Health Impact News Editor
As government becomes more and more intrusive into how they believe parents should raise their children, many families are choosing to educate their children at home at an increasing rate. Health Impact News has reported many stories of places across the country that are refusing school attendance based on mandatory vaccines, or stories of local government officials, such as “child protection services”, forcibly entering into homes and removing children by force for simply not following their prescribed ideas for health care.
Briebart recently reported on a study regarding the increasing trend to homeschool. Some excerpts:
A recent report in Education News states that, since 1999, the number of children who are homeschooled has increased by 75%. Though homeschooled children represent only 4% of all school-age children nationwide, the number of children whose parents choose to educate them at home rather than a traditional academic setting is growing seven times faster than the number of children enrolling in grades K-12 every year.
As homeschooling has become increasingly popular, common myths that have long been associated with the practice of homeschooling have been debunked.
Any concerns about the quality of education children receive by their parents can be put to rest by the consistently high placement of homeschooled students on standardized assessment exams. Data demonstrates that those who are independently educated generally score between the 65th and 89th percentile on these measures, while those in traditional academic settings average at around the 50th percentile. In addition, achievement gaps between sexes, income levels, or ethnicity—all of which have plagued public schools around the country—do not exist in homeschooling environments.
The high achievement level of homeschoolers is readily recognized by recruiters from some of the best colleges in the nation. Home-educated children matriculate in colleges and attain a four-year degree at much higher rates than their counterparts from both public and private schools. Schools such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Stanford, and Duke Universities all actively recruit homeschoolers.
Similarly, the common myth that homeschoolers “miss out” on so-called “socialization opportunities,” often thought to be a vital aspect of traditional academic settings, has proven to be without merit. According to the National Home Education Research Institute survey, homeschoolers tend to be more socially engaged than their peers and demonstrate “healthy social, psychological, and emotional development, and success into adulthood.”
Read the complete story here.
A case involving a German homeschooling family received national attention earlier this year, when the State Department decided to prosecute them. The family had escaped prosecution in Germany which could have resulted in huge fines and the loss of their children for simply home-schooling, and they were originally granted asylum in the U.S. While the case involves homeschooling in Europe, it was seen by many as potentially part of a broader attitude by government towards homeschool families. Some excerpts:
The open border so dear to the hearts of many Democrats, eager to get the 11 million illegal aliens on the voter rolls, ends short of compassion for refugees from First World countries, as Uwe and Hannelore Romeike have found out. The administration is working overtime to deport this family because they home-school their children.
The Romeikes fled their native Germany in 2008 after uniformed police officers arrived at their home and forcibly took their children to government-run schools. Home-schooling has been illegal in Germany since 1938, when the Nazis brooked no resistance to state control of everything. The Romeikes were fined thousands for their resistance.
The Romeikes, who say German schools teach subjects that go against their evangelical Christian beliefs, are parents of three boys and three girls, ranging in age from 20 months to 15 years. They live now on a farm in eastern Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains.They sought and were granted political refuge in the United States in 2010, but the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals overturned the decision last year, contending that Germany’s ban on home-schooling doesn’t violate the Romeikes’ human rights. The administration essentially says parents have no fundamental right to educate their own children, hence no political asylum. Should the Romeikes be forcibly repatriated, fines are the least of their worries. They could face stiff prison sentences, and their children could be taken away from them.
Read our full coverage of this story here.
Constitutional attorney Michael Farris, the head of Home Schoool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and the attorney representing the German family, has expressed grave concerns about some of the legal opinions judges have already written in the Romeike case:
“When the United States government says that homeschooling is a mutable choice—they are saying that it is a characteristic that a government can legitimately coerce you to change. In other words, you have no protected right to choose the education for your children. Our nation could remove your ability to homeschool and your choice would be mutable—since the government has the authority to force you to implement their wishes.
The prospect for German homeschooling freedom is not bright. But we should not reserve all of our concern for the views of the German government. Our own government is attempting to send German homeschoolers back to that land to face criminal prosecutions with fines, jail sentences, and removal of custody of children.
We should understand that in these arguments by the U.S. government, something important is being said about our own liberties as American homeschoolers.
The Attorney General of the United States thinks that a law that bans homeschooling entirely violates no fundamental liberties.
It is important that Americans stand up for the rights of German homeschooling families. In so doing, we stand up for our own.”
Standing up For Parental Choice
Michael Farris has also become a strong advocate for families’ rights to choose their own health care, as well as the right to protect what families do in the privacy of their own homes. Last year HSLDA took on the case of a family who had opted for a home birth, but had to go to the hospital when the baby came early and complications arose. The baby was born in the hospital parking lot in the ambulance. Since the family had not intended on a hospital birth, the hospital put a lot of pressure on them. When the nurse wanted to vaccinate the baby, the mother asked some questions and requested to wait until the father could rejoin her. A social worker called police, and she and her husband were kicked out of the hospital and separated from their baby. A judge eventually returned the child to them, but HSLDA is now suing. Full story here.
Legal Child Abduction
In another case that HSLDA is involved with, they are representing an Arizona family who tried to refuse entry in their home by police and social workers who had no warrant:
“Two months after an anonymous tipster reported that the inside of John and Tiffany Loudermilks’ home had exposed wiring and was missing stair rails, two social workers and six sheriff’s deputies showed up on the Loudermilks’ doorstep.
The social workers demanded entry. When the Loudermilks said no, the social workers threatened to take the Loudermilks’ children into state custody. Faced with this choice, the Loudermilks’ allowed the social workers and deputies inside to see that the allegations were false.
Fourth Amendment Violation
We sued the social workers and the deputies for violating the Loudermilks’ Fourth Amendment rights. The trial court twice ruled in the Loudermilks’ favor when the officials sought to have the case dismissed.
Only the deputies appealed. The Court of Appeals said that they could not be held liable because they were relying on the social workers’ report that the house was unsafe. The Supreme Court of the United States declined to review that decision.
Because of the ruling about the deputies, the trial court dismissed the case against the social workers, too, after the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. HSLDA appealed that ruling back to the Ninth Circuit.
In our opening brief we explained why the deputies and social workers should not be treated the same. The social workers had been investigating for two months then suddenly claimed that they had an emergency. The deputies had no way to know all that had happened in those two months.
During the investigation the Loudermilks told the social workers that the county had permitted occupancy of the newly built home, indicating it was safe to live in while the Loudermilks put on the finishing touches.
But the social workers never checked that out. One morning the case worker who had been trying for two months to get inside the house called in sick. Only then did her supervisor decide “to hit this report of [the sick social worker].”
The supervisor took a rookie social worker along to show her the ropes. She asked the police to meet her at the home before she ever laid eyes on it and made plans to overcome the Loudermilks’ “uncooperative” attitude.
The supervisor followed the playbook: If a person is uncooperative, bring the police. If that doesn’t work tell the parents that you’ll take their kids.” Full Story here.
In a separate case earlier this year in Sacramento California, Child Protection Services and the local police forcibly entered a couple’s home and physically removed a child from his mother’s arms, simply because the parents had taken him out of one hospital and gone to a second hospital, because they did not like the care they were receiving in the first hospital and wanted a second opinion about heart surgery on their baby. The second hospital had already discharged the baby saying his condition presented no imminent threat.
This case actually received international attention as the father of the baby is a Russian national, and Russia filed a formal complaint of human rights abuse. Full Story here.
As parental rights to raise their own children in the United States continue to be violated, it is easy to see why more and more families are choosing to home educate their children. Not only can they often supply a superior education than public or even many private schools, but they can have fewer conflicts with those in authority who are more and more developing attitudes much like we have seen in Germany in the Romeike case, where the goals and values of society are seen to trump parental rights. If anyone thinks this is not happening in the United States, they are not paying attention.
MSNBC Host Melissa Harris-Perry » All Your Kids Belong To Us
Earlier this month (June 2013) a Constitutional Amendment to protect children and parents rights. Please ask you elected Representative in Washington D.C. to support this Amendment:
Constitutional Amendment Introduced to ProtectChildren and Parents
I am very excited to announce that we were just able to send out the following press release announcing the introduction of the Parental Rights Amendment in the 113th Congress:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE // June 18, 2013 // Washington, D.C. – Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) today introduced a resolution in the U.S. House to amend the United States Constitution to protect children and parents from governmental overreach. The proposed Parental Rights Amendment already has 40 original cosponsors. ParentalRights.org leads grassroots support for the measure.
“In a time when longstanding truths and traditions are being tested, we must safeguard the right of parents to direct their children’s upbringing and education,” Meadows explained. “This amendment to our Constitution would ensure that these decisions are made not by faceless bureaucrats but by parents who love their children and know them best.”
Constitutional lawyer and ParentalRights.org president Michael Farris agrees. “Traditionally the Supreme Court has held that fit parents make decisions that are in their child’s best interests. But that presumption is being eroded today in our courts and in U.N. conventions. More and more, judges are making decisions based on what they think is best for the child, rather than respecting the natural right of loving parents to make that call.”
The proposed amendment would establish, in part, that “[t]he liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right.” Other sections establish a high legal standard to protect these rights and a safeguard against international law overriding the parental role. This is the fourth consecutive Congress in which the measure has been introduced.
Support for the Parental Rights Amendment has increased through a number of high-profile incidents in recent months, including a California case in which Child Protective Services removed a baby from his parents’ custody because they sought a second medical opinion prior to heart surgery. And more recently, a bill that would assign a government worker to oversee every child from birth is being considered in Scotland in response to their obligations under the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child. Parental rights supporters believe the proposed amendment will keep such laws from ever being adopted here.
More information on the proposed Amendment, including the full text and a current list of cosponsors, is available at ParentalRights.org. (End press release.)
If your Congressman is not yet on board, call or email his office and urge him to cosponsor this important resolution. To find contact information and to see whether he is already on board, click on your state at ParentalRights.org/States.
You might also want to tweet (on Twitter) or post to your congressman’s Facebook page urging support for the Amendment. In addition to making contact (as in a phone call or email), you will be making it public as well. Others can see that you have broached this subject with him, which often inspires a more timely response.
Also, check out our website again on Wednesday or Thursday for a bill number. Now that the bill has been introduced, a number will be assigned within the next 72 hours. As soon as that happens, we will post that number on our website so that you can use it in your correspondence with your representative.
Director of Communications & Research