Education and the State, Home-Based Education

Home-Based Education is Critical for Liberty to Survive

Home-based Education has been around for a very long time.  The idea of state-controlled, mandatory schooling is a relatively modern remake of an ancient failed experiment.  In 1838, Isaac Taylor wrote of home education in a book with that title: Home Education.  Taylor linked home education with liberty.  He argued that home educated citizens are essential to maintain liberty in the community.  His argument runs along these lines:

“The substantial liberties of a community involve much more than either the bare protection of persons and chattels, or the ample exercise of political rights; for there is a liberty of thought and of speech which may be curtailed, or almost destroyed, in countries that are the loudest in boasting of their freedom.  There is a liberty, moral and intellectual–the true glory of a people, which consists in, and demands the unrestrained expansion of all faculties, the exercise of all talents, and the spontaneous expression of all diversities of taste, and of all forms of individuality.  But this high liberty of mind, forfeited often in the very struggle of nations to secure or to extend political liberty, must assuredly be favored by whatever cherishes distinctness of character; and it must as certainly be endangered by whatever breaks down individuality, and tends to impose uniformity upon the whole.

“In this view, a systematic HOME EDUCATION fairly claims no trivial importance, as a means of sending forth, among the school-bred majority, those with whose habits of mind there is mingled a firm and modest sentiment of self-respect–not cynical, but yet unconquerable, resting as it will upon the steady basis of personal wisdom and virtue.  It is men of this stamp who will be the true conservators of their country’s freedom.

“It may accord well enough with the designs of the promoters of despotism, whether democratic or monarchical, to recommend or enforce public education, both among the lower and the upper classes: nor indeed could any species of lawless power be secure so long as, from the bosom of many homes–homes sacred to truth and goodness, there were continually coming forth those whose minds have not been drilled to move in rank and file–who wear no livery of opinion, and whose undefined tastes are as decisively opposed, as are their formal principles, to arrogant usurpation of whatever name.

“If we suppose home education to be very rarely practised in a community, while public education should prevail; it must happen that all methods of teaching would tend continually toward uniformity, and would, every year, with fewer exceptions, be ruled–if not actually by law, at least by fashion, until at length, either by statutes, or by usages which none would dare to infringe, the particular course of study, and the modes of instruction, would become everywhere the same; so that youth, hearing the same things, in the same tone, on all sides, would be moulded into a temper of unthinking acquiescence.

“But instead of this, only let the practice of home education be mixed, in a fair proportion, throughout a country, with that of public education, and then any such dead uniformity must be broken up.  Busy law, or intolerant fashion, may rule absolutely in colleges and schools; but neither the one nor the other will so easily invade families.  Family training possesses a spring of diversity; it will be spontaneous in its modes of proceeding, various in its results, as well as in its measures; and will, on these accounts, impart a marked character to those who come under its influence” (Taylor, 1838, pp. 18-20).

Liberty demands diversity of thought to stimulate public discussion and debate.  There is nothing that suppresses diversity of thought more thoroughly than statist education.  He that pays the piper calls the tune, is the old proverb.  If the masters of public education are paid by the civil authorities, then the masters will teach whatever is required to keep the cash flowing from the public purse, and that is usually whatever the ruling elite desires to be taught to keep themselves in power.  Is this cynical?  Well, try and talk about an alternative to Global Cooling, I mean Global Warming, I mean Global Climate Change, in a public school classroom, and see what the response will be.  Try and talk about a Biblical definition of marriage in a state-funded classroom, and see what the response will be from the school’s administration.

Home-based Education is essential for the survival of western civilization.  We need a sizable number of alternate thinkers, divergent thinkers,  who have been educated and not just indoctrinated into kowtowing to political correctness.

References

Taylor, I. (1838). Home Education. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

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Education and the Family, Education and the State, Home-Based Education

Why on earth would parents want to take on the responsibility of educating their children?

According to Drabsch (2013) the three principle reasons home-based educating families do not register with the state are:

  1. Parents don’t want to follow the state curriculum;
  2. Parents don’t believe the state should dictate the curriculum; and
  3. Parents resent any intrusion by the state into their lives (Drabsch, 2013, p. 4).

On the other hand, the list of research-accumulated reasons provided by parents for choosing to educate from home is substantial:

  1. Parents are primarily responsible for the education of their children;
  2. The health needs of the child prevent him or her from attending school on a regular basis and so the flexibility afforded by home schooling is optimal in the circumstances;
  3. The child has special education needs, such as autism, which leads some parents to feel the child will cope better in their home environment with a familiar, regular caregiver as educator;
  4. Religious reasons;
  5. Philosophical/ideological objections to traditional schooling — for example, some parents believe that ‘schools have a forced curriculum, that desagreeable beliefs and values are placed on all the children, that peer pressure is prevalent, that schools are too competitive and that they cannot provide what children need’;
  6. Objections to the socialisation process that occurs through traditional schooling as well as a belief that the use of age-structured grades for school forces children into an artificial network of peers who are all the same age.  Home schooled children mix with different ages rather than being artificially restricted to their peer group and there are some thoughts that their social skills are better as a result;
  7. The family travels regularly and thus requires flexible schooling options;
  8. There is a desire for closer family relationships and a strong family unit;
  9. To avoid negative peer pressure, unwanted influences, school bullying and violence, substance abuse, etc.;
  10. In some cases it is a response to perceived inadequacies in the school system and a lack of satisfaction with the education offered by traditional schools;
  11. The quality of teaching in schools may vary with some parents subsequently believing they could do a better job;
  12. The local school is too far from home;
  13. Schools cannot provide children with the same level of personal interest and attention that a family can.  Parents have a vested interest in the wellbeing of their children;
  14. The child may have had a negative schooling experience and thus needs some time away from the school environment;
  15. The parents are not opposed to traditional schooling per se but cannot afford to send the child to a private school;
  16. Schools are not the only arena in which children learn and home schooling allows better use of multiple environments conducive to a richer learning experience.  It is not subject to the limited choice of subjects, texts and approaches to learning;
  17. It avoids the homogenisation of children;
  18. A belief that schools generally provide for the average student, with inadequate support for shy, clever of slow children;
  19. According to Rochelle Sutherland, ‘Home school children have more common sense, a better developed social conscience, are more motivated and think more laterally’;
  20. There is a greater opportunity for one-on-one interaction — the child can ask questions, difficulties can be quickly followed up and resolved and there are extra opportunities for extension;
  21. Children can learn at their own pace — they can go over areas that require extra time for understanding whilst moving ahead in areas that are more quickly understood.  Children are also not locked into particular year levels.  For example, a student strong in mathematics could move ahead in that subject whilst completing English work at a lower level (Drabsch, 2013, pp. 8-9).

When I was interviewing families for the research component of my dissertation, most of them did not want their responses to be traceable back to them.  Some of the families were not concerned.  However, those families that were concerned expressed their distrust of bureaucrats.

Once again, the issue distils to one question: “Who owns the children?”  For most of history the answer to the question was: “The Triune God is the owner of the children, and parents are appointed by God to be the trustees of their children’s welfare — accountable to Him on the Day of Judgment.”  The idea that the state owns the children, and only tolerates parental involvement in out-of-school activities, is a relatively modern one.

There will be no progress on this matter, in the favour of parents, until the Sovereignty of God is re-established in the marketplace:

May He have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!  May desert tribes bow down before Him, and his enemies lick the dust!  May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render Him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts!  May all kings fall down before Him, all nations serve Him! (Psalm 72:8-11).

References

Drabsch, T. (2013). Home Education in NSW. Sydney: N.S. W. Parliamentary Research Service. e-brief 15. Downloaded 25/09/2014, from: http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/publications.nsf/key/HomeEducationinNSW/$File/Home%20schooling%20GG%203.pdf

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deschooling, Discipleship, Education, Home-Based Education, Life Learning, Natural Learning, Unschooling

What is in a name? What shall we call it?

In the Drabsch (2013) e-brief to the NSW Parliament, Home Education in NSW, it is reported that distance education is not considered to be a form of home education/home schooling by the NSW Department of Education, because the children are directly enrolled in a Department controlled school, and are subject to Department supervised schooling.  However, it is identified that amongst those who educate at home, the terms home education and home schooling are used interchangeably.

I would like to suggest that it is important that members of the home education/home schooling community commence a discussion about the terminologies that are used when talking about education that is outside the Education Department controlled schooling system.

I am happy to allow the Department to own the term Distance Education.  However, I would prefer the term to be Distance Schooling, because I do not necessarily agree that what is delivered in schools is an education.  In schools, students are schooled and many receive a schooling.

In my PhD Dissertation I spent time differentiating between receiving an education and being schooled (Box, 2014, pp. 33 to 122).  From my perspective, it is possible to be schooled at home, so I would like to reserve the term home schooling for the process of reproducing the school environment in the home.  On the other hand, home schooled children, in most cases, do receive an education, therefore I am pleased to identify home schooling as a subset of home education.  This being granted, I think that it is better to call home education, “home-based education”.  The reason for my recommendation is that one of the significant criticisms of home schooling is the potential for children to be home-bound, whilst being home schooled.  This is not the case, in the majority of instances, but it has been the case for some children who were home schooled.  It was definitely the experience of one of the adults I interviewed who had been home schooled during their teens.  The person hated the concept of home school, and was quick to admit that during their home schooling experience:  “I didn’t know any other kids. Home schooling was a horror experience, not primarily from the program, but from the complete package. We had our own church, our own school, there was nothing outside of the home.”  This was definitely the minority view, and no other home-based educating family reported anything resembling the home-bound nature of this case.   The term home-based education implies that home is a base from which an education takes place in a range of settings.  The children return to the base, and the majority of the basic education tasks are conducted in the home, however, home-based education provides a range of social and other educational activities outside the home.

On page 2 of the Drabsch (2013) e-brief, three approaches to home-based education are identified.  These three are:

i.     Structured learning environment — families in this category closely follow some kind of curriculum and learning is structured in a way similar to the classroom.  (I would like to call this approach: home school / home schooling);

ii.   Informal learning environment — those in this category may use various resources, including some textbooks, but they are less structured in their approach than those in the first group.  (I would like to call this approach: unschooling.  Many who call themselves unschoolers would object to this because they tend to work more in the next category.  However, bear with me.  The purpose of this exercise is to provoke broader discussion, and in the end come up with some terms that every one understands and agrees to.  I am not precious with these ideas.  Others may have a better idea, and that is fine, as long as it is clear that we all understand what we mean when certain words are being used).

iii.  Unschoolers / natural learners — This involves no structured learning at all, due to the belief that the best learning takes place by maximising the opportunities present in the various activities that constitute daily life and by following the child’s interests. (I would like to call this approach, radical unschooling.  Once again, I know that will upset some who call themselves unschoolers, but who really radically unschool; and upset the radical unschoolers who like to call themselves unschoolers.  Be that as it may, I am looking for some consistency, and this is where I have started the discussion).

So, I am suggesting that the umbrella term for the three approaches (as identified by the e-brief) is “home-based education”.  I am then arguing that the three approaches seem to be fairly fair appraisals of the broader clusters of home-based education styles.  As suggested above, I would like to call these three approaches: “home schooling”, “unschooling” and “radical unschooling”.

Outside of these terms there are a large range of other terms that are used in the home-based education community.  These terms include (but are not limited to): natural learning, life learning, discipleship, hands-on learning, academic, child-centred, child-focused, self-directed, eclectic learning, family-friendly education, activities-based learning, kitchen-table learning, practical learning, and many more.  In my dissertation (Box, 2014, pp. 155-166) I argue that these are emphases within the three main approaches.  Therefore, one might have a home schooling approach with a discipleship emphasis, or an unschooling approach with a discipleship emphasis, or an unschooling approach with a natural learning emphasis, or an unschooling approach with an academic emphasis, and so forth.  I have commenced the discussion on the definitions elsewhere in this blog site, but would really like to engage in further discussion around the topic.

I am not wanting to unnecessarily offend good people who are doing good things in the home-based education community.  However, I would like to be able to write using terminology that the majority of people are happy to employ, and that the majority of people are in agreement as to what is meant by the terms.

I am proposing that some kind of wiki be set up so that the ongoing discussion can proceed in the broader home-based education community.  Any thoughts?

References

Box, L A. (2014). A Proposal to Deschool, then Unschool Australian Biblical Christian Education. Unpublished dissertation submitted for fulfillment of Doctor of Philosophy, in the School of Applied Theology, New Geneva Theological Seminary, Virginia, U.S.A.

Drabsch, T. (2013). Home Education in NSW. Sydney: N.S. W. Parliamentary Research Service. e-brief 15. Downloaded 25/09/2014, from: http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/publications.nsf/key/HomeEducationinNSW/$File/Home%20schooling%20GG%203.pdf

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Education and the Church, Education and the Family, Education and the State, Funding

When it all boils down to the essence of the matter, it is a question of: “Who owns the kids?”

The concluding remark in the e-brief to the New South Wales parliament on the question of home education is that “much of the division of opinion (about home education) centres around whether the greatest right and responsibility for a child’s education rests with the state or with parents” (Drabsch, 2013, p. 13).  This is the question that must be revisited and satisfactorily answered.  Drabsch admits that it “was the introduction of compulsory education that saw responsibility for the education of children generally shift from parents to the state” (p. 2).

In my PhD Dissertation I wrote:

By the mid 1800s, “… in country districts the denominational system was unsuitable – too many small rival denominational schools were being established” (Barcan, 1980, p. 78). By the late 1800s, across all the colonies, Free, Secular and Compulsory education campaigns were launched. This resulted in the Free, Secular and Compulsory education Acts variously introduced across all of the colonies.

In September 1874 James Greenwood, a Baptist minister who was also a journalist on the Sydney Morning Herald, formed a Public School League whose objective was a ‘national, free, secular and compulsory’ system” (Barcan, 1980, p. 139).

Victoria, in 1872, “was the first colony not merely in Australia but also in the British Empire, to provide in combination, free, compulsory and secular education” (Barcan, 1980, p. 176). Queensland began the process in 1870 but did not complete it until 1900. South Australia set in place legislation in 1892, Western Australia in 1901, New South Wales in 1906 and Tasmania in 1908 (Barcan, 1980, p. 151). “State control of the purse ensured centralized control” of all aspects of education in the new states of Australia after federation (Barcan, 1980, p. 177). (Box, 2014, p. 106).

It is rather ironic that the the push for transferring responsibility of children from their parents to the state was lead by members of the Baptist Church in Australia.  This is expected of the Communists, because the tenth objective of Karl Marx, in his program to introduce international communism was:

“10. Free education for all children in public schools. … ” (Marx and Engels, 2010 [1848], p. 27).

However, the Biblical position is that children belong to the Triune God, and God has entrusted the responsibility for the care and nurturance of children to the parents of those children as a trust.

According to Rushdoony (1983) the issue that resulted in Christians being fed to lions and variously tortured by the Roman state was that the early Christians exalted Jesus Christ as Lord over the state (as represented in the person of Caesar).  He wrote:

Peter’s message to the elders and scribes, recorded in Acts 4:12, best sums up the conflict we are involved in today: Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

It is important for us to understand the context of this verse.  With the statement, Peter effectually issued a spiritual declaration of war against the Roman Empire.  When Augustus Caesar took the helm in Rome and had consolidated his power, a great celebration was held throughout the Roman Empire.  It was called the “Advent” celebration — a very significant term, and a very religious one.  It was the Advent celebration because Augustus Caesar had come, in all the fullness of his power.  The heralds — again an interesting word — were sent to the far corners of the Roman Empire with a great Advent proclamation: “There is none other name under heaven whereby men may be saved than the name of Augustus Caesar!”  It was the proclamation of Caesar, of the state, as man’s savior.

We can understand, then, why conflict between Christ and the Caesars was inevitable, why the church went through all the troubles it did, year in and year out, and why men were martyred for the faith.  It was because of this question: “Who is the Lord, or sovereign?  Who is the savior?” (Rushdoony, 1983, pp. 7-8).

Sovereignty and Providence, as universal realities, do not disappear with their denial in theology.  If Sovereignty and Providence are no longer acknowledged in the Triune Creator God, as revealed in the Bible, the principles are then taken up by the state.   This is what happened in the late 1800s.  Compromised theology in the pulpits of Australian churches transferred absolute sovereignty from the God of the Bible to the civil state, and with that transferal went the ownership of the children.

This question of prior responsibility for the children will not be settled in the favour of parents until the church once again thunders from its pulpits the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God, and once again God’s people think His thoughts after Him — having the mind of Christ.

References

Barcan, A. (1980). A History of Australian Education. Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.

Box, L A. (2014). A Proposal to Deschool, then Unschool Australian Biblical Christian Education. Unpublished dissertation submitted for fulfilment of Doctor of Philosophy, in the School of Applied Theology, New Geneva Theological Seminary, Virginia, U.S.A.

Drabsch, T. (2013). Home Education in NSW. Sydney: N.S. W. Parliamentary Research Service. e-brief 15. Downloaded 25/09/2014, from: http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/publications.nsf/key/HomeEducationinNSW/$File/Home%20schooling%20GG%203.pdf

Marx, K. and Engels, F. (2010 [1848]). Manifesto of the Communist Party. Moore, S. (1888) [Translator into English]. Marxist Internet Archive.

Rushdoony, R. J. (1983). The “Atheism” of the Early Church. Vallecito, California: Ross House Books.

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Education and the Marketplace, Education and the State

The State and Free Market Education

The following has been lifted from my PhD dissertation, and slightly edited for this blog site.  I continue to give thought to some of my earlier ideas, and welcome feedback as I continue to refine them.

Amongst some circles there is often talk about a free market. However, God’s Law acknowledges the fact of original sin. Therefore, the market place cannot be totally free and self-regulating. For instance, governments are required by God to impose standards of weights and measures (Leviticus 19:35-36). This is not to hinder free trade, but to ensure that there is integrity in free transactions in the market place. Money should not be controlled by the State. However, the weights and measures that are used to establish fair market amounts of those commodities being used as money must be determined by a body that has the capacity to administer general sanctions when false weights and measures are being used. This cannot be performed by the family, because the family cannot administer sanctions outside its own sphere. This cannot be performed by the church, because the church is to be a minister of God’s grace and mercy, principally. The state, on the other hand, is given general sanctions, such as enforced restitution, enforced temporary slavery, public corporal discipline, confinement to a specific location and capital punishment (Rushdoony, 1973, p. 228). The state, under God, has sufficient power and authority to deter widespread criminality in the market place.

At the same time, it is to the state’s best advantage to allow relatively free trade in the market place. Free trade enables wealth accumulation. Wealthy families in the market place are able to create employment, provide housing, minister social welfare, and so on, thus strengthening the society and the jurisdiction of the state.

This has direct and significant bearing upon the delivery of education.  Education should be a free market commodity.  It is not a jurisdiction of the state.  Statist intervention into education is a relatively modern phenomenon (except for the ancient Spartan experiment).  Under statist control, education becomes a tool for collectivist indoctrination–echoes of the mantra that schools are for socialisation, i.e. convenient places to indoctrinate in the tenets of socialism.  But education should be a means of raising godly seed, to serve the Triune God, not as a way of creating generations of slaves to the state.

References

Rushdoony, R. J. (1973). The Institutes of Biblical Law. Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company.

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Education and the Church, Education and the Family, Education and the State

The Role of the Church to Protect the Family from the State, as it relates to education

The following has been lifted from my PhD dissertation, and slightly edited for this blog site.  I continue to give thought to some of my earlier ideas, and welcome feedback as I continue to refine them.

As discussed in a previous blog, the state has the God-ordained function of being a minister of justice, “not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.” Justice is to be defined in terms of God’s Law-Word, and the state is “an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer,” i.e. on those who transgress God’s Law (Romans 13:1-7). However, when the state assumes jurisdiction beyond that which God has assigned it, because it bears the sword (Romans 13:4)—i.e. the capacity to inflict sanctions in terms of fines, imprisonment, or even administering capital punishment—God’s people need to be protected from the state because it has taken to itself too much power and authority. To stand between the state and the family, and between the state and the individual, is a legitimate role of the church.

When the church is weak, the Family is vulnerable to the state. I Kings 21:1-16 is a story of the de-capitalisation of a family by the state. At that time the church was nowhere to be seen. It should have been there to defend the family with the prophetic word in regards to God’s Law concerning inviolable land inheritance (Numbers 34:1-29). On the other hand, when David violated a family’s sanctity in regards to his sin with Bathsheba, appropriately, the church was there to pronounce, “You are the man!” (II Samuel 11:1-12:23).

Gary North (1995) wrote: “… the family is a legitimate and necessary institution, but separate from the institutional church, it has been no match for the state in history” (p. 6). Part of the problem is that in more modern times, the church has not insisted that the family pay the tithe. When tithes are not properly paid and then properly administered, the church does not have the financial resources to administer all the proper social functions that God has ordained should be conducted by the church. The state, according to God’s command, should be collecting less than the tithe to administer its God-ordained functions (I Samuel 8:10-18 – in this passage a tenth being given to the state is considered a great judgement upon the people). North, commenting on this writes:

… What are the biblical limits of state authority? …the tithe sets these limits. Civil government at all levels combined is not authorized by God to collect taxes equal to the tithe (I Sam. 8:17). Nothing funded by the state beyond this limit is biblicly legitimate. Taxation in the twentieth century has exceeded this limit by at least three to one in every nation. The modern world stands condemned (North, 1995, p. 6).

God’s condemnation is upon the church for failing to collect the tithe as commanded by Him, and thereby failing to engage in the work that God has ordained for the church. Or, if the church does collect a tithe, then God condemns improper administration of the tithe by spending the full tithe on sanctuary-related activity (such as Pastors’ salaries, building expenses, and other accoutrements to worship), instead of tithing the tithe for sanctuary purposes, and using the remaining nine-tenths for kingdom-oriented activities (such as support of Christian families in the educating of their children). His condemnation is upon the family because by failing to pay the tithe, it has created a vacuum that the state has willingly filled. Filling the vacuum is funded by stripping the family of its assets through taxation. Such assets should be used to capitalize families across multiple generations. The condemnation is upon the state, because by weakening the family, and over-riding a weak church, the fabric of society is weakened which will ultimately result in the state being undone.

It is the church’s responsibility to defend the role of the family (specifically fathers) in the education of the children of the family. However, family heads are accountable to church officers for the way in which they discharge this responsibility. It is not for the state to dictate the curriculum and enforce syllabi upon families. This is a family responsibility. However, families should obtain assistance from the church in this matter, and assistance from church-trained experts in the market place.

References

North, G. (1995). Baptized Patriarchalism: The Cult of the Family. Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics.

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Education and the State, Home-Based Education

The State and the Family in Relation to Education

The following has been lifted from my PhD dissertation, and slightly edited for this blog site.  I continue to give thought to some of my earlier ideas, and welcome feedback as I continue to refine them.

In his book, Baptized Patriarchalism: the Cult of the Family, Gary North (1995) writes:

The Roman state steadily absorbed the Roman family under the Empire. This is the perpetual threat to all patriarchalism. The patriarchal system begins with almost total loyalty to the father, but eventually this loyalty is transferred to the state because the state takes over the family’s welfare functions and its sacramental office. Bread and circuses are provided by the state. Copulating priestesses replace the father’s lustral rites … The autonomous family is not an alternative to the state; rather, it becomes the state’s most important agent. The father represents the state to his children. The willingness of fathers to send their children into the established church known as the public school system is the obvious example.

The family is not an agency of public law enforcement, for it cannot lawfully impose sanctions outside its own boundaries. The ability of the state to tax away the wealth of the family makes the state the primary agency in society if it is a question of family vs. state. The family will always lose the contest. Only by converting the family into a mini-state – warlordism – can patriarchalism reverse the drift into centralized statism. Warlordism is the sociology of the Mafia, not the Bible (North, 1995, pp. 2-3).

In terms of education, publicly funded schools are un-Biblical (with the possible exception of publically funded military training academies, since defence is a legitimate function of the state[1]). Under God, as established in a previous blog, education is principally a family jurisdiction, with a legitimate role by both the church and the market place. When the state enters this jurisdiction, it does so by violating the Law of God, and sets up a tyranny over the family. Families that choose to reclaim this jurisdiction[2] are often persecuted by the state. Some recent instances are cited as examples of such persecution.

In an article by My News Desk ([MND], 2013) it is reported that a Swedish home schooling family was fined USD$15,000 by the Swedish Supreme Court for home educating their 12 year old daughter. The fine was imposed retroactively, and without any consideration of the family’s financial situation and capacity to pay. The law under which they were fined was passed on July 1, 2011. The home schooling took place in the school year 2010-2011, when home schooling was being allowed in Sweden. The article goes on to state:

… the current centre-right government has outlawed home education in Sweden. … (the) rise in interest (in home education in Sweden, despite this law) is understandable as the quality of Swedish schools is declining with poor academic results, disorder in the classrooms, an all too common inability to handle children with special needs, and a level of bullying which creates a great distress for many families” ([MND], 2013).

Previously the Swedish government had permanently removed a 7-year-old child, Dominic Johannsson, from his parents, Christer and Annie Johansson, because the parents were taking the child to India so that they could home school the child overseas, away from the repressive Swedish laws (MND, 2013).

In Darmstadt, Germany, there was a recent example of a home educating family having their children forcefully removed from them (MND, 2013). Police armed with a battering ram forced their way into the family home, and the parents were told that they wouldn’t see their children again soon. The state had previously admitted that the children “were well cared for,” but declared that force was needed to remove the children because the “children had ‘adopted the parents’ opinions’ regarding home schooling”. The reported crime was simply: “the parents were providing their children’s education;” the parents “had failed to meet the government’s demands for (religious) ‘integration’”. The actions of the government were necessary to “bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement.”   In the article it was pointed out that the action of the police was based on a law that was drafted by Hitler’s regime during World War II. The intention of the law was to ensure “that all children submit to the indoctrination programs in the nation’s public schools”. In the article it is explained:

It was in 1937 when Adolf Hitler said: “The youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. The Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing” (MND, 2013).

A contemporary German politician, Wolfgang Drautz, was reported to have “emphasized the importance of socializing children through public schools” (MND, 2013).

In 2010 a U.S. immigration judge, in a Supreme Court, granted the Romeike family, a German family, asylum status because of German government persecution against them for home schooling. However, the Obama administration had the ruling overturned. It was reported:

The Obama administration, unhappy with the outcome, appealed and obtained an order from a higher court that the family must return to Germany. The Obama administration has urged in court parents essentially have no right to determine how and what their children are taught leaving the authority with the government (MND, 2013).

It is in the state’s best interest to promote healthy family life. Strong and healthy families contribute to strong and healthy communities. Invariably, slums and poorer areas of a city are generally coupled with poor family life (acknowledging exceptions to the rule). Parke, in the CLASP paper, Are Married Parents Really Better for Children? What Research Says About the Effects of Family Structure on Child Well-being, admitted:

Over the past 20 years, a body of research has developed on how changes in patterns of family structure affect children. Most researchers now agree that together these studies support the notion that, on average, children do best when raised by their two married, biological parents who have low-conflict relationships” (Parke, 2003, p. 1).

Therefore, the state must work with stable, healthy families that seek to provide what they believe to be the very best education for their children, not work against them.

[1] Romans 13:4 “… for he (the governing authority) does not bear the sword in vain …”

[2] Opposition to home education is a very modern statist response, to a select range of children. Children were home-educated for long periods of history, and continue to be home-tutored by very wealthy families, without overt state opposition. Opposition seems to be aimed at the middle and lower classes. Even then, lower-class truants seem to be ignored (wander around Alice Springs on any particular day and see the very large numbers of Aboriginal children who are not in school, even in the midst of a Northern Territory blitz on school truants: “Every Child, Every Day” c.f. http://www.education.nt.gov.au/teachers-educators/school-management/enrolment-attendance/every-child-every-day). In contrast, middle-class Christian families are deliberately and doggedly pursued. I would contend that the purpose of statist persecution of middle-class Christian families is to socialise the children of those families away from the faith of the parents and brain-wash the children with the tenets of the religion of the state.

References

[MND], My News Desk. (2013). Homeschooling family fined 15 000 USD by the Swedish Supreme Court.   Retrieved 13/9/2013, from http://www.mynewsdesk.com/se/view/pressrelease/homeschooling-family-fined-15-000-usd-by-the-swedish-supreme-court-895446

North, G. (1995). Baptized Patriarchalism: The Cult of the Family. Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics.

Parke, M. (2003). Are Married Parents Really Better for Children? What Research Says About the Effects of Family Structure on Child Well-being. In Center for Law and Social Policy (Ed.). Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy

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