Tuesday, 3 November 2009

CES responds to Homeschooling Consultation

The CES has published its response to the Government's Consultation on Home Education and seems to be broadly in agreement with what the consultation proposes. 

The questions in the Consultation seem to indicate a certain direction of travel on the part of the Govt., with regard to parents who exercise their right to home educate. There is the hint of a possible conflict of interest between the rights of parents (to home school) and the rights of children ( to be educated). The 'big govt.' drive to register everything that lives and breathes, enforceable by law, and the obsession with tracking and monitoring every child to keep those Govt. data bases up to speed.

I feel rather disappointed with the CES responses, especially the answer to this question: 

10. Do you agree that the local authority should have the power to interview
the child, alone if judged appropriate, or if not in the presence of a trusted
person who is not the parent/carer?
CES: Disagree. The power to interview a child alone needs to be strictly limited and the
grounds on which it might be appropriate clearly indicated. We could agree to the
interview in the presence of a trusted person.

Parents are not  seen as trusted persons?
So who would be?
Would it be the Govt. which decides that question?

Under a heading 'Additional Comments' the CES remarks:

"We have also been told of parents describing their home schooling
arrangements and curriculum as being “Catholic home schooling". There is no such
model or programme of which we are aware.."

Such parents are possibly using Catholic Homeschooling Programmes developed  in America, where there seems to be considerable demand.
But parents might be devising their own programmes of education for their children, in which their children are taught at their own pace, and in conformity with the Church's teaching. That too, is Catholic education, and there are probably as many models for it as there are faithful Catholic home educators.

Faithful Catholic parents would surely, be likely to have renewed confidence in the CES, had it defended the inalienable, essential, primary and God-given role of parents as principal educators of their children,  against the onslaught of state intrusion.

As the late Pope John Paul said:

"Parents are the first and most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area: they are educators because they are parents."

I found these helpful quotations on the Association of Catholic Families website.

The italics are mine.
Gravissimum Educationis - declaration on Christian education, Paul VI, 1965, n.3.
Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators. This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking. Parents are the ones who must create a family atmosphere animated by love and respect for God and man, in which the well-rounded personal and social education of children is fostered.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2223
Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery - the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the "material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones."31 Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.

Gaudium et Spes, n.49
It is imperative to give suitable and timely instruction to young people, above all in the heart of their own families, about the dignity of married love, its role and its exercise, so that, having learned the value of chastity, they will be able at a suitable age to engage in honorable courtship and enter upon a marriage of their own.

Familiaris Consortio n.36
The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others.

In addition to these characteristics, it cannot be forgotten that the most basic element, so basic that it qualifies the educational role of parents, is parental love, which finds fulfillment in the task of education as it completes and perfects its service of life: as well as being a source, the parents' love is also the animating principle and therefore the norm inspiring and guiding all concrete educational activity, enriching it with the values of kindness, constancy, goodness, service, disinterestedness and self-sacrifice that are the most precious fruit of love.
Message for 38th World Communications day, Benedict XVI.
5. Parents, as the primary and most important educators of their children, are also the first to teach them about the media. They are called to train their offspring in the “moderate, critical, watchful and prudent use of the media” in the home (Familiaris Consortio, 76). When parents do that consistently and well, family life is greatly enriched.

Charter of the Rights of the family, 1983, Article 5
Since they have conferred life on their children, parents have the original, primary and inalienable right to educate them; hence they must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children.

a) Parents have the right to educate their children in conformity with their moral and religious convictions, taking into account the cultural traditions of the family which favor the good and the dignity of the child; they should also receive from society the necessary aid and assistance to perform their educational role properly.
b) Parents have the right to freely choose schools or other means necessary to educate their children in keeping with their convictions. Public authorities must ensure that public subsidies are so allocated that parents are truly free to exercise this right without incurring unjust burdens. Parents should not have to sustain, directly or indirectly, extra charges which would deny or unjustly limit the exercise of this freedom.
c) Parents have the right to ensure that their children are not compelled to attend classes which are not in agreement with their own moral and religious convictions. In particular, sex education is a basic right of the parents and must always be carried out under their close supervision, whether at home or in educational centers chosen and controlled by them.
d) The rights of parents are violated when a compulsory system of education is imposed by the State from which all religious formation is excluded.
e) The primary right of parents to educate their children must be upheld in all forms of collaboration between parents, teachers and school authorities, and particularly in forms of participation designed to give citizens a voice in the functioning of schools and in the formulation and implementation of educational policies.
f) The family has the right to expect that the means of social communication will be positive instruments for the building up of society, and will reinforce the fundamental values of the family. At the same time the family has the right to be adequately protected, especially with regard to its youngest members, from the negative effects and misuse of the mass media.
The truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, Pontifical Council for the Family, n.5.
The Church has always affirmed that parents have the duty and the right to be the first and the principal educators of their children.

Letter to Families, 1995, John Paul II.
"Parents are the first and most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area: they are educators because they are parents."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. More fisking today and I need to start another letter to my bishop. I hope he'll reply this time.