Minnesota Homeschoolers Lobby Legislators to Challenge Obamacare

     You might be interested in this item from the Eagle Forum’s May 2010 Education Reporter.

     Each year, a group of Minnesota homeschool students gathers weekly at a church in Roseville, Minnesota to research, discuss, and draft mock legislative resolutions for four public policy issues. Since the students choose topics for the Student Senate class, the 14- to 18-year-olds always pick subjects that interest them; this year they delved into modern slavery, nuclear power and the American war on terror.

     Last month they decided their fourth topic, health care, merited more than just academic inquiry.

     “After the health care bill passed, we were all sort of outraged, not only at the content of the bill, but the way it was passed, and just the machinations and the back room deals and all that,” explained Student Senator Fletcher Warren, age 18, in a radio interview with Sue Jeffers. “So we decided that we should do what we could . . . We wrote out this resolution . . . detailing our concerns, such as the unconstitutionality of it.violating the commerce clause, etc.”

     The resolution calls upon Minnesota’s governor, attorney general, and the state legislature to seek an injunction that would relieve the state of having to comply with newly enacted national healthcare legislation.

     On April 6th, the 32 students comprising the class gathered at the St. Paul statehouse to hand-deliver letters and copies of the signed resolution to Minnesota legislators.

     The students were able to meet with four representatives and two senators, all of whom welcomed their young constituents.

     Warren served as chairman of the healthcare committee for the class and was pleased with the way legislators received the student delegation and their message. “The [state legislators] were all quite friendly and quite pleased to take [the resolution],” he said, describing the experience as “overwhelmingly positive.”

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homeschooling in Sweden

       Many homeschoolers in the United States have been following the saga of Swedish couple, Christer and Annie Johansson, whose 7-year-old son, Dominic, was literally yanked off a plane and taken into custody by the state last year.  You can learn more about the original incident from the following article: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=109334 .

     Recently, Mary Pride, publisher of Practical Homeschooling magazine,  made some comments on this in the May 2010 issue of Home-School News ( www.home-school.com ).   “The Johanssons were homeschooling their son (which is still legal in Sweden) for a short period prior to moving to India, Annie’s native country.  They followed all the rules, notifying the local school of their plans, and requesting curriculum for their son.  Apparently, after initially agreeing to do so, the principal changed his mind once some local people objected. Eventually this escalated to a court battle, with the parents fined each day Dominic did not attend school. They felt they were on safe ground according to their rights under Swedish law, so stood firm.  That’s where the situation rested, until the police “stormed the plane” one minute before take-off and grabbed Dominic away from his parents.  They have only been allowed to see him for brief periods once every five weeks since then.  It’s not just the Johanssons, either. Some Swedish authorities have been cracking down on other homeschool families.”

     In fact, the Swedish government is apparently considering making homeschooling illegal, as it is in Germany.    Home School Legal Defense Association emailed a letter by Michael P. Donnelly to members of the Swedish Parliament which contained the following.  “It has come to our attention that many Swedish families would like to homeschool their children. While many have been allowed to do so, there is increasing repression of these families through court proceedings. We are also informed that the Swedish Parliament is considering changes to the current school law that would allow home education only in “exceptional circumstances” and make it possible for homeschooling families to face criminal sanctions.

     “We wish to point out that Sweden’s behavior in repressing home education and in considering laws that would severely restrict, if not entirely eliminate home education, is similar to behavior for which Germany has been criticized. In fact, the United States of America has granted political asylum to a German family who fled persecution because of their desire to homeschool their children. This persecution took the form of fines and other threats based solely on the fact that they homeschooled their children. If Sweden adopts this strict law, as recommended in Chapter 24, Paragraph 23 of the proposed new Swedish school law, it appears likely that the same circumstances that currently exist in Germany would appear in Sweden, forcing many Swedish citizens who wish to homeschool to flee their home country. It is our understanding that some Swedish families have already chosen to flee because of harassment from local school authorities who arbitrarily deny them their right to teach their own children.

     “While we understand that nations have their own culture and laws, Sweden is a country based on Western notions of justice and liberty. In addition, Sweden often points to its positive record on human rights. Yet as United States Federal Immigration Judge Lawrence Burman wrote in his opinion granting the German Romeike family political asylum, “No country has a right to deny these basic human rights.” He refers to the right of parents to decide the best form of education for their children, which includes the right, even if regulated, to educate their own children themselves.

     “As you know, the Treaty of Amsterdam calls for respect for those fundamental rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. These same rights are solemnly proclaimed in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, most notably Article 6 (Right to liberty and security of person), Article 7 (Respect for private and family life), Article 10 (Freedom of thought, conscience and religion), Article 14 (Right to education), Article 20 (Equality before the law), Article 21 (Non-discrimination), Article 22 (Cultural, religious and linguistic diversity), Article 24 (Rights of the child), and Article 47 (Right to an effective remedy and a fair trial). These formative documents each indicate that homeschooling should be possible for those who choose it. Furthermore, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself states in Article 26 that parents retain the right to choose the kind of education their children receive.

     “In his report on the German education system in 2006 United Nation’s UN Special Rapporteur Vernor Munoz writes,

     [A]ccording to reports received, it is possible that, in some Länder, education is understood exclusively to mean school attendance. Even though the Special Rapporteur is a strong advocate of public, free and compulsory education, it should be noted that education may not be reduced to mere school attendance and that educational processes should be strengthened to ensure that they always and primarily serve the best interests of the child. Distance learning methods and home schooling represent valid options which could be developed in certain circumstances, bearing in mind that parents have the right to choose the appropriate type of education for their children, as stipulated in article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The promotion and development of a system of public, government-funded education should not entail the suppression of forms of education that do not require attendance at a school. In this context, the Special Rapporteur received complaints about threats to withdraw the parental rights of parents who chose home-schooling methods for their children.

     “The UN report notes in recommendations Section 93(g) “[T]hat the necessary measures should be adopted to ensure that the home schooling system is properly supervised by the State, thereby upholding the right of parents to employ this form of education when necessary and appropriate, bearing in mind the best interests of the child.”

     “Scientific research and practical experience around the world has conclusively proven that homeschooling is at least as effective as public schools both academically and in producing well-socialized and productive members of society. In many cases, homeschooling has proved more effective. There is no other country in the world that has as much experience with this form of education as the United States. With over 2 million homeschooled students (nearly 3% of the school age population), the United States’ experience has been overwhelmingly positive and demonstrates that measures to restrict home education, such as those before the parliament today are repressive and are not necessary to safeguard the State’s interest in education or in protecting children.

     “For more research, please read a report by the Fraser Institute of Canada. http://www.fraserinstitute.org/Commerce.Web/product_files/Homeschooling.pdf

     “For additional research, please also visit HSLDA’s online research. http://www.hslda.org/research/default.asp

     “We urge you to vote against this severe law to modify Chapter 24 Paragraph 23 in the proposed new Swedish school law. This change would essentially ban homeschooling in Sweden. In a pluralistic and democratic society such as Sweden, freedom in education must be respected. It is the recognized human right of parents to determine the best form of education for their children.”

     Now there  is hope.  In an item headlined, “Cavalry arrives for beleaguered homeschool family: Top human rights expert to argue for return of abducted 7-year-old, Bob Unruh of WorldNetDaily (April 30, 2010), reported the following:

     A top human rights expert who also is accomplished in Swedish law has been assigned to help a homeschool family whose 7-year-old son was taken into custody by police and has been detained by social services agents in Sweden for almost a year.

     The startling assignment by Swedish courts of attorney Ruby Harrold-Claesson to the case of Christer and Annie Johansson came only days after WND reported on a campaign by the Home School Legal Defense Association for homeschoolers and others worldwide to contact Swedish authorities about the case.

     The Johansson’s son, Dominic, was apprehended last year by police on a jetliner as the family awaited departure on a planned move to India, Annie’s home country. There were no charges against the family or allegations of criminal activity.

     Local education officials and social workers object to the family’s choice to provide a homeschooling education for their son, even though the activity technically remains legal in Sweden.

     The latest development came after a hearing between the parents and social workers over Dominic’s status was canceled. The boy’s parents are allowed a short visit once every five weeks.

     Court officials picked a local attorney to represent the family, but Christer Johansson rejected him out of hand, and the court, in a move that surprised advocates for the family, appointed the nationally known human rights leader. Harrold-Claesson is president of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights.

     “The lawyer is a real freedom fighter,” Michael Donnelly, an executive with the HSDLA, told WND. “She goes toe-to-toe over this issue. She’s a fighter for the family in Sweden.”

     Donnelly said because of Harrold-Claesson’s successful activism she’s looked on with suspicion by authorities and social services agencies, which is why the appointment was surprising.

     Donnelly told WND the situation in Sweden overall appears to be deteriorating for homeschooling families. He said he has just begun working on another case in which a family has been fined 20,000 Swedish kroners, about $4,500, for homeschooling a 13-year-old who, by court statements of school officials themselves, is outstanding both academically and socially.

     For more information, read the entire article: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=147501 .

     Mary Pride concluded with the following information:   In a bit of good news, a top human-rights campaigner has been assigned to represent the family. This occurred just a few days after Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) started campaigning on behalf of the Johanssons.  If you’d like to help, first please pray for this family. Could anything be more heart-wrenching than to have your child literally ripped from your arms?  Second, please go to this page ( http://www.hslda.org/hs/international/Sweden/201005060.asp ) and find out how you can contact the Swedish committee that will be convening on May 12 to discuss “what to do” with Dominic Johansson. It includes email and phone numbers for committee members.

     You can read more details in the June issue of Biblical Homeschooling, a free e-mail homeschooling newsletter;  to receive it, send a blank e-mail to biblicalhomeschooling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and then follow the instructions that will be e-mailed to you; or subscribe from the web at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblicalhomeschooling/ .

more on the homosexualization of America

     In an item headlined, “Chicago Tribune‘s Rex Huppke Gaga for Homosexuality,”  Laurie Higgins, Director of IFI’s DSA of the Illinois Family Institute, wrote, “Rex Huppke, who purports to be a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, but is, in reality, a mouthpiece for homosexual activism, has written yet another propaganda piece about homosexuality. Huppke wrote an article — not an opinion piece — but an article that doesn’t even attempt a pretense of objectivity.”

     I have consistently chronicled the homosexualization of America by the forces of the radical left-wing homosexual rights movement, both in this blog and in my e-mail homeschooling newsletter ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblicalhomeschooling/ ) because one of the reasons that so many have chosen to homeschool is to get their kids out of the homosexual indoctrination that is being done in so many public schools, and now the anti-homeschooling movement is criticizing homeschooling precisely because those children are not being presented with a variety of views differing from those of their parents.

     Laurie’s primary focus in the article was Huppke’s  a thinly disguised endorsement of U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez’ disastrous immigration reform proposal which would allow “foreign-born partners of gay and lesbian Americans the same path to citizenship as heterosexual spouses.”   However, she made an interesting observation that I want to pass on to you.  After citing some  examples of homosexuals whose “lovers” are from foreign countries used by Huppke to create sympathy, Laurie said:

     “Unfortunately, in an increasingly non-rational, non-thinking culture, appeals to such tales of woe carry persuasive power. It is these kinds of ‘narratives’ that are shaping the views of even conservative Christians, particularly younger Christians who are not being taught to think critically. As Thomas Sowell, African American Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, writes:  The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.”

     Others have chronicled the fact that even many children from “Christian” homes are much more accepting of the radical homosexual rights agenda because of their exposure to it in public schools.  As homeschoolers, we can teach our children to think critically and Biblically on these topics.  Laurie ended the article with “Some concluding and random thoughts:   Appeals to emotion are not reasons.  The presence of sad feelings tells us precisely nothing about the morality of homosexuality — or any other moral issue.  The presence of emotional and sexual feelings and sexual interactions between two (or more) people does not render their relationship a family structure worthy of affirmation or legal status.  Rex Huppke is not reporting; he is cheerleading and proselytizing.”  And she is absolutely RIGHT!

     Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn (authors of The Fallacy  Detective and The Thinking Toolbox which are studies of logic especially for homeschoolers). where are you when we need you?

well, at least some common sense (or is it that they’re just running scared?)

     The following item appeared on World Net Daily on 5/21/2009.

District kills LGBT indoctrination for kids
Lawsuit that demanded right to opt children out also dropped

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

     A lawsuit that demanded a right for parents to opt their young children out of a “gay” indoctrination program in a California school district was dropped after the district suddenly killed the worst of the curriculum, officials told WND today.

     ‘And Tango Makes Three’ book about homosexual male penguins who name their chick Tango because ‘It takes two to make a Tango.’ This was part of Lesson 9.
 

     Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, had been working on the case pending against the Alameda Unified School District.

      Dacus said the case was filed because parents wanted to uphold a state law allowing them not to have their children participate in health education programs if they choose. But he said the decision to drop the case was made when the district announced it was canceling “Lesson 9” of the Caring School Community curriculum, which was adopted by the school board last year.

     “We’re very pleased,” he said. “But we’re calling upon parents all across the country to investigate and find out just what material is being pushed in their school district.

      “We’re hoping that this school district learns tolerance is a two way street. One way tolerance is not tolerance at all. It’s tyranny,” he said.

     District officials did not return a WND message asking for comment

     Dacus said the problem was that most of the Lesson 9 program went far beyond a message against bullying.

     “The rest was all about acceptance, actual, moral and social acceptance of these very controversial and even medically dangerous lifestyle choices,” he said.

     According to a report from the institute, that section of the curriculum at issue “gave a monopoly to anti-bullying and diversity instruction to only one protected class – LGBT. Lesson 9 excluded all other children who would be subject to bullying because of gender, race, religion, nationality and disability.”

      “The dismissal of the appeal comes after attorneys for the district informed the Pacific Justice Institute that the board of education voted to discontinue use of Lesson 9 and replace it with materials that cover each legally protected class,” said the institute reported.

     “While the district had claimed that a LGBT curriculum was necessary to address bullying and harassment in elementary schools, documentation from the district obtained by PJI through a public records request revealed that, of the approximately 170 incident reports in an 18-month period, there were no school incidents of harassment due to sexual orientation in the elementary grades,” the institute report said.

     “The vast majority of reported complaints on AUSD campuses involved opposite-sex sexual harassment and racial tension, not sexual orientation.”

      Kevin Snider, a PJI attorney representing the parents, said “all children deserve safe schools.”

     “To give one group the sole voice in safe-school instruction was an attempt to teach impressionable children that the LGBT lifestyle is both moral and normative,” he said.

      The dispute spawned at least three lawsuits, several administrative complaints and board meetings attended by hundreds from the community.

      “This has been a significant gain by parents. We are remaining vigilant and will continue to keep an eye on the district,” Dacus said.

      The parents’ case technically was on appeal, following a ruling from Judge Frank Roesch in Alameda Superior Court, who refused to let the parents take their children out of such classes.

     Pacific Justice reported at the time the decision came late last year that Roesch blasted the parents for seeking enforcement of a provision of the California Education Code that gives parents a right to opt their kids out of health education.

      Education Code Section 51240 allows a parent to have a student excused from instruction, “If any part of a school’s instruction in health conflicts with the religious training and beliefs of a parent or guardian of a pupil.”

     However, Pacific Justice Institute said Roesch repeatedly insinuated that the parents are bigots and insisted there can be no homosexual indoctrination because, he purportedly argued, people are born that way.

     In his opinion, Roesch said the opt-out provision in section 51240 “is not reasonably construed to include instruction in family life education, but was intended to be more limited in scope.”

     WND earlier reported when the district was accused of violating federal law for approving the mandatory homosexual curriculum for children as young as 5 without allowing parents to opt out of the lessons.

     The Lesson 9 curriculum was in addition to the school’s current anti-bullying program.

more good reading

      No Greater Joy:  Michael and Debi Pearl have long been “big names” among many homeschoolers, and their free magazine No Greater Joy ( www.nogreaterjoy.org ) along with their books has been very popular.  There have been occasions when I have disagreed with what they have written, sometimes mildly and other times, though very few, a little more strongly, and I have not hesitated to express my disagreement.  However, there is something with which I do NOT disagree with them and in fact support them whole heartedly.

     In the May/June, 2010, edition of No Greater Joy, Mr. Pearl has an article, “Spank and Save a Child,” which begins, “You may have noticed No Greater Joy and Michael Pearl receiving a lot of negative press lately over advocating corporal discipline as part of a comprehensive child training program.”  Some of that bad press has even come from left-wing homeschoolers, who appear to be deathly afraid of the homeschooling movement becoming identified with such “radical, right-wing, fundamentalist, conservative” ideas as spanking.

     The article continued, “Even CBS, after running an uninformed criticism of us, offered to fly us to New York to answer their unfounded charges on The Morning Show.  I was eager to answer, and readily agreed….CBS called for a pre-interview and then canceled the afternoon before the show.  I think they discovered that I was not the Bible thumping caricature they had hoped.  One news outlet reviewed our web site and gave a very positive review, saying there was nothing in our material that would ever lead to child abuse.”

     That is par for the course with the mainstream (i.e., leftist) media.  Mr. Pearl went on to make several other interesting observations.  “…The battle is much bigger than the spanking flap.  They’re not just coming after me, but all parents who believe parenting is as God-given responsibility.  The anti-spanking campaign is a front for an anti-family agenda, a progressive socialist movement to reengineer society with government the only mentor of children….But homeschool parents and Christian parents protect their children from corrupt worldviews.  The socialists know that the last remaining bulwark against brainwashing children is parental headship—thus their hostility toward the family.”

     I could quote more, but rather than giving further excerpts, let me encourage you to read the entire article; if you don’t get the magazine, it can be found at the Pearls’ website:

www.nogreaterjoy.org/articles/general…/spank-and-save-a-child/ .

I noticed several comments at the website, most in agreement with Michael, but others in sounding their shrill disagreement, often citing studies which claim that spanked children are much more prone to violence; of course there are many other studies which show just the opposite, but this issue will not be settled by studies.  For those who accept the Bible, it must and will be settled by the inspired word of God. 

     By the way, I realize that not everyone who opposes spanking is necessarily a left-wing, anti-family socialist, but all who argue against spanking play right into the hands of the left-wing, anti-family socialist crowd.  It is one thing for a family simply to choose not to use spanking as a form of punishment; I have no problem with that.  But so many want to characterize those who do choose to spank as violence-teaching child beaters, and they often work actively to ban spanking in one way or another.  That is anti-family.

Good reading

     Home School Court Report:  The Mar./Apr., 2010, issue of The Home School Court Report ( www.hslda.org ) from Home School Legal Defense Association features a cover article “Seeking Refuge in the Land of Liberty: The Romeikes’ Journey” by Mike Donnelly.  Many homeschoolers in the United States have been following the trials and tribulations of Uwe and Hannalore Romeike who were forced to leave Germany simply because they wanted to homeschool their children and raised up a prayer of thanks to God when Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted them asylum in the U. S.  Of course, did you know that our “family-friendly” Obama administration’s Agency for Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement is using YOUR tax dollars to appeal Judge Burman’s landmark decision, claiming that ‘Germany’s harsh treatment of homeschoolers is merely prosecution, rather than persecution,” while at the same time supporting illegal Hispanic immigrants’ “fast track” to citizenship (because it wants the Hispanic votes).  Donnelly responds, “It is repugnant that ICE, and by extension the U. S. government, would support the German government in its persecution of homeschoolers.”  Whatever happened to “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free…”?  And there is a lot of other information of interest to homeschoolers (including an article by Dr. Rodger Sayre on how to treat acne).

     Practical Homeschooling:  The Apr./May/June, 2010, issue (#93) of Practical Homeschooling magazine ( www.home-school.com ) has an great editorial by publisher Mary Pride, “Now, More Than Ever;” Don Aslett’s “Beware of These ‘Biggest’ Lies;” part 2 of Marilyn Molewyk’s “A Whole New Look at Socialization;” and other useful material.

     Home School Enrichment:  The May/June, 2010, issue of Home School Enrichment magazine ( www.HomeSchoolEnrichment.com ) includes articles by Maribeth Spangenberg, “The Box of Education;” by Stacey Posey, “Schooling Through the Summer;” by Christian Overman, “The Missing Curriculum” (about the Christian worldview of work and vocation); by our friend Marc Carrier, “Managing the Family Project;” by Jonathan Lewis, “Thank You, Mom: A Tribute to Homeschooling Moms;” by Katharine Trauger, “Why Do We Quit?”; and by our friend Joanne Calderwood, “The Underwhelmed Homeschooler;” among others.

How long will we continue to stomach what goes on in public schools?

     The following item was reported by One News Now:

4 little words + 1 American flag = ‘offensive’
Becky Yeh – OneNewsNow California correspondent – 5/12/2010

     A 7th-grade teacher in California has criticized a 13-year-old student for writing "God bless America" across her drawing of the American flag — one more reason, says a conservative activist, why parents should remove their children from public school.

     Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, notes that this situation provides more proof that "government schools are not godly schools."

     "It’s another sad example of why concerned parents need to do what’s necessary to get their children out of government-run schools and into the safe havens of home-schooling and solid church schools," he comments.

     Taryn Hathaway’s drawing pictured the American flag with the statements "God Bless America," "One nation under God," and "In God We Trust" written across and around the flag. The middle-school Salinas student was told she could not draw the flag because it was "offensive," yet the instructor went on to praise another student’s drawing of President Obama.

     Tracy Hathaway, the mother of the 13-year-old student, is shocked over the teacher’s reaction. She contends that her daughter did nothing wrong and believes she was merely exercising her rights.

     "My daughter wasn’t trying to break any rules, and she wasn’t trying to create a scene," Hathaway shared with Fox Radio. "She was just expressing her view and saying, ‘This is America, and I want God to bless it.’"

     The Hathaway family met with the teacher, questioning why Taryn’s drawing was insulting. But having received no reply, Tracy Hathaway told KSBW that a simple "heart-felt apology’ from the teacher is all she wants.

     Another meeting is scheduled with the teacher this week, so an apology may be forthcoming.