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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