The Libertarian Alliance believes absolutely in the right of people to educate their children in their own values – whether these be of their family, their faith, their community or themselves. So far, the British State has not interfered with this right, and Britain is one of the most liberal environments on Earth for home education. In this respect, we are much luckier than Germany – where home education was outlawed by Hitler in 1938, or even many American jurisdictions.
This liberal environment may be about to change, with the acceptance of the Badman Report by the British Government. This will bring in compulsory registration of all home educators, together with inspection and control. These will not at first be very burdensome. But they will form a precedent for more and more burdensome regulation, until the right is effectively abolished. Action now means not negotiating a compromise with the authorities. This will simply concede the principle of regulation and buy a little time before effective abolition. We must oppose the very principle of regulation, and raise such a storm of opposition that the authorities back away from this attempt and are forced to wait at least a decade before trying again.
For this reason, WE MUST ACT NOW. The Libertarian Alliance makes no claim to leadership in this campaign. As said, we believe absolutely in the right to home education. The President and Director do have children of their own, and are interested in home education as an option. But we have limited resources, and there are home education movements in the United Kingdom with far greater organisational abilities in this area.
This being said, we do wish to make our own contribution. Here, then, are some of our writings on home education.
1. Our news release of the 11th June 2009. This sets out the nature of the threat, gives our summary response, and provides names and addresses of the politicians concerned for those who wish to write to them.
2. An essay by Sean Gabb from 2004, which sets out the main arguments for home education.
3. “Home Schooling: A British Perspective” by Sean Gabb. Written in 2004, this was published in an American book in 2005. It explains at some length the present legal status of home education, and looks sympathetically at the arguments in favour of home education.
4. Professor John Kersey, “The Belgian State versus Home Schooling: The Persecution of Dr Alexandra Colen and Dr Paul Belien”, 2006. This provides an interesting and chilling case study on what happens in a country where home education is formally legal, but subject to state regulation.
5. David Botsford, “Compulsion Versus Liberty in Education, X: Home Education in Britain”. Published in 1993, this sets out another case for home education, written from a libertarian perspective.
6. David Botsford, “Ivan Illich and the Deschooling Movement”. Also from 1993, this continues the case against forcing children to attend schools, whether state or private.
7. As background to libertarian views on education in general, w e would recommend all the essays in our “Educational Notes” series.
Whether or not you are a parent with children of school age, whether or not you live in the United Kingdom, our New Labour Government – even when shambling round like the political equivalent of George A, Romero’s zombies – is set on destroying yet another ancient freedom in this country. If that attempt is successful, it will form a precedent for attacks in other countries. Please do take this matter seriously.
The Libertarian Alliance