Homeschooling and the European Third Way

Homeschooling and the European "Third Way"

By C.C.M.Warren M.A.(Oxon), Retired Professional Educator

Homeschooling Paper #2, 21 September 2009

Copyright (c) 2009 C.C.M.Warren, All Rights Reserved

Introduction to the European "Third Way"

¶1. Øve Juul Johannsen, EU Ambassador and Head of the EU
Delegation of the European Commission to Japan, made these remarks
in his opening speech on 5 November 1999:


1.1. "The "third way" is a phrase that trips from many tongues
these days, not least in Europe, and it sums up an important
phenomenon. What is less clear is quite what the "third way"
means in practical terms. Slogans such as: "freedom and
fairness", "compassion and self-reliance", or "economic
opportunity and social justice", all try to give shape to the
concept. But like "welfare and competitiveness"...each phrase
suggests that there are two (seemingly irreconcilable) principles
which the "third way" will bridge in one way or another."1

Towards a Balanced Agenda

¶2. He continues:

2.1. "Because, on the whole, Europe has maintained its
competitiveness, while - and this is the important point -
continuing its commitment to social welfare. Indeed, it is almost
paradoxical that countries like Denmark (my own), or Germany,
have per capita outputs among the highest in the world, but also
have some of the highest spending on social protection.

2.2. "So a balanced agenda is nothing new in Europe. In fact, it is
far from clear that welfare and competitiveness are contradictory.

On the contrary, there may even be strong links between
economic efficiency on the one hand, and social responsibility on
the other. At least, that seems to be our experience." 2

Equal Weights and Measures

¶3. In these observations, I am in complete agreement. The problem,
as Johannesen points out, is in maintaining a "balanced agenda" -
giving equal weights and measures to capitalism and social
responsibility in the light of the need for "constant re-invention of
social provision". Finally, he notes:

3.1. "...the diversity of the European Union is a source of
strength, as we see what works in one Member State (such as
liberalisation in the UK, or new labour practices in the
Netherlands) and apply it across the Union." 3

Homeschooling as a Benchmark

¶4. In my paper on homeschooling prepared for the Swedish
Government 4 I argue for a similar balanced agenda in Swedish
education that proposed creation of a clearly-defined benchmark that
gives equal status to State Schooling, Independent or Free Schooling
and Home Education (Homeschooling)5, reminding the Swedish
Government as an EU member state of its obligation to uphold Article
§2 of Protocol No.1 of the European Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, guaranteeing the right of
parents to educate their children in acordance with their religious of
philosophical belief system, a convention which became Swedish law in
1995 upon Sweden's accession to the European Union, which the
current government seems determined to circumvent or ignore 6.

Reconciliation Between the Government and Homeschoolers

¶5. Though perhaps to the current Swedish Government
Homeschooling and State-sponsored education are "seemingly
irreconcilable", they are in truth extremely compatible with the EU
goals of the "Third Way". Britain, an EU member, has (like the United
States, which is currently seeking to converge its own goals with the
Third Way philosophy) a long an successful experience with
Homeschooling and as my paper demonstrates homeschoolers have, in
general, made excellent employees and thereby contributed to and
enhanced the job market, being much sought after for their selfdiscipline
and creativity.

Ending Cultural Genocide

¶6. If we are to properly "bridge welfare and competitiveness", as
Johannsen and the EU seeks, then in the realm of education there
must be a genuine commitment to the European ideal of the
"promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue" 7 and the
immediate removal of the proposed new legislation on homeschooling
that amounts to a form cultural genocide, such as homeschoolers have
been asking of the Education Minister, Jan Björklund, which has
hitherto been denied us .

Homeschooling as a Subset of Swedish Culture

¶7. This means that homeschooling must be acknowledged and
recognised as a sub-set of the Swedish culture (which it already is), in
recognition of what works elsewhere (as in the United Kingdm and
USA), be embraced as part of Sweden's democratic commitment to the
European "Third Way" and to multiculturalism in all of its forms, and be
so enshrined in Swedish law protecting the rights of homeschoolers.

Conclusion

¶8. The short-sighted proposed new education law on homeschooling:

8.1. Runs completely counter to European ideals;
8.2. Fails to recognise homeschooling as a part of Swedish
culture;
8.3. Would move Sweden away from a balanced educational
agenda;
8.4. Promotes intolerance8 and cultural genocide; and
8.5. Is contrary to the principles of European democracy.

Footnotes

1 Øve Juul Johannsen, Is the Third Way Feasible? Speech 14/1999

2 Øve Juul Johannsen, op.cit.

3 Øve Juul Johannsen, op.cit.

4 C.C.M.Warren, An Independent Study and Critique of the Swedish
Government's Proposed New Legislation on Homeschooling (2009)

5 C.C.M.Warren, op.cit., Recommended Government Legislation for
2010-11, F1 Important Comncepts, ¶F1a. Seven Principles to Form a
Working Model, pp.96-98 (PDF version)

6 C.C.M.Warren, op.cit., C1. The Law and Human Rights Conventions,
pp.28-30 (PDF version)

7 Council on the European Union, Press Release 15368/08 (Presse 317), 2905th
meeting of the Council, Education, youth and culture, Brussels, 20 and 21
November 2008

8 Consider the recent outrageous Kidnapping of Dominic Johansson by
the Gotland Social Services Department

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