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Some homeschoolers oppose youth rights, prefer parental "authority"

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) doesn't do everything right, but it's a huge step in the right direction for getting young people to actually be treated as individual human beings, with their own opinions and their own individual hopes and dreams, instead of as property of their parents.

Apparently this scares some overly-controlling parents who are worried that their kids would freely choose their own path instead of "be brought up" to be like their parents.

Here are some news articles and commentary I found on the subject, with my comments inbetween (in italics):

United Nations children’s treaty jeopardizes parental rights and homeschooling

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and opened to nations across the world for ratification in 1989, may significantly weaken the rights of parents to raise and homeschool their children. Crucial parental decisions such as who our children associate with, what type of discipline is used, whether we take our kids to church, what they read and whether we homeschool, would be decided by the state and possibly international law.

Did anyone ever think to ask the kids what THEY want? Oh no, of course not, they're not really PEOPLE, are they?

From here:

America is poised to adopt the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. President Obama supports this treaty. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been a leading advocate of this treaty for over twenty years. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has “promised” that this treaty will be ratified during this term of Congress.

If this treaty is ratified:

* The laws of all 50 states on children and parents would be superseded by this international law by virtue of a specific provision of the US Constitution which expressly declares treaties to be supreme over state law. Virtually all law on children and parents is state law.
* Good parents would no longer be entitled to the legal presumption that they act in the best interests of their children. Instead, the government would have the authority to overrule all parents on any decision concerning the child if the government believed it could make a better decision.
* Parents could no longer spank their children.
* Children would have the legal right to choose their own religion. Parents would be permitted only to give advice.
* America would be under a binding legal obligation to massively increase its federal spending on children’s programs.

Wow, imagine that - parents not being able to physically hit people smaller than them! Why don't you pick on someone your own size, you bully? And indoctrinating people into believing what you want them to - what, you don't want your kids to be able to think for themselves?

UN Treaty Jeopardizes Homeschool Freedom in Britain

On June 11, 2009 a report on home education in England by Graham Badman, a former Managing Director of Children, Families and Education in the County of Kent, was accepted in full by the British Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. The report makes the case that homeschooling should be extensively regulated in England. In short, the Badman report recommends that the state should have the authority to choose the curriculum for homeschoolers and he used Britain’s treaty obligations under the UNCRC to justify this intrusion.

Nowhere in the article does the HSLDA seem concerned whatsoever about what the kids might actually want. No, it's all about the parents. They always know everything. Now, I don't believe the government would generally be any better at raising kids (just look at the public school system), but to throw out youth rights entirely just because of that one little thing? Shows where their priorities are... clearly not with the kids.

Personally I think it's worth it - EVEN if it does make homeschooling a bit harder. So what? If people actually LISTEN to kids more, they can be homeschooled if they want, they will grow up without so many mental issues stemming from not being listened to enough, and even if their "curriculum" is more regulated, at least they will feel VALUED AS HUMAN BEINGS and not just parental property that will only have value once it reaches the magical age of 18.

That is, of course, assuming the treaty actually does everything it says it will. With the government in charge, it probably won't. But it's like the constitution - even if it gets blatantly ignored at times, it's still there, in writing. And can be used in court.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: U.S. Homeschoolers’ Fears Confirmed in British Report

According to BBC News, the British government, following a report provided by former education chief Graham Badman, will force homeschoolers in England to register with the State and allow authorities access to their homes at least once a year. The stated purpose of this government oversight is to ensure that homeschooled children in England are receiving a “suitable education.” [1]

If “parents do not meet certain standards,” according to the BBC, the children can be “sent back to school.”

In reaction to criticism that the standards by which parents will be judged are ill-defined, Mr. Badman responded, “This is not some woolly statement; they will be judged on their [educational] plans. These statements should contain some milestones for children to achieve.”

One unnamed homeschooling parent told the BBC that she would not favor monitoring visits from the local authority because it had failed in its duty to provide a suitable education for her son in the first place.

This could be a problem for unschoolers.

Robert Kunzman: The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child vs. the Parental Rights Movement

Good parents (whether homeschoolers or not) see education, broadly construed, as part of their job description: raising a child involves constant teaching, and the most important lessons in life generally occur outside of school walls. But most homeschoolers take this a step further. They don't see any real distinction between this broader notion of education and formal schooling itself—which makes sense, if homeschooling is just woven into the fabric of everyday family life. And if homeschooling is seen as simply part of parenting, then it becomes easier to understand why many homeschool parents view government oversight of education as an unjustifiable intrusion into their sacred domain.

United Nations' threat: No more parental rights

Expert: Pact would ban spankings, homeschooling if children object
A United Nations human rights treaty that could prohibit children from being spanked or homeschooled, ban youngsters from facing the death penalty and forbid parents from deciding their families' religion is on America's doorstep, a legal expert warns.

According to the Parental Rights website, the substance of the CRC dictates the following:

* Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children. (There is no such thing as a 'reasonable spanking')

* A murderer aged 17 years, 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison. (Nobody should be sentenced to prison - they need mental help of some kind, not punishment - prison will only make them worse)

* Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion. (What good is a religion if you didn't choose it yourself?)

* The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent's decision. (Wouldn't trust the government with that, but somebody has to do it... better than nothing I guess)

* A child's "right to be heard" would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed. (Same as above. Something like this is NEEDED though. Unfortunately I can imagine some of the more immature kids abusing this feature to the point where nobody takes it seriously anymore.)

* According to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children's welfare. (As it bloody well should be.)

* Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure. (Most excellent!)

* Teaching children about Christianity in schools has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC. (This is stupid though. By all means teach 'em about it, but don't enforce it as "the only way".)

* Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC. (How 'bout letting the kids opt out themselves?)

* Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent. (A good thing on its own, but only as long as there's more emphasis on the information part - knowledge is good. We wouldn't want irresponsible kids running around getting pregnant and then getting abortions - oh wait, lots of adults already do that.)

So yeah. Basically, I think the treaty will do more good than harm, even though it does have a few not-so-good side effects.

What do you think?


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Posted in: Commentary by SoulRiser on January 5, 2010 @ 11:40 PM

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