The Impact of the UNCRC on Homeschooling
Hope - 3/28/11 by Kathy Green
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) establishes “civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights [for] children.” Gaining support for and securing a Parental Rights Amendment (PRA) to the U. S. Constitution is a movement in complete opposition to U. S. ratification of the UNCRC. In the end, we will have one or the other. If we are successful, we will have the protection of a PRA. If we are not, we will face vulnerability under the UNCRC.
Nations that have ratified the UNCRC are bound to it by international law. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, consisting of 18 members from countries around the world, monitors compliance.
Article 29 of the UNCRC assures children the right to an education. General Comment No. 1 on the Aims of Education (2001) contains the Committee's official interpretation of Article 29, and specifies the following:
"'Education' in this context goes far beyond formal schooling to embrace the broad range of life experiences and learning processes which enable children, individually and collectively, to develop their personalities, talents and abilities and to live a full and satisfying life within society."
"This includes not only the content of the curriculum but also the educational processes, the pedagogical methods and the environment within which education takes place, whether it be the home, school, or elsewhere."
Remember, this is the Committee's interpretation of the scope of UN oversight called for in Article 29 of the UNCRC.
"Article 29(1) insists upon a holistic approach to education ...promoting the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional aspects of education, the intellectual, social and practical dimensions, and the childhood and lifelong aspects."
Thus, the UN Committee holds it as an obligation of governments under this treaty to see that this entire scope of a child's life (including spiritual aspects, including in the home) be measured and approved according to UN standards.
Parents are already being denied the right to homeschool in Sweden and Germany so that the government can maintain oversight of the education of all children according to UN guidelines, and the Badman Report in Great Britain 2 years ago urged Parliament to adopt added oversight of homeschoolers in the UK as well, also citing the UNCRC as the calling for that oversight.
If the UNCRC is ratified in the United States (and ratification is a real threat), it then becomes the law of the land. Under the UNCRC, homeschooling could be interpreted as potentially depriving a child of “a specific quality of education” as called for by the Committee in the document mentioned above. If the UNCRC is ratified in the U. S., parents could be prohibited from homeschooling.
Even without ratification, U. S. Court Judges and Supreme Court Justices are using the UNCRC, international law and its provisions to shape and interpret U.S. law. In addition, new policies could be crafted to satisfy America's "international obligations" without ratification. Without a Parental Rights Amendment, the UNCRC will continue to be imposed on the United States.
We cannot wait until our rights are formally demolished. Placing a Parental Rights Amendment into the explicit text of the U. S. Constitution is the only possible solution for the eroding support for parental rights in the Supreme Court that can also stop the encroachment of international law.