Compulsory attendance laws are school authorities' first assault on parental rights. These laws force almost forty-five million children to sit in often boring classes six to eight hours a day for twelve years. Compulsory attendance laws force parents to hand over their children to state employees called teachers, principals, and administrators, whose competence they must take on faith.
Compulsory attendance laws show contempt for parents' rights because they are based on the notion that the state owns our children for twelve years, and that parents should have little say in the matter.
In effect, these laws allow state officials to legally kidnap millions of children, allegedly to benefit the children by giving them an education (in the opinion of these officials). "Kidnap" may seem like a harsh word, yet wouldn't you apply that word to someone who took your child by force against your will?
Unfortunately, most parents voluntarily send their kids to the local public school. These parents believe they are doing the right thing or have no alternative, so they might not believe that school authorities kidnap their kids. However, millions of other parents are so disgusted with public schools that they either homeschool their kids or send them to private schools.
Every year, school authorities and social service agencies harass or threaten hundreds of home-schooling parents who remove their child from public school. If parents refuse to send their child to the local public school, and do not strictly follow a state's home-schooling regulations, school authorities can file child abuse or neglect charges against the parent. They can then call in social service agencies that threaten parents with jail or threaten to take away their children and put them in foster homes.
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) claims to represent "approximately 365 home-schooling families a year who are wrongly charged of some form of child abuse or neglect" because they chose not to comply with compulsory attendance laws.
School authorities' harassment of home-schoolers reveals the nasty compulsion underlying our public schools. Thankfully, parents in this country have the right to homeschool their children. For their children's sake, parents should take advantage of this right.
Joel Turtel is an education policy analyst, and author of "Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie To Parents and Betray Our Children." Contact Information: Website: http://www.mykidsdeservebetter.com, Email: [email protected], Phone: 718-447-7348. Article Copyrighted © 2005 by Joel Turtel. NOTE: You may post this Article on another website only if you set up a hyperlink to Joel Turtel's email address and website URL, http://www.mykidsdeservebetter.com.