Saturday, 14 December 2013

Our Right to Educate Our Children Our Way


In The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ and as the Prophet of the church I have always encouraged the church and its members to seek prayerfully to support parents no matter the type of education they choose for their children, including state education, independent secular education, independent Christian schools, and homeschooling.

          It will be of concern to many to read of the report on “Elective Home Education,” compiled on behalf of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) by Graham Badman here in the United Kingdom. The areas of specific concern to Christians and indeed Latter Day Mormons (and many non-Christians) will be the proposed compulsory annual registration of their children and inspection visits by representatives of the Local Education Authority (LEA).

          In many cases, it is precisely because of the poor standard of LEA provision that parents have chosen to educate their children at home. There will also be concern that these proposed inspection visits should involve conversations between LEA representatives and the child alone—without the parents present. This latter point is an abuse of parental responsibility and rights and as we know the Lord puts great store in the rights of parents in the scriptures both old and new.

Elective home education: the deliverance (in elective home education) or delegation (to schools) by parents of any and all compulsory educational provision is a legal duty, not a legal right. It is our legal duty to ensure our children’s education is suitable and efficient. The education acts confers this duty on parents, because parents know their children best and are therefore in a position to ensure the provision is suitable for them. Mr Badman seems not to have grasped this idea at all; indeed he seems to think that they, the parents have no clue.

          The famous quote from successive education bills—repeated in the Education Act 1996, Section 7—does indeed refer to duty:

Duty of Parents to Secure Education of Children of Compulsory School Age

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—

(a) To his age, ability and aptitude, and

(b) To any special educational needs he may have,

Either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

           This is in line with the biblical position:

You shall teach them [God’s laws] diligently to your children. (Deuteronomy 6:7) Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.(Ephesians 6:4)

          Whichever form of education we choose for our children, the parents and specifically as indicated in Scripture, the fathers are responsible, and we will answer to God for the choices we make.

          Please let us be firm when we say that as far as the church is concerned the educational needs of children are first and foremost the duty of the parent rather than the state. Parents may delegate this educational responsibility to those whom they trust, but this delegation in no wise removes their responsibility for the education of their children. Latter Day Mormon and indeed Christian parents should think long and hard about whether the teachers at their children’s school are bringing them up according to the values that the parents want, and if not, then it should be considered a mistake to send our children into such an environment.

Many Christians and indeed many believers, whatever their denomination in the UK, have chosen to home school their children for precisely this reason. In the past, there has been no reason for parents to need to justify this decision to the state. The Bible makes no requirement to justify this position and supports those who take it. In an atmosphere where increasing numbers of Christians feel that they suffer discrimination for their faith, this report could open up one more avenue for such discrimination.

As the prophet of the church it is my wish to see many of the children involved now with the church or those that will latter be involved with the church to be either educated by the church in its very own school or to be home schooled, so that we can indeed educate our children in a way pleasing unto the Lord and so that we may stand blameless before God when asked what we did for those placed in our care by the Father.

(Source for Sermon taken from Answers in Genesis)

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