Thursday, April 2, 2009

Homeschooling in the news

Sorry to just copy and paste an article, that many of you may have already read, but I found this fascinating:

Shock: Brazilian Homeschooling Parents Face Arrest Even after Early-Teen Sons Pass Law School Exams
Family appeals case to Brazilian Supreme Court
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
MINAS GERAIS, BRAZIL, April 1, 2009 ( - A Brazilian family fighting criminal and civil charges for homeschooling their children have appealed their case to the nation's Supreme Court of Justice.
Cleber and Bernadeth Nunes, who have homeschooled their children since 2006, were initially prosecuted in 2008 for "intellectual abandonment" for failing to enroll their children in a school approved by the Brazilian government.
Despite the fact that their two oldest children, David and Jonatas, passed law school entrance exams at the ages of 13 and 14 respectively, local government officials were not impressed. They assessed a fine equivalent to roughly $1,800 USD and ordered the couple to return their children to school. They refused.
After initiating a criminal trial against the Nunes, the government ordered tests for David and Jonatas. The tests covered a vast array of subjects and even the teachers administering them acknowledged they could not pass them. However, the Nunes children both received passing grades.
Despite the performance on the tests, the Nunes lost their case repeatedly in local civil courts. They are now appealing the case to the nation's highest court of justice. A decision in the criminal case is still pending. In the meantime, they have been ordered to return their children to school, and have continued to refuse to do so.
"Our hopes are great," Cleber Nunes told LifeSiteNews, despite the fact that they had been advised to "leave our house, move to another place because the authorities could come at any moment and execute the penalty" against them. At one point, he said, representatives of the local Tutelary Council had even told him to go to the USA, where homeschooling is legal.
Nunes told LifeSiteNews that the "penalty" would likely be that the authorities would "take possession of the children, that is they would give them to another family" and "send me to prison for failing to comply with a judicial order." Such an action could be taken against him at any time.
However, Nunes has decided not to flee, but to stand his ground. He continues to refuse to send his children to public school, and says that they study six hours a day under his supervision.
"For me, intellectual abandonment would be to leave my children five hours daily in school, looking at the backs of the heads of the students in front of them, barely learning in a passive manner," he told the Brazilian news network UAI. "I hope that someone has the good sense to judge the case, recognizing the freedom of parents and deciding to copy the good examples of developed countries, where family education is common."
Nunes says that he is hoping that before his case is judged by the Supreme Court of Justice, the Congress will have passed Resolution 3518/08, a bill to legalize homeschooling authored by representatives Henrique Afonso and Miguel Martini.
"We are not going to wait until they judge this case," he told LifeSiteNews. "We are going to mobilize the society to pressure the Congress and vote in favor of the bill."

Wow. God bless the USA! (For now...)

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