|HOME SCHOOLING / INTERNATIONAL|
Czech Parliament Says "Enough E-mails!"
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,
Thank you for your overwhelming response to the home school crisis in the Czech Republic! Czech home school families are very grateful.
In just the last 24 hours, over 800 of you e-mailed the 200 members of the Czech Parliament, resulting in over 150,000 e-mails in support of the Czech home schooling movement. A local Prague newspaper is reporting that the parliament e-mail server has been shut down by the volume of messages coming in on the home school issue!
We are now asking you to discontinue e-mail to the Czech Parliament. Due to the volume of incoming messages, the Czech server is not accepting out-of-country e-mail. A number of you have called with concerns about returned e-mail with errors or warnings. Unfortunately, this is a side effect of the Czech Parliament blocking the e-mails you sent. We have taken measures to prevent any more e-mails from going out through Home School Legal Defense Association's server and are stopping any e-mail en route to lessen the chances of your receiving unnecessary returned mail.
Our Czech contacts believe the e-mail campaign directly to the parliament members has made them aware of the importance of this issue. In fact, several parliament members have told our contacts that they have gotten the message.
However, the Czech home schoolers have asked us to do a "second wave" to make certain their government knows we are still watching them and hoping they will recognize home school freedoms.
Therefore, we urge you to contact the Czech Republic Embassy in Washington, DC, and deliver the same message.
In your communication, include a paragraph or two about your successful home school experience and then let the embassy know you understand what is about to happen to home schooling in the Czech Republic. Give the following message in your own words:
"We realize the parliament will be voting on a large education bill soon, a portion of which will restrict the freedom to home school. Home schooling is most successful when it is minimally regulated. It is overly restrictive to the fundamental rights of home schooling parents and children to require them to seek approval of the federal government. The government should not dictate their curriculum or require any certain teacher qualifications. The present age limitations only allowing home schooling for the first five years of a child's education should be removed.
"On the average, home schoolers in America score above the national average on standardized tests and are succeeding in universities after 12 years of home schooling by parents with no special academic qualifications. Home schooling works.
"Please recommend that your parliament to amend the education bill pursuant to the recommendations of Michal Semin, president of the Czech home school association."
Ambassador Martin Palous
Embassy of the Czech Republic
3900 Spring of Freedom St. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Recently, I returned from a trip to the Czech Republic where I met with Michal Semin, president of the Czech home school association. Nearly all the home schoolers in the country are part of his association. He described the uphill battle the home schoolers faced to keep their freedom to teach their own children. He asked if we could send out this alert because he believes the international perspective will be well received. I also sent him 200 copies of home school studies that he will personally deliver with his cover letter to parliament members.
Home education in the Czech Republic is only temporarily legal—pursuant to a governmental order that expires after a five-year experiment—and strictly limited to the first five years of elementary schooling, approximately ages 6–10. (This is the third year of the experiment.) Existing education law simply describes obligatory school attendance as the norm, with no mention of home education.
Under the five-year law, every home schooling family must enroll in one of three government-recognized schools, which minimally “supervise” the home education program. The schools issue a certificate of permission twice a year and the children have to be tested. No federal agencies are involved in the process.
The Ministry of Education issued a new bill recently that continues to limit home schooling to the first five years and adds a new set of restrictions. The parents would have to first communicate with the local education agency that supervises area schools and this agency will decide if there are serious enough reasons for the child to be home schooled. In the interview with agency officials, parents would have to specify their reasons for choosing home education and other private information regarding facilities, income, etc.
Michal Semin has talked to Petr Mares, Chairman of the Committee on Education in Parliament. Petr thinks there is a possibility the bill could be dismissed. But if it is not, he and his colleagues from the center-right political parties will support Michal’s proposed changes.
Thank you for standing with us for family and freedom!
Christopher J. Klicka
| Other Resources|