U.S. group lends support to French parents who distrust public schools
"Thank you so much for your calls and e-mails to the French Embassy," an alert from the [HSLDF] organization said. "In an incredible turnaround of events, the sponsor of the restrictive amendments which would have outlawed homeschooling has withdrawn his amendments."
An earlier alert had gone out just a few days ago, noting that a "draconian" plan had been proposed in the French parliament that would shut down homeschooling across the nation.
The specifics would be that "no parent would be allowed to homeschool unless they showed that the health or handicap of their child makes it necessary for him or her to be taught at home."
Even if a family qualified under such restrictions, the HSLDA said the proposal would have required the family to submit to a home visit by a government official each year, and their curriculum would have to come from the "National Center of Correspondent Teaching" or from an approved source.
The plea asked American homeschoolers to contact the French Embassy, because of earlier successful efforts to lobby for homeschool programs in Ireland, the Czech Republic and South Africa, the HSLDA said. In Ireland and the Czech Republic, homeschool limits already had passed one house of parliament, but the grass-roots campaign still was able to halt them, the HSLDA said.
In announcing victory, Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka said he's confident the "international outcry" played a "pivotal role" in the change of plans.
"The French Minister of the Family, Philippe Bas, vocally opposed several articles of this huge bill entitled 'Protection de L'Enfance,' which means for "Protection of the Children,'" Klicka wrote. "He specifically opposed the sections regulating and essentially prohibiting homeschooling, saying in the French parliament: 'As they are, I am not favorable to these amendments [numbers 127 and 128], I find them too restrictive…' "
He said that France "must allow parents who, for instance, have three young children, a mother who is willing to take care of them and if they have decided to teach them to read-write-count – if that is their choice of living – provided that we can verify that the educational job is well done, then that freedom must be preserved."
"French homeschoolers can breathe safely once again," Klicka wrote. "Their freedom remains intact once again."
"We cannot believe that a free country like France would outlaw such a basic right as parents choosing to homeschool their children," the group said. French education officials earlier told lawmakers that 80,000 children start secondary school without really knowing how to read, write or count, and that is one of the main reasons for "parents who decide to homeschool their
A commentor to the story at the french Salon Beige site reminds us all [my translation from his french]: "It is important for us to unite with all the currents of freedom, patriotism and christianity throughout all western nations."
Let us all resolve not let our different languages keep us from recognizing our common bonds, especially our common birthright: the gift of liberty.