The State arrogantly claiming our children

The following letter was published in the Malvern News on Friday 21 November:

Open letter to the Malvern District school community.
I wish to take this opportunity to remind parents/caregivers/guardians of students currently enrolled at schools in the Malvern District of their legal requirements in relation to their children’s education.
The Education Act 1989 (the Act) states that: Every person who is not a foreign student is required to be enrolled at a registered school at all times beginning on the person’s 6th birthday and ending on the person’s 16th birthday. (Section 20)
Students required to enrol must attend: Every student of a registered school who is required by Section 20 of this Act to be enrolled at a registered school shall attend the school whenever it is open. (Section 25)
Parents/guardians/caregivers are responsible for their child’s regular attendance at school: every parent/caregiver/guardian of a person who while enrolled at a registered school, does not attend…..commits an offence, and is liable on summary conviction to a fine. (Section 29)
A child should only be absent from school for the following reasons – sickness, family bereavement, or family emergency. If you are planning on, or have recently allowed your child to be absent from their school, you need to consider the following:
An absence explained by a parent is not necessarily a justified absence.
Parents do not have the right to excuse their child from school, without just cause.
What message are you sending your child in relation to education?
How will this impact on your child’s education?
What impact will your decision have on the school?
Calendared school holidays along with statutory holidays, throughout the year give ample time in advance to plan or organise family trips, holidays etc. If a parent/caregiver/guardian wants their child to be away from school for any other reasons than those specified above, this MUST be discussed with the school.

How arrogant is that! Who do they think my son belongs to, me or the State? Fortunately he isn’t old enough yet for me to have to deal with this rubbish, but that time will come soon.

The purpose of this law is to stop children bunking school and getting into trouble. But the effect of it is that it forces all children to attend daily state indoctrination sessions, where biased views can be fed into trusting young minds.

Much of the time children spend at school is spent doing nothing because most of the class is ahead of them and they don’t understand what to do, or bored because most of the class is behind them and they are waiting for them to catch up. Very little of the school day is really spent in true productive learning for an individual child, because every child is different. Education is very important, but there are many opportunities for more useful education outside of school.

A parent needs the freedom to raise their own child how they believe is best.

But responsible parents are criminalised if they allow their child to do something that is more educational then school for a couple of days (such as helping on the farm and learning work skills, seeing NZ and learning geography). And the misbehaving students continue to bunk because they don’t care about the law.

9 Responses to “The State arrogantly claiming our children”

  1. Sb Says:

    As a responsible parent the education of your children should come ahead of when you feel like taking your holidays.

    neither are you supposed to be using them as cheap (unpaid?) labour on your farm.

    I think the above sections are 100% correct, if you wont take a responsible approach to your childrens education then unfortunatly the state will have to step in and make you take the correct approach.

    Taking a child out of education for you convience can have a terrible effect on their learning.

    Do you think that travelling around new zealand can make up for missing important basic maths foundation material?

    I am supprised that someone like you who takes the family with such importance would have a problem with this!

    Sb

  2. Jim Says:

    Sam – you scare and confuse me – I’m not sure how someone so opposed to abortion can then claim that children, once born, are their possessions to do what they like with without “interference” from society’s rules.

  3. Mr Dennis Says:

    Sb:
    To clarify, I believe education is highly important. I was proxime accessit to the dux myself, and am now completing my PhD – I am a big fan of education!

    BUT, and I say this very seriously, I learnt far more at home reading and working on the farm than I ever did in school. And the most useful things I learnt in school, I learnt in woodwork and metalwork. Working gives you skills you will use throughout your life, while much of what you learn in school is less relevant to work and often forgotten the day after the exam, unfortunately. Certainly what you learn in school is valuable, but that is not to say that you won’t occasionally learn more by spending a few days away from school.

    I believe the family is the fundamental unit of society. Therefore, parents are responsible for their children, not the State. If the State is to dictate where and how your children are to be educated, I object to that on moral grounds. The State has no right to do that. Sure some parents will make poor decisions – but they’ll do that anyway whatever the State says. The majority of parents care about their children’s welfare and education, and will make sensible decisions around their children’s upbringing.

  4. Mr Dennis Says:

    Jim:
    I believe parents are in charge of raising their children, within logical restrictions (they cannot abuse or kill them for example). I apply this both before and after birth, and am being perfectly consistent.

    What worries me are the people who say before the child is born their parents can kill them, but after they are born they cannot even smack them and can’t be trusted to educate them. That is inconsistent, statist, and illogical.

  5. Winston Smith Says:

    “We have always been at war with Eurasia”

  6. Sb Says:

    “I learnt far more at home reading and working on the farm than I ever did in school.”

    But you had the oppertunity to go to school! This law is not all about YOU!

    This law is aimed at parents who without this would never send their children to school. The content of what you learn at school is not the point here it whether you get the chance at all.

    “If the State is to dictate where and how your children are to be educated, I object to that on moral grounds.”

    If somebody chooses to never send their children to school that is OK with you?

    Sb

  7. Mr Dennis Says:

    Sb, this law has NOTHING to do with “the opportunity to go to school”. Everyone has that opportunity in NZ. What I am objecting to is the law forcing every child to take that opportunity every single schoolday from the ages of 6 to 16, regardless of what other opportunities may also cross their path for further learning outside of school. It is a blanket, nanny-state law, that will stunt some children at least as much as it helps others.

    “If somebody chooses to never send their children to school that is OK with you?”

    You are picking one extreme example and trying to argue the issue based on that. It may well be worthwhile to have policies targeted at encouraging habitual bunkers (who are doing nothing else useful with their time) into education. But not a one-size-fits-all blanket law that makes it illegal to take your child out of school for one day to do something educational.

    My objection is not to school, schooling is a good thing. It is to parents being forced to raise their children how the State dictates. Every child is different, and parents need the freedom to be flexible with their education.

  8. Neil Smith Says:

    Ah, Samuel. You could do them the ultimate injustice. You could with hold your darling(s) for the first year, and then whip them out of their clutches from age 6 onwards. Yes, you could control their destiny (to some extent), by allowing them to roam freely, no wade with abandon and glee in the glorious ocean of knowledge that is available through downloaded classic books, audio books, and a curriculum approved by you and Mrs Dennis. Oh, think of the possibilities.

    They could only scowl.
    : )

  9. kiwipolemicist Says:

    I couldn’t agree more.

    If you want to home school and avoid “daily state indoctrination sessions” (something that I consider to be vital for the wellbeing of your child) you have to ask permission of the state and they will send ERO to check up on you. How arrogant and totalitarian is that?

    In Texas home schoolers must include “course a study of good citizenship” and, unless parents say otherwise, children at school must pledge allegiance to the US and Texas flags every day. This in a country that considers itself to be the leader of the “free” world.

    My post is on a similar theme to yours contains a link to the Texas info:
    http://kiwipolemicist.wordpress.com/2008/11/25/who-is-responsible-for-uneducated-children-part-4/

    Then there was this gem from Paula Bennett:
    http://kiwipolemicist.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/paula-bennett-claims-ownership-of-all-new-zealand-children/


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