February 27, 2004
Checking up on home educators

I have a busy afternoon ahead of me, preparing for my Brian's Last Friday meeting tonight, but Julius Blumfeld, to whom thanks, has just emailed me with the link to this, from the BBC:

Some parents claim they are educating their children at home to hide the fact they are abusing them, welfare officers say.

The Association for Education Welfare Management has asked the Children's Minister, Margaret Hodge, for the power to check up on home educators.

It says the forthcoming Children's Bill is a good opportunity to change the current practice.

Home educators regard the move as offensive and unnecessary.

It was only a matter of time. Just what will this "checking up" end up amounting to, I wonder?

Let me see if I can quickly dig out a posting here of me prophecying that something along these lines would be happening some time soon.

Well, how about this? - not from me but from Julius, on January 16th 2003:

Yet as more parents home educate their children, it will become increasingly visible. And as that happens, the pressure will grow for the State to "do something" about "the problem" of home education. The pressure will come from the teaching unions (whose monopoly it threatens). It will come from the Department of Education (always on the lookout for a new "initiative"). It will come from the Press (all it will take is one scare story about a home educated ten year old who hasn't yet learned to read). And it will come from Brussels (home education is illegal in many European countries so why should it be legal here?).

Not bad.

The pattern is the same with home education as it is with everything else. Something goes wrong, in the context of harmless, legal activity X. Therefore everyone – not just wrongdoers but everyone – doing X gets screwed around from now until the End of Time by the government.

Child abuse is already illegal. The way to stop it is to punish it as and when it is detected. The way to detect it is for neighbours to keep an eye and an ear out for it. The idea that harassing people like Julius Blumfeld and his family is going to improve anything except the salaries of the harassing classes is absurd.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 03:33 PM
Category: Home education