parental authority when social workers can trump parental decisions at any time? This is not only immoral thinking, it is illogical thinking.

    Another insidious development is the increasing use of the rhetoric of social exclusion to imply that people who are different and who do not share the dominant values should be made to conform because they are ‘at risk’ or ‘socially excluded’.

    But this is exactly what using the phrase ‘unacceptable behavior’ does. By saying, arbitrarily, that some behavior is unacceptable, there is a presumption in the mind of the social worker that their perception of reality and decency is ‘the norm’ and that their victims are ‘abnormal’ or ‘unacceptable’. This is exactly the same as saying that people who are different and who do not share the dominant values should be made to conform; only in the mind of the social worker, the dominant values are not ‘dominant values’ they are acceptable. This is double thinking; it is the same double thinking that makes social workers think that Home Educated children are likely to suffer ‘social exclusion’, when in fact nothing like that is true.

    These people really need to take a step back and think about what their principles are and what their core ideas are. They seem to be holding contradictory thoughts; in the case of this person, who appears to be very thoughtful and sensitive, if she is the better kind of social worker, heaven help us; what are the BAD one’s thinking like?

    Recent government proposals to introduce greater regulation of home education is a good example of its efforts to extend the ‘nanny state’. Social workers must take a stand against this authoritarian trend which puts the profession in a very bad light.

    You see? A sensitive and thinking person! But sadly, some of the principles she outlines above, if applied to home educators (social workers nannying people, the rhetoric of social exclusion, ‘the role of social workers is like that of a parent’, ‘a controlling approach is needed’, ‘certain behavior is unacceptable’, ‘An appropriate balance between care and control must be negotiated with the family’, It is hard to differentiate between help and harassment, etc etc) would put prejudiced and ignorant social workers at odds with Home Educators. You cannot have it both ways; either social workers are there to set the norms and if Home Education is not the norm according to a social worker then control is warranted OR social workers are not parents and should not be nannying families and should, quite rightly, not be interfering with or investigating Home Educators. Which one is it?

    Back to Basics

    Grandiose ideas about ‘safeguarding children’ through all-embracing professional intervention need to be ditched and replaced with more realistic thinking.

    They need to be ditched, and then real thinking needs to be done, not just realistic thinking. The principles of social work need to be outlined and their special powers (that even the police do not have) removed entirely. Their role must be reduced to caring for the truly needy only (even so, what ‘needy’ means needs to be carefully defined), so that all social engineering is removed from their jobs. That means no more kidnapping fat children, ambushing fathers who want to collect their children inside the school gates and no more abuses period. The safeguarding of children is the duty of parents, not social workers.

    Social work urgently needs to break free of government control.

    No. Social work needs to be strictly defined by government and stripped of all its power. Social work free of control means an unlimited license to nanny, harass, kidnap and abuse.

    Child protection social workers should be allowed to concentrate on the core task of identifying parenting which definitely puts a child at risk, using their legal powers correctly and working to protect and support children.

    No. Social workers are not parents; it is not their role to ‘support children’. They should be there to help when the family disappears from a child’s life and there are no living relatives to pick up the slack. It is not their role to interfere in the lives of people, to surveil them with databases (as the phrase ‘identifying’ implies) and to impose their prejudices on perfectly ordinary and free people.

    Too many children are being brought into the child protection system and are stretching social work resources to breaking point.

    You cannot have it both ways. You cannot on the one hand, desire to act as a parent to all the children in a country ‘supporting’ them, and then complain that you have too much work. Stop kidnapping fat children and interfering with people who have a different world view to you and then your caseloads will start to look more doable.

    Increasingly, social work is collapsing under the weight of unrealistic expectations and is unable to do the very thing it was set up to do.

    Those expectations are not only unrealistic, but more importantly they are immoral. You do not have the right to tell people how to live. The sooner you accept this, the easier your job will become and the more meaningful and rewarding your work will be.

    To summarise, the organisation of child protection work needs to undergo radical change. Good social work practice will only happen if there is a clear focus on child protection.

    Wrong. Child protection is a fad. The vast majority of children in the UK are perfectly safe. In fact, they are so safe, that social workers have to create bogus pretexts to interfere with their development, like obesity.

    Social workers need to be told what their role is; they cannot be left to determine what it is themselves. They are not a law unto themselves, they are not a separate branch of government, though they seem to act like it at times. They need to be reigned in severely and have their role written down in a form that explains and delineates what they can do; everything not on that list they should be forbidden from doing.

    Also, the complexity of long-term work child protection work needs to be better understood so that appropriate management support and training can be provided.

    No.

    Finally, local authorities should have a career structure for social workers that encourages them to stay on the front-line and a style of management which promotes stable, committed and supportive teams.

    […]

    http://www.radical.org.uk/barefoot/reform.htm

    And there you have it. “Give us more money”.

    Once again, this is one of the ‘GOOD’ ones!!!!

    From one fox to another fox

    Monday, July 27th, 2009

    In an almost surreal piece of theatre, an HE woman receives a reply from her MP, after writing to complain about the Badman review. In it, he encloses a reply he received from Mr. Balls himself.

    Now think about this.

    A constituent writes to her MP to complain that a bogus, biased, unscientific, absurd and factually incorrect piece of birdcage liner that has claimed that the law governing Home Education needs to be changed.

    The order for the review came from Mr. Balls.
    MP gets letter complaining about Mr. Balls.
    MP Writes to Mr. Balls.
    Mr. Balls replies with a whitewash justification.

    Can you see what is wrong with this?

    Those two MPs are both FOXES and the constituent is THE CHICKEN.

    Writing to foxes to ask not to be eaten is simply INSANE. They are going to get together, laugh out loud, and then pat you on the head before tearing it off with their sharp teeth:

    The following is the text of a letter dated 23rd July from Ed Balls, sent to an MP who had received a visit from an EO member and who had written to Ed Balls passing on the home educator’s concerns:

    “Thank you for your letter of 29th June about home education enclosing a set of questions from your constituent.

    We published Graham Badman’s Report on his Review of home education on 11th June 2009 and our initial response the same day. I asked Graham Badman to carry out the review in the light of certain high profile cases and because local authorities and other organisations were consistently raising concerns with my department about the current state of the law and policy in this area.

    I thought it crucial that the Review found the appropriate balance between two important principles, and I believe Graham Badman achieved: giving parents the right to decide how and where their children should be educated; and ensuring that every child is safe and gets the education they need to help them fulfill their potential.

    Home education is a well established and important part of our education system. Both the review and our response reaffirmed our support for its continuation, while also stressing the importance of these principles being put into practice in every area of the country.

    The Review recommended that the home education framework should be strengthened significantly, and in two different respects: first, by acting to address the small but worrying minority of cases where home educated children have suffered harm because safeguarding concerns were either not picked up at all or were not addressed with sufficient urgency. We are taking the Review’s recommendations forward in this area by legislating at the first possible opportunity this year.

    Secondly, the review calls for access to extra support for those home educated children who need it, including the relatively high proportion of these children with special educational needs and others who require services they would otherwise receive through school. The Review stressed the importance of ensuring that all children receive the kind of high quality education they need to succeed, with local authorities providing the right level of support to home educators to enable them to offer this to children. We made it clear in our initial response that we accepted these recommendations in principle and would set out in the autumn how we intend to take them forward.

    I believe that Graham Badman’s Review is fair and balanced and I am confident that it sets out a path for keeping home educated children safe and for strengthening the quality of education they receive, whilst respecting parent’s right to chose to home educate, if they wish to do so. For these reasons I think the outcomes of the Review are good news for children who are home educated and for their parents.

    A formal consultation on the proposed registration and monitoring arrangements for home education arising from the Review is open until Monday 19th October and can be accessed at [URL].

    Yours sincerely

    Ed Balls MP

    Oh dear me.

    Mr. Balls accepted the report in full ON THE SAME DAY IT WAS PUBLISHED, without any question whatsoever. This is probably because he knew what was in it before it was published. Mr Balls asked Badman to to carry out the review in the light of cases that have nothing to do with Home Education. The whole premise of the exercise is bogus from the outset.

    What were the other organizations that were ‘consistently raising concerns’? Would those be the fake charities that have demonstrated that they know nothing about Home Education, and that have had to retract their totally misleading and pig ignorant statements? I’m sure someone is filing a FOIA request to find out.

    Mr. Balls said that he thought it crucial that the Review found the appropriate balance between two important principles. That means that when the report was commissioned the brief was to find a balance, i.e. Mr. Balls had made his mind up, and made an order for a report that would find a balance; the status quo was off the cards from the beginning. To say that parents have the right to say HOW their children are educated but to say that they must meet minimum requirements of THE STATE is a contradiction on its face. As for the potential of any human, this is not for the state to determine, measure or legislate in a free country. All men in a free country are at liberty to find their own way. This is a basic principle that is non negotiable.

    Home Education is not a part of the State system of education, and so to say that it is a “well established and important part of our education system” is simply rubbish. Many Home Educators do so explicitly to remove themselves from the pernicious influence of Mr. Balls and his legion of aparatchicks.

    Mr Balls says that “the Review recommended that the home education framework should be strengthened significantly”. There is no ‘Home Education Framework’ and there is no need for one, just as there is no need for a ‘Home Diet Framework’. Mr. Balls and his merry band of interlopers could be making better use of the little time they have left in office to try and ameliorate the utter disaster that is the state school system, much of it, like the examinations, destroyed by the hand of Balls himself.

    Mr. Balls says that they are going to “act to address the small but worrying minority of cases where home educated children have suffered harm”. This is nonsense. As we have seen thanks to AHED, home educators are statistically less likely to fall under the care of Local Authorities than children who are at school; the Badman review misreported the statistics on this, causing a false impression to be given that Home Educated children are at greater risk, when the exact opposite is true. If we take Mr. Balls at his word and that he is doing this for the safety of children in the UK, then in the light of the TRUE statistics, every family in Britain, other than Home Educators should come under this home visit and child interrogation regime since Home Educators are less at risk statistically.

    Mr. Balls goes on to say that the Review stressed the importance of ensuring that all children receive the kind of high quality education they need to succeed. This means interfering in what Home Educators teach and the way they teach it. This is the exact opposite of “giving parents the right to decide how and where their children should be educated” which of course, is not a right that Mr. Balls owns that he can give to anyone. Once again, a contradictory statement from this utter monster.

    Note how Mr. Balls leaves out the most offensive parts of the review that would turn any normal human being’s blood cold. He left out the deeply suspicious part about social workers taking children away from their parents for ‘private interviews’ during forced home inspections for example. By not mentioning this unsavory and disturbing aspect, he is whitewashing the report.

    Mr. Balls knows that this report is not fair and balanced. It was commissioned to produce a result, and the facts in it were ‘sexed up’ in the way that Neu Liebour are expert at. The assertion that they are interested in keeping Home Educated children safe is demonstrably false, since Home Education has nothing whatsoever to do with child safety, any more than summer holidays are a child safety issue.

    This report will not strengthen the quality of the education they receive; it will destroy Home Education, burden parents, burden the overburdened Local Authorities and cause people to either leave the country or openly defy any new legislation.

    Mr. Balls and his gaggle of clowns cannot run the schools they are already in charge of. The catalogue of failures they have produced are now legendary. That he has the gall, the temerity to believe that he can improve Home Education, which consistently outperforms state provision is beyond laughable. This is a textbook case of a delusional man.

    This report does not respect a parent’s right to chose to home educate, in fact, it spits on the rights of parents, and insults them by conflating what they do with child safety issues. It is a disgusting, outrageous smear and Home Educators are not sitting quietly taking it, as we have all seen. The outcome of this review is bad news, has caused and will cause disruption and suffering and the people who are involved in it should be deeply ashamed of themselves.

    But now what is this constituent going to do? She has written to her MP complaining about the review, which we all know is a riddled with holes as spoiled Emmental, and Mr. Balls has written back to say, “Ha Ha! we are going to eat you alive and your children no matter what you say!”

    Who is she going to turn to? What is there left for her to do?

    She is going to simply REFUSE TO COMPLY, which is her absolute right. These people cooked up a pack of untrue garbage to push their sick, perverted, personal agenda, and no MP is willing to say, “wait a minute, this is completely insane”. Even if they DO say that, all Mr. Balls has to do is arrange a three line whip in the House of Commons and then his dastardly legislation will be forced in. It will not matter that the report was false, or that there is no need for new legislation… right and wrong do not matter.

    This person, this poor chicken, this constituent, will be morally outraged. She will, like the 90% of Home Educating South African parents who refuse to register with the state, simply disobey.

    They barely have enough staff to deal with all the things they need to deal with now. With the deep budget cuts now an absolute certainty, and the coming economic collapse on the near horizon (yes, this is just the beginning of the crash the worst is yet to come) its a pretty safe bet that anyone who wants to Home Educate freely will be able to do so, no matter what Mr. Balls and his hunt dodging, fur bearing, fang toothed colleagues manage to pass. One way or another, Home Educators will be able to maintain their rights, and educate without interference from beasts.

    And THAT is the truth.

    FURTHERMORE

    It seems Mr. Balls has been using this text as a stock reply to whoever asks him about this shabby shameful report. Renegade Parent destroys the same text found in a different place!

    The nail that sticks out is hammered down

    Monday, July 27th, 2009

    The nail that sticks out is hammered down is a Japanese saying, encapsulating their societies attitude to individuality, outsiders, weirdos, eccentrics and anyone who does not fit in:

    Scary stuff ay?

    While we are at it, take a look at this:

    I recently met “Maria,” a college-age Brazilian of Japanese descent. She and her younger sister, “Nicola,” grew up as children of Brazilian laborers in Shizuoka Prefecture. With factories producing machinery, chemicals, tea, etc., their region contains about a third of Shizuoka Prefecture’s nearly 100,000 NJ residents.

    They went to Japanese primary schools without incident.

    In high school, however, Nicola ran afoul of school rules.

    Nicola has wavy brown hair, unlike Maria’s straight black. So Nicola got snagged by the school’s “hair police.”

    “Every week teachers would check if Nicola was dyeing her hair brown,” explained Maria. “Even though she said this is her natural color, she was instructed to straighten and dye it black.

    “She did so once a week. But the ordeal traumatized her. She still has a complex about her appearance.”

    Even after leaving the school, Nicola’s hair is still damaged.

    Her health may also have suffered. Google “hair coloring” and “organ damage” and see what reputable sources, such as the American Journal of Epidemiology and the National Institutes of Health, have to say about side effects: lymphatic cancer, cataracts, toxins, burns from ammonium persulfate

    […]

    http://www.debito.org/japantimes071707.html

    More here. Absolutely unbelievable. To many people, these acts seem backwards, brutish, brainless, pointless and terrible; remember however, what happens in Japan, stays in Japan. What they do in their own country is their own business. If you do not like what they do, do not go and live there. They have been like that for a very long time, and even if they had not been like that, if you do not want THEM to come to your house and tell you what to do, you had better not go to THEIR houses and tell THEM how to live.

    Before anyone says the same about Britain and its proposed changes to Home Education, i.e. if you don’t like it, LEAVE, you must realize that Home Education has been well established in the UK for generations, and that what is being planned is a complete change of the rules after the game has started. If someone came to live here thirty years ago because Britain was one sort of place, and invited them on that basis, it is totally wrong to ‘bait and switch’ and then change everything to garbage.

    There is a meme circulating around the educationalist circles, ‘0-6’, ‘0-5’ ‘0-n’. These educational talibanistas are obviously all reading the same journal. Take a look at these two pieces, one from Japan and the other from India. The emphasis is mine:

    Escalating Home Visits by Authorities in Japan and elsewhere

    Kyoko Aizawa of Otherwise Japan (a homeschool support organization) sent out word of a new law that is effective as of July 1.   Kyoko states this new law authorizes arbitrary governmental visits of any childs home. 

    Wendy Priesnitz of Natural Life Magazine also pointed out The Long Arm of the Law in Japan July 12, 2009

    Ive just received an email from my long-time contact in Japan, Kyoko Aizawa (Otherwise Japan) about a change in the law about homeschooling in Japan. Until now, the law has been rather murky there, with a few (estimated at under 1,000) families labeled as school refusers. Now, it seems, the government is cracking down with a new law that passed on July 1 governing people ages zero to forty, some of whom could be willfully unemployed or otherwise not comfortable functioning in societyor who choose to learn at home. Kyoko worries it is really dangerous because it gives the police the power, among other things, to enter peoples homes and force children under the age of 15 who dont go to school either into school or a mental hospital to be medicated. This is, says Kyoko, forcing parents to raise children according to the governments childrearing practicesand endangers basic parental rights to education children according to their convictions. The stated aim of the new law is to support people who have problems living as normal members of society. But the definition of support is one Id have to disagree with and, in fact, this law appears to violate human rights in some serious ways.

    Zero to five is a popular catch phrase in the United States now.   It describes a plan to get children school ready, from the time they are first born until they walk in the kindergarten door.  That oversight (including home visits) is suggested far and wide, from the right heading over to the left. Universal screening for mental health is often part of that package.

    Kyoko has legitimate concerns in Japan and there are alarming comparisons in the United States.

    From the Home Education Magazine 1998 archives about the ramifications of school refusal:

    In Japan, Alternative Ed Linked To Truants And Dropouts- Linda Dobson

    Can Truants, Dropouts Find an Alternate Road to Education? Mick Corliss, The Japan Times, January 4, 1998, pp. 1 & 2

    In this one of an eight-part series of articles for this English language newspaper, reporter Mick Corliss takes a look at alternatives to state education in Japan. These alternatives appear not to be successful, viable family options, but options for kids who are truant or drop-outs, the overlooked casualties of the rigid educational system. More than 77,000 students missed more than 50 days of school in 1996 for the expressed reason that they hate school, states Corliss, admitting this is merely an official number, and when you add in those who missed more than 30 days for other reasons, such as illnessthe total exceeds 180,000. Corliss notes a gradual change in societys attitude toward these students; instead of problem youth they are labeled nonattendance students. Even the Education Ministry has been forced to acknowledge the country has a problem and accepts that school refusal can happen to any child and is not akin to a sickness requiring treatment.

    Apparently the situation has not improved, as home education is still not legal in Japan.  The solutions for these problems dont seem to be serving the childrens educational needs.  From Linda Dobsons 1998 article:

    Kyoko Aizawa, who runs the homeschool support organization Otherwise Japan and who attended the GWS conference last August, points out that Japan needs alternatives that are not under government control.

    Genji Tsuda is an attorney who specializes in child welfare law.

    Ever since the Meiji Era, says Tsuda, Japans educational system has been designed to strengthen the nation-state. The emphasis has been on producing people who can help Japan become a great powerThe inertia of the status quo has preserved this antiquated system, embedding it deeply in the social psyche. Id say Tsuda has put his finger on the pulse of what is wrong not only in Japan, but in America and elsewhere.

    […]

    Home Ed Mag

    And from the Times of India:

    Children in the age group 0-6 years not covered

    The Supreme Courts historic Unnikrishnan judgment in 1993, gave all children up to 14 years of age a Fundamental Right to Education. The court contended that the Fundamental Right to Life (Article 21) of the Constitution should be read in harmonious construction with the Directive in Article 45 to provide free and compulsory education to children of 0-14 years, including those below six years of age. However, the 86 th Constitutional Amendment Act, Article 21A, limited the fundamental right to education to 6-14 years and this Act will further this huge mistake by not recognising the importance of the early years. This is in contradiction to Indias own commitment at the Jomtien Conference (1990), acknowledging expansion of early childhood care and development activities as an integral part of the Education for All objectives. Globally, recognition exists that the early years are the most critical years for lifelong development. This recognition comes from various quarters, including evidence from brain research that …neurological and biological pathways that affect health, learning and behaviour throughout life, are set in the early years… (Mustard, 2007). Research has noted that neglect during the early years can often result in irreversible reduction in the full development of the brains potential. On the other hand, research the world over has underlined the short and long term benefits of good quality early childhood care and development programming especially in contexts of deprivation, leading to improvement in childrens health, cognitive ability and performance at school.

    How can a Bill be enacted six decades after Independence and make this major error? India cannot afford to deprive its youngest 16-crore population of a right to nutrition, health and early childhood education as enshrined in the Convention of the Rights of Children, to which India is a signatory. By not including 0-6 years in the Bill, the country is also furthering gender discrimination, since it is always the girl who is left to take care of the younger siblings, thus, depriving her of her right to education.

    […]

    Times of India

    And there you have it. Renegade Parent wrote about how, in a near future Britain should ContactPoint be rolled out refusal to accept the ‘offer’ of a nursery place might land you with an accusation of being a bad parent; its clear that there is a move, internationally, to remove parents from the equation of child-rearing from ‘year zero’, and that this agenda is being deliberately and maliciously orchestrated.

    We have to call it what it is, Fascism, in order to begin to put a stop to it.

    Will the Swedish side with pure evil?

    Monday, July 27th, 2009

    We read from the HSLDA, that Sweden is trying to outlaw Home Education:

    Signatures Needed to Oppose Restrictive Homeschool Legislation

    Homeschooling freedom in Europe is under attack. England, Belgium, France, and Sweden are all faced with policies and/or legislation imposing severe restrictions on parents right to homeschool.

    On June 15, 2009, the Swedish government released its draft for a new school law, which, if passed, would impose severe restrictions on parents wishing to homeschool their children.

    Citing the European Convention on Human Rights, the law only allows parents to homeschool if the following three conditions are met:

    1. The home education program is considered to be a fully satisfactory alternative to the education otherwise available to the child according to what is prescribed in the law;
    2. Oversight of the home education program by the authorities is provided; and
    3. Extraordinary circumstances exist.

    According to the proposed law, permission to homeschool can only be given for up to one year at a time, and permission will be immediately withdrawn if it can be assumed that the prerequisites (listed above) no longer exist.

    Even more disturbing is the governments written explanation of the legislation, which argues that because a childs education should be comprehensive and objective and thereby designed so that all pupils can participate, regardless of what religious or philosophical reasons the pupil or his or her care-takers may have there is no need for the law to offer the possibility of homeschooling because of religious or philosophical reasons in the family.

    Thus, if this law passes, parents would not be able to homeschool because of their religious or philosophical beliefs!

    The Swedish government is accepting comments about the law through October 1, 2009, when the consideration period closes. The final law will be presented to Parliament during the spring of 2010 and if passed, will take effect in 2011.

    The Swedish Association for Home Education has officially been asked to provide input to the governmenta small victorybut they are asking for our help.

    Swedish homeschoolers need international support to show that Sweden, as a member of the international democratic community, cannot take such a position. As Sweden is often seen as the great social utopia of the world, it is important for Swedish homeschoolers to win this battle. Please consider helping by signing a petition protesting the law.

    […]

    http://www.hslda.org/hs/international/Sweden/200907210.asp

    Its the same sort of nonsense we have seen from other discredited countries. They do not want people to think in any way other than what is prescribed by them; what is worse, in their rather chilling ‘explanation’, they claim that their philosophy is perfect, and therefore there is no need for anyone to seek anything outside of what they offer. That sounds like textbook totalitarianism to me. And just what the HELL are ‘extraordinary circumstances’?

    Then, in the Washington Post:

    South Africa has long fascinated me. In the 1990s, this country courageously and voluntarily discarded the racially based political structure of apartheid and created a new, universal democracy that included all the nation’s peoples. To heal the many injustices and injuries, they then created a truth and reconciliation process that stands as a model to the world.

    The story of how the freedom to home-school was established in that country is not well known. Leendert Van Oostrom said he and his wife decided to home-school in the waning years of the old system, “when it was strictly verboten, and home-schoolers were prosecuted and stuck in jail.”

    The former compulsory education law (for white, mixed-race and Asian children but not black children) became unconstitutional in 1994, but it wasn’t until a universal compulsory education law was proposed in 1996 that Mr. Van Oostrom and other home-schoolers could lobby parliament to recognize home-schooling as an issue of human rights, establishing home education as a legal option in the nation.

    Despite this, provincial governments have placed numerous unconstitutional requirements on families who wish to register as home educators, so “some 90 percent of home-schoolers do not register because of these unlawful preconditions,” explained Mr. Van Oostrom in a recent interview.

    In 1998, inspired by the Home School Legal Defense Association in the U.S., Mr. Van Oostrom created the Pestalozzi Trust, (named after Johann Pestalozzi, an 18th-century Swiss educational pioneer) to promote parents’ rights to educate at home and to defend against incursions on those rights.

    “I hope that one day we shall be able to show that home-schooling is indeed, as Pestalozzi claimed, a powerful method of developing entire communities among disadvantaged people. I think South Africa has the kind of population mix where that can be done,” Mr. Van Oostrom explained. “Pestalozzi’s idea is that home-schooling uplifts the mother, which uplifts the family, which uplifts the community.”

    The goal of “each one, teach one,” he contends, is necessary, in which every person in a society is sharing knowledge, regardless of whether they are trained as professional educators.

    While societal change may be a viable long-term goal, most South African home-schoolers just want a good education for their children.

    “Esther De Waal found in her doctoral research in 2000 that the single most important reason [South Africans chose to home-school] was to obtain better education than is available in schools. Second was to educate children in an environment compatible with the family religion or philosophy. Third was to protect children from violence and a culture of drugs, sex and obscenity,” Mr. Van Oostrom reported.

    […]

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jul/26/home-schooling-making-progress-south-africa/

    So, now we have TWO evil governments that banned Home Schooling, both of them overtly fascist. Birds of a feather, flock together.

    I have a simple answer to any Swede that wants to challenge this absurd, inhuman and rather disturbing proposition.

    What the Swedish legislators have to answer, announce and confirm, openly, is the following; are they in favor of the law Hitler passed outlawing Home Education and will they pass their own law so that they are in line with the Nazi philosophy? Are they in favor of passing a Swedish law against Home Education so that their government is on a par with the racist Apartheid regime?

    They must answer these questions, because that is exactly what they are doing with this law.

    They cannot have it both ways. They can either say that, “Hitler was right about banning Home Education, and we are following his lead; in addition Apartheid was right, and we are following their lead in banning Home Education.”

    OR

    They can say “Sweden will not emulate two of the most monstrous governments the world has ever seen. The Swedish have rights, and we respect and defend them as is our sacred duty.”

    This is an unwarranted, unprovoked and purely evil attack on Swedish families. Its the sort of attack free people living in a free country should never expect or have to put up with. Being secure in your freedom, not having to worry about some petty fascist destroying your life every time the legislature sits is a part of being free – freedom from harassment you could call it.

    So much for their ‘Utopia‘ its a COMPLETE SHAM.

    India passes compulsory school attendance law

    Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

    Looks like India is on a massive catchup spree; first ID cards for everyone there, and now a compulsory school attendance law:

    India makes education compulsory and free under landmark law

    The Indian parliament has passed a bill to provide universal, free and compulsory education for all children aged between six and 14.

    By Dean Nelson in New Delhi

    The law, passed more than 60 years after India won independence, has been hailed by children’s rights campaigners and educationalists as a landmark in the country’s history.

    India’s failure to fund universal education until now, and its focus on higher education, have been cited as factors in its low literacy rates. More than 35 per cent of Indians are illiterate, and more than 50 per cent of its female population cannot read.

    Official figures record that 50 per cent of Indian children do not go to school, and that more than 50 per cent of those who do drop out before reaching class five at the age of 11 or 12.

    Campaigners say children from poor families are often discouraged by parents who need them to work, while financial obstacles are put in the way of families who would like their children to be educated. Families are often deterred by the cost of school books and uniforms.

    The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill will now guarantee 25 per cent of places in private schools are reserved for poor children, establish a three-year neighbourhood school-building programme, and end civil servants’ discretion in deciding which children will be given places.

    […]

    Telegraph

    First of all, the headline is incorrect. This education is not going to be ‘free’ someone is going to pay for it. A little Googling tells us that the state is going to pay for each child who sits in the 25% of places that are reserved for the poor. That money has to come from somewhere.

    I think we have all had more than enough of ‘children’s rights campaigners’ and ‘educationalists’ don’t you?

    Its clear, even from this article, that the Indian state cannot provide an education infrastructure like the western countries do; that is why they are going to simply take the resources from the private schools to meet their needs.

    Once again, how people run their affairs in their own countries is non of our business. I am simply observing and asking obvious questions, like, “how are they going to pay for this, and the ID Cards, and the sanitation problem, and whatever else they have coming down the pipeline? By inflating their currency?” As far as I can tell, the Rupee is a fiat currency, based on nothing, that they can print whenever they like in whatever quantities they like.

    Hmmmmmmm!

    This brings us neatly to the this great blog post:

    Most libertarians agree public schooling is a form of slavery and morally evil. In addition to this moral argument, the utilitarian case against public schooling is a strong one. While many libertarians and social theorists have written on this, Ivan Illich should not be missed. I recently came across his works and found great insight in the following article: Why We Must Abolish Schooling. It is no wonder he was referred to in the Libertarian Forum so much.

    I just wanted to highlight some great quotes from the article. (I am guessing his excellently-titled book, Deschooling Society (Open Forum), will come out from the Mises Institute at some point.)

    This is a long quote (below), but very insightful. I have thought for a while about the socially negative effects that stem from education. But Mr. Illich points out how the process vs. substance outcome has led to such effects. This is in every aspect of where taxpayers money is spent. I think this is where the real value of an economist comes into play, or perhaps when the economist as social or political theorist is so useful. Pointing out the economic and social effects of bad ideas and policiesespecially where this requires seeing the unseen cause and effect relationships, and some creativityseparates the better from the best economists imho.

    Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby schooled to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is schooled to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavor are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question. Not only education but social reality itself has become schooled.

    I maintain the belief that it is a widespread myth that government helps the poor in any significant way, at least when compared to a free society. Mr. Illich wrote about this modernization or institutionalization of poverty with great clarity:

    Welfare bureaucracies claim a professional, political, and financial monopoly over the social imagination, setting standards of what is valuable and what is feasible. This monopoly is at the root of the modernization of poverty. Every simple need to which an institutional answer is found permits the invention of a new class of poor and a new definition of poverty. 

    The more I read this article the more amazed I am at Mr. Illichs profound insights. Most people think poverty comes from a lack of money. In contrast Mr. Illich wrote: 

    The poor in the US are in a unique position to speak about the predicament which threatens all the poor in a modernizing world. They are making the discovery that no amount of dollars can remove the inherent destructiveness of welfare institutions, once the professional hierarchies of these institutions have convinced society that their ministrations are morally necessary. The poor in the US inner city can demonstrate from their own experience the fallacy on which social legislation in a schooled society is built.

    What about the social effects of public schooling?

    Obligatory schooling inevitably polarizes a society; it also grades the nations of the world according to an international caste system. Countries are rated like castes whose educational dignity is determined by the average years of schooling of its citizens, a rating which is closely related to per capita gross national product, and much more painful.

    And the economic effects?

    The escalation of the schools is as destructive as the escalation of weapons but less visibly so. Everywhere in the world school costs have risen faster than enrollments and faster than GNP; everywhere expenditures on school fall even further behind the expectations of parents, teachers, and pupils. Everywhere this situation discourages both the motivation and the financing for large-scale planning for non-schooled learning. The US is proving to the world that no country can be rich enough to afford a school system that meets the demands this same system creates simply by existing: because a successful school system schools parents and pupils to the supreme value of a larger school system, the cost of which increases disproportionately as higher grades are in demand and become scarce.

    Again, I highly recommend checking out Mr. Illichs works, most of which seem to be available here. Finally, this will be the last quote:

    Rather than calling equal schooling temporarily unfeasible we must recognize that it is, in principle, economically absurd, and that to attempt it is intellectually emasculating, socially polarizing, and destructive of the credibility of the political system which promotes it.

    […]

    http://austro-libertarian.com/the-great-ivan-illich-on-abolishing-schooling/

    It would be great if everyone in India could read. Heck, it would be great if everyone in BRITAIN could read (one in five adults in Britain are illiterate).

    I read somewhere that ten percent of all software development is now happening in India. Its clear that the schools that are running in India are producing world-class results. I wonder if there is another, more 21st century way to increase literacy levels. A country full of software developers should be able to come up with a solution. That law seems to me to be a retrograde action, especially in a country where there have been successful new models like the micro credit projects started by entrepreneurs.

    As for the Libertarian position on schools, it makes perfect sense, and the way schools are transforming into the most shocking and brutal crime ridden, ultraviolent, prison like, terrible places is just one aspect that demonstrates this.

    You need to pay particular attention to that last link… UNBELIEVABLE.

    Finally from another Austrian:

    The formal education of a child is the natural prerogative of his parents. They possess custodial rights of the child and exercise them for his physical, mental, and spiritual development. Parents are in a position to know their child and care for the development of his personality. They bear the responsibility of attaining this end and are in a position to tailor formal education to the strengths and weaknesses of their child by either their own tutoring or the hiring of appropriate specialists to instruct their child. Parentally directed tutoring, then, is the best type of formal education since it is most apt to result in learning harmonious with the natural development of the child’s personality.

    Private primary and elementary schools, with one teacher and many students, have been a compromise from parentally directed tutoring made out of economic necessity. In precapitalist societies only the richest elite had sufficient wealth to indulge in private tutoring. Most parents consumed their day with the labor necessary to scratch out a subsistence living.

    As wealth has expanded under capitalism, it has become increasingly possible for middle-class parents to do what the rich have always been able to afford, i.e., private tutoring. Today, middle-class parents are wealthy enough to indulge in substantial private tutoring and could do much more if they were free from the burden of financing state schools. And even where wealth is not yet sufficient and parents choose schools, a market of private schools would suppress the deficiency of schooling as parental spending would guide schools to find the most effective arrangements for developing each child’s personality. As with thymological knowledge that the child gains from his own actions, formal education proceeds naturally and privately.

    […]

    Mises Daily by Jeffrey M. Herbener

    I don’t think that there is a single Home Educator out there that would disagree with that.

    What people need to achieve academically is not state funding for schools, but a very small state that does not interfere with the free exchange between individuals.

    The wealthier people are, the more able they are going to be to educate their children thoroughly. The very act of the state trying to provide everything for the people living in a country impoverishes them, and this is true across everything, from health care to education and everything else in between.