3.19.2012

Understanding the CRC threat to homeschooling freedom

UN Headquarters NY/United Nations Photo
At first glance, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) sounds like a good thing.
"...recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world ... recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding..."
Indeed, what could be wrong with protecting the rights of children in this manner?
Upon closer inspection, however, the treaty could pose a threat to parental and homeschooling choice, dependent upon government interpretations of an appropriate family environment.
"...considering that the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity..."
The spirit of peace, dignity, etc., does sound ideal. Alas, therein lies the problem -- The ideals under which the child should be brought up are proclaimed by international government, carrying the potential to overrule parental choice in matters such as health care, education, and religious and moral beliefs.

What is the CRC?
  • The CRC is a treaty which would create laws by which American families, courts, and policy-makers would be bound.
  • Congress would gain power to directly legislate in order to comply with the treaty, thus shifting power from individual states to the federal government.
  • Government officials would gain authority over parents to dictate the "best interests" of children.
  • Official interpretations of the treaty would be made by a foreign committee of 18 experts.
  • Under international law, the treaty would override the U.S. Constitution.
CRC Impact on Education

Article 28 addresses the child's right to education by making primary education compulsory and taking measures to encourage regular attendance at schools.

The risks to homeschooling and other parental rights inherent in the CRC articles are in the potential for abuse of interpretive and legislative power.

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