Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Parental Rights- Children Seized: Eroding Education Rights

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September 3, 2013
Children Seized: Eroding Education Rights
Armed German police and special agents raided the Wunderlich home and seized the children because the parents were keeping them out of the government’s schools and teaching them at home instead. But the raid did not take place in 1940. It was just last Thursday. This is a threat to parents of public, private, and home schooled students, and it is coming to America.
The right to direct the education of one’s child is a fundamental, God-given (or “natural”) right, and it is indispensible for a free nation. It has traditionally been upheld by the American Supreme Court. It has also been recognized in numerous international human rights declarations, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted in 1948 in direct response to the trampling of this right by Hitler’s Germany.
Wunderlichs family photo
Michael Farris and his son with the Wunderlichs at an International Homeschooling Conference in Berlin, 2012
(UCHR Article 26(3): “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”)

Alarmingly, Germany is again trampling this right – as the rest of the world looks on. Sadly, legal scholars in America are pushing the same idea!

Catherine Ross, Professor of Law at Georgetown University, has posited that “tolerance for diverse views and values is a foundational principle [and] does not conflict with the notion that the state can and should limit the ability of intolerant homeschoolers to inculcate hostility to difference in their children….” (“Fundamentalist Challenges to Core Democratic Values: Exit and Homeschooling,” 18 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts J. 991, 1005 (2010).) She believes measures should be taken to ensure that even home schooling parents teach politically acceptable philosophies to their children.

Kimberly Yuracko, Professor of Law at Northwestern University, joins her: “Surprisingly, the social and legal implications of this phenomenon have received almost no scholarly attention. For decades political theorists have worried and argued about what steps a liberal society must take to protect children being raised in illiberal communities.…Virtually absent from the debate has been any discussion of the extent to which a liberal society should condone or constrain homeschooling, particularly as practiced by religious fundamentalist families explicitly seeking to shield their children from liberal values of sex equality, gender role fluidity and critical rationality.”

These scholars and many others like them believe that private and home education should be regulated by the government for the purpose of controlling its philosophical content. In the name of promoting “tolerance,” they argue that absolutist worldviews must not be tolerated.

But it’s not just scholars in academic towers. Last week, Slate ran an opinion piece titled, “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person” – and it was not a satire. Editor-author Allison Benedikt wrote that many parents “go private for religious reasons, or because their kids have behavioral or learning issues, or simply because the public school in their district is not so hot. None of these are compelling reasons.” (emphasis added)

Even more alarmingly, the United States government also agrees. In fact, the Obama administration has already sided with the German government as it denies educational choice to parents.

In the Case of Remeike v. Holder, the Attorney General’s office successfully argued before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that the German government’s actions do not constitute “persecution,” even though German courts have acknowledged that their purpose is to suppress “the development of religiously or philosophically motivated ‘parallel societies’….”

Young girl taken from parents
This healthy, happy child has been taken from her parents because they teach views unacceptable to the German government.
Germany has set out to establish a “tolerant” society by squashing any beliefs they consider “intolerant,” and the American government has no problems with that.

Those pushing “tolerance” in Germany recognize that the government cannot engage in all-out indoctrination while parents still have options. So they are taking away those options.

This is exactly how the existence of home schooling and of private schools preserves freedom for all of us in America, including those whose children attend the public schools. And it is precisely why these extremist legal experts speak against it.

It is also why ParentalRights.org and the Parental Rights Amendment seek to preserve this fundamental right of educational choice for all American parents.

We agree with the Supreme Court’s Pierce v. Society of Sisters decision which states: “The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The 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.”

As your children start the new school year wherever you have chosen to enroll them, consider this: without the protection of the Parental Rights Amendment, that choice may one day be taken from you. The federal government, which can’t even balance a budget, would decide what is important for your child to read, learn, and believe.

The time to stop this is now. The means to stop it is the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The plan to stop it is to pass this on to your family and friends, and urge them to join the fight for all parents’ freedoms. Sign up today at parentalrights.org/petition.


Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research

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