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Homeschooling crisis in Australia:

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Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 2
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:22 am    Post subject: Homeschooling crisis in Australia: Reply with quote

It is a civil right to be allowed to home educate your children, yet many families are abused by the system.

I would like you to see the letter below recently sent to the Hon Julie Bishop MP. There is a severe crisis within many education departments in dealing with the rapid increase of new homeschooling families. Outdated policies, antiquated assessment processes and a culture of intimidation and bullying by education staff. We are deeply concerned that there are no reliable statistics of how many children are homeschooled, with so many parents opting out of the registration process now. We are currently campaigning to ensure a safe, fair and realistic assessment system for all homeschooled children.

Yours sincerely

Kate Gibbons
Australian Homeschool Legal Advisory Service

The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Minister for Education, Science and Training
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Tel: (02) 6277 7460
Fax: (02) 6273 4116

Dear Minister

As Minister of Eduction we request an urgent in-depth and comprehensive review into the homeschooling Assessment process in Australia. With the growing trend of homeschooling in Australia, we need to ensure a safe, fair and realistic assessment for families to ensure they have a viable option to legally homeschool their children.

At the present time there are no reliable statistics in regards to registered homeschooling families, although we know this a growing trend. Many departments are overloaded with new applications and inadequate procedures to deal with them. In South Australia there is approximately 700 registered homeschoolers with new applicants on the rise. There may also be an equal amount of unregistered families. It has been impossible to obtain any statistics in regards to numbers of homeschooling families. There has been no research into this sudden surge of homeschooling and the current legislation and laws are outdated.

The current assessment system as it stands is wholly inadequate and provides little use to either the education departments or homeschooling families. The assessment does not take into consideration the many varied teaching techniques used by individual homeschooling families and make no allowance for these within the assessment process.

The assessment should be carried out or at least overseen by a non-governmental independent body. This body should comprise of both teachers who have an interest and knowledge of homeschooling and homeschooling parents who are aware of the difficulties experienced by homeschooling families under the present system.

There are many unnecessary and time wasting procedures in place which have no relevance to the well being of homeschooling children or the monitoring of their education. Many parents now opt out of registering their children to homeschool because of the inconsistent and unpredictable way in which assessments are carried out.

The Legislation in some states can only be described as “sketchy” leaving parents unsure and confused of the correct procedures. Trying to obtain information regarding the details of the legislation from Government departments can be a prolonged and stressful process, and is not set out clearly in many Education Acts, if at all.

We request that an urgent report is actioned with the aim of providing an efficient, fair and simple procedure that enables the growing number of homeschooling parents to register their children. Many parents are forced to take legal action to protect their right to homeschool when Education departments fail in their duty to grant assessments unfairly.

With some Education Departments using unfair testing systems and a culture of bullying and intimidation, more and more parents choose not to register. I have experienced first hand the bullying tactics of the South Australian Home Education Department. I can only describe the behaviour of a senior member of staff as that of the worst playground bully.

I am apparently capable of teaching my 13 year old son, who has recently passed his ICAS exams with credits and a distinction; however I have been failed to teach my 6 year old daughter. This is one of the many problems encountered by parents and shows the lack of understanding and inconsistencies of the assessment staff.

We would appreciate your urgent attention in this matter immediately.

Yours sincerely

Kate Gibbons
Australian Homeschool Legal Advisory Service
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