Friday, December 04, 2009

Where we are now and what to do next.

OK so I'm guessing, though I think my information may well be good, in which case I suspect that the situation in Westminster is currently pretty volatile with regard to the issue of what to do about the monitoring of home educators. Whilst the Labour position is pretty clear on what it pretends to want to do, (see also the EO briefing paper on the CSF bill here), the Tories and the Lib Dems don't yet have a firm policy line and I suspect are being submitted to quite a bit of internal lobbying which may sway them either way.

This is significant because the Tories and the Lib Dems could be HUGELY important should the Children, Schools and Families Bill be selected for the "wash-up" process - which looks to be the only way that this bill could get through, given the shortage of time before the next election must be called. If this were to happen, the government will approach the two main opposition parties and ask them to agree to let the CSF bill through. The Shadow Spokesmen, Michael Gove for Tories, and David Laws for Lib Dems, will have a lot of say since they could amend or remove clauses they do not like.

I believe that right now, we should be taking every opportunity to alert both main opposition parties to the problems with the proposals to monitor educational provision and attainment for home educated children. We have to point out that if they follow the government's path in this regard and choose to implement this type of monitoring as well, they will have a much, much bigger job on their hands than they may currently realise.

Labour have called our bluff in this regard, because other policy proposals for schooling parents in the CSF bill make it clear that they pretend that they don't give a monkeys for the argument that the state should not be held responsible for ensuring that a child "receives", - as in both "is provided with" and "attains" a suitable education, since they are giving schooling parents all those rights to complain about failures over these issues.

You would have thought the government wouldn't have dared go down this route as it looks like a recipe for bankruptcy for most LAs, so I'm thinking that in truth, the government really, really doesn't want this bit of the bill to go through unamended and that it was merely a bit of electioneering via the Queen's speech.

These universal proposals also served to obscure the significance of their proposal to monitor the educational provision and attainment of home educated children, which would mean that the government could slip this bit by the opposition parties whilst the Tories in particular rushed to obliterate the other bit about schooling parents having rights to sue over failure of educational provision and attainment.

So, whether or not the CSF bill comes up in the wash-up, if anyone has a good opportunity to talk to their Tory or Lib Dem MP, it is worth mentioning that universal monitoring of the provision and educational attainment of home educated children will have a huge impact for any government, since it will reinterpret s7 for all children and will mean that any government must do something about every single child should the educational provision or attainment prove inadequate. The government will need to investigate and do something about all failure of educational provision and attainment, whether at home or in school.


Anonymous said...

The torries want a register of home educators. that is Lord lucas fall back he said so! the only hope is the bill runs out of time but i can see cameron wanting some sort of register when he gets into power? i have not see nthe torries say they dont want register? have you?

Anonymous said...

I think the pressure for a register is very high and driven by people's unthinking reaction to the fact that there isn't one. The citizens of this country have been so brainwashed by media hysteria that the vast majority find it hard to believe that a child is not 'on a register' of some sort once it reaches school age. After all, they say, you register your child for school, so why is there nowhere to register your child for EHE? They don't stop to think of the costs, benefits and real reasons for a register. I think the fight against a register may be unwinnable, but the licensing scheme fight MUST be won by home educators or there will no longer be any hope for civil liberties or freedom of thought.

I always used to think America's 'Land of the free' was a bit of typical US hype, but now... I hope they'll open their doors to European home educators, today's "huddled masses yearning to breathe free".

Anonymous said...

licensing scheme is the same as a register! The Tories i belive want a register for home educators knowing that is is really a licensing scheme if it makes it easy to sell to the public it can be called a register! Lord Lucas has said this is the fall back postion! the only hope is the bill will run out of time? its not so bad for us our son will be 14 in march and we being doing home education for over 6 years but i really fear for new home educators in 2011

Anonymous said...

The U.S. isn't entirely free; only a few states allow parents to home school without notifying the state authorities, but many others require only that the parent notifies the state and there is no licensing or inspection regime in these.

Other states are tougher, requiring evidence of parental qualifications, child testing and "professional evaluation"

See the HSLDA Home School Laws page for details.

Texas, Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey and a few others are "free" - although I don't see us in Texas or Alaska - but I could also cope with California and New Mexico.

Anonymous said...

For the difference between a simple registration scheme and the licensing proposed by the UK government see the entry for December 4th at this blog .

It also contains a discussion of the difference between the monitoring and regulation proposals for England, and the relative freedom allowed in even those US states which are considered 'restrictive'.

I highly recommend this blog article, which puts it much better than I can and includes this:

"the kind of draconian measures proposed for U.K. home educators are simply unheard of, at least in North America".

The idea that the regulations for monitoring and registration proposed by the UK government are similar to those elsewhere in the world is simply a myth put around by Badman and the DCSF.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree that the draconian measures proposed by Badman, particularly home visits, are unconstitutional in the U.S. (probably under the 4th amendment and with the danger of invoking the 2nd).

However, nobody should be under any illusion that it's universally free and easy; many states require testing, some require evidence (often flimsy) of parental competence. See the HSLDA page, linked above, which has links to detailed legal analysis for each state.

Overall, having looked at this very seriously and carefully - from afar and close-up in a few states - I think all the U.S. states are better than the regime proposed by Badman and my family could live with those, but many people would baulk at the requirements of some states and should take care if they are thinking about this option.

Anonymous said...

Will we know if the bill goes through or not before Christmas?

Carlotta said...

Hi L, no, I don't think so, as an election will not be called until after Christmas, and only then will we know which bills have been selected for the Wash-Up.