Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why Do Some Homeschoolers Object to Children's Rights?

For some reason many homeschoolers (both the HSLDA & NHELD) appear to be opposed to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of The Child.  I took the time to read the treaty for myself and fail to see why they are opposed to it. Nothing in the treaty is hostile to homeschooling and the treaty is very respectful of the bond between parents and their children. You can read the treaty for yourself  here.

HSLDA is using the fact that Sweden has banned homeschooling to denounce the UN Rights of the Child.  But even a lawyer with HSLDA admits it is Swedish law that is at fault.

Sweden's laws, according to Mike Donnelly, a lawyer with the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, are even contrary to the European Convention, which states that families have the right to school within their own religious and philosophical convictions.

Many homeschoolers apparently fear that if the United States ratifies the treaty homeschooling will be abolished. But since homeschooling is legal in the United States in all 50 states this is nonsense.

"No U.N. treaty will ever usurp the national sovereignty of this country," said Meg Gardinier, chair of a national coalition backing the treaty. "Ratification would boost our credibility globally."

According to Jonathan Todres "The reality is that no country that is a party to the convention has seen parental rights encroached," said Jonathan Todres, a law professor at Georgia State University who has worked with Gardinier's coalition.

Todres also noted that while U.N.'s expert committee monitoring the treaty can make recommendations to governments that have ratified the pact, there are no enforcement mechanisms or penalties

So why does HSLDA & NHELD object to children's basic rights — including education, health care and protection from abuse —? Why in a country that was founded on the ideal of individual rights do they wish to deny that children have rights.

From The Declaration of Independence ~ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —

The only other country that hasn't ratified the treaty is Somalia.


  1. As I mentioned on your last post regarding this issue, you can read my reasoning against the UN CRC in its full length at

    I also must point out that Mr. Todres is either wrong or lying. The national website has several examples if you search for "life under the CRC" and read their countries.

    I could continue, but I have already written on this on my blog. Go there and click on the Aug 7 Series and start with part 1.

  2. I read your blog post and found them less then convincing.

    As for your examples .........
    The evidence you provided does not PROVE anything about the UN Rights of the Child Treaty other then that the countries are still free to follow their OWN LAWS. Homeschooling has been illegal in Germany since 1871. In September 2006, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the German ban on homeschooling, in a religious-freedom case that began in 2003. The European court argued that parents can’t use religion to justify homeschooling in Germany. (Under German law, parents can decide whether or not their offspring will receive the religious instruction offered in German schools.) So the European court merely UPHELD GERMANY'S LAWS.

    Sweden enacted laws banning homeschooling, this has nothing to do with the UNCRC. You have yet to site ONE example where the UNCRC itself was hostile to homeschooling. Have you EVEN READ the UNCRC for yourself?

  3. Yes,
    I have read the CRC maybe 10 times. I have made notes on it and lectured on it to parents multiple times.
    One of my major points is that this is not just about homeschooling. The worldview that the government can unilaterally dictate what my children learn and believe is wrong. It goes against the principles of freedom that founded this country. Those who have strived for dictatorship of their own nations, such as Hitler, know that whoever controls the education of the youth will control the future government. This treaty hands over power to the government in the raising of our children. Were this not the intention, the authors of the treaty would not have removed an originally proposed statement that afforded more protection to parents.
    When I have more time, I will go back and explain in more detail why this treaty is dangerous to homeschoolers AND all others.

    Thank you for dialoguing on this.
    Eric Potter MD

  4. On every count Dr Potter is incorrect. The CRC makes it clear just who has primary responsibility for the raising of their children, including direction, guidance, protection and provision. At no point is it said to be the state, whose supportive role is clearly delineated.

    I wish his lobby would come clean, the focus of their concern is that children in areas of their lives, based on parental guidance and direction, and on their degree of understanding, have rights to make decisions - one of the ones the christian-tinged PRO seems most to find objectionable is about belief and another about the right to receive and impart information.

    What the US Constitution says about this as regards children the PRO lobby never seem to concern themselves. Indeed ask them what they say ARE the rights of children and at best their is silence and some of their supporters come out with what I call the "wholly-owned" definition of childhood, Parent Inc incorporating Childhood Subsidiary.

    Also ask them what they say these 'parental rights' are and you get no definitions, maybe a reference or to the Bible. Indeed it does seem to be they claim but one single such right - the right/power of total disposal. They may cavil at this but the statements by Eric Potter lead only in that direction. "We pay for their upbringing, that gives us total rights buster".

    Their analysis also falters when it comes to the power of the state. No place for you ... until it all goes tots-up, and then you punish the wrongdoer. It all feels rather 'one way' but it is a view of society I suppose.

    The PRO needs to be explicit, if I have it all wrong, as to what these parental rights are, above and beyond "wholly owned". What is the intellectual, societal and moral/ethical basis for such rights? This is rather important if you intend a constitutional amendment to lock these into the framework of the nation ....

    What is the alternative to "wholly owned" (and that will have degrees and variants but as one guy said to me, yes, really that is what he meant when we dissected it.

    I call the other model "held in trust". It shares with "wholly owned" one right, to have children. Although there may be other civil rights which then come into play, such as a right to support from the community ( ... discuss!!! ...) after that I guess it is all a case of responsibility, 'sacred trust', need I elaborate. Taking the child from total dependence through many stages to total independence.

    Dr Potter might also reflect that in quite a few of the nations who have ratified, civil society, including parents, faith groups, children's and other rights groups have used the CRC, particularly the 5 yearly review, to hold their governments to account.

    Yet Dr Potter's associates only want us to associate the CRC with a lurid vision of UN blue-helmeted hordes marching on the Capitol and the White House to enforce their world order. Shame it's a total fantasy and shame the PRO uses misrepresentation and half truths to push their case with gullible senators and legislatures. Hey boys, leave off the Parties, go easy on the Tea ...


Spam is not tolerated. I welcome on topic comments from you.