Chris Klicka's letter to the Brazilian Embassy:
Back to Brazilian Homeschooling update...
October 25, 2001
Head of the Human Rights and Social Affairs Section, Brazilian Embassy
3006 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
More and more families in Brazil are considering or actually beginning to home school their children. Although Brazilian children are receiving a good education at home by their parents, this method of instruction has still not received official recognition by the government. In fact, the Council of Education has recently condemned home schooling in the Vilhena case. This is a travesty for a free nation like Brazil to deny parents the fundamental human right to direct the education and upbringing of their children.
Carlos Vilhena family has been home schooling with great success for several years. They submitted a petition to the Council in good faith you to have home schooling officially recognized by the national government. Their process number was 23001000301/00-37.
We are writing this letter in support of their effort. We are excited about the opportunity to help home schooling grow in Brazil.
We hope you in your capacity you can recommend your Congress to help the Vilhena family and officially legalize home schooling in Brazil.
By way of introduction, the Home School Legal Defense Association is a national nonprofit organization of lawyers dedicated to protecting the right to home school throughout the United States and also around the world. At this time, we have 70,000 member home school families in the U.S. We were established in 1983 and have worked in the courts and the legislatures to help win the right for parents to home school in all 50 states.
In order for Brazil to be recognized as a democracy and as a truly free nation, parental rights, which is one of the most important, fundamental rights, must be protected. Parents have the fundamental right to direct the education and training of their children. Parents in Brazil must have the right to choose to teach their children at home.
So what is home schooling? Home schooling is exactly what the name implies: a school in the home. It is an age-old time-tested approach to education that uses the most successful method of instruction. The method is called the "tutorial method" of instruction.
The teachers in a home school are the parents and these parents have a commitment to make the necessary sacrifices in order to personally provide an education for their children. Their primary reason to home school is to teach their children strong moral principles and give them a thorough academic education in a close, nurturing environment.
And home schooling really works. In the United States, over nine state departments of education and scores of independent surveys have found that on the average, home schooled children score 30 points above the national average on standardized achievement tests. Home school students also score above average on both the SAT and Act college entrance exams.
Furthermore, these students are being accepted into nearly all universities including the "ivy league" schools of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Two colleges have conducted surveys of home school graduates in their student body and have discovered that the home schooled students have a higher grade point average than the college average. Studies also demonstrate that nearly two-thirds of home school graduates are self-employed demonstrating their entrepreneurship and self-reliance.
This success is being achieved by home school parents where over half, only have a high school diploma. Their success with their children, along with hundreds of other studies, demonstrates there is no positive correlation between teacher qualification and student performance. This exposes the myth of the necessity of a teacher license. Whether or not a home schooling mother has a teaching license, college degree or simply a high school diploma or less, makes no difference: all of their children on the average are scoring above average.
Furthermore, these home schooled children are protected from negative socialization, such as drugs, sexual diseases, and violence. Instead the home schooled child is trained in the traditional, moral values and their self esteem, which is the best measurement of determining the socialization of a child, is nurtured. Study after study provides evidence that home schooled children exceed the average in socialization skills and the ability to communicate with both adults and their peers.
Historically, home schooling was one of the major forms of education in America until the early 1900's. Hundreds of great leaders in America have been home schooled, including at least ten presidents, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Benjamin Franklin, John Marshall, John Singleton Copley, John Stuart Mill, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Edison, Abigail Adams, Mark Twain, Pearl Buck, Agatha Christie, Andrew Carnegie, and Douglas MacArthur.
Today, with the resurgence of parents home schooling their children over the last 15 years, the number of home schooled students in the U.S. is estimated as high as two million and it is climbing rapidly.
Legally, all 50 states recognize the right to home school by either statute or case law. Parents have a fundamental right to direct the education and religious training of their children that is enshrined in the United States Constitution as applied by the United States Supreme Court in Wisconsin v. Yoder and Pierce v. Society of Sisters. Therefore, this fundamental right of parents to choose home schooling is derived from the First Amendment which gives parents the right to freely exercise their religious beliefs and the Fourteenth Amendment which guarantees liberty for all, which includes parental liberty to direct the education of their children.
In the last few years, this home schooling concept has spread around the world at a rapid pace. Parents in more and more countries are clamoring for the freedom to home school. They are contacting us to request assistance to help them get started and learn from our experience on how to win the right to home school.
In my role as director of our international affairs, I have had the privilege of working in several countries. In Canada, I serve on the Board of the Home School Legal Defense Association of Canada. I have worked for over eight years to help win more freedom for parents to home school throughout the provinces. In South Africa, I answered the plea of home school parents seeking the release of a mother and father who received a two year jail sentence for home schooling and sent out an alert throughout the U.S. for home schoolers to contact the South African embassy. As a result, the family was released! Over the next few years, I worked with members of parliament to get a home school law passed. Now I serve on the board of the home school legal defense fund called the Pestalozzi Trust.
In Mexico, we helped a ministry that helps teach families how to home school. It also provides a free home school newsletter and tapes to families on home schooling. The Mexican families are yearning for more materials and encouragement. The legal situation is stable.
In addition, to working with home schoolers in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines,Ireland,Australia, Germany, Switzerland and many European nations. I worked to help network the Germans lawyers and home schoolers and we were able to establish a national home school organization called School Instruction at Home in that country. In Japan, we helped establish HOSA, a national home school organization heavily endorsed by the business community and higher education.
Home schooling is spreading throughout the world and it is not a passing fad.
Home schooling works and as it steadily grows, it will continue to promote academic excellence and graduate productive citizens.
On a personal note, I am a father of 7 children and my wife and I home school all of them. Our family is living proof that home schooling works. Home schooling builds strong families. We are so thankful to have right to choose home schooling in this country.
I would be glad to talk with you on the phone or discuss this further by e-mail. I also have model language to offer if a federal home school law is drafted. I suggest the law is drafted requiring home schools to notify and promise to provide instruction for 200 days in the basic subjects, and have the children tested annually to show progress.
Please let me know if you will be supporting the official recognition of home schooling especially the matter with the Vilhena family.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Senior Counsel of the Home School Legal Defense Association
One Patrick Henry Circle
Purcellville, VA 20132 USA
(40 miles outside Washington D.C.)