Thousands of parents in the United Kingdom prefer educating their children at home, but the government is now concerned over what they allege are examples of child abuse. The prosecution and conviction of a foster mother who abused three children for years has outraged many government officials and sparked discussion about investigating the entire home schooling process. Clare Murton, of Action for Home Education, argues the investigation is a “clear incitement to hatred of home educators” while other supporters believe “it is an attack on our beliefs.” Baroness Morgan, Children’s Minister, insists “local authorities have a significant duty to ensure all children are receiving a suitable education” but she believes there may be need for an investigation.
Many home school supporters believe the real object is for the government to gain “educational control over parents.” I am not an advocate or an opponent of home schooling. There are many arguments why parents should or should not be allowed to decide the education of children, but there is little evidence of widespread child abuse. Most probably child abuse is more prevalent among children attending schools than among home schoolers. The real issue is striking a balance between parental and societal rights concerning the education of children.