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February 22, 2017

Australian Homeschoolers Fight Proposed Restrictions

Mike Donnelly MIKE DONNELLY HSLDA Director of Global Outreach

The Home Education Network, Inc. and the Victorian Home Education Community are taking action against draft education regulations proposed in the Victoria, Australia, state parliament.

The proposed regulations would impose additional burdens on parents seeking to homeschool their children in Victoria. For each academic year, parents would have to formulate individualized plans that specify when or where instruction will take place and how a student’s learning outcomes will be recorded. Parents would then have to submit this information to the Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority (VRQA).

Under the current regulations, the homeschool notice of intent requests very little information from parents. No education plan is required, and officials may only review a family’s program and materials if there is reasonable cause for concern.

The proposed regulations would greatly inhibit the right of Victorian parents, as enumerated in the Education and Training Reform Act of 2006, “to choose an appropriate education for their child (s.1.2.2 (f)).”

Beyond burdening parents, these regulations would also harm troubled children. They would require parents whose children are anxious, struggling, or suicidal because of a negative school environment—or parents whose children are being bullied—to keep their children in school for 28 days or more after requesting to homeschool. Parents would no longer be able to immediately remove the child from the harmful environment.

This increase in state control would be a departure from previous, non-intrusive requirements. In addition, the regulations were formulated with no evidence that there were issues or abuses in the Victorian homeschool community and were written without input from experts familiar with the community.

An international online petition formulated by the Victorian Home Education Community addresses two members of the state parliament: The Honorable James Merlino, and The Honorable Nick Wakeling. The petition asks them to overturn the proposed regulations, to promote assessments of home education that are informed by the established research on homeschooling, and to appoint assessors of the homeschool community in consultation with that community. The petition acknowledges the previously friendly relationship between homeschooling families and the state.

Sign the Petition

The petition is not nation-specific, allowing citizens of all countries to voice their support. We urge HSLDA members from around the world to read and sign the petition here.

As a global movement that benefits children and families, home education is an option that all countries should respect.

Other Resources

For background information, please see HSLDA’s country profile on Australia.

Read the petition here.