Saturday, May 10, 2008

Good Argument for Increased Conditionality for Home Educating Parents

From Action for Home Education's recent Press Release:

"Former home educator, Karen Best, who was a lone parent reliant entirely on income support until her daughter reached school leaving age, has also spoken out against the government's proposals which she believes will remove an essential lifeline from desperate parents. Describing her own circumstances, she said: "I removed my daughter, who has profound learning difficulties and special needs, from school when she was 10 years old after a prolonged period of bullying which had resulted in her self-harming and threatening suicide. I was a single parent on Income Support and struggling to cope financially as well as with an extremely unhappy child.

Since the school and local authority failed to deal with the problems, home education became the only option for us and we never looked back, although I lost entitlement to free school meals and clothing vouchers as soon as I removed my daughter from school and got no support or resources from the local authority. Now it seems, the Government wants to completely pull the financial rug out from under the most vulnerable parents and children. How on earth can they justify impoverishing children and penalising single parents in this way?""

Yep, if the government in effect forces lone home educating parents to send their children back to school, it is likely to find that this will cost them a lot more than keeping such a family on income support, since many HE children are withdrawn from school precisely because of unmet special needs. These needs will have to be met when the child returns to school with proper, much more widespread statementing and support. However, statementing and learning support are VERY expensive and LAs are usually reluctant to undertake this process.

If the SENs of these children are not met, the government can expect HEors to organise a campaign to demonstrate that it is nigh impossible for such parents to meet their legal obligation to educate their children according to their age, ability and aptitude.


little said...

You mean you are not celebrating with your libertarian friends?

Carlotta said...

It's a difficult one but on balance, no, for the reason will probably cost the state/tax-payer far more to have these children back in the school many of them either already have statements or would need them, and these are very costly indeed.

Plus of course, it isn't good news as far as the liberation of these children is concerned!

Anonymous said...

Is it moral to chose to home educate on welfare or by using state schools instead of private ones? You agree it's right for people to use the state as their armed robber? This is the libertarian argument, right?

Isn't the liberation of children the parent's responsibility and shouldn't it be done at the parents' own expense?

Carlotta said...

Yes, you're right in principle and I would stick with this in an ideal world. Unfortunately, this isn't an ideal world, so have rather grudgingly plumped for the purely pragmatic argument on this one.

Anonymous said...

What is an ideal world? A world where this problem doesn't exist? A world where people don't make mistakes and don't need help from others?

If you wouldn't willingly and gladly give your tax money to help lone parents, maybe you are not the right person to defend this cause.

Carlotta said...

"What's an ideal world? A world where this problem doesn't exist? A world where people don't make mistakes and don't need help from others?"

Well obviously, a purely ideal world would be one where these such problems didn't exist, but when I used the term, I meant it in the more realistic, though still unrealised sense of a word where such problems persist - people continue to make mistakes, but those who are not directly responsible for these mistakes are not forced to help sort them out, (though of course they would be free to do so if they wanted to).

On your other point, I think I should can reasonably defend this cause, if only for a different reason to that which more frequently put about in the HE community, ie: I would prefer that lone parents could continue to HE because I think that it would be less of a tax burden, (as well as being much better for the children involved.)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

The only way we get to create a world where people are not forced to help people they don't want to help is by not pretending we are forced to when they are not.

You can be forced to pay taxes, but you are not forced to give your money to lone parents. You are not forced to have a public opinion on this issue. You can continue to protest taxation like a good libertarian or imagine that your money goes to war.

Leave those that truly want to help lone parents to do it, please. Because I want the same as you. I want people that want to help to help.

I don't need condescension from libertarian middle class mothers, who want to be popular with everyone, and who are not willingly sending cheques my way.

If you support this cause because you are not immune from the possibility of becoming a lone parent and do not expect the financial safeguards you have in place to be fullproof, then I salute you.

If not, teach lone parents what safeguards do you have in place. Share your libertarian creativity. What are you doing to prevent "such problems" in your life?

Don't gives us permission to steal at gun point.

By the way, you could have linked to the mailing list many lone parents started in order to brainstorm business ideas and encourage their way out of welfare dependence.

Live what you want the world to be, or it will never be.

Carlotta said...

"You can be forced to pay taxes, but you are not forced to give your money to lone parents."

Could you explain how I can prevent my taxed money from being used to support lone parents?

Carlotta said...

"You can continue to protest taxation like a good libertarian "...

Indeed, and indeed I hoped that this point would be clearly implied in the argument I used.

Anonymous said...

"Could you explain how I can prevent my taxed money from being used to support lone parents?"

They don't take your money and decide "Ok, this is Carlotta's money, let's give it to lone parents."

Your tax money is a very small ammount of all the government budget. Unless you are a millionare you are not supporting a single lone parent, much less lone parents, plural.

If there's anything the goverment does that you believe a government should do, say war or health, the moral thing for you to do is to imagine your money goes to that cause.

If it's taxes you don't want to pay at all, for any cause, continue to protest just that.

"Indeed, and indeed"

You're not doing it. You are acting like you were forced to charity and pretending lone parenting is a problem that only others have and unpleasantly forced on you.

I would also expect all the services you use are not governmental.

Anonymous said...

Regardless if this cause is libertarian, there are a couple other issues worrying me.

If home educators get an exemption to receive lone parent income support, this not only will start state sponsorship of home education, it might be used as an excuse by less scrupolous parents.

Income support was available to me just for the simple fact I didn't have a partner or a source of income. There were no other conditions attached. It either remains this way or it should end.

I think they should simply cut new people from asking income support and leave others with the same deadline.