Monday, May 16, 2011

Judge in Quebec orders HS children to public school - International Law to blame?

Judge in Quebec orders homeschooled children to public school and State daycare:

A Judge in Quebec, Canada has ordered a Catholic family to send their children to public school, citing lack of "socialization" as the main reason.  This includes forced,  state-funded daycare for the two youngest children, ages three and five, who are not yet of compulsory attendance age. Lifesite News reports:

"[Paul] Faris [of the Canadian Homeschool Legal Defense Association] said the court refused to hear the parents’ expert witness and dismissed the testimony of the family doctor, who has been fully supportive of their medical decisions. In her ruling, Judge Bernier claimed the family doctor’s testimony lacked objectivity and was “full of bias” owing to his relationship with the parents. Faris said the judge gave “excess weight” to the government’s experts, who he says “found that one child’s hearing impairment ‘indicated’ that the parents could not be trusted and therefore all the children should be enrolled in public school programs.” Judge Bernier determined that the security and development of the children was compromised by parental negligence.
In her ruling, Judge Bernier called the mother’s teaching approach “outdated,” saying it emphasized repetition exercises and acquisition of knowledge rather than the Ministry’s preferred approach of teaching learning skills.  She also criticizes the elder children’s social development, noting that they had difficulty at first with the other children when they entered the classroom. “The parents, though aware … of the need to stimulate each child by interactions with peers of the same age, outside of the family, either at school, kindergarten, or day care or occasional education trips, maintain their interest in the teaching model of the home school,” she wrote, going on to lament that they are “refusing to integrate the youngest in kindergarten or day care, and opposing educational outings for the children.”
The father calls it a witch hunt:
“The government is willing to go to whatever means to force their ways on my family,” he said. “This is like a witch hunt.”
The family's attorney, Jean Yves Cote, also noted that the judge found the mother's use of phonics to teach reading was "outdated."

It appears that Canada (at least Quebec) is on its way to joining Germany and Sweden on the list of countries most hostile to homeschooling and, as a result, the rights of parents to direct the education of their children.  The BBC reports:
"In our increasingly multicultural society school is the place for a peaceful dialogue between different opinions, values, religions and ideologies," said Berlin's education minister, Juergen Zoellner.
"It is a training ground for social tolerance. Therefore home-schooling is not an option for Germany."
And in Sweden:
Bertil Östberg, State Secretary for Education, told the BBC's Europe Today programme, that "children have the right to be taught by professional teachers, and the teaching should be objective and based on science".
Echoing German concerns Mr Östberg added that "schools should be a meeting place where tolerance and social values are communicated".
Here's what someone posted on a message board in Canada:
"Kudos to Judge Bernier of Quebec for ordering home schooling parents to send their children to state run day care because they need socialization.
As a society, how else can we instill progressive values into the next generation if we don't have the opportunity to be a part of their education?
Childrend [sic] need to be socialized, and they need to be introduced to the ideals and values of society. This is how a harmonious society is created. Without state involvement we end up wiht a fractured society of religious fanatics spreading ignorance.
I applaud this move."
 When I first read this, I thought it was a snarky homeschooler being sarcastic, as they (we!) are wont to do.  Unfortunately this is the opinion of an actual, real person (a product of state run daycare, no doubt) expressing his/her opinions on a Progressive website ( "built on the efforts of progressive journalists, writers, artists and activists across the country").

If you're observant (or if you were homeschooled) you noticed the pattern above.  Berlin's Education Minister, Sweden's State Secretary for Education, and the Progressive message-poster all  insist that schools are necessary to force children into being tolerant, compliant citizens of the State. Note the irony for "force" and "tolerant" in the same sentence. 

I think it is no coincidence that all three countries have signed on to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).  Currently, the United States and Somalia are the only countries that have not jumped on this bandwagon,  a decision that President Obama calls "embarrassing," and promises to review.  Here's how Sweden is interpreting this document and translating it into policy:

"The child perspective involves focusing on the child and making careful analyses of what consequences a decision can have for an individual child or teenager or for children and young people as a group. Another dimension of the child perspective is the intrinsic value of childhood. Children are not accessories to their parents or passive recipients of parental influence. They are individuals in their own right with their own needs and rights. This means that childhood is not seen solely as preparation for adult life but is seen as a part of life with a value of its own."
Here is Quebec's interpretation of the UNCRC:
"The Youth Protection Act amended in  2006, includes specific provisions to guarantee respect for the principle of the paramount consideration of the best interests of the child, such as the child’s and parents’ active participation in decision-making and in choosing the measures that affect them."
While this all sounds nice and reasonable, it's completely at odds with the laws of the United States, which give parents right to make decision regarding their children.  Shifting the rights to the children is a radical change from American tradition and jurisprudence.  Here's what we, as Americans, embrace:

"[t]he child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."(Pierce v. Society of Sisters 268 U.S. 510 (1925). 
"The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition"  (Wisconsin v. Yoder 406 U.S. 205 (1972).
Shifting the rights from the parents to the child ultimately transfers the power to the State. The State becomes the arbiter of what is in the best interest of the child and decides when the child is old enough to decide for himself. This is why a Canadian judge felt she could overrule the parents and decide what she thinks is in the best interest of the children in this homeschooling family.  International law compelled her to do so.

And really,  no wonder that judge is so concerned about one little Catholic family that is going off the reservation.   I mean, those Catholics don't believe in birth control, right? And those homeschoolers tend to breed like rabbits (1/3 have 4 or more children for crying out loud!) Someone has to do something about these home indoctrination camps before this thing gets out of control! (see, there I go getting all snarky like the Progressives...I warned you I am wont to do that).

This is one more reason we absolutely must have a majority in the Senate next term and....for the rest of time.  The UNCRC has already been signed by the U.S. (by Madeline Albright during the Clinton years), but still needs to be ratified by the 2/3 of the Senate.  That must not happen.

This is also why I'm getting closer to supporting the Parental Rights Amendment.  But that's a discussion for another day. 


P.D. Nelson said...

Ever notice that these so called experts tend to sound like a certain vegetarian Austrian and his approach to educate those special children with the proper genetic background?

And yes I know that once I mention him according to the internet I've lost the argument still...

Paula said...

Ha! You got me & sent me googling! I had no idea the German-dictator-who-shall-remain-nameless was a vegetarian.

Isn't ironic that the Germans are so quick to fall in line so soon? If you read any of the history of Germany's resistance to homeschooling you will find that they cite fear of fringe groups and Nazi sympathizers being educated outside the public education system.

They actually believe that the best way to prevent a populace that blindly follows a tyrannical leader is to train their children to blindly follow the government. Brilliant.