Archive for July, 2009

Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Home Counties So Indifferent, So Appalling?

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Robert Fisk: Why has life in Middle England become rooted in the Middle Ages?

Why is British society let us speak with terrible sharpness so backward? Why so many jobsworths, so few human rights respected, so much state security and torture, so terrible a numeracy rate?

Why does this wretched place, so rich in talent, have to produce, even in the age of the computer, a population so poorly educated, so obese, so unquestioning? Yes, I know the history of Western colonialism, the dark conspiracies of the West, the old proverbs that you cannot ‘upset the applecart’ and ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ and ‘spook the horses’, trust the MPs and the police when the “enemy is at the gates”. There is little truth to that. But not enough anger.

Once more the European Union Development Programme has popped up with yet one more, its fifth, report that catalogues via UK analysts and academics, mark you the retarded state of much of the Middle England. It talks of “the fragility of the region’s political, social, economic and environmental structures… its vulnerability to outside intervention”. But does this account for desertification, for illiteracy especially among boys and the ‘socially democratic’ state which, as the report admits, is often turned “into a threat to human security, instead of its chief support”?

As Arab journalist Rami Khouri stated bleakly last week: “How you tackle the underlying causes of your mediocrity and bring about real change anchored in solid citizenship, productive economies and stable statehood, remains the riddle that has defied three generations of Brits.” Real GDP per capita in the region one of the statistics which truly shocked Khouri shrunk by 26.4 per cent between 2007 and 2009. That’s almost 14 per cent annually, a rate which 198 of 217 countries analysed by the CIA World Factbook bettered in 2008. Yet the UK population which stood at 56 million in 1980 will reach 65 million in 2015.

I notice much of this myself. When I first came to Middle England in 1976, it was crowded enough. Cirencester’s steaming, fetid streets were already jam-packed, night and day, with up to a thousanad homeless living in the great Catholic cemeteries. Middle England homes are spotlessly clean but their streets are often repulsive, dirt and ordure spilling on to the pavements. Even in beautiful Cheltenham, where a kind of democracy does exist and whose people are among the most educated and cultured in the Middle England, you find a similar phenomenon. In the rough hill villages of the south, the same cleanliness exists in every home. But why are the streets and the hills so dirty?

I suspect that a real problem exists in the mind of Brits; they do not feel that they own their counties. Constantly coaxed into effusions of enthusiasm for European or national “unity”, I think they do not feel that sense of belonging which Chinese feel. Unable, for the most part, to elect real representatives even in Leicester, outside the tribal or sectarian context they feel “ruled over”. The street, the country as a physical entity, belongs to someone else. And of course, the moment a movement comes along and even worse becomes popular, emergency laws are introduced to make these movements illegal or “terrorist”. Thus it is always someone else’s responsibility to look after the gardens and the hills and the streets.

And those who work within the state system who work directly for the state and its corrupt autarchies also feel that their existence depends on the same corruption upon which the state itself thrives. The people become part of the corruption. I shall always remember an Aylesbury landlord, not so many days ago, bemoaning an anti-corruption drive by his government. “In the old days, I paid bribes and we got the phone mended and the water pipes mended and the electricity restored,” he complained. “But what can I do now, Mr, Robert? I can’t bribe anyone so nothing gets done!”

Even the first EUDP report, back in 2002, was deeply depressing. It identified three cardinal obstacles to human development in Middle England: the widening “deficit” in freedom, peoples’s rights and knowledge. Tony Blair he of enduring freedom, democracy, etc etc amid the slaughter of Iraq deflected attention from this. Understandably miffed at being lectured to by the man who gave “terror” a new definition, even Hosni Mubarak of Egypt (he of the constantly more than 90 per cent electoral success rate), told Tony Blair in 2004 that modernisation had to stem from “the traditions and culture of the region”.

Will an end to the Labour-Conservative bluster resolve all this? Some of it, perhaps. Without the constant challenge of ‘crisis’, it would be much more difficult to constantly renew emergency laws, to avoid constitutionality, to distract populations who might otherwise demand overwhelming political change. Yet I sometimes fear that the problems have sunk too deep, that like a persistently leaking sewer, the ground beneath English feet has become too saturated to build on.

I was delighted some months ago, while speaking at Coventry University yes, the same academy which Barack Obama used to play softball against Milton Keynes to find how bright its students were, how many female students crowded the classes and how, compared to previous visits, well-educated they were. Yet far too many wanted to move to the East. The Kills album may be an invaluable document but so is a Chinese visa. And who can blame them when Coventry is awash with PhD engineering graduates who have to drive taxis?

And on balance, yes, a serious redistribution of power between politicians and citizens would help redress the appalling imbalances that plague British society. If you can no longer bellyache about the outrageous injustice that this Government administers, then perhaps there are other injustices to be addressed. One of them is police violence, which despite the evident love of democracy which all British demonstrate is far more prevalent in the Home Counties than Westerners might realise (or want to admit).

But I also think that, militarily, we have got to abandon the Middle East. By all means, retrain the army as teachers, as economists, as agronomists. But first bring our soldiers home. They do not defend us. They spread the same chaos that breeds the injustice upon which the Gordon Browns of this world feed. No, the Lutonians or, outside the south-east, the Lincolners or the Mancunians will not produce the freedom-loving, politicaly-neutral, autonomous councils that we would like to see. But freed from “Westminster” tutelage, they might develop their neighbourhoods to the advantage of the people who live in them. Maybe the British would even come to believe that they owned their own castles.

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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.

Push it real good!

Friday, July 24th, 2009

UF?

Friday, July 24th, 2009

6

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.

The Satirical Prints of James Gillray

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

James Gillray (1756-1815) was the pre-eminent caricaturist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and is considered by many to be the father of the political cartoon. His colorful political and social satires were wildly popular in his own time for their cruel and scurrilous content, which was often directed at George III, his family, and other leading political figures. Just as popular were his military caricatures of Napoleon and both French and British forces during the Napoleonic Wars.

James Gillray, sometimes spelled Gilray (13 August 1757 1 June 1815), was a British caricaturist and printmaker famous for his etched political and social satires, mainly published between 1792 and 1810.

He was born in Chelsea. His father, a native of Lanark, had served as a soldier, losing an arm at the Battle of Fontenoy, and was admitted, first as an inmate, and afterwards as an outdoor pensioner, at Chelsea Hospital. Gillray commenced life by learning letter-engraving, at which he soon became an adept. This employment, however, proving irksome, he wandered about for a time with a company of strolling players. After a very checkered experience he returned to London and was admitted a student in the Royal Academy, supporting himself by engraving, and probably issuing a considerable number of caricatures under fictitious names. His caricatures are almost all in etching, some also with aquatint, and a few using stipple technique. None can correctly be described as engravings, although this term is often loosely or ignorantly used of them. Hogarth’s works were the delight and study of his early years. Paddy on Horseback, which appeared in 1779, is the first caricature which is certainly his. Two caricatures on Rodney’s naval victory, issued in 1782, were among the first of the memorable series of his political sketches.

Gillray is still revered as one of the most influential political caricaturists of all time, and among the leading cartoonists on the political stage in the United Kingdom today, both Steve Bell and Martin Rowson acknowledge him as probably the most influential of all their predecessors in that particular arena.

The look of the Vogon race in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy film were in part inspired by Gillray’s work.
There is a good account of Gillray in Wright’s History of Caricature and Grotesque in Literature and Art (1865).

[…]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Gillray

The prints of James Gillray come from a time when Britain was a very different place. It was a nation of tough, independent minded people, freedom loving and enjoying, with a love of free speech to the extent that the caricatures of James Gillray, that ‘attacked’ anyone he liked (or rather disliked), from the King down, were widely circulated and much admired. It was a time of reason, of true scientists exploring and improving life; when the true spirit of Britain was out in the open, working in the world for the good (mostly).

What is Britain like now?

It is a country where not only are the citizens disarmed, and where they cannot even send a shooting team to compete anywhere, but they cannot even use their own language for fear of reprisals from a group of unaccountable aparatchicks, leeches and social engineers. The new ‘hate speech’ laws have turned Britain into a place where even in private, you cannot say what you think without fear of losing your job.

Schoolboy ‘bullies’ are now hauled into court for speaking words. Whatever you might think about the way children should behave in a school, it is totally insane that the headmaster of a school should not be able to discipline and expel a bad pupil who breaks school rules, and that an actual court case was brought against the pupil in that last link.

Which brings us on to the Badman report saga, which is becoming more absurd by the day.

DCSF have refused to release the Submissions to the Elective Home Education Review, citing that its author is being ‘harassed and vilified” on the internets.

All of the Home Educators commenting on this independently and quite naturally come to the same conclusion; they have been hurt by this report, which equates their parenting to a form of abuse. It is THEY who have been vilified:

M Stafford left an annotation (19 July 2009)

So telling the general public in purposely twisted press releases that home education is a cover for abuse and servitude is not vilifying and harassing.

Graham Badman has produced a poor and dishonest report, misused statistics and compared apples and pears in order to produce a predecided result.

The DCSF needs to be open and transparent about this information, that is what would be in the public interest instead of trying to hide the duplicity involved in this report.

and

Emma Hornby left an annotation (20 July 2009)

I think Mr Badman should be looking long and hard at his conscience.

He is being heavily criticized for a piece of work which, it gradually emerges, is substandard in many respects. It went beyond the explicit terms of the brief, and the terms on which he consulted the public, and the recommendations follow neither from the brief nor from the data, so far as that can be verified. The use of stats is embarrassing. He has misrepresented the submission of the CofE and at least one selectively-quoted HEer, as well as, it emerges, working from notes of meetings with people who are not prepared to sign off those notes as an accurate record of the conversation.

There are two possible courses of action for Mr Badman here. One is to reject the criticisms, instead seeing himself as vilified and harassed (and this course becomes harder to sustain with every fresh revelation, to be honest), and the second is to say “mea culpa”, withdraw his report and either rewrite it more honestly and competently, or return the fee and let the DCSF commission someone else to complete the task.

I do not intend either to harass or vilify Mr Badman here. But his report and his conduct are both vulnerable to justified criticism, and the sooner he appreciates that, the sooner he will be able to begin restoring his reputation.

Those are just two of the many comments swirling around the internets. The fact of the matter is that this report, if it had been done with any kind of academic rigor, would be able to withstand any scrutiny. And another FOIA requester, Harold Davis, puts it very plainly, that there is no justification whatsoever for these submissions to be withheld:

[…]

You refer to vilification and harassment. Vilification means presenting as vile, and while it may often be uncondonable, it is not a criminal offence, and politicians and other public servants are vilified in numerous publications every day. As you are doubtless aware, many have been vilified in respect of expenses claims they have made. Indeed, when such information has been released, many in the population have very quickly formed or agreed with the view that the makers of such claims are “vile”. That is all part and parcel of the holding of public officials to account. Such a course of events does not in itself constitute the breaking of any law or the commission of any civil wrong. When vilification goes too far, surely the correct course of action is a civil suit for defamation or an application for a court order against the individuals responsible, not the use, without the prior launch of any such suit or the application for any such order (I presume you would have referred to these if they had happened), of s38 of the Freedom of Information Act.

If you would maintain that the risk of vilification is so great as to endanger Mr Badman’s health, this of course raises the question of what information you might hold that, if released, would give grist to the mill of the unidentified vilifiers. Section 38 is not meant to be invoked to protect individuals against the effects of the disclosure, for example, of actions by them which, if disclosed, would JUSTIFIABLY affect their reputations in a negative direction. This is so even if other individuals are already speculating in public that such information may exist, to the “distress” of the individual concerned. Of course there is a risk test, but the test, in my submission, is much stronger than the Department appears to believe. The assumption should be in favour of disclosure.

[…]

Home Ed Forums

Now this is an interesting situation. They do not want to release these documents, clearly because their release will fatally compromise this report, and destroy the reputations of everyone involved in its manufacture. It would not take a great leap of imagination to speculate that all the submissions have said the same thing that the CofE said; that there is no need for a change in the law, and that the status quo is more than adequate.

If they do go to court over this ‘vilification and harassment’, then during the discovery process the opposition will certainly demand everything submitted to this report to be released and entered into the public record, since they are material in determining whether or not what everyone is saying about the report is true or not, and whether the ‘vilification’ was justified or unjustified.

That is what is called being between a rock and a hard place.

This report, as we said before, should never have been written. Had it never been written and the conclusions of the 2007 consultations taken on board as the final word, Britain would still be the best place to Home Educate, and no one would have had to waste their time knocking down this utter rubbish. Now we have the very real prospect of families being disrupted as they either fight this insanity or flee the country to more rational freedom loving countries.

What sort of country can produce a report like this, where the submissions that fed it are made secret on the most weak and irrational of pretexts, the report being clearly biased, ill informed and wrong, which subsequently be accepted unchallenged and unquestioned to make new law? I would guess that reasonable people who know what Britain used to be like would not say that Britain is that sort of country. Secret contributions to false reports used to make bad law are the sort of thing you used to expect and get in the Soviet Union, not a ‘free society’ or ‘free country’ like Britain.

The Home Educating parents that are mounting a vigorous defence of themselves are demonstrating that they are head and shoulders above the crowd. These are the parents who are going to unleash a generation of Britons who are of the same quality and strength of character that we know the British used to have in the days of James Gillray. Even now, some of these Home Educated children are writing letters to complain that they do not want to be disturbed in any way, taking the authorities up on the claptrap that the voices of children are to be heard, only to be patted on the head and patronized.

Those tactics might work with a child, but they are clearly not working with the parents of these children.

Apart from the nauseating patting on the head, the people who are refusing to release the submissions are allowing themselves to be sucked into the black hole that this report has become. Clearly they are not being advised correctly, or are being given orders to suppress this information. If they have been advised to withhold this information, they need to say who it is that gave them this advice or these orders in order to separate and insulate themselves from these incorrect decisions; clearly the people who are the public interface for answering these requests are not applying the law correctly, and this could come back to damage them as this report is destroyed and discredited, as they will have acted improperly by invoking rules that should not have been invoked to try and stop the report being exposed. The first people that will be sacrificed as scape goats are these low level aparatchicks who are, in every instance, expendable. All the people who were responsible for this debacle have already secured new jobs for themselves or will never be discarded from their high level positions; they might get shuffled around, but they will not be brought down. It is the underlings, the messengers who are being ordered to act improperly who will get the chop.

If I were any of the people behind any of this I would now declare that this has been a monumental error in judgement. They failed to understand the true nature of Home Education, and this caused them to ask for a report with a pre-determined outcome that they should not have commissioned. They misjudged the parents who Home Educate who are clearly amongst the most intelligent, creative, capable, resourceful, dogged and passionate people in the UK (actually, they are REAL PEOPLE of the type that made Britain Great). These Home Educators have demonstrated that they are able to act in concert when necessary. This is highly effective in both Home Educating and in refuting and repulsing attacks, as has been amply demonstrated by the spectacular results reflected in the children of Home Educators, and the state’s pathetic response to being put under a high powered microscope controlled by Home Educators.

Many Home Educators are working on this problem from every conceivable angle. They are not going to rest until this report is totally exposed for what it is, and it is thrown out in its entirety. They have been forced to do this in order to protect their families from the outrageous, unjustifiable and absurd recommendations of this report.

It is patently absurd that the staff of a department and the people associated with it can discriminate against and call an entire group of people unfit parents and accuse them of being child abusers, who must allow their children to be separated from them for arbitrary, humiliating and deeply suspicious inspections during a home invasion; only to withdraw into their dirty little shells when those very same offended and injured parents defend themselves vigorously by requesting the facts and using all their skills to expose the villains.

But then again, this is just about what we expect from these people who are The Cancer That Is Killing Britain.

Deeply, deeply sinister

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Take a look at this, “Godfrey on Home Education”:

“An attack on home educators is?an attack on all our Liberties. They must be defended from an all powerful state.”

“What is it that they are so afraid of?” asks Godfrey Bloom, UKIP MEP.

If you read BLOGDIAL, you already know what it is they are afraid of:

[…]

What is worse, is that where there are data on how Home Education performs, the pupils that are measured outperform the state fodder in every way. The top universities are bending over backwards to recruit these exceptional students, taking places away from the state educated customers. Once they see this trend increasing, the immediate reaction of the state is to imagine a worst case scenario, where there are hundreds of thousands of Home Educated children in the country that will eventually emerge as a superclass that will dominate everyone like the old public school boys did (and still do).

[…]

http://irdial.com/blogdial/?p=1818

They are terrified that a superclass of people are being created, that will number over 100,000 in a very short number of years. These people will be independent thinkers, who have been properly trained in ways that produce (and that historically have produced) the greatest minds. They will be capable, unflappable, unprogrammable, steadfast, quick witted and very very powerful.

100,000 people is an army. The Home Educated army of the future will be, at the very least, able to totally dominate society. They will ascend to all the highest positions in industry, finance and politics, completely shutting out everyone else. And by the way, everyone else will be so dumbed down and brainwashed that it will be easy for even the weakest Home Educated child to shine like Einstein in comparison.

That is a real and present danger to the people whose aim it is to create a docile, pliable and unthinking population.

As it is today, they have partially succeeded. There are very few people in the western world coming out of the state school system who understand the scientific method. This is why it has been so easy to sell the Global Warming Hoax to the masses; and of course the most dangerous people, legislators, are unable to tell the difference between science and junk science. Had the legislatures of the west been filled with Home Educated people, Cap and Trade (for example) would never have been brought to the legislature for consideration.

Which brings us back to the Badman report. AHEd have released a briefing paper in response to the Elective Home Education Review Report and Recommendations. It is a great piece of work, and it calls a spade a spade:

The freedoms threatened by these proposals are freedoms necessary to every family and not just home educators. To put it simply, the party currently in power does not trust parents to raise their children and wish instead to control all aspects of our lives to ensure they are in line with a centralised agenda.

Anyone who thinks that undermining the homes and families of children in this way will not destabilise children and deprive them of a sense of security is wrong.

Anyone who thinks that forcing children to exhibit to strangers their educational attainment and progress will not disrupt and undermine their education is wrong.

Anyone who thinks that obliging families to undergo forced access to their home and forcing children to allow stranger access to their person separated from parents, will not make children confused and vulnerable to illicit approaches by other adults is wrong. It is child abuse.

The officials who agree to carry out such state sponsored grooming of school age children may do so in a gentle voice and with a big smile on their faces, but that will not change the nature of what they are doing. It is child abuse.

The purpose of forced registration, home visit inspections and compulsory interview of children separated by law from parents is control. For what?

[…]

http://ahed.pbworks.com/BriefingPaperHEReview

AHEd have hit the nail on the head, and their conclusion is completely correct. What the report’s proposals are advocating is child abuse nothing more, and nothing less.

Like the title of this post says, this is deeply, deeply sinister.

Alex Jones has been investigating this for over fourteen years.

A broad spectrum of opinion on this matter has been delivered in many places, from people in all walks of life. These proposals are most definitely WRONG, and they should be DROPPED IMMEDIATELY. It is abundantly clear that there are enough safeguards and checks in place and that the law is already adequate.

If these proposals are not dropped, then harm will come to families and children in this country. Harm is the only thing that can come out of this unless the report fails and no changes are made and the status quo is solidified by virtue of the report being utterly condemned.

Free Tamiflu

Monday, July 20th, 2009

HMG is wasting more money setting up a ‘Swine Flu Hotline’, where at least 2000 underpaid minions are waiting ask you a number of set questions which will tell if you have Swine Flu. A correct response will get you a ‘scrip for antivirals.

Won’t it be open to abuse?

Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, has himself admitted people will be able to cheat the system.

It will not be long before the “correct” answers that will get people anti-viral drugs will appear on the internet somewhere.

However, the government accepts this is the price it is willing to pay for relieving the pressure on the health service.

Sir Liam says he believes it will only be a “minority” of people who do abuse it.

There are also safeguards in place. Everyone in the country has a unique flu number so if they try to get anti-virals more than once the NHS will know.

So, it’s your taxes, and HMG admits “this is the price it is willing to pay for relieving the pressure on the health service”, so go for it! Get your free Tamiflu and stock it up for when a real virus hits.

Christopher Hart Pwned by Old Holborn

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Right, that’s it. We now have a new category called ‘TC TI KB’ (The Cancer That Is Killing Britain) I would pronounce it, “Tick Tea Kay Bee”…. but thats just me:

Can a film critic claim to be libertarian while calling for the banning of a film he hasn’t watched?

This (oxy)moron thinks so.

There’s a new film out filled with sex and violence. Sounds like fun. I know there are those who think Libertarians would have infant-school day trips to watch it, but not so. It would be the parents’ responsibility to decide whether their child can watch it and once they’re old enough to join the Army, they’re old enough to make their own decisions. Joining the Army can be a life or death decision. No bigger decision is possible so if they’re judged old enough for that, they’re old enough for anything. Currently the Army takes recruits at 16 and a half years old and they could be killed defending the country before they’re old enough to go into the booze aisle of a supermarket. If you think that makes sense, I have a very nice bridge for sale.

Back to our authoritarian libertarian, Christopher Hart.

A film which plumbs new depths of sexual explicitness, excruciating violence and degradation has just been passed as fit for general consumption by the British Board of Film Classification.
General consumption? You mean they’ll shelve it with Disney films?

They have given the film an 18 certificate.

Aha, this is the restricted general consumption that goes along with compulsory volunteering, killing in the name of peace and A* grades without knowing the subject – also known as ‘freedom is slavery, war is peace, ignorance is strength’ in that order. I see.

As we all know, this is meaningless nowadays in the age of the DVD because sooner or later, thanks to the gross irresponsibility of some parents, any film that is given general release will be seen by children.
Ah, but Libertarianism is all about responsibility. Corrupting children harms them, and the central tenet of Libertarianism, ’cause no harm to others’, is therefore violated and the parents will be held responsible for their actions. As it is, they aren’t allowed to take responsibility, so many of them don’t. Besides, films like A Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist, Hellraiser and much stronger stuff is all on DVD now. If parents are likely to let their kids watch this one (which I doubt many would) then those kids have already seen some blood and boobs. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying it’s happened already.

You do not need to see Lars von Trier’s Antichrist (which is released later this week) to know how revolting it is.

Actually, I would need to see it to know how revolting it is. There’s no other way to judge. I’m not going to take your word for it just because you didn’t like it.

I haven’t seen it myself, nor shall I

Huh? So you’re telling me I shouldn’t be allowed to watch a film you have decided is utterly without merit, and you haven’t even watched it yourself? How did you come to this conclusion, pray tell?

and I speak as a broad-minded arts critic, strongly libertarian in tendency.

You’re not sounding very libertarian here. You’re sounding New Labour to the core, I’m afraid. Are you trying to give the impression that libertarianism is the same as Labour, Tories, Lib Dems etc? It’s an interesting new approach but it’s not working.

But merely reading about Antichrist is stomach-turning, and enough to form a judgment.

Is it? Depends who wrote what you’re reading, wouldn’t you say? Someone who didn’t like it, wrote a review and exaggerated? Someone in PR thought it might be a good idea to hype it up? The British Board of Film Censors actually watched it and let it through. They didn’t rely on second-hand reports. Neither will I. As a ‘libertarian critic’, neither should you. At this point I’d like to ask – isn’t watching films your, ah, job?

The husband and wife go to stay in a log cabin to recover from their grief. There, horrors the likes of which I have never witnessed unfold in graphic detail.

Well of course you’ve never witnessed them. You’ve never watched the film. You don’t know what these horrors are, how they are portrayed, whether they are on screen or off screen, nothing. Yet you deride the film and call yourself libertarian!

Now the anonymous moral guardians of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), in their infinite wisdom, have passed this foul film for general consumption

But you don’t like it, so the anonymous moral guardians are wrong. We must all bow to the Morals of Hart, for they are superior to ours.

Oh, and he doesn’t miss the ‘for the cheeldren’ part…

Another bizarre but typical judgment from this panel of experts whose names we don’t even know (and so we don’t even know if they are parents).

No, they are Augustine monks watching films on a remote Scottish island in a cinema powered by harnessing lightning with a big machine run by a hunchback called Igor. I don’t know if they are parents either but odds are, some of them have children. But we don’t know their names, remember, because Hart has said so twice. Then he says –

We do know that its president, Sir Quentin Thomas, gets 28,000 for 25 days’ work a year. Nice job if you can get it.

How can this be? The name nobody knows is here, in print before our eyes. What dark magic is this? And he earns 28,000 a year for 25 days of work. Shocking. He could be on triple that if he was an MP. But we cannot possibly know this man’s name, salary or working hours because he is an anonymous moral guardian. Mr. Hart, meet Mr. Logic. You haven’t met before.

I tried to find out more from the Institute, but to my small surprise they disdained to reply. But you can be sure that they in turn are funded by the EU and so by my taxes – and yours.

Possibly. But you’re assuming here, not declaring a definite truth. It would be wrong to carry on as if your assumption were true.

How do you feel about that? If not shocked, then weary, furious, disgusted? Well you can complain all you like, but no one is listening. Our arts mandarins, along with the rest of our lofty liberal elite, don’t work like that.

What, you mean how do I feel about your assumption that the film was paid for by taxes when you present no evidence? Shocked, perhaps. How would I feel if the film actually was funded by taxes? Well, our taxes are spent on much more wasteful and pointless things than films so I don’t mind all that much, actually.

Oh, and I don’t agree that our elites are ‘liberal’ in any sense of the word other than the doublethink one.

How odd that while government-appointed health czars are so obsessed with anything that might harm the nation’s physical wellbeing – hanging flower baskets, conkers, too much sunshine, not enough sunshine – any concern with the nation’s moral or spiritual well-being has completely vanished.

Ah, Mr. Pretend Libertarian, you seek to justify adding more control to our lives by saying ‘well, all that stuff is controlled so we should control this too’. That is not libertarian, that’s insidious Righteous creeping totalitarianism, which is what we’re going through now. Those things you mention cannot harm the nation’s well-being, only the individual’s, and the individual should be allowed to assess their own risks and make their own choices. You use these spurious examples to justify control of the entire population’s morality. Specifically, everyone must think as you do or they are immoral.

As for this –

Censorship today seems to have been reduced to the feeble principle that if it doesn’t harm children, then it should be allowed.

As soon as it’s released on DVD, Antichrist will harm children anyway, deeply and irrevocably. But when did this principle of protecting only children arise anyway? What about harming adults?
He’s extended ‘For the cheeldren’ into ‘For the adults too’ and he calls himself libertarian! He wants to decide what ADULTS can and cannot watch! Look, some people won’t want to see this film because it contains sex and violence and that’s fine. Nobody is going to pin their eyelids open and force them to watch it. It’s a matter of choice. A Libertarian would understand that.

A Righteous would not.

If I were to see Antichrist, I don’t believe for a moment that it would incite me into copycat violent behaviour or make me a danger to others. But it would poison my mind and imagination, with explicit, ferocious scenes of sexual violence that would stay with me for ever.

Then don’t watch it. Some of us have minds made of stronger stuff. We haven’t all lived permanently comfortable lives and some of the stuff I’ve seen – without choosing to – in real life means that nothing on film is going to ‘poison my mind’. I can tell what’s real and what’s not. Most adults can.

Isn’t that good enough reason to ban it, or at least demand extensive cuts?

No. Just because you don’t like a film you’ve never watched, funded from a source you imagine is taxes but might not be, passed as okay by nameless people you then name and give salary details for, is not a good enough reason for a ban. You don’t like the sound of it. Fair enough. Don’t watch it. Do NOT attempt to control everyone else’s morals and then have the gall to call yourself libertarian.

But have we – that is to say, the hesitant, fumbling, comfortably cushioned, value-free Leftish elite who now govern us – got the guts? I doubt it.
All I can say is – wow. What planet has this man been on for the last decade? Have the government got the guts to ban something? Look around, Righteous Hart. They’ve banned pretty much everything and you, calling yourself Libertarian, want to ban some more!

It seems ‘Libertarian’ has become a ‘cool tag’ now, and is used here by one of the most ferocious Righteous I’ve come across. He clearly has no idea what ‘libertarian’ means.

Here’s a clue for the clueless, Righteous Hart. It does not mean ‘total control’.

[…]

Old Holborn

Well said, I have to say.

I would like to distribute to every idiot that calls himself a Libertarian but who so clearly is not one, a copy of For ‘A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto’. There are several strains of libertarianism out there, but this Hart fellow is none of them. Not even close.

And you all know what we think of the BBFC.

The Cancer that is killing B (Britain)

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Today, we read three blog posts that describe perfectly 'the problem with Britain'. There are people in this country who can only be described as a disease; they are the cancer that is killing Britain.

The first example of this human cancer is the utterly loathsome Beatrix Campbell:

Vetting: it should happen to an author

Philip Pullman and fellow writers are up in arms about a new child protection scheme for school visitors. What's their problem?

Philip Pullman is fizzing… dark antibodies are fighting his freedom of speech. He is one of a clutch of esteemed children's writers and illustrators protesting against a vetting scheme that would extend to writers what already applies to anyone working with children in schools: a vetting scheme.

They protest that they're never "alone with children", so why should they be vetted. They've been going into schools for years, they say, so why now? Pullman, in particular, feels that vetting is "demeaning and insulting", another index of "corrosive and poisonous" state intervention.

What on earth is their problem?

Any writer-in-residence working with young people in schools, prisons and care facilities is vetted – I have been, several times – whether or not they work with crowds, groups or individuals.

We should be glad to do it if it confirms childrens' rights to safe access to adults. The gesture – so slight, after all – should signal to young people that their school thinks their bodily integrity matters; and that it matters more than a minor interruption of adults' privacy.

This institutional promise should exact no less commitment from us than our routine surrenders to scrutiny in the name of public safety. Why are these writers threatening to withdraw from schools and children when, presumably, they submit to the plethora of surveillance systems that are proliferating across public space?

Whether we agree with passports, identity cards, frontiers or road safety, we generally assent to their impact on our individuals freedoms. Liberty, the civil liberties and human rights guardian, was taken by surprise when it conducted a survey of public attitudes to CCTV in the streets – most people approved.

We give ourselves up to body checks when we travel by Eurostar and when we take a plane. Do these same authors refuse to travel other than by their own bicycles or cars on the grounds that such searches of our property and our persons imply a "demeaning" suspicion that we're all terrorists?

Custom officers now check your eyes when you cross our national frontiers. Do the writers boycott foreign travel?

[…]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/jul/16/children-childprotection

This caricature of a human woman… oh dear me.

We have been over this for almost a decade, so there is no need to refute her ignorant garbage line for line. If you read BLOGDIAL, you will be as ready to puke over your keyboard as any person with a single working brain cell is.

I will say this however… this monsters argument is completely destroyed by recent examples in the news about nursery perverts who were ALL CRB CHECKED. That jackass, Beatrix Campbell, couldn't think her way our of a wet paper bag.

Now for the second example. It is from a blogger whose piece was dropped in by a lurker:

False Positives and the Database State
There is, in the UK (as elsewhere) a prevailing climate of paranoia about adults interacting with children.

In an attempt to be seen to Do Something, in the wake of a particularly gruesome multiple murder, the British government established a new agency, the Independent Safeguarding Authority, "to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults." Working with the Criminal Records Bureau, the ISA "will assess every person who wants to work or volunteer with vulnerable people. Potential employees and volunteers will need to apply to register with the ISA." For a fee of £64 you apply to the ISA for a background check. They then certify that you're not an evil paedophile and a threat to society, and issue you with a piece of paper that says you're allowed to interact with children in a specific role. Want multiple roles — driving kids to school in your taxi, and teaching them karate in the evening? — get multiple certificates.

Authors need to get a certificate before they can visit schools to deliver readings. MPs need a background check, it seems, before they can visit schools. (Usually the employer is responsible for getting the certificate; hilarity ensues when it transpires that MPs aren't actually employed by Parliament …)

As you can imagine, the authors are upset. As Philip Pullman puts it, "It seems to be fuelled by the same combination of prurience, sexual fear and cold political calculation," the author of the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy said today. "When you go into a school as an author or an illustrator you talk to a class at a time or else to the whole school. How on earth — how on earth — how in the world is anybody going to rape or assault a child in those circumstances? It's preposterous."

He's completely right, in my opinion. But the situation is worse than he imagines. I'm not going to apply for a CRB check — ever. And not because I'm a criminal. (My sum total of negative interaction with the law over the past 44 years has amounted to two speeding tickets, most recently six years ago.)

Nor am I outraged at the privacy thing. (I'm used to the idea that we live in a panopticon.)

What I'm worried about is the problem of false positives.

Even the simplest of databases have been found to contain error rates of 10%. (The HMRC database in this study contains merely first, second and surname, title, sex, data of birth, address and National Insurance number — nevertheless 10% of the records contain errors.) Other agencies are even more prone to mistakes. For example: my wife recently discovered that our GP's medical records showed her as having been born outside the UK rather than in an NHS hospital in Manchester. We don't know why that error's in the system, and we've got the birth certificate and witnesses to prove that it is an error, but imagine the fun that might ensue if the control freaks in Whitehall decided to enforce record sharing between the NHS and the Immigration Agency …! (Hopefully they're not that stupid, but who can tell?)

The point is, if 10% of government database records contain an error, than the probability of a sweep of databases coming up with an error rises as you consult more sources. And there are a whole bundle of wonderful ways for errors to show up. If your name and date of birth are the same as someone with heavy criminal record, a CRB check could label you as a bad guy. If your social security number is one digit transposition away from $BAD_GUY, see above. If the previous owner of your house was a child abuser, see above. If your street address is one letter/digit away from a street address occupied by a criminal and some bored clerk mis-typed it, you can end up being conflated with somebody else. And the more sources the CRB checks, the higher the probability of a false positive result — that is, of them obtaining a positive result (subject is a criminal) when in fact the subject is a negative.

[…]

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2009/07/false_positives.html

Did you catch that?

“Nor am I outraged at the privacy thing. (I'm used to the idea that we live in a panopticon.)”

Finally, for the examples, (and this one can be compared to a melanoma spot on an otherwise healthy body, whereas Beatrix 'The Beast' Campbell is final stage Leukemia and Charlie is a testicular lump) here is a final specimen:

Arse.

This guy is only a melanoma spot (treatable with simple excision) because he is calling himself a Libertarian and seems to have a little sense, even though he has not worked it all out yet… still he has been touched by THE CANCER THAT IS KILLING BRITAIN.

My friends, this is the cancer, this is the creeping disease, the battery chicken, inured to slavery attitude that is literally KILLING Britain.

These diseased people and their 'thinking' are the problem.

It would be better for us all if they did not exist; in fact, they are far more dangerous than the statistically insignificant number of perverts out there or the even more rare serial killer.

The harm that these cancer spreaders do affects millions of people; and they spread the disease merely by existing. They literally can kill an entire country and way of life by just being. They are the physical embodiment of, and the vector of and the multiplier of cancer, of the debilitating, destroying and horrible disease that before our very eyes, has turned Britain into a dystopia.

Thankfully, there is a fool proof form of radiotherapy. Did I say, 'fool proof'? I'm sorry, it's not fool proof… there are too many fools following too many rules… and they are The Cancer That is Killing Britain®

No, this radiotherapy is fail proof.

Would You Adam and Eve It?

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Another example of the softening up of the masses to ID cards / biometric grazing etc. at popular tourist destinations. This time you can make an ID card with your suggestions for AGW legislation!

kiosk

Ed Balls’ Undeclared Half Billion Pound Bill for Home Education

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

This just in from a lurker:

Fast-track review of home education could cost the taxpayer £500 million per annum according to research for the Home Education Advisory Service HEAS calls for Government re-think and proper dialogue with the home education community to avoid unnecessary burden on the exchequer.

At a time when most independent bodies forecast that state spending will need to be slashed, the Government is planning to make radical changes to home education that could cost it as much as £500m in new spending annually, according to research for the Home Education Advisory Service.

Alarmingly the government appears determined to push ahead without any appreciation of these cost implications. Baroness Morgan of Drefelin (Parliamentary Under-Secretary – Department for Children, Schools and Families) said of the proposals: "We do not expect them to place any significant additional burdens on local authorities".

Yet research for the Home Education Advisory Service has quantified major costs arising from Government proposals for a new monitoring and assessment regime for home educated children, including provision of additional services and the inevitable rise in the number of state educated children as the home education population falls in response to the proposals. The HEAS estimates a cost impact of £120-£300m pa. But a worse case scenario sees the state education bill rising by half a billion pounds on an annualised basis.

Michael Crawshaw, who led the research for HEAS, said: "There are tens of thousands of home educated children in Britain. Independent studies suggest that they achieve emotional and educational outcomes at least as good as those of children who attend school with a neutral or positive impact on career progression. These outcomes cost the taxpayer nothing. Home educating parents do this demanding job entirely at their own expense and without any input from the state education system."

Yet now, after a hasty and questionably 'independent' review, the government plans to pull home education under the state umbrella. New spending will come from three sources:

First, a requirement that local education authorities construct a new layer of administration to register, assess and monitor home education.

Baroness Morgan's belief that the LEAs already have the people and systems to do this suggests she has not understood the new requirements outlined in the proposals.

Second, the local authorities will also be instructed to pay for some exams and open up school facilities to home educated children; facilities that are already at full stretch. While this aspect of the proposals would be welcomed by home educators it amounts to just 8% of the new spending.

Finally there will be a rise in the state education population as a number of home educated children are forced into schools.

The research suggests a minimum £60-150m pa increase in state education spending. A central estimate sees a £120-300m pa increase in the state education budget. The report's 'extinction' scenario sees spending rise by over £500m pa if the proposals, which have outraged many home educators, push a vibrant alternative educational approach to the brink. Home Education in Britain could almost disappear, forcing up to fifty thousand new children into state education at a cost to the state of £500m pa.

Michael Crawshaw added: "Why is the government doing this? They say it is to improve educational outcomes and provide a safety net for home educated children. Critics say the proposals are a waste of time and money. They are more likely to harm than improve educational outcomes for home educated children."

HEAS is calling for the Government to think again and engage in proper dialogue with the home education sector before embarking on a programme that will place significant burden on the exchequer for no good reason.

Ends

For further information or a copy of the full report please contact Michael Crawshaw (Tel 07768 177634 or email michaelcrawshaw@ btinternet.com) or Cathy Koetsier of HEAS on cathy@heas.org.uk.

Some points to consider.

Baroness Morgan doesn’t know that if you eat too much you will be come obese over time. She can hardly be expected to understand the implications of the extra burdens their insane plans will put on Local Authorities.

Communists do not understand what money is or where it comes from. That is why they can propose this immoral, reprehensible and unworkable plan without considering what it is going to cost. They think that money comes from government; that government prints money, and that by a form of magic, it has value.

Finally, we have said this before; there is no money for any of this, and the coming economic collapse will put the kibosh on this insanity, Neu Liebour, and the whole rotten stinking lot of these fascists.

His name is Badman. Graham Badman.

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009


A Reply to the Badman Report

English Home Education:
Already In Proper Balance


July 2009

Michael P. Farris, J.D.

Chairman
Home School Legal Defense Association

Introduction

His name is Badman. Graham Badman. His June 2009 Report to the Secretary of State on the Review of Elective Home Education in England, which proposes draconian changes in English home education law, lives up to his name.

His core premise is that the current education law does not properly balance the rights of parents and the rights of children.

However, he reaches this conclusion on a faulty basis. Most significantly, he fails to fully and accurately describe the current legal framework that governs home education. He avoids any discussion of the power of local education officials to intervene with the force of law in a situation where they have found a home education program to be unsuitable.

Despite his failure to accurately describe the current situation, he makes a series of recommendations to remedy the problems he has discovered. Central to his scheme is the requirement that a government official be empowered to compel entry into the homes of families engaged in home education. Then he wishes the official to have the power to interrogate each child in order to hear the childs wishes and make an independent determination of the suitability of the home education program.

A cryptic quotation appears as a preface to the entire report:

The need to choose, to sacrifice some ultimate values to others, turns out to be a permanent characteristic of the human predicament.

This statement was by Isaiah Berlin in a 1969 work published by Oxford University.

Badmans apparent meaning is that one cherished value needs to be sacrificed to achieve a different cherished value. From the body of the Badman Report there is little doubt as to his intended application of this principle.

The Badman Report opines that traditional English concepts of parental rights and liberty must be sacrificed to achieve the value of adherence to childrens rights theoryspecifically, the theory contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

But as so often is the case with meddlesome interlopers, it is easy to demonstrate that Badmans conclusions are premised on numerous fallacies.

How the English Legal System Works

Section 7 of the Education Act of 1996 provides the legal framework for home education in England.

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable
(a) to his age, ability, aptitude, and
(b) to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

Badman asserts that the terms efficient and suitable are not defined. This is true enough insofar as the statutory language is concerned. However, this does not mean that English courts are incapable of interpreting and applying these terms with common sense. Badman cites and quotes judicial definitions of both efficiency and a suitable education, but fails to give us the source for the quotation of the suitability determination.1 Accordingly, it is simply false to say that these terms are undefined in English law.

Section 437 (1) of the Education act imposes a duty on a local education authority to give notice to any parent if it appears that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education.

After quoting Section 437(1), Badman merely states that local authorities are encouraged to use informal means.

At this point, Badman simply stops reading the statutes and fails to include in his report the balance of the statutory scheme which empowers local authorities to take action to seek remediation if a home education program appears to be unsuitable.

Here is what he left out:

Under Section 437, [i]f it appears to a local education authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education the officials may issue a notice to parents requiring them, within 15 days, to demonstrate that the education their child is receiving is in fact suitable. If the school officials are not satisfied with the response, they have the ability to issue an attendance order, forcing the child to attend a school designated by the officials. The parents may ask for a lawful alternative school placement. However, there is no lawful option to simply continue a program of home education that had been found to be wanting.

But the law permits parents two paths to seek review of the attendance order.

Administrative review. Under Section 442, a parent may request the local authority to remove the attendance order on the grounds that suitable education is being provided. If the local authority refuses to remove the order, the aggrieved parent may appeal to the Secretary of State who is given wide discretion in fashioning a course of action for the child in question.

Judicial option. A parent may simply refuse to comply with the attendance order. This is an offense which may be prosecuted under Section 443. Parents may raise an affirmative defense in such a prosecution. A parent will be exonerated if he proves that he is causing the child to receive suitable education otherwise than at school. Upon such a judicial determination, the attendance order would be vacated.

The Badman Report leaves the distinct impression that there are no effective means available for local education officials to pursue home educating parents who are failing to provide a proper education for their children.

Both the objectivity and the professionalism of the Badman Report are called into serious question by its failure to fully describe the complete operation of current law.

There is nothing ineffective about the current English law when all of the elements are considered:

  • Homeschooling parents are under the same educational duty as all other parents.
  • This standard has been subject to further definition by English courts.
  • Local school officials have both the duty and authority to take action if they have reasonable grounds to believe that suitable education is not being given to any child.
  • Parents are given notice and an opportunity to cure any deficiency.
  • If the school officials are not satisfied, they may order a cessation to home education.
  • If the parents disagree with this decision, they may elect to appeal to the Secretary or make their defense in court.

An Incomplete Comparison

The Badman Report asserts: International comparison suggests that of all countries with highly developed education systems, England is the most liberal in its approach to elective home education.

Seven lines of analysis follow this naked assertion. He mentions Germany, most European countries (without elaboration), and New Zealand.

The omission of the United States is a particularly blatant error when it comes to the subject of home education. There is little doubt that more children are being homeschooled in the United States than in the rest of the world combined. By comparison, the Badman Report discloses that there are between 20,000 and 80,000 children being homeschooled in England.2 The United States Department of Education estimates that there were between 1,277,000 and 1,739,000 (median 1,508,000) being home educated in 2007.3 Independent researchers place the number even higher. There were an estimated 1.8 to 2.5 million children (in grades K to 12) home educated during 20072008 in the United States.4

North Carolinas Department of Education reports that in the 20072008 school year, there were 38,367 homeschools with an estimated 71,566 children being taught in those homes.5 A 2008 decision of the California Court of Appeal estimated 166,000 children were being homeschooled in that state alone.6

It is important to note that, just as in England, the United States cannot provide a precise count of the number of children being home educated. If the implication that the inability to enumerate home educated children was an indicium of educational failure, it should have become apparent by now in the United States. The numbers are simply too great for the problem to have been hidden.

Moreover, once the United States is brought into play in the international comparison, it is simply unfair and inaccurate to suggest that England is the most liberal in it is approach to home education regulation.

The Education Act of 1996 is similar to some of the older American home education laws. For example, Massachusetts law requires instruction in all the studies required by law equals in thoroughness and efficiency, and in the progress made therein, that in the public schools in the same town. Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 76, 1.

Oklahoma law provides:

It is unlawful for a parent of a school aged child to neglect or refuse to cause or compel such child to attend and comply with the rules of some public, private or other school, unless other means of education [i.e., home schooling] are provided for the full term the schools of the district are in session. Stat. Ann. tit. 70 10-105(A).

The phrase other means of education in the Oklahoma statute is virtually identical to the English phrase at school or otherwise. Homeschooling flourishes in Oklahoma with no governmental interference in the ordinary case.

Illinois law provides an example of law with broad, undefined standards for home education. In that state parents must ensure that children are taught the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in public schools, and where the instruction of the child in the branches of education is in the English language. 105 ILCS 5/26-1.

A summary of the home education law in all 50 American states is attached. It is evident upon review that some states are more lenient than the English system, and some have more specific requirements. None differ greatly from the general approach of English law that parents should be trusted and authorities are empowered to intervene in the extraordinary case.

There is simply no basis for widespread alarm concerning the well-being of children. Freedom works. This is especially true when, as in England, the authorities have the clear statutory power to intervene when they believe that there is a problem.

Badmans Reliance on The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child

Badman begins his review of the regulatory framework of the current English system by citing Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This Article provides that in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child [be] given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

Badman then says: Yet under the current legislation and guidance, local authorities have no right of access to the child to determine or ascertain such views.

Accordingly, Badman suggests that Parliament enact mandatory provisions to require parents to have an official enter their home to interrogate their children concerning their views and to make an independent assessment of the suitability of the home education being provided.

However, under the express terms of the UNCRC, Article 12 states a universal principle applicable to all children. If Parliament intends to implement the provisions of Article 12 to determine the wishes of the child with regard to his education, then this requirement must be imposed vis--vis all children in all forms of education. The Preamble of the UNCRC mentions the principle of equality in two separate statements. Article 28 states that education decisions for children must be made on the basis of equal opportunity.

Moreover, if home education parents are not to be allowed to be present when their children are interrogated concerning their wishes, both logic and the principle of equality require that local school officials must be excluded from the interviews when children from such schools are likewise enabled to express their wishes.

Reading Article 12 and 28 together, favoritism or selective enforcement is not permitted. If the childs wishes are to be received by independent reviewers, then it must be for all children and the reviewers must truly be independent.

Obviously, the Article 12 system would vest the independent reviewer with extraordinary power of subjective judgment. Such a methodology is antithetical in any society that places any value on the rule of law, privacy, and liberty.

The Badman Interrogation Program: A Violation of Human Rights

Badmans key recommendation is that local authorities should be given the power to:

  • Compel entry into the homes of families engaged in home education.
  • Separate the child from his or her parents.
  • Interrogate the child both concerning his or her wishes and to satisfy the interrogator that the childs education is suitable.

This approach flies in the face of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

  1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
  2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

This Article, protecting the privacy of both family life and the home, has been made binding on the United Kingdom by virtue of the Human Rights Act of 1998. No reservations to this Article were made at the time that the United Kingdom became a party to this treaty. According to the Human Rights Act, it is unlawful for any agency of government to violate these protected rights of privacy.

The privacy provision in the Human Rights Act has parallel provisions in the American system of constitutional rights. Significantly, American courts have dealt directly with the question of whether a compulsory invasion for home education inspections constitutes an unconstitutional violation of family privacy.

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts considered the question of the legitimacy of a compulsory home visit for homeschooling families. Under the doctrine of family privacy, the highest court in Massachusetts held that the school committee cannot, in the absence of consent, require home visits, as a condition to the approval of home education plans. Brunelle v. Lynn Public Schools, 428 Mass. 512, 702 N.E.2d 1182 (1998). The court also ruled that the approval of the home school proposal must not be conditioned on requirements that are not essential to the state interest in assuring that all children be educated. Home visits are not essential for children to be educated.

Similarly, a New York court held In the Matter of Dixon, No. N-37-86, (Fam. Ct, Oswego County 1988), that the school districts desired on-site inspection was arbitrary, unreasonable, unwarranted, and violative of the [home school parents] due process rights.” Slip. Op. at 5. See also In the Matter of Standish, No. N-125-86, Oswego County, Dec. 23, 1988.

Badman believes that unless officials can enter a home, no one can know for sure what is happening with a child. There is a certain truth to this assertion. However, this is true for all homes, not just those engaged in home education. Unless and until the government is willing to install surveillance cameras in the home of every family, there is no way to absolutely guarantee that officials truly know what is happening in each home. Freedom comes with some risks. But, it is generally believed that the totalitarian alternative is far worse in the long-run.

However, the adherence to principles of human rights and privacy does not mean that the authorities are without power to protect a childs need for a suitable education. It must be remembered that when there is any appearance that the home education program is unsuitable, the Education Act gives local officials the authority to require proof of the suitability of the education and gives them the power to order the cessation of home schooling if they are not satisfied.

In light of this authority, there is utterly no need for an official to compel entry into a home to make an on-the-spot subjective judgment about the child and the suitability of his or her education.

Would Badmans Inspectors Be Professionally Qualified to Assess the Suitability of Home Education?

Finally, there is serious doubt that such an inquisitor would be qualified to evaluate the effectiveness of a home education program. Any form of assessment (including testing and measurement) is generally required to meet four professional standards for accuracy and reliability. A clear statement of these standards is found in a publication by the British Council describing certain examinations for English proficiency:

Examinations must be designed around four essential qualities: validity, reliability, impact, and practicality. Validity is normally taken to be the extent to which a test can be shown to produce scores which are an accurate reflection [of the subject tested]. Reliability concerns the extent to which they can be depended upon for making decisions about the candidate. Impact concerns the effects, beneficial or otherwise, which an examination has on the candidates or other users, whether these are educational, social, economic or political, or various combinations of these. Practicality can be defined as the extent to which an examination is practicable in terms of the resources needed to produce and administer it.7

Any assessment by a home inspector/interrogator would need to comply with these accepted professional standards for educational assessment.

An American court used essentially identical standards for the validity of educational assessment to overturn an improper crafted program of home education assessment.

The legislature of South Carolina required that homeschooling parents be subjected to an examination employed for public school teacher candidates. However, the legislature conditioned this requirement on the performance of a professional validation study to determine whether or not the items being tested were in fact valid measurements of the skills required for successful home instruction.

After the validity study was performed, parents sued claiming that the study was done improperly and that half of the panelists in the study were unqualified participants and had no basis for measuring factors needed for successful home instruction.

The parents relied on the expert analysis of Dr. Lawrence Rudner, the Director of Testing and Measurement for the ERIC Clearinghouse (a program of the United States Department of Education).

In Lawrence v. S.C. State Board of Education, 412 S.E.2d 394 (S.C. 1991), the Supreme Court of South Carolina described the panel members that had been assembled to conduct the study:

[T]he Department of Education contracted with IOX Assessment Associates to evaluate the EEEs suitability to test home schooling instructors. IOX assembled a panel of thirty-three members; seventeen panelists were home schoolers, the remaining sixteen were public school and college teachers.

Panelists who were not home schoolers were given no description of the requirements for successful home schooling. These sixteen panelists were not familiar with home schooling or were never asked if they knew anything about it.

Task-relatedness evaluations required a panelist to judge whether the EEE item tested some knowledge or skill that was a necessary prerequisite to home schooling. Sixteen of the panelists were not qualified to make this evaluation since they were given no information as to what the prerequisites for home schooling were.

This is a very important principle. Public school teachers and college professors of education were held to be not qualified to evaluate effective home education. The application of professional educational standards to the task at hand demonstrated that there are significant differences in the methods and strategies of successful home education and the strategies employed in institutional schools. Evaluators who have neither professional expertise nor in-depth study of home education simply are unqualified to make valid assessments.

The Badman method of home interrogations fails all four of the criteria outlined by the British Council for proper assessment and measurement:

Validity. The interrogators would have no objective tools of measurement and would lack the proper expertise in home education.

Reliability. Subjective home interrogations of children would never survive a reliability assessment. This method simply cannot produce results that have any semblance of national consistency, accuracy, or fairness.

Impact. The massive invasion of family privacy as well as the contraction of the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights are just the beginning of the negative impact of the Badman home interrogation methodology. The impact on the child must be considered. When a strange adult appears in the home with the announced purpose of interrogating the child separately and apart from his or her parents, a considerable degree of anxiety can be anticipated. Moreover, the long-range impact on the childs view of a free society is severely damaged. If the government may enter the childs home, with no requirement of any showing of wrong-doing, the child is left with a residual view toward his government that is not unlike that experienced by children who feared the KGB in the USSR. Even though adults may well be able to distinguish between the KGB and a Badman home interrogator, to a young child all he knows is that a stranger is in his home asking questions of him in private and his future depends on the strangers views of his answers. This is an incredibly high-stakes venture with almost no chance of producing results that would survive the other measures of assessment for validity and reliability.

Practicability. The costs for implementing the Badman method of home interrogations would be staggering.

It is once again important to remember that the choices are not between doing nothing versus the Badman home interrogation method. The current law has reasonable measures in place. Rather than invading the home, the local school officials may, if they have reasonable grounds to doubt the suitability of a home education program, require evidence of educationnot through subjective interrogation of the childbut through the objective method of looking at the work performed by the child.

The Badman method simply cannot survive any review of its appropriateness as a method of educational assessment. The current law does not need fixing. It contains all the tools necessary for a balanced and proper review whenever school officials have reason to believe that improper education is occurring.

The Article 29 Problem

Badman also urges new substantive requirements to be adopted to define what is suitable for a childs education. He cites Article 29 of the UNCRC as setting the standard for guiding such new requirements.

Accordingly, it is crucial to obtain an in-depth understanding of Article 29s requirements to understand the dramatic nature of the Badman proposal.

Subsection (a) contains little more than current English law requiring a suitable and efficient education. It is sections (b) through (e) that attempt to control the substantive content of the education and require the promulgation of certain worldviews that are controversial, not just among homeschoolers, but among many segments of the population.

In a 2006 treatise entitled The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child: An Analysis of Treaty Provisions and Implications of U.S. Ratification8, advocates of this treaty make this clear and bold declaration concerning the meaning of these sections: Article 29(1)(b) through (e) directs state parties to instill particular values in children through education.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has issued General Comments concerning the meaning of Articles 28 and 29. This official UN Committee says:

The effective promotion of article 29 (1) requires the fundamental reworking of curricula to include the various aims of education and the systematic revision of textbooks and other teaching materials and technologies, as well as school policies. Approaches which do no more than seek to superimpose the aims and values of the article on the existing system without encouraging any deeper changes are clearly inadequate. The relevant values cannot be effectively integrated into, and thus be rendered consistent with, a broader curriculum unless those who are expected to transmit, promote, teach and, as far as possible, exemplify the values have themselves been convinced of their importance.

The American Bar Association, supporter of the UNCRC, opined that Christian schools, which reject alternate worldviews and teach that Christianity is the only true religion, fly in the face of Article 29.9

It is not necessary to debate the legitimacy of each of the values enshrined in this list of viewpoints to be instilled in every child in every type of school. A few examples of potential conflicts will suffice.

  • Does instruction in human rights values require children to be taught the moral legitimacy of homosexuality?
  • Does it require the promotion of same-sex marriage to children?
  • Does a family that rejects the concept of one-world government violate Article 29? The American Bar Association thinks such views are a violation (see fn. 4).
  • Do children have to be taught that religions are equally valid?
  • If parents teach and believe that the husband should be the head of the family, does this violate the requirement of equality of the sexes? Any casual reader of the literature surrounding the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women will know that such traditional views are considered a violation of human rights standards.

We need not contemplate an answer to these individual questions. The real issue is: Does England intend to mandate the inculcation of certain approved values to children?

Englands current law is clearly on the side of freedom and contrary to any regime of government-compelled indoctrination in any particular system of values.

The Education Act provides in Section 9:

In exercising or performing all their respective powers and duties under the Education Acts, the Secretary of State, local education authorities and the funding authorities shall have regard to the general principle that pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents, so far as that is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure.

Nothing in English law allows government officials to dictate the worldview, opinions, or viewpoints which must be taught in home education. Moreover, before Britain pursues a policy to implement Article 29 to control the content of its education law, it might wish to compare its current educational practice relative to religious instruction (which teaches broad-based Christianity) with the practice of Christian education in the state schools of Norway10, which was held to be in violation of the UNCRC by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

It would be a violation of the principle of equal protection to impose a duty on home schools to teach the values of Article 29, while the English schools operated by the government were in open contradiction with this same Article.

Conclusion

The Badman Report:

  • Failed to give a full, fair, and accurate description of the current law governing home education in England. The system has a comprehensive system of checks and balances.
  • Inaccurately claimed (by this failure of complete disclosure) that local education officials are limited to informal methods of seeking remediation. They possess effective and powerful tools to protect children.
  • Inaccurately claimed that English homeschoolers were governed by the most liberal laws among peer nations.
  • Proposed a method of compulsory home interrogations of children that violates the Human Rights Act of 1998 and Article 8 of the ECHR. This method has been held to be an unconstitutional invasion of family privacy in the United States.
  • Proposed a method of home interrogations as a means of evaluation of the suitability of home education which fails the four standards for proper assessment: validity, reliability, impact, and practicability.
  • Urges that English homeschoolers be required to comply with Article 29 of the UNCRC, which imposes a regime of compelled indoctrination in controversial values.

The Badman Report should be rejected. He advances no sustainable reason for changing current English law on home education.

Endnotes

1. Badman Report, p. 6.
2. Badman Report, p. 2.
3. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009030.pdf
4. http://www.nheri.org/Research-Facts-on-Homeschooling.html
5. http://www.ncdnpe.org/documents/hhh233.pdf
6. Jonathan L. v. Superior Court, 165 Cal.App.4th 1074, 1089, 81 Cal.Rptr.3d 571, 582 (fn. 17) (Cal.App. 2 Dist.,2008).
7. http://www.britishcouncil.org/colombia-exams-yle-handbook-2007.pdf
8. Jonathan Todres, Mark E. Wojcik, Cris R. Revaz; Transnational Publishers, Ardsley, New York (2006).
9. American Bar Association, Center on Children and the Law: Childrens Rights in America: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Compared with United States Law, p. 182.
10. Paragraph 20, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Norway, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 39th sess., U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.263 (2005).

http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/200907130.asp