Those of us who are involved in parenting, any kind of childcare, education or any other endeavor involving kids need to be concerned about events inside our borders and outside. In the United States and, I believe, throughout the world parents believe they are the people to whom their kids belong. Kids belong to their parents not as property but as precious and loved developing children. Parents believe they are responsible for the proper development, training, and well-being of their kids. We believe that children are a gift directly from God given to parents for proper care and rearing.
There are a number of things happening in this country and outside the country that parents need to watch closely. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child includes a number of provisions that threaten the family. In Germany home school families are being increasing persecuted. And we now see this in Great Britain. Government encroachment on the rights of the family are reaching new heights. Consider this possible agreement parents may be told to sign in the fall of this school year in Great Britain.
I/We undertake to
- Ensure that my child attends school regularly and that absences are properly notified.
- Ensure that my child arrives and where appropriate is collected promptly at the beginning and the end of the school day.
- Support the school’s policies and guidelines on behavior and equal opportunities.
- Support my child in his/her homework and wherever possible promote opportunities for home learning.
- Ensure that my child goes to bed at a reasonable time on weekdays.
- Attend Parents’ Evenings and discussions about my child’s progress at school.
On the face of it the aggrement in itself may seem not so threatening. But look a bit deeper. According to a Mail Online article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1201452/Parents-forced-sign-school-contacts-ensure-children-behave.html parents are going to be encouraged to rat out others who they think may not be fulfilling the contract. There will be a fine of 1000 pounds or a jail term if they violate the agreement. In the past any agreements between the home and the school have been informal.
Ed Balls the Schools Secretary indicated that these agreements will become law in the fall. If the principal of the school thinks the agreement has been breached in any sense charges can be brought. Parents who fail to sign the agreement can be hauled into court as well. Mr. Balls says that “those who refuse to cooperate face being made to give up their homes – though they are still likely to be re-housed elsewhere.” There will be “family intervention” programs where the families will receive 24 hour supervision making sure that all aspects of the agreements are enforced.
This program is aimed at two things. First, there is a perception of failing achievement in England just as there is in the United States. Second, the government is aiming this shotgun approach at misbehaving juveniles and their families.
But, there is something much more disturbing in this government attitude. What the government is saying seems to be your children are not yours. Your kids belong to the state. The entity which owns the property can take it back from a property holder. This reduces children to the level of chattel or property not linked by any special spiritual connection to the parents. The parents are reduced to care takers for the property of the government. As long as the government says when and where your children must show up, how much sleep they have to get along with a government enforced bedtime, a command that parents support all school policies whether they agree with them or not, and then places demands on free adults regarding attendance on Parents Evenings, then the government thinks it owns and has superior authority over your kids.
Of course, this is not happening without a fight. The group Parents Outloud has complained particularly about the idea of parents snooping on each other. Margaret Morrissey a leader in the group finds the idea of parents “reporting on other children despicable”.
The principle that is so important here is whether your kids are given to you by God to love and raise or do your kids belong to the government which essentially loans them to you. What lies at stake here for the British people is the all-powerful spiritual, moral and ethical connection between the parent and the child. When a government begins to enter the family then there is great danger of unbridled, increasing state control of the most basic of human rights.
Don’t think it can happen here. In the next entry I will deal with part of the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child. What an innocuous title that hides principles that would turn the relationship of the family to the kids in a family on it’s head. There is a huge movement in certain political circles for us to sign and ratify this treaty.
These issues are at the heart of the right of an individual to make a decision to learn in a group environment or independently whether at ones home or in another environment. We as individuals are the causal agents of government, not the other way round.
Until next time.