Michael Donnelly is GHEX’s founding Secretary, HSLDA’s Senior Counsel and Director of Global Outreach, and is the publisher of Global Homeschooling News.
Interest in home education is at an all-time high with parents expressing increasing desire for more alternatives for their children’s education needs. Governments around the world are increasingly confronted with demands for legal recognition or better regulations. The Global Home Education Exchange is launching this newsletter to help keep you informed. GHEX is a forum to network, share information, collaborate, and inspire those with an interest in exploring, better understanding, or promoting this important freedom. We hope that this regular news feature will deliver relevant and useful news that can help you as a home education leader. Home education is a growing global movement and our mission at GHEX is to advance, connect, and equip you about home education on a global basis.
My recent opinion article in the Washington Examiner highlights the negative attention that the United Nations organization, UNESCO, is giving to the home education movement. It is noteworthy that UNESCO has commented on the homeschooling movement in its last two global education monitoring reports, and it is regrettable that both mentions of home education have been negative. You can read my comments about the 2021 GEM and the 2022 GEM. Instead of putting home education down, UNESCO should be lifting home education up as a solution to meet many challenges faced by millions of learners that lack access to education opportunities. Research clearly shows that home education delivers high quality academic and social outcomes while demanding virtually no state support.
It doesn’t take much effort to see that there is a surge of activity regarding home education policy. In Europe, however, much of this activity is unfavorable toward home education. An increasing number of European governments are imposing additional unnecessary and unwarranted regulations on home educating families. For example, in France, President Macron has said that the schools are where children must learn the values of the republic. In England, the head of the National Department of Education said that she is “concerned by the recent increase in the number of children being home educated.” And that “most parents aren’t equipped to do it and if they are motivated by their own or their child’s anxiety, rather than a deeply-held desire to home-educate – the outcomes for their children are unlikely to be great.”
Often these authorities cast suspicion on parents and assume, without evidence, that children who are homeschooled are at risk of harm. Dr. Brian Ray, one of the world’s leading researchers in home education, has published a blog post listing the known studies on abuse and neglect and homeschooling. More research is needed, and Dr. Ray is working on a major study that will hopefully be published in the near future on this subject. The FACT is that there is NO evidence to link homeschooling to abuse. Rather there is MUCH evidence that shows that abuse and neglect are much more related to other demographic factors and NOT school settings.
It is unethical and harmful to assert that JUST BECAUSE there is no evidence that there SHOULD be concern. Imposing unnecessary regulations based on unsubstantiated assumptions is not how policy should be made in countries that follow the rule of law. Yet we are seeing this trend happening in Europe. Studies about this issue need to be publicized and shared with policy makers and others, which is why I want to draw your attention to Dr. Ray’s blog post, Homeschool Abuse and Neglect Research: How Many Homeschooled Kids Are Abused?
I hope you find the other information useful in staying abreast of what is going on in homeschooling around the world. Please share this newsletter and tell others about GHEX!