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April 23, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The year-long lockdown had a disastrous effect on the education of many of those children who were relying on conventional schools, which did not always rise to the challenge of teaching remotely. Many parents, again, found it difficult, at short notice, to create an environment in which their children could learn effectively, whether through lack of technology, physical space, or for other reasons. These children were still enrolled in schools, and it was the school system which failed them. Children being home-educated, by contrast, found their education disrupted the least of anyone’s.

What happened in 2020 illustrates the robustness of home education. Tailored to the needs and circumstances of the family and the child, it can deal with the disruption caused by things like illnesses or the family moving house far more easily than a bricks-and-mortar institution. Similarly, providing tuition for a child who wants to study a relatively obscure subject may not be easy for a home-educating family, but in most schools it would be out of the question. All things considered, it’s not going to be home-educated children who are still suffering educationally two or more years from now.

The natural reaction to this situation for some is to attack the very concept of home-education. The latest is Fraser Nelson. He lets the cat out of the bag when he says that it became worth worrying about only now that it has grown, partly thanks to the epidemic. It is not the failure of home education, in other words, that Nelson is worried about, but its success.

Nelson is the editor of the right-wing U.K. weekly Spectator, and he is writing in the Daily Telegraph. Why does a supposedly conservative journalist seek to ridicule the idea that home-education is a “sacred right”? Like a lot of intellectuals on the political right, he seems to have no sense of the importance of the family, and like his colleagues on the left instinctively assumes that state intervention is the only way to deal with problems, whatever their origin. When he sees some families looking after an important aspect of life, the education of children, so successfully that other families realize this could be a possibility for them as well, he is worried. What if it all goes wrong?

What if schools go wrong, Fraser? But it’s too late for that: they have gone wrong, and that is why we are having this discussion right now. When schools go wrong, it is time to attack home education. To punish the dog, kick the cat.

Nelson’s arguments are instructive. The two categories of children he is really concerned about are those served by unregistered schools, and those who have been excluded or “off-rolled” from schools.

In the U.K., a school by definition provides education for a minimum number of hours for a minimum number of days a year. If it does not, it’s not a school, but a provider of educational services. If it does, it is subject to a great deal of regulation. Nelson is worried about institutions which are teaching for more than this minimum number of hours, and are not registered or regulated. They are breaking the law, and the people involved can face heavy fines. It appears that the state’s educational apparatus has not enforced the law effectively. What on earth has this got to do with the need for new laws on home education? The children at these institutions are by definition not being home educated.

On exclusions, educational fashion — assisted by the state’s inspection regime — has dismantled effective discipline in many schools. The result is that some schools are places where children can be knifed and raped, but receive little education. As a way of dealing with the situation, the government has instituted public “league tables” ranking schools by their pupils’ performance in standard examinations. But how do schools — under intense pressure not to impose order on the chaos — improve their rankings? Well, they could chuck out the worst pupils, who often have nowhere else to go.

Formal expulsions are actually difficult for schools to do, so they came up with an ingenious scheme. Who says state bureaucracies can’t be creative? They now sit down with the parents of difficult children, and persuade or bully them into removing their children. This is called “off-rolling”. If the parents have no effective plan for educating their children outside school, this is no longer the school’s problem. In principle, local authorities should be providing them, if necessary, with tutors, but unsurprisingly this system doesn’t always work well.

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The head of the U.S. Bishops' Pro-Life office, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, is under attack for consistently calling out Joe Biden for the serious sin of publicly promoting abortion.

A petition has been launched against Archbishop Naumann because he continues to preach the truth that "Catholic" politicians who promote abortion are endangering their souls and causing grave scandal to the faithful.

We must now come to Archbishop Naumann's defense.

Please SIGN and SHARE WIDELY this petition which urges the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops not to demote or remove Archbishop Naumann from head of the Pro-Life Committee, but rather, to follow his lead in urging Joe Biden to repent of the terrible sin of promoting the murder the unborn human beings.

Archbishop Naumann has come under fire, from people who plainly know or care little about Catholic moral teaching, for stating the obvious in a recent interview with LifeSiteNews:

It is the responsibility of the Bishops of the United States to defend the most fundamental of all human rights, the right to life, and to protect the integrity of Catholic moral teaching. We cannot abdicate either of these responsibilities, even as we are eager to work with everyone to promote the common good...

We must continue to speak to President Biden, as well as all Catholics, and even all Americans, about the truth of what abortion is. Abortion is not something to be celebrated, and it is not healthcare. It is the intentional killing of a child. To participate in abortion or to promote abortion is a grave evil.

And, in an even more pointed statement made in an interview with Catholic World Report, Archbishop Naumann defended the Holy Eucharist against Biden's attack on human life, suggesting that Biden should not present himself for Holy Communion:

When Catholics receive the Eucharist, they are acknowledging the Real Presence of Jesus, and also belief in the teachings of the Church. President Biden doesn’t believe in the Church’s teachings on the Sanctity of Human Life, and he should not put the priest in the situation where he has to decide whether or not to allow him to receive the Eucharist. He should know that after 78 years as a Catholic.

But, again, by calling out Joe Biden for his public promotion of abortion, Archbishop Naumann is not doing anything out-of-the-ordinary.

He is only saying what the bishops should have all been saying, with a unified voice, since Biden won the nomination during the election campaign.

Indeed, in an open letter published on inauguration day, Archbishop José Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), warned that Biden’s pledge to pursue anti-life and anti-family policies would advance “moral evils” in the areas of “abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender."

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops not to demote or replace Archbishop Naumann as head of the Pro-Life Committee, but rather, to follow his lead in urging Joe Biden to repent of the horrific sin of promoting the murder of the preborn.


'EXCLUSIVE: Bishop Naumann – US bishops must address scandal of ‘Catholic’ Biden championing abortion' -

'Bishops need to ‘correct’ pro-abortion Biden for ‘acting contrary’ to Catholic faith: Abp. Naumann' -

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Fraser Nelson has mentally categorized these children as “home schooled”: They are not enrolled in schools, true, but these are not parents who have made a decision to home educate. This is a problem created by schools, which can only be solved by schools. Home educated children should be left alone.

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Dr Joseph Shaw has a Doctorate in Philosophy from Oxford University, where he also gained a first degree in Politics and Philosophy and a graduate Diploma in Theology. He has published on Ethics and Philosophy of Religion and is the editor of The Case for Liturgical Restoration: Una Voce Position Papers on the Extraordinary Form (Angelico Press). He is the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales and Secretary of Una Voce International. He teaches Philosophy in Oxford University and lives nearby with his wife and nine children.


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