Education Act proposals threaten parental rights

April 2, 2012

Re: "Homeschoolers fear intrusion on parental rights from School Act" (WCR, March 12).

I became aware of Bill 2 on Feb. 24 when several friends, who home educate their children, forwarded information that the proposed bill could potentially curtail their parental authority in the education and raising of their children.

My initial response was that the issue impacted families that choose to home educate their children. Over the next few days as I did some research, reviewed the proposed Education Act and dialogued with others, I became increasingly convicted that the issue was not just a homeschooling concern, but potentially threatened the rights of all parents.

In particular, the language of section 16 was of grave concern; and nowhere in the act did I find acknowledgment for parental authority in education as primary and inalienable.

On March 14, Mr. Hinman proposed an amendment to the Education Act, which offers clarity of language, identifying who, ultimately, has the authority of and responsibility of educating and raising a child.

It stated, "The paramount right and responsibility to make decisions respecting the education of their children, which includes a right to choose religious and ethical traditions . . . in which their children are raised."

The vote was four in support of the Hinman's amendment and 27 against. I am alarmed by the direction the government appears to be heading with the Education Act.

This issue is not about religion and it's not about sexual orientation. The issue is about the possibility of unprecedented governmental control over the education of our children, be it public, private or home education.

We must be very clear that parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.

Nadia Rhodes