South Africa—A Glimmer of Hope
The home schooling movement in South Africa today is reminiscent of the "pioneer days" of the movement in the U.S. In spite of government opposition, the number of home schoolers in South Africa has exploded. Where a tiny band of one hundred once made up the ranks of known home schoolers in the country, estimates now indicate the number will swell into the thousands over the next year. But home schooling families in South Africa are not out of the woods yet.
As a result of HSLDA's alert last August and the outpouring of letters and calls from concerned U.S. home schoolers to the South African Embassy, the South African government has done an about-face and issued a new policy report which recognizes home schooling. Issued on November 24, 1995, the South African Ministry for Education's latest policy draft on education (called a "white paper") contains the first official sign that the government may allow home schooling as an educational option. In this white paper, the government makes it clear that it intends to recognize home schooling after investigating legislation in other countries. However, at this point the government has not formalized any specific home schooling regulations. South African home school leaders are concerned the government will establish restrictive guidelines.
Chris Klicka wrote several letters to the South African government last year, making it clear that home schooling must be protected in South Africa if that country wanted to be recognized as a free nation. He provided them information on the legal rights of home schooling parents in the United States and Canada and worked closely with Kenneth Menshoe (member of an opposition parties in parliament) and several others to draft sample home school legislation. This draft and a letter from Mr. Klicka was submitted to the parliament. At the same time, HSLDA issued its alert, and American home schoolers began to flood the South African Embassy with calls and letters.
Calls do make a difference. Leendert van Oostrum, home school leader in South Africa and professor at Pretoria University wrote a letter after the Hunter Report's release saying,
The only reason I can find for the change of tune is the international pressure that has been brought to bear on them on the initiative of HSLDA. None of the considerations have changed since their previous position was announced [in March]. The white paper admits, in so many words, that the comparative juris prudence, reflected in recognition of home schooling in other countries, is their main consideration for adopting a broader view on the matter. It is therefore to HSLDA and other groups … that we owe this breakthrough. Please accept our profound gratitude.
However, Professor van Oostrum realizes the war is not yet won and the pressure must continue on the South African Embassy if home schooling is to be protected:
The tide is turning, but it is very far from going out yet. It is evident that the government has conceded this ground very grudgingly, and will do its best to implement the most restrictive model they can find. [S]ustained pressure from members from HSLDA and other persons in the U.S. and elsewhere is of crucial importance.
Home schoolers in South Africa still need help. If American home schoolers bombard the South African Embassy once again with letters and calls they can make a difference and help protect the freedom of parents to home school their children. It is obvious the South African home schoolers cannot do it alone.
The situation in South Africa is desperate. This call for American home schoolers to write to the South African Embassy must be heeded. This project can also serve as a great educational opportunity. Your children can learn the importance of the freedoms we have in the United States and how easily they can be taken away. They can also spend some time studying South African history, learning about how the nation was founded and studying the modern-day strategic importance of that country.
Letters to the South African Embassy over the next few months may help carve a specific freedom for home schoolers. South African home schoolers hope you will respond to the call.
Ambassador Franklin Sonn
Embassy of the Republic of South Africa
3051 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
Training for the Grassroots
On Saturday, January 27, 1996, the Krieble Institute of The Free Congress Foundation, launched their 1996 Satellite Training Seminars with "Managing the Media." Broadcast live via satellite, the seminars are designed to train grassroots activists so they may effectively participate in the political process. One seminar is scheduled each month, January through October, generally on Saturdays from 12-7 p.m. eastern time. Anyone with access to a satellite dish can pull these conferences down free of charge. Listed below are the dates and topics of the training seminars in the coming months:
March 30-Using Technology in the Campaign Process
May 18-Campaign Organization
June 29-Dealing with the Third Party Phenomenon
July 27-Running A Campaign Headquarters
August 24-Youth Campaign School
September 28-Power of People & Issue Management
October 19-Timely Issues
For more information, or to register, contact Lisa Dean at 1-800-548-7299.
PRRA Gains Major Sponsor in the Senate
Primarily due to the efforts of home schoolers across the country contacting him, Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) has signed the Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act. But that's not all. On January 30, 1996, Dole co-signed a letter with Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) urging their fellow senators to co-sponsor S.984. (See letter below.) Dole's position as Senate Majority leader gives strong credence to the need for the PRRA.
Action: Home schoolers need to continue to deliver a steady stream of calls to their congressmen and senators to build support for the Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act. This extremely important piece of legislation will likely pass in 1996—if we keep up the momentum.
United States Senate
Charles E. Grassley
Washington, DC 20510-1501
January 30, 1996
Across America, families are on the defensive. Citizens who believe in the primacy of the family have been alarmed to see the increasing intrusion of outsiders who want to tell them how to raise their children.
Though the Supreme Court has affirmed that parents are primarily responsible for the upbringing of their children, this principle is increasingly disregarded by lower courts.
As cosponsors of S. 984, the "Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act" (the "PRA"), we want to reaffirm the primacy of parents in decisions regarding the education, health care, discipline, and religious training of their children.
Since the parental right to direct the upbringing of their child is a fundamental right, it is appropriately adjudicated under a compelling interest standard. This standard requires the court to determine that the government has a compelling interest before it can intervene in the decisions of a parent concerning his child. Further, if the government is going to intervene in the parent/child relationship, it must use the least restrictive means of achieving the compelling government interest. Clarifying this standard is the purpose of the PRA.
I urge you to join us in affirming the right of parents to lead and direct their children. If you would like to cosponsor this bill, please contact Shannon Royce of Senator Grassley's staff at 4-3744.
Senate Majority Leader
United States Senator