LA News Release, "Home Education and the British State: A Right Endangered" (June 2009)

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NEWS RELEASE FROM THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE
In Association with the Libertarian International

Release Date: Thursday 11th June 2009
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details:
Dr Sean Gabb on 07956 472 199 or via sean@libertarian.co.uk

For other contact and link details, see the foot of this message
Release url: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/news/nr075.htm

"HOME EDUCATION AND THE BRITISH STATE: A RIGHT ENDANGERED"

The Libertarian Alliance today denounces Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in the British Government, for taking the first steps towards what will be the outlawing of home education.

[Mr Balls has accepted a report recommending that all home educating families in England will have to register annually and demonstrate they are providing a suitable education. It further recommends that children should be forced into state schools if parents do not meet certain standards set by the education bureaucrats. See here for further information: http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2009_0105  ]

According to Sean Gabb, Director of the LA:

"The right of people to educate their children within the values of their family, their faith or their community has always been respected by the British State. Parents have been legally obliged to proved their children with an education - but have never been obliged to send them to school, or even to notify the authorities of what they intend.

"The current proposals sound moderate. The talk is of giving support, not of forbidding. But they are the first step to outlawing home education. Registration will, for the first time, let the authorities know who is educating their children at home. Once these parents are known, they will be visited and inspected to ensure that they are providing a 'suitable' education. What this means - though not all at once: it will take several years of salami slicing - is that parents will be hit with impossible and ever-changing health and safety rules. They will be forced to keep records in rigidly prescribed formats - records that will almost certainly demand disclosure of the race and probable sexuality of the children, and that will (if not first lost on a railway train) be shared with foreign governments and private companies. paper qualifications may be required from parents. They will eventually be forced to teach the feared and discredited National Curriculum.

"At no point will home education be made into a criminal offence - as it is in Germany and Belgium, among other European countries. Instead, it will be surrounded by so many rules and by so much supervision, that most parents who now educate at home will give up. Many who carry on will be picked off one at a time - their children conscripted into a state school for some trifling infraction of deliberately conflicting and arbitrary rules. In extreme cases, parents will have their children taken into 'care'.

"The motive for regulation is not the safety of children or to provide them with a decent education. State schools do not - and are not intended to - provide children with a decent education. Their purpose is to indoctrinate children with the values of the Establishment. These values used to be love of Queen and Country and a perceived obligation to go and be shot at when rounded up and put into uniform. Nowadays, the values are politically correct multiculturalism.

"As for regulation as a guarantor of safety, we only need look at the nursery worker arrested this week for sexual assaults on children. Since this is a matter before the courts we make no comment on the woman's guilt or innocence. We do note, however, that she will have been closely examined by Ofsted, and checked against all the relevant databases, and judged officially safe with children. Anyone who thinks regulation makes children safe needs his head examined.

"This current proposals will lead ultimately to a state of affairs in which children can be torn from their homes and forced into schools where they will be brainwashed into values that their parents find abhorrent - and where they will probably be kept illiterate and innumerate as these things were once measured, and where they might also be bullied into suicide or lifelong depression.

"Ed Balls, the Minister concerned, wants all this because his Government has turned Britain into a soft totalitarian state. No child - except, of course, of the rich, who can always buy their way out - must be permitted to escape the ideological apparatus of the New Labour State. Home educators are the equivalent of the Kulaks in the Soviet Union. They show too much independence. They must be destroyed.

"The Libertarian Alliance denounces Mr Balls and the Government in which he is a Minister, and calls on people everywhere - British or not, parents or not - to write to him expressing their own contempt of and opposition to this attempted mass kidnapping of our children."

The address details for Mr Balls are as follows:

The Rt Hon Edward Michael Balls MP
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BT
dcfs.ministers@dcfs.gsi.gov.uk

 His Deputy, Delyth Morgan, can be reached as follows:

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BT
dcfs.ministers@dcfs.gsi.gov.uk

For those who think these things still matter, Mrs Morgan should be addressed in correspondence as "My Lady"

Letters should be brief. They should refer to the report "Review of Elective Home Education in England (June 2009)"
(available at http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters/_download/?id=6080 )

Points worth making are:

  • Home education is a fundamental human right. In a free country, people are left alone to bring their children up in the values and traditions of their own communities or faith. This right has always so far been respected in Britain.
  • The mainstream of research into home education is unanimous that children educated at home receive a better education than at school - even when the parents have little formal education of their own.
  • The current proposals are the thin end of a wedge that will make home education impossible in practice for any but the best-educated or best-connected.
  • The current proposals open homes to inspection by probably hostile officials. These officials will inevitably discriminate on the basis or race or religion or class or sex.
  • Parents will be made to teach subjects that they may find abhorrent in ways that may be inappropriate to their own circumstances.
  • The regulatory system will be expensive and bureaucratic. It will put children at risk by gathering information on them and then losing it.

END OF COPY

Note(s) to Editors

Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. He is the author of ten novels and ten other books, plus about a million words of journalism. He can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at sean@libertarian.co.uk

His latest novel, The Break, has been nominated for the 2015 Prometheus Award.

His recent book, Freedom of Speech in England: Its Present State and Likely Prospects, is a defence of freedom of speech without exceptions. 

Or his book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, explains how its current ruling class has turned England into a totalitarian police state, and how this ruling class can be overthrown and utterly destroyed.

Or another of his books, Smoking, Class and the Legitimation of Power, explains how the current "war" on smoking has nothing to do with making individuals healthy, but everything to do with enhancing the power of a totalitarian ruling class, and enriching its relevant client groups.

You can see other books by Sean Gabb here.

Extended Contact Details

The Libertarian Alliance is Britain's most radical free market and civil liberties policy institute. It has published over 800 articles, pamphlets and books in support of freedom and against statism in all its forms. These are freely available at http://www.libertarian.co.uk

Our postal address is

The Libertarian Alliance
Suite 35
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London
W1J 6HL
Tel: 07956 472 199