From Karen, an Australian:
We would really appreciate your support in Australia. The state of NSW is in the midst of a government inquiry into home education and we’re all concerned about the outcome, which may well have a negative flow-on effect to other states, and possibly even other countries. Home-ed is already strictly regulated and we fear it getting worse – or possibly even outlawed completely. I’ve outlined what you can do to help, and given some background. Please take a few moments to read, and if you can, 5 minutes to help.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP – A group of home educators have joined together to help people have their say and be heard. They are called HOVA (Hear Our Voices, Australia) and you can find them here: https://www.facebook.com/hovasubmissions
They have put together a survey which takes less than 5 minutes to complete, and it would be fantastic if you could fill it in. It will tell you to only answer page one if you are not in Australia, but even answering just page one will be a big help. The survey is here – Survey of Homeschooling Parents
Please NOTE that the survey date has been extended beyond 31 July 2014.
HOVA are also asking for people to write submissions which they will forward to the inquiry. All submissions made via HOVA will be anonymous. Even a short paragraph would help enormously, showing the government that the world is watching, and that home educators are a force to be reckoned with! Some basic things to say might be that your children are thriving with home education, that they are social and part of the community, that they are learning all the time, that parents have the right/responsibility to educate their children. If you feel able to write even just a short paragraph, it would be greatly appreciated, and you can send it here – hovasubmissionsatyahoo.com (please insert an @)
THE BACKGROUND – In New South Wales (NSW), the regulations for home-ed are making life very difficult for home educators. The ‘Board of Studies’ has the role of overseeing home education in NSW. Families are required to apply for registration, submit to a home visit, and produce vast amounts of documentation.
Parents in NSW are expected to have extensive planning, recording and monitoring systems in place. Applications for registration tend to be tens of pages long, detailing how the curriculum will be covered, how progress will be recorded and assessed, and providing evidence of the previous year’s progress. Deviation from the curriculum is not allowed.
The Board of Studies in NSW is increasingly granting families only 6 months, after which they have to go through the whole process again. The number of families that are refused permission to home educate at all, is increasing exponentially. There were 13 refusals in 2012; in 2013 it jumped to 73. For anyone following an unschooling or autonomous approach, the regulations are very hard – but even for those strictly adhering to the school curriculum, registration creates a huge amount of paperwork and worry.
HOVA believes the registration process is onerous and seeks less regulation. While it seems unlikely that the NSW government will remove compulsory registration altogether at this point, HOVA are hoping to show that home educators are intelligent and participating members of society who care greatly for their children and their children’s education.
** HOVA really needs to have submissions by 3pm on 5th August (Australian Eastern Time Zone – UTC+10), so time is short, but there is definitely time to complete their survey if not to write a submission. And remember, even a short submission to the Inquiry is better than no submission at all.
Thank you so much for anything you can do to help, and please feel free to distribute this to anyone or any other groups you think may be able to complete the survey and/or make a submission to the Inquiry.
Summary of how you can help:
1.The survey date has been extended(Aussie time) – must be current or former homeschooler
2. Make a submission to the Inquiry via HOVA by 5 Aug (Aussie time) – anyone can do this, homeschooling or not
3. Pass it on 🙂
Again, thank you so very much for anything you can do to help us!