Dear Ministers of the Federal Court of Brazil,
I'm writing to request your favorable consideration of home education in the upcoming case "Extraordinary appeal n. 888.815" on behalf of the Global Home Education Community. I hope that you will recognize home education as a human right and as a right protected by the Brazilian Constitution.
I would like to express my support for the Appellant in light of the pending decision of this court regarding home education and the right of parents to freely educate their own children.
Brazil is an influential country and this decision will have global effects. This is so, especially because of Brazil's commitment to human rights. Therefore, we beg you to seriously consider that your decision will not only affect the rights of this family and similarly situated families in Brazil, but will be looked at by other courts and policy makers around the world. Every one of us respects the national sovereignty of Brazil and understands and upholds the importance of human rights being realized in this context. However, the potential impact of your decision is momentous and we respectfully ask you to find a way to acknowledge the human rights status of home education.
Brazil has signed and ratified numerous international human rights agreements and declarations which protect the right of parents to educate their children at home. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 26(3) states that "parents have the prior right to decide" what kind of education their children shall receive. This section of the UDHR was included in response to the German National Socialist Party's nationalization of all schools for purposes of indoctrination and aggression.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also states in Article 14(3): "the right of parents to ensure education and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious, philosophical and pedagogical convictions shall be respected...".
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) states: "The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to choose for their children schools, other than those established by the public authorities, which conform to such minimum educational standards as may be laid down or approved by the State and to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions (Article 10.1 and 13.3)."
In addition, a 2006 report by United Nation's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education Mr. Vernor Muñoz Villalobos confirms a parent's right to direct the education of his or her children:
Even though the Special Rapporteur is a strong advocate of public, free and compulsory education, it should be noted that education may not be reduced to mere school attendance and that educational processes should be strengthened to ensure that they always and primarily serve the best interests of the child. Distance learning methods and home schooling represent valid options which could be developed in certain circumstances, bearing in mind that parents have the right to choose the appropriate type of education for their children, as stipulated in article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The promotion and development of a system of public, government-funded education should not entail the suppression of forms of education that do not require attendance at a school. In this context, the Special Rapporteur received complaints about threats to withdraw the parental rights of parents who chose home-schooling methods for their children. [Emphasis added.]
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child similarly recognizes the right of children to an education but also to the guidance and direction of their parents. Although the UNCRC emphasizes compulsory education and encourages school attendance it also recognizes in Article 29(2) the right of individuals to provide for education outside of state run institutions. Education cannot be reduced to mere school attendance and home education has been conclusively demonstrated to be a legitimate alternative to institutional forms of education.
Finally, the importance of pluralism in education cannot be overstated. The risk posed to democracy and freedom from uniform state run education for all children is the very reason Article 26(3) provides for the pre-eminent role of parents and families in the education of children; all free societies must strive to uphold this foundational principle. Thus, protecting the right of home education demonstrates a strong commitment to the principles of freedom, which are to be expected from democratic societies such as Brazil.
Considering the recognized legitimacy of homeschooling under international law and the fundamental principles of human rights, I respectfully request and urge that you to find favor of the Appellant and protect educational freedom in your upcoming ruling. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.