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What's happening across the country, in the media, and in Congress

Home Schooling Headed for Extinction in South Africa

Home schooling is virtually illegal in South Africa. The only way a family may be allowed to home school is if they live seventy miles from the nearest school, and the person teaching the child has a state teaching qualification. Furthermore, the child must be sent to a registered school from grade four on. According to our latest report from South Africa, three families have been ordered by the education department to stop teaching their children, enroll them in registered schools, or face prosecution. South Africa home schoolers need our help.

The U.S. Affected the Release of the Mientjies

On December 14, 1993, Andre and Bokkie Mientjies were sentenced to prison for home schooling their children. Mr. Mientjies received a one-year prison sentence and Mrs. Minetjies received a two-year prison sentence. Their children, who refused to attend the government schools, were put into a children's home by the child welfare department.

Home School Legal Defense Association and the National Center for Home Education asked home schoolers to write and call the South African Embassy on behalf of the Mientjies. A few months later the Mientjies were both released from prison.

New Government Will Not Recognize Home Schooling

Home School Legal Defense Association Senior Counsel, Christopher Klicka, was able to work with Graham Shortridge and other Christian home school leaders in South Africa to draft a proposal for the national parliament. This proposal, which has been submitted to parliament, would specifically legalize home schooling and recognize the right of parents to control the education of their children.

Nelson Mandela's government, which initially indicated interest in protecting the right of parents to home school, issued an official "white paper" dated March 15, 1995, on education and training. The paper proposes compulsory attendance for all children, compulsory birth registration, and the licensing of all teachers. It also allows the government, when deemed necessary and in the best interests of the child, the power to remove the child from the home for educational reasons. No mention of legalizing home schooling is included. The "white paper" is the first stage before the drafting of a bill.

The Home School Legal Defense Association is working with South African home schoolers to bring about the complete legalization and protection of the rights of parents to choose home education. Attorney Christopher Klicka continues to write to authorities in the South African government, urging them to fully recognize home schooling.

A Call To Action

Graham Shortridge, one of the key home school leaders in South Africa states, "At the moment, the South African government is very conscious of American opinion and this is our greatest hope for home schooling. Mass action in the form of pressure on the South African embassy in the United States is probably the only way we will get any cooperation from the Education Department since they ignore our submissions. We appeal to you to lobby on our behalf with the South African embassy urgently before our new constitution is completed."

This project of writing a letter to the South African embassy can be a great educational opportunity for your children. They would learn the importance of the freedoms we have in the United States and how easily they can be taken away. The whole family should be involved in writing letters to the South African Embassy.

When you write to the Embassy, send them information on the success of home schooling. In your letter, you can explain that home schooling is a protected right in all fifty states in America and over one-million children are being successfully taught at home. South Africa needs to recognize the right of parents to educate their children at home if they are to be a truly free nation.

Letters from Americans have a tremendous impact on nations who want support and aide from America. We urge you to pass the word along and write to the South African Embassy, asking both that the country would recognize the right of parents to educate their children at home, and, secondly, that the parliament would specifically enact legislation to guarantee the right to home school. The address of the South African Embassy is:

    South African Embassy
    3051 Massachusetts Ave.
    Washington, D.C. 20008

Address of Former Vice President Quayle Before 1995 Conference of Christian Home Educators of Colorado

On June 16, 1995, Dan Quayle delivered a speech to approximately 2,000 home schoolers in attendance at the 11th Annual Conference of Christian Home Educators of Colorado. Below are some of his remarks.

The book of Proverbs tells us "Train up a child in the way that he should go." All of you understand that this doesn't simply mean the three R's. It also means things like spiritual strength, moral literacy, and values. You understand why my friend Cal Thomas likes to say children don't catch values the way they catch a cold-we have to teach them over and over again. It's a sad fact that many schools in America today have unfortunately turned into value-free zones. God has been expelled from the classroom; history has been rewritten to suit ideological preferences. Children are very often taught that the values of their home and church are narrow-minded and outdated….

The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. They have gone through these sequences: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from great courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage….

That's why we need you. We need you to stay involved, we need you in the arena, because you have made a difference. You are making a difference for your children and your families today. But your country needs you, too. And if we become frustrated and cynical and drop out, then they have won. The stakes are too high. And that is essentially what you are doing, and that is why you are here tonight. The only thing I can say is, keep it up. Keep it up. I thank you for doing what you are doing. Keep it up, and may God bless you in this very important work and endeavor you are undertaking.

Bill to Abolish the U.S. Department of Education

The National Center for Home Education's research team has been busy the last several months researching and preparing a bill designed to completely abolish the federal role in education. It's no small task to end the department of education and completely cut out all federal education programs involving K-12 instruction, teacher qualifications, and higher education which are scattered throughout various other departments in the federal government. Not only would this bill end federal involvement, it would also save the American taxpayers over 60 billion dollars.

All the other education bills introduced this year simply trim back the 60 billion dollars annually spent by the federal government on education. Thus far, the maximum cuts proposed amount to only 4.5 billion. The National Center's bill would, of course, eradicate Goals 2000, School-To-Work legislation, and close any loopholes for these types of programs to be funded.

The National Center for Home Education staff is currently meeting with key senators and congressmen to secure sponsors for the bill. There is a possibility that this bill could be introduced at the end of September. Upon introduction, Home School Legal Defense Association will notify its members to call and write their congressmen.