“State-Napping” Exemplifies UN Treaty’s Dramatic Potential
Seven-year-old homeschooler Dominic Johansson and his family were sitting on an airplane on June 25, 2009, ready to leave Sweden to start a new life in Mrs.
Johansson’s native country of India. Without a warrant—or even any accusation of crime—Swedish police officers under the direction of local social workers boarded and took Dominic from the plane and from his parents.
Courtesy of the familyDominic Johansson in happier times.
Mr. and Mrs. Johansson are facing this simply because they decided to homeschool their son. Local officials said that the action to intervene in this family was intended to guarantee Dominic’s right to an education. The Johanssons have been separated from their son since June, only being allowed to visit with him under supervised conditions for an hour or so every 3–5 weeks.
THERE IS A
IN SOME EUROPEAN
TO RESTRICT HOMESCHOOLING
Just as disturbing is Swedish Embassy official Stig Berglind’s appeal to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in defense of the local Swedish authority’s actions.
Mr. Berglind noted in his response to a letter from Home School Legal Defense Association President Mike Smith that the CRC requires that a child’s best interests and the child’s “right to be heard” be “obvious starting points in all actions concerning children in social services.” However, Mr. Berglind and Gotland’s officials apparently ignored the fact that the convention also notes that children have a right to be with their parents as a family, and that separation is a serious act to be used only as a last resort. This action in light of an incredible proposal within the Swedish parliament to allow homeschooling only under “extraordinary circumstances” (essentially banning home education) is of grave concern and is part of a troubling trend in some European countries to restrict homeschooling.
Courtesy of the familyDominic Johansson and his mother in early 2009: Little did they know their family would soon be fighting for custody of Dominic because of their decision to homeschool.
The inhuman treatment of this family by a so-called Western civilized nation is indefensible. HSLDA calls on Swedish officials to return Dominic to his parents. To find out how you can help the Johansson family, go to www.hslda.org/sweden.
Although the United States has not ratified the CRC, the Obama administration is looking to submit this treaty to the U.S. Senate for ratification in the near future. The Johanssons’ story graphically illustrates how the CRC would endanger parental rights. Visit www.parentalrights.org to learn how the passage of a Parental Rights Amendment would help to preserve your rights as parents.
— by Michael P. Donnelly
HSLDA of Canada Releases New Study
On December 2, 2009, the Canadian Centre for Home Education1 released results of a study that expanded on a previous 1994 study on home education. The 2009 study found that, after 15 years, homeschoolers still benefit from homeschooling and excel “in all measured areas of adult life.”
This new study, released on December 2, 2009, found that Canadian homeschool graduates excel “in all measured areas of adult life.”
In the new study, Fifteen Years Later: Home-Educated Canadian Adults, parents of families surveyed in 1994 passed on questionnaires to their now-adult children. The questionnaire covered many areas including current lifestyles, academic achievements, community involvement, values, and perspective on homeschooling. When 226 questionnaires came back, the results were compared to results of studies conducted on similar populations elsewhere, or to the results of surveys of the population at large.
>> Education. The study found that homeschoolers had higher academic achievements and were more likely to have undergraduate degrees than Canadians of the same age group in the general population.
>> Occupation. Homeschool graduates were more likely to have occupations in the health sector, in social support, in trades, or in performing arts.
>> Religion. Ninety-five percent of the homeschool graduates were Christian (various denominations) compared to 60% of the general population.
>> Community involvement. Survey respondents were more involved in organized activities than the comparable population, participated in a greater variety of activities, were twice as likely to vote in federal elections, and showed a stronger tendency to vote in provincial elections.
Homeschooling Family Granted Political Asylum
In a case with international ramifications, Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted the political asylum application of a German homeschooling family.
The Romeikes are Christians from Bissinggen, Germany, who fled persecution in August 2008 to seek political asylum in the United States. The request was granted January 26 after a hearing was held in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 21. Watch for an in-depth story on this case in the next Court Report.
>> Income. None of the homeschooling graduates surveyed were supported by the government, but 11% of the comparable population was. The average income for homeschooling graduates was $27,534. The general population’s average income was $22,117.
>> Satisfaction with life. When asked about their satisfaction with life, 67.3% of the survey respondents said they were “very happy,” and 32.3% were “fairly happy.” National data indicated that 43.8% were “very happy,” and 52.5% were “somewhat happy.”
>> Families. Homeschool graduates were more likely to be married (excluding common-law arrangements), tended to marry later in life, and tended to have children later, but had larger families than the comparable population.
>> Perspective on homeschooling. Most homeschool graduates considered homeschooling an advantage to their adult lives, its greatest benefits being “the breadth of opportunities for curricular enrichment, flexibility, individualization, independence, and superior academics.”
HSLDA of Canada President Paul Faris summed up the results of the new study in a press release: “In terms of income, education, entrepreneurial endeavours, involvement in their community, and all the other characteristics measured, home-educated adults not only excel, but also make meaningful contributions to their communities. They are the type of neighbours we all want.”
To view the full study or the study synopsis visit www.hslda.ca/cche.
— by Sindy Quinonez
1The Canadian Centre for Home Education (CCHE) is a non-profit sister organization to HSLDA of Canada.