Just like many other home schoolers in Brazil, the Coelho family has been quietly home schooling underground for the last 10 years. Home education was not officially recognized. A federal prosecutor, Carlos decided to boldly seek recognition for his family's home school. In December, he asked Home School Legal Defense Association for help in his attempt to legalize home schooling.
Brazil's compulsory attendance law (ages 7 to 14) is a federal law and the federal Council of Education can issue a policy to allow or prohibit home schooling. Carlos Coelho explained:
The [complusory attendance] laws in Brazil are slightly less harsh than the ones in Germany . . . The peaceful nature of Brazilians does not preclude the possibility of Brazilian home school pioneers suffering the same constraints as their German counter parts. With this in mind, we are asking for international help to bring acceptance of home schooling to Brazil and that it would serve as a model of peaceful change.
Carlos submitted a petition through his state government (Goias) to the federal Council of Education requesting the Council to recognize home schooling. HSLDA asked state home school leaders around the U.S. to urge the Council to support home schooling.
Although several Council members responded favorably, the majority ruled that the Coelho family could no longer home school and then proceeded to officially prohibit home schooling throughout Brazil.
Mr. Coelhos is appealing his case through the courts, but he needs vocal support from U.S. home schoolers. Please call, write, or e-mail the Brazilian embassy on behalf of home schooling parents in Brazil with this message:
Innocent home school families are being persecuted in Brazil, such as the Carlos Coelhos family (petition 9#23001000 301/00-37). A parent's right to direct the education of his children is a fundamental right that should be protected. Home schooling works, and we urge the government to officially legalize home schooling in Brazil.
In letters or e-mails, we encourage you to rephrase this message in your own words and include a few paragraphs describing the benefits of home schooling to your own family.
Your entire family can participate and make this a great educational opportunity for your children! Not only will it demonstrate to them the importance of the freedoms we enjoy in the United States, but it also provides them with an opportunity to help those in less fortunate circumstances.
In the past, U.S. home schoolers have had similar opportunities to help struggling families in other countries, and as a result of writing and calling foreign embassies, have seen some dramatic results.
- South Africa: two home school parents were freed from prison and, eventually, home schooling was legalized.
- Germany: a case against a home school family was dropped.
- Ireland: home visit legislation was defeated.
You can make a difference!
Embassy of Brazil
3006 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 238-2700
Fax: (202) 238-2827