A dangerous bill targeting home education in the United Kingdom is advancing in the House of Lords.
H.L. 11, which calls for the strict oversight of English and Welsh homeschooling parents, passed its second reading in November and is now up for consideration in committee.
Introduced by Lord Clive Soley and first presented to parliament in June, the bill would require homeschooling parents to register with local authorities and to submit their children to regular educational, physical, and emotional assessments. This could include home visits and interviews with homeschooled children.
“H.L. 11 is an unacceptable and extreme solution to a non-existent problem, and is furthermore a violation of the fundamental premise that parents are the primary decision-makers regarding the education of their children,” said Home School Legal Defense Association Director of Global Outreach Mike Donnelly. “The proposed scheme turns this timeless principle upside down by presuming parents are guilty of harming their children unless the government approves of their decision. No free society can accept this approach to education.”
He added, “A growing body of research globally is proving the efficacy of home education. Homeschooling produces academically advanced and responsible citizens who are politically tolerant of those with differing opinions—unlike the proponents of this bill who have said that they would like to require that all children be subjected to state-controlled education in public schools only.”
According to the BBC, Lord Soley is concerned that some homeschooled children “do not get the basic education necessary to cope in the modern world. He is also worried that abusive parents are now more aware of scrutiny, and home education can allow them to ‘hide’ the child.”
Numerous homeschooling advocates around the globe have denounced these concerns as inconsistent with the facts. They warn that a crackdown on homeschooling in the U.K. could influence other government to follow suit.
Greg Smith of Oxford Home Schooling told Breitbart.com the bill would end up treating parents like outlaws. Right now, the only occasion on which the state has the right to enter your home, he said, is &lduqo;if you’ve committed a crime.”
H.L. 11 would represent a dramatic step backwards for freedom and families. Government officials in the United Kingdom currently have no formal authority over home educators—the law simply states that children should go to school or be “educated otherwise.”
If the bill passes the House of Lords, it will then proceed to the House of Commons for consideration.
HSLDA stands united with our British friends in opposing H.L. 11. We intend to monitor the legislation and keep you informed of its progress.