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Urgent Alert: The Netherlands Needs Your Help Immediately To Legalize Home Schooling (October 27, 2003)
From the HSLDA E-Lert service

On October 30th, homeschooling will be debated in the Netherland's parliament. They will either direct the Minister of Education to crack down on homeschooling (which the Minister wants to do) or legalize homeschooling.

The Netherlands Home School Association (NHSA) believes your calls and e-mails will likely make the difference on whether homeschooling will survive in Holland.

Right now, most members of parliament do not think the issue is very important because it only effects 50 families that are legally homeschooling. But there are hundreds of others underground waiting for relief.

Will you take a few minutes and help "the least of these" who are requesting our assistance? Remember, in the past, your calls and e-mails helped release a homeschool family from jail in South Africa, a homeschool court case to be dismissed in Germany, harmful homeschool legislation defeated in Ireland and the Czech Republic and much more.

ACTION REQUESTED

There are three places to send a copy of your e-mail listed below to make this grassroots effort a success.

Please give the Education Committee in the Dutch Parliament, the Minister of Education, and the Dutch embassy this message:

"Please legalize homeschooling in the Netherlands. One of the most basic of human rights that every free nation must recognize, is the right of parents to choose the education and training of their children. Homeschooling is producing thousands of productive and successful adults. Homeschooling works and should be protected." You can also give some general information about the success of your homeschool.

Deliver the message to:

1) The Education Committee of the Dutch Parliament which will be meeting to debate homeschooling on October 30th. E-mail: cie.ocw@tk.parlement.nl.

2) The Minister of Education, Maria van der Hoeven at info@minocw.nl.

(A copy to the Netherlands Home School Association is important, home-education@xs4all.nl, so that they can make a compilation of your messages and present them to the Dutch press).

3) Call Ambassador Boudewijn van Eenennaam at the Dutch embassy (202) 244-5300 or via e-mail was@minbuza.nl

BACKGROUND

In the Netherlands home education as such is currently not a legal option. Home schooling parents may try to get an exemption from school registration, but only for deeply felt religious or philosophical reasons. However, these exemptions are recognized with great reluctance, for children are not considered to be educated effectively without public school attendance. Many are denied. Once a child has attended a school even this option is barred.

Now only the parents of about a 100 children have been able to avoid this trap to secure their freedom. Many more families would like to home-educate their children but are not able to get their way without years filled with court cases and child protection investigations.

Since some court cases have been won rather unexpectedly by home-educators this year, Maria van der Hoeven, the Dutch Minister of Education, wants to make life even more difficult for them. Despite the fact that the current law does not consider home-education to be an effective option compared with institutional schooling, she wants to put homeschoolers under tight educational supervision. The Education Committee of the Second Chamber, the Dutch House of Representatives, will have a debate on her plan October 30, at 10.00 AM.

The Netherlands Home School Association sent us this plea,

"We, a group of home-educating parents in the Netherlands, want home-education to become a legal option, its efficacy recognized by the authorities, and most of all we want parents to exercise a free choice for and with their children without unnecessary state interference.

"That is why we ask for your help. We know some members of parliament sympathize with us, after receiving tens of pages of arguments against the Minister's view, but all this input has come from a small group of activists so far.

"So, after delivering lots of research and different legislative possibilities we need a lot of your messages to reach the hearts of those Members of Parliament! Let them find out that home-education has grown to a worldwide grass-roots movement of responsible families!"

Thank you for assisting the homeschool movement in the Netherlands!

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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