A Reply to the Badman Report
English Home Education: Already In Proper Balance
Michael P. Farris, J.D.
Home School Legal Defense Association
His name is Badman. Graham Badman. His June 2009 “Report to the Secretary of State on the Review of Elective Home Education in England,” which proposes draconian changes in English home education law, lives up to his name.
The Story so Far
On June 11, 2009 a report on home education in England by Graham Badman, a former Managing Director of Children, Families and Education in the County of Kent, was accepted in full by the British Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. The report makes the case that homeschooling should be extensively regulated in England.
Read HSLDA’s June 16 article: “UN Treaty Jeopardizes Homeschool Freedom in Britain”
His core premise is that the current education law does not properly balance the rights of parents and the rights of children.
However, he reaches this conclusion on a faulty basis. Most significantly, he fails to fully and accurately describe the current legal framework that governs home education. He avoids any discussion of the power of local education officials to intervene with the force of law in a situation where they have found a home education program to be unsuitable.
Despite his failure to accurately describe the current situation, he makes a series of recommendations to remedy the problems he has “discovered.” Central to his scheme is the requirement that a government official be empowered to compel entry into the homes of families engaged in home education. Then he wishes the official to have the power to interrogate each child in order to “hear” the child’s wishes and make an independent determination of the suitability of the home education program.
A cryptic quotation appears as a preface to the entire report:
The need to choose, to sacrifice some ultimate values to others, turns out to be a permanent characteristic of the human predicament.
This statement was by Isaiah Berlin in a 1969 work published by Oxford University.
Badman’s apparent meaning is that one cherished value needs to be sacrificed to achieve a different cherished value. From the body of the Badman Report there is little doubt as to his intended application of this principle.
The Badman Report opines that traditional English concepts of parental rights and liberty must be sacrificed to achieve the value of adherence to children’s rights theory—specifically, the theory contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
But as so often is the case with meddlesome interlopers, it is easy to demonstrate that Badman’s conclusions are premised on numerous fallacies.
To read the rest of this report go to: http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/200907130.asp