Based on our own experiences with the Dutch educational system, and on that of many other parents, teachers, headmasters, school board members, and talks with all imaginable institutions surrounding the Dutch Educational system (government agents, politicians, the inspection for education, the ministry of Education, Ouders en Co, LOBO and so on) and input from linkedin discussions I have set up a test document stating the problems in the Dutch Educational System and solutions.
In the open linkedin group “Hartverwarmendwijs” in the discussion "Sailing for Education: hoe maken we van Nederland een veilige haven voor gezinnen die alleen maar goed onderwijs voor hun kinderen willen en mensen die dat willen geven?" which means: “Sailing for Education, how do we make the Netherlands a safe haven for families who only want proper education for their children and people who want to provide that?” by clicking on “interesting” in the second comment you can show if you would sign such a petition, or what would have to change in order for you to sign it.
Thank you very much!
Test petition CDG (Children’s Development Guarantee) (The translation of KOG Kinder Ontwikkelings Garantie): Suggestions how to realize the Freedom, Safety, Quality and Affordability of education as stated in article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Netherlands, thus making it a safe haven for families who only want decent education for their children and for people who want to provide it!
Terrible things are happening with children in the Netherlands. The fact that children are doing worse and worse in school is the least of the problems. What is more serious, is that children’s fundamental human rights are in no way guaranteed in schools, and that there is no way to do anything about it when childrens fundamental human rights are being violated in schools or even prevent them from being violated in schools. Parents who keep their children home because they are not safe in school, or where there is even a suspicion they do so, are fined by government officials and risk that their child is taken away from them! The same goes for children, who by no fault of their own or of their parents are unable to enrol in any school.
North Korea, Germany and the Netherlands are the only three countries in the world where compulsory learning is equalled to compulsory attending of a school building fulltime.
How ever, in many cases this compulsory visiting of a school building is in the way of learning and sabotages children’s development instead of stimulating it.
Schools are not free to give the kind of education they want to give, and if the government gets its way, parents won’t be free anymore to choose the school they want for their children, and schools may even determine which mental health care programs children will get, without the parents having any say in the matter!
Schools receive large amounts of money from the government for these mental health care programs, and there is no control whether they are valid or how the money is spent. Schools are obligated by the educational inspection to label children as early as possible, without there being any possibility to check if this is justified. Schools who refuse to do this either lose their funding, are closed down, or are labelled themselves as very weak and forced to comply under threat of the measures mentioned earlier.
Parents who do not allow their children to be falsely labelled and treated for ailments they do not have and who have reports by professionals to prove they are right are terrorised and forced to leave the schools, and suddenly have to pay high fees for private education.
16500 children have no school to go to, and numbers of more 25000 have been mentioned as well, all facing the conflict with the Dutch government mentioned earlier, regardless if they themselves are to blame. This is not counting the innumerable number of children unhappy in schools with false labels. And also not the large numbers of families who flee the country because of the terrible situation in the Dutch educational system.
In order to be able to do home schooling, which is forbidden in the Netherlands, the brothers Enrique and Hugo Claassen have been sailing international waters for almost a year now, while schools where they would be able to go are being closed down or forced into becoming schools where there is no place for them.
Still the problems the Dutch educational system is confronted with are not insurmountable. The knowledge, financial resources, laws and regulations to solve them are already present. By way of this petition we would like to ask the Dutch government to please apply them.
Officially The Netherlands honour the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ( see http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/mensenrechten/vraag-en-antwoord/wat-is-de-universele-verklaring-van-de-rechten-van-de-mens.html) , but the way things are in schools show a very different picture. Compulsory education is also mentioned in the UDHR, but embedded in many circumstances that are in no way guaranteed in schools. The planned implementation of “Fitting Education”(Passend Onderwijs) in 2014 will only make matters worse.
Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights tells us:
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
The problems are in areas where the regulations in the Dutch educational system either divert from the UDHR, or from the ground principles of democracy:
1.For example, not all religions and educational needs are represented in government funded (or public) education. For this reason children who have educational needs, which divert from mainstream, have no access to public, or sometimes even any education. Examples are giftedness, autism, dyslexia or combinations of these, but there are many other reasons children can be without a school by no fault of their own or their parents.
2.Home schooling is not an option either, since the laws and bureaucracy surrounding that make the choice for home schooling nearly impossible, and even people who choose this option out of necessity are often forced to leave the country if they don’t want their children to be placed under foster care.
3.Public primary schools (kindergarten until 6th grade) receive €5800, - a year for each child which is enrolled, and €7400, - a year for secondary school, amounts which can rise to €20.000, - a child a year if the child has special needs.
For at least 5500 of the 16500 children who do not attend public schools anymore, the money keeps going to the schools which they do not attend and which do not render any services for them, and they are probably being helped or supervised by other public services which are also government funded. (3)
In the case of the other 11000 pupils, the schools keep receiving the government funding and also the full extra funding for children with special needs for the following year and even the year after that if the child has not been taken often the enrolment list before a certain date. (These figures can be found on http://www.overheid.nl/)) (3)
Some public schools find this unreasonable as well, but still they are not permitted to pass the money on to inspection-approved private schools where the children are receiving education. (3)
This can lead to painful situations, when children live in one area one half of the year, and another the other half of the year. Then one school receives all the money, and the other school receives nothing, while they both do just as much work for the pupils. And yet the school that gets all the money is prohibited from giving any money to the school that receives nothing. (3)
Other painful situations are when the public schools keep receiving funding for children who do not attended the school anymore, while the parents have to pay a large amount of money for a private school. And if they cannot afford it, the children are forced to quit school and have to stay home. Not peacefully, but with much bureaucratic problems and threats of being placed under foster care, while neither the children, nor the parents have done anything wrong. (3)
4.So in practice, certain educational-and care needs are financed, and others aren’t. This is form of discrimination, and this is a violation of article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Discrimination leads to unequal opportunities, with all the unpleasant consequences for society.
In this way funding is abundant for children who have learning disabilities, up to an amount of sometimes over €20000,- a year. But if a child is gifted the government does not pay a dime and parents have to pay for all the research and schooling out of their own pockets, while it is a well known fact that things can go very wrong with gifted children if they don’t receive education that is geared towards their abilities, while if they do get that they don’t only do well for themselves, but they are also able to give the solutions for many of the problems society struggles with today.(4)
5.The Netherlands do have special programs for gifted children, but those only recognise a small portion of gifted children. Generally speaking tests are not sufficient to determine whether a child is gifted or not, nor are teachers trained to recognise it, since their training is mainly focussed on detecting learning disabilities. But handling it well or badly means the difference between excelling and failing miserably. For gifted children there is usually no middle road (see www.ieku.nl en http://www.hoogbegaafdvlaanderen.be/03_Testen/vermoeden_tot_test.html)
6. Educational freedom (UDHR article 26 patt 3) is also violated because tests done at a very young age determine children’s whole future, because they determine which level high school a child can attend, which determines which level studies he or she can do. 12 years is much too young to give a child the message that he or she is unable to reach a higher level, and is also a form of child abuse. The stress and trauma this causes are not good for any one.
7.There is no separation and balance between powers in schools, because there are no external institutions which guarantee the safety and following of the Human Rights within schools, and in cases surrounding schools, while this is a ground principle of democracy. You cannot prepare children for living in a democracy in an undemocratic setting.
8.If the fundamental human rights are violated in schools there is no way you can protect your child and there is no way to force schools to respect a child’s fundamental human rights. Even if you can prove that your child is not safe in school, a government official forces you to take your child to the school where it is not safe, while no measures are taken to ensure the safety of your child in school! As a parent it is also forbidden to do anything to protect your child! If you keep your child at home anyway because it is unsafe in school, the parents get fines, not the schools.
9.Even in the case of the most horrendous violations of human rights, all that can be given is an advice to the school, with which they can do what they like, and which they do not have to follow. So there is no way do anything about violations of human rights within schools. This is a violation of article 3 of the UDHR, which states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” and article 8 of the UDHR: “Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.” And it is a violation of article 30 of the UDHR, because one article of the UDHR is used to violate another. In this case compulsory learning stated in article 26 part 1 is used to violate article 3, the right to safety.
10.Besides that there is a rule that after one year complaints against schools may not be taken into consideration at all.
11.Education and care are thrown together in schools, while teachers are educated to teach, and this is also what schools are for, not for making diagnoses. The whole mindset of looking for faults in children is harmful in itself, and could be seen as “arbitrary interference”, a violation of article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is not only unpleasant, but also very harmful for a child’s self esteem and development if he or she is viewed in this manner.
12.Besides that, the training of teachers is geared towards learning disabilities, not towards recognising giftedness, which causes many errors and labelling children as having learning disabilities rather than needing extra challenges. This is, of course, disastrous for these children and their chances of success. The wariness schools have of real professionals does not help matters at all.
13.Educational Inspection is geared towards care, not development. It expects schools to detect problems early and to make plans for care, but then it has no way to check if these points of concern are valid, and there is no way to check if the extra money given for this extra care is indeed spent how it is supposed to be. This makes it attractive for schools to detect problems, something teachers are not qualified to do, and which is unhealthy for the child, which can lead to children getting care they don’t need and which is wrong and harmful for them. And it is expensive for society. It also gives cause to a conflict of interests, when a school can make much money with false labelling, and there is no control whether this is happening or not,
14.The pressure on teachers is too great. They have too little freedom in how they teach, which takes the pleasure out of teaching. Besides that they spend 30% of their time on overhead, time in which they could either teach or have time to themselves, so this either harms their teaching or their health, which in turn causes much illness among teachers.
15.Schools do not have the freedom to teach as they would like and as they believe is best, but they are under strict surveillance of the inspection of education, with constant threats of losing funding, like “de Tra” in Uithoorn, and even of being allowed to calling themselves schools which are allowed to fulfil the compulsory education obligations, such as de Koers in Beverwijk and de Kampanje in Amersfoort. http://www.dichtbij.nl/amstelland/regio/artikel/2631851/kind-volgen-niet-sturen.aspx, http://www.zelfontwikkelingsonderwijs.nl/, http://www.rechtspraak.nl/Actualiteiten/Nieuws/Pages/De-Koers-in-Beverwijk-is-geen-school.aspx, http://zoeken.rechtspraak.nl/detailpage.aspx?ljn=BX4695
16.School principles are paralysed by school boards, within which supervisors are installed, and whose duty it is to answer to the inspection. These are divide and rule situations under which everyone suffers.
17.Because of the minimal enrolment numbers for government funding in many villages schools must be closed down, which is bad for the morale and the economy in those villages, and for the development of children. This minimal number of enrolments also is a handicap for schools that have a teaching method that needs a small scale.
18.Schools aren’t ruled by laws, but by interpretations of laws by educational inspectors, which makes everyone unsure all the time. The Inspections ruling determines everything for the school.
This makes it a system where everyone suffers, principals, teachers. Parents, whole families, and, worst of all, the children themselves. (18)
19.Enrique and Hugo Claassen are two brothers who have fled outside of Holland’s borders on a sailboat in order to be allowed to do home schooling, something that is forbidden for them in the Netherlands. They cannot go to school by no fault of their own, and yet they are being terrorised by governmental agencies and under constant threat of being placed in foster care. They have formed the Organisation “Sailing for Education” to draw attention to the horrible situation in the Dutch school system.
They summarize the Dutch way of handling compulsory learning like this: “We want to go to school, but are not allowed to. Laura Dekker was not allowed to sail around the world; she had to go to school. That’s what they call compulsory learning in Holland. But there is no Right to Education.”
20.The numbers mentioned above have been found because of the tireless efforts of their mother Annelies Schillemans to do something about the horrible situation in the Dutch educational system. Before then these numbers were hidden, and the government pretended that there were only 2000 children who could not be placed in schools. According to research not all the children who have dropped out of the educational system are registered. The real numbers are thus even higher than the mentioned 16500, and estimates say it might be more than 25000 children who are left without schooling. (See http://www.ouders.nl/pdf/rapport_de_dunne_lijn.pdf)
21.And these numbers still don’t include the children being mangled within the school walls, who are labelled wrongly without anyone being to do anything about it or who are given poisonous drugs, which they must take in order not to be thrown out of school.
22.And if that happens, by no fault of their own, they can expect governmental agencies at their doorstep with threats of foster care. Agencies of which you’d expect they were there to protect decent families are turning against them instead.
23.From 2014 onwards parents don’t even need to sign anymore in order for schools to put their children in care projects, and school can put any label they want on any child, with the care that is expected with that label, including placement in foster care. So whereas in the past, parents gave up 51% of their say in matters concerning their own children, in the future this will be 100% if nothing is done to stop it.
24.The declining power of parents and real professionals is not only in conflict with the UDHR, but also in conflict with scientific facts. Since the reports about failing Juvenile Care have become public, and since it is known that a child in foster care is two and a half times more likely to be abused, Juvenile Care has only become more powerful, and the threat of children being placed outside of the home has only become greater, because, contrary to the troublesome numbers, starting from 2014 schools will work directly with Juvenile Care! So whereas in the past schools could only bother parents with false care projects, they will now have the direct power to place children in foster care, without checking if this is correct, because a signature is no longer needed! And whereas choice of schools was limited in the past, with “Fitting Education”(Passend Onderwijs) parents will have no say at all anymore where their children go to school!
25.Clearly they have not foreseen in 1948 that the world would become so absurd that The Universal Declaration of Human Rights would need to say something about not being allowed to be arbitrarily robbed of one’s children, but you could easily see that as a violation of a combination of article 3 “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person,” and article 17 part 2: “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.”
26.Together with North Korea and Germany, the Netherlands is one of the only three countries that equals compulsory learning to compulsory visiting of a school building. This is a violation of article 20 part 2 of the UDHR, which states, “no one may be compelled to belong to an association.”
27.Equalling compulsory learning to the obligation of visiting a school building and then having no interest in what happens within that building is a violation of many human rights, and a total perversion of the intentions of compulsory education, which actually should be called right to education, or right to development.
28.Equalling compulsory education to the duty to visit a school is also a violation of article 30 of the UDHR, which states: “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth.”
29.Home schooling is only allowed based on religion before a child is 5, which is a violation of article 18 of the UDHR, which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
30. Government funding of schools is based on religion or teaching methods, which causes schools to stick to methods they don’t believe in anymore just to get the funds.
31. Schools can become very rigid and sectarian because of the religion or teaching method on which their funding is based.
32. Because of what schools are judged on it is difficult for schools to follow the demands and progress of a changing world, and to fulfil the needs of society, which causes them to always be behind and thus they completely fail in preparing children for life properly.
33.Back in 2002, the distinguished Dutch psychologist and teacher Dr. Hans Blok, senior researcher of the Kohnstamm Institute (the leading Dutch Educational Research Centre) conducted a study in which he concluded that home schooling was at least as good as being taught at schools, and his advice was to reconsider the law on primary education of 1969.
It is strange, that now, 11 years later, that advice still has not been followed, but better late than never.
Through this petition we would like to ask the Dutch house of parliament to please change the rules in such a way the article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as written in 1948, is applied, and that we will truly have freedom of education and safety within schools.
Please sign it and send it to as many people you know as you can, so that our children can finally have the freedom, safety, quality and affordability of education that was promised to us 65 years ago.
As far as the educational system is concerned, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was fired in the same year she should have come of age. Hopefully on her retirement age she may finally go to work!
1. Here are the ideas to realize the affordability of education determined in the UDHR article 26 part 1: (solution for point 3,4,5, 31,32 and 33)
a.All children who live in Holland who are at an age that they are under the compulsory learning laws but who are not enrolled in any kind of public schooling, in order for their development to be optimal, should be allowed a Children’s Development Guarantee, at the amount which is also available for the education of children of their age in public schooling in the Netherlands, for as long as they reasonably need to finish their schooling and/or until they receive their scholarship from University.
b.Also for children in this age group who have no right to any other kind of funding should be allowed this Child Development Guarantee, so that no children are left out.
c.If a public school which a child does not attend or no longer attends receives government funding for a child, this funding minus 5% administration costs for the outsourcing school or organization can be transferred to the parents or caretakers through a so called “outsourcement agreement,” so the money can be used where the child is actually receiving education or help. This is to prevent double payments as well as unfair distribution of funds.
d.In case the outsourcing school still performs services which have been requested by the parents for the student who is no longer present in the school, an agreed upon percentage may be kept by the outsourcing school, of course with the parents permission.
e.In short: the money should be where the child is or where the services for the child are being rendered at all times, and if this is not the case arrangements to facilitate this should not only be allowed, but should be made obligatory.
f. Not schools, but children should be subsidized. (see 3 h)
*To make sure the money is really being used for the child’s education parents can be asked to open a separate banking account for the CDG, which is only used for the child’s education. So for classes, private education, schooling materials or counselling which is not covered by insurance. Development may be explained widely, but has to be explicable.
2.Here are the ideas to realize the freedom of education as defined in article 26 part 3 of the UDHR: (solution for point 1,2,6,13,14, 15, 16,19,20,22, 23, 25,26, 27, 28,29,30, 31 2nd time, 32 2nd time, 33 2nd time)
a.The choice for public-, private- or home schooling, with as most important argument the very best interest of the child, may be taken at every given time by the child, the parents or guardians together, and may be changed at any given time if so wished by the child and parents or guardians.
b.Schools and parents should be given the opportunity to determine together which approach to learning is best for the child. The inspection may not interfere with this process.
c.Supervisors should be outside of the school, not within the board of the school. This harms relationships and spoils the atmosphere in schools.
d.Schools should be given freedom to apply their own teaching methods. The inspection should only guard the following of the UDHR. The teachers should be free to apply whichever teaching method suits the child best within the limits of the UDHR.
e.Tests should be seen as showing the lower limit, not the upper limit. Children should be allowed to try and achieve any level they like, and the school’s duty is to be supportive and encouraging. That is also a part of freedom of education: the freedom for children to determine themselves which level of education they want to follow. And if this is a higher level than tests show, they are allowed to try anyway at any time.
3.Here are the ideas to realize the safety of education as defined in the UDHR article 26 part 2: [solution for point 7, 8. 9,10,11,12,13 (2nd ).14 (2ndt time), 15 (2nd time),16 (2nd time), 17, 18, 19 (2nd time), 21,23,24, 25 (2nd time), 30 3rd time, 31 3rd time, 32 3rd time, 33 3rd time]
a.We live in a democracy, and schools should prepare children for that by giving them a right to speak and a voice in what happens in the schools and a choice in what they want to learn about.
b.In schools the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as presented in 1948 should be followed and children should be able to feel safe and happy there.
c.If there is the smallest signal that children are not safe in school, even if it only concerns one child, that should be researched immediately and measures to ensure the child’s safety should be taken immediately. The parents should be allowed to keep the child at home at all times. If existing organizations are not willing to this, or do not do so to everyone’s satisfaction, other organizations should be allowed to do so at all times. If the school does not take care of home schooling, the money should immediately go to the parents so that they can provide home schooling. The child does not have to go to school until all the circumstances as are declared in the UDHR are achieved in school and the child can be physically safe and perfectly happy.
d.Where children and or parents are victimized by legislation that stands in the way of the UDHR, higher law should prevail over lower law, and the rights as described in the UDHR should be kept.
e.The limitation period of one year for complaints against schools should be abolished. Complaints should be handled by independent agencies, and those found valid should have binding consequences for the school.
f.If schools only need to occupy themselves with teaching, and parents manage the care taking part with caretakers outside of school funded by their own insurance, focus of schools is healthier and kept on what they were meant: talent development.
g.Care is to be left to parents and professionals of their choice, paid by their own insurance. If parents want to leave it to the school anyways, they may do so, but they should never be pressured to, and may also stop doing so at any time if they don’t like where it’s going.
h.Not schools, but children should be funded, and thus the enrolment number requirements for funding should be abandoned as well.
Petition CDG (Children’s Development Fund)
Please help make The Netherlands a safe haven for families who just want proper education for their children and for people who want to deliver that!
Please help us make sure the freedom, safety, quality and affordability of education as determined in article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is finally realized!
The affordability of all sorts of education can be funded for a large part with what is in schools children do not attend anymore. All that is needed is way to get that funding to where the children actually are.
By separating school and care it will no longer be funded for care projects, which will make the costs for schooling much cheaper, and cost the government less while subsidising all children and not some.
The quality is already present in teachers and schools. But because of the wrong interpretation of legislation they don’t have the possibility to teach children in the way they would like.
The prerequisites for freedom- and safety of education have already been stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The plan to get al this done has already been put in writing above and can be found on www.uvrm.wenst.nl under the chapter Petition Children’s Development Guarantee and could be implemented without extra costs in no time at all.
Please be so kind as to sign this letter to the Dutch house of parliament? If we have enough signatures we can ask the government to execute this plan, and The Netherlands can finally become a safe haven for all those 16500, or maybe even more than 25000 children who now have no place in the Dutch educational system, and who are constantly being bothered and terrorised by agencies which should protect families and children. That’s not even counting the unknown numbers of children receiving wrong treatments, and the unknown numbers who have fled the country because of the inhumane interpretation of legislation around education in The Netherlands.
Thank you so much, on behalf of all the children in The Netherlands!
Letter to the Dutch Parliament:
We believe that the solution for the 16500, and maybe even more than 25000 children in the Netherlands who are not a part of the Dutch educational system, and the unknown numbers who have fled the country because of the inhumane and degrading interpretation of legislation surrounding education, and the unknown numbers of children with false labels who are unhappy within the Dutch educational system has already been given in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as stated in 1948.
We ask you to apply these rules, and finally give the Netherlands the freedom, safety, quality and affordability of education that has been promised us 65 years ago. Above, and on www.uvrm.wenst.nl under the Chapter Petition Children’s Development Guarantee there is a plan to do this without extra costs with means, which are already present.
As simple as these measures are, we understand it might take some time to implement them. This is request to build proper dykes to prevent education from drowning further.
Until then we ask you to stop persecuting families who, by no fault of their own, are unable to follow the contemporary explanation of compulsory learning. So please also stop harassing the family Claassen_ Schillemans and let them live in peace in the Netherlands, as all normal families should be allowed to do.
And if, for some reason, this is not possible, at least give them a boat of their own choice on which they can at least all be together until the Netherlands has regained her senses and has become a safe haven for families who only want proper education for their children and people who want to provide that.
And we would like to ask you to stop making it impossible for families to find their own solutions to the problems in the Dutch schooling system, and to support plans to keep their children in schools they love. An example is the School Seeks SIS project, as is stated in www.uvrm.wenst.nl under that chapter, where public schools can take care that the funding that is there for all the children in the Netherlands actually reaches them all, also those with educational needs and wishes that are not available in public schools.
We hope you succeed quickly in realizing the freedom, safety, quality and affordability of education for all children in the Netherlands!
Thank you very much.