Monday, January 15, 2007

US homeschoolers help protect french children

Gratitude and appreciation are on display at the french blog Le Salon Beige, for the US-based Home School Legal Defense Fund's recent assitance in "...convincing legislators in France to withdraw a plan that would have made such home instruction efforts there illegal".

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incredible turnaround of events, the sponsor of the restrictive amendments which would have outlawed homeschooling has withdrawn his amendments."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.


tiberge said...

@ Charles

Excellent article. I will link to it as soon as I start posting again. (I took a brief break).

I'm very much in favor of home-schooling in today's educational climate which is hardly conducive to learning anything except how to be a con artist, a rapper or even a rapist, and earn a Harvard scholarship to boot! (A slight exaggeration, but only slight.)

If I had children I would seriously consider keeping them at home. There are programs and texts available for home-schoolers.

Today is Thursday, so have a fruitful meeting tonight.

Charles Henry said...

thanks Tiberge,

I agree about the increasing value in choosing to homeschool.
I have had the great good fortune to encounter quite a few home-schooled teenagers in the last few years, and without exception they have all impressed me tremendously. Very polite and civil, hard working and extremely self-disciplined, as well as well-spoken and, most impressive to me, they Value knowledge, and learning itself... they don't look upon "learning" as a chore, but as I do, a fun and rewarding way to spend one's time.
I don't know what kind of representative sampling I'm encountering, but the universally positive experiences I've had, lead me to conclude that if a parent has sufficient sense of responsibility to take on the additional duty of home-schooling, chances are that accompanying that are many of the other attributes of being a good parent.
(Parenting **is** teaching, when it's done well, anyway.)

One detail I left out from the original article, is the current fate of homeschooling in Germany. That's a whole other post.. Germany's position is on the issue is very scary...