Saturday, August 16, 2008

Homeschooling in the Brazilian Congress

Homeschooling in the Brazilian Congress

Rep. Henrique Afonso and Rep. Miguel Martini introduce bill to guarantee that Brazilian homeschool parents and children may be legally respected and protected

Julio Severo

On 5 June 2008 Rep. Henrique Afonso introduced in the Brazilian Congress PL-3518/2008, one of the most daring bills in the Brazilian Parliament. Daring not because it brings into existence something that has never existed before, but because, in the midst of the sea of a voracious statism, it tries to return to families more decision-making power in one of the most important areas: the education of their children.

If the subject is to defend life and family, Rep. Afonso is not afraid to face challenges. He knows what is to be persecuted because of those values.

Even having a background of political career radically committed to the communist and socialist ideology, today Afonso seeks to be guided by God’s justice, which is above human ideologies. He has been the author of distinguished pro-life initiatives, including a bill to protect Indian children from being killed by tribal witchcraft conventions and government apathy.

Because of these ethical stands, he is under threat of being expelled from PT, the party of Socialist President Lula. I see in such expelling much more blessing and privilege than remaining in a party having infamous connections with Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Farc, the largest drug-trafficking terrorist group in Americas.

In the homeschooling issue, he and Rep. Miguel Martini saw that the current laws do not give real freedom to homeschool families, leaving them exposed to unnecessary hostilities from government agencies. Both parliamentarians have an exemplary political curriculum on defense of life and family. So it is natural such union to defend homeschooling.

Family exists much before the State, and for millennia it has always fulfilled its basic functions of upbringing and educating the next generations. Later, the State appeared to help and complement the family responsibilities. Today, the State with its colossal and authoritarian power seeks not longer to complement, but replace entirely families in their functions.

Even though not having dominance over reproduction to control the continuity of the next generations, the State has already usurped education, imposing on families a mere role of complementing the state goals in the indoctrination of children.

That role inversion, where the complementing State became the owning State, happened in a way that many families did not perceive.

In the US, Australia and other nations, parents were awakened on time and were able to guarantee, through proper legislation, the protection of their rights. With such freedom, many families may choose homeschooling. Even in Portugal parents are free to homeschool their children.

In Brazil, past constitutions, according to Dr. Rodrigo Pedroso, recognized that parents have a right to homeschool their children. Yet, the 1988 Brazilian Constitution, made by many totalitarian left-wingers, established a greater state control over education, eliminating the acceptance of homeschooling and removing families from their central place in the education of children.

When families waked, it was too late. After this slip-up, where left-wingers were allowed to impose the role of the State as an exclusive owner of schooling, it remained to families only the secondary role of assisting the State in its educational goals. Even so, some families, nevertheless the legal threats, kept homeschooling their children.

In the intention to protect those families, there were attempts in the 1990s to open again legal room for homeschooling through bills in the House of Representatives, but experts in the Brazilian Congress said that such bills were unnecessary because, in their view, the Brazilian Constitution already guarantees to parents the homeschooling option.

The paper “Homeschooling no Brasil”, published by the House of Representatives in January 2001, says,

According to Rep. Carlos Lupi, there is no constitutional hindrance for homeschooling. After all, under the conditions of observance of the general regulations of the public education and of authorization and quality evaluation by government agencies, education is free for private enterprises (besides, it’s a state duty), and there is no need for transforming it into a monopoly of the school system. Furthermore, Rep. Lupi argues in his opinion that, according to the article 64 of the Law 5.692/71, in the time when it was in force, the state educational councils could “authorize pedagogical experiments, with different systems from those prescribed in the current Law, securing the legitimacy of the made studies” and that the new LDB [education regulations] expressly accepted the “enrolling in any grade of the elementary and middle school regardless previous schooling”. So the vote rejected the bill because a new law was seen as unnecessary.

The official opinion of this document of the House of Representatives was that the Constitution already assures to parents the right to choose home education. In reality, though, the Constitution and especially ECA are used to persecute Christian families that chose to take complete responsibility for the education of their children. ECA is the acronym for Child and Adolescent Statute, a domestic legislation made to reflect the UN Convention on Children’s Rights.

Therefore, in order to solve this conflict and shield homeschooling families from aggressions of state institutions, Rep. Henrique Alfonso (evangelical) and Rep. Miguel Martini (Catholic) joined together and introduced in the House of Representatives PL-3518/2008.

Evangelicals and Catholics are in this way united, through this bill, in the defense of the right of families to exert their functions and responsibilities without state persecution.

While some members of the House of Representatives occupy their time and our money creating bills in favor of sodomy or abortion, Alfonso and Martini have shown real interest in the well-being of the family. And it was very timely.

In a fitting speech on 26 January 2004 in the floor of the Congress in Brasília, Brazil, then Rep. Elimar Damasceno declared:

Sadly, in Brazil to teach children at home, in the place of the institutional school, is activity contrary to law, because the Ministry of Education does not recognize such practice. However, the State cannot be above of the family. Parents should decide which education model they desire for their children. The time has come for the Brazilian Parliament to discuss home education, and give parents the opportunity to choose what kind of education they want for their children.

With PL-3518/2008, Rep. Henrique Alfonso and Rep. Miguel Martini were able to introduce the homeschool discussion into the Brazilian Congress. Now, Catholics and evangelicals need to join themselves together so that home education may be approved in Brazil.

To know the complete bill in Portuguese, follow this link:

Its translation is on the final of this article.

To send a message of encouragement, congratulation and compliment to the authors of the home education bill, write to:

Rep. Henrique Afonso

Rep. Miguel Martini


Portuguese version of this article: Educação escolar em casa no Congresso Nacional


Brazilian Homeschool BILL 3518/2008

By Henrique Afonso and Miguel Martini

It regulates home school and adds a sole paragraph to the article 81 of the Law nr. 9,394, of 1996, which establishes the National Education Guidelines and Bases and makes dispositions for home education.

National Congress decrees:

Article 1: A sole paragraph has been added to the article 91 of the Law nr. 9,394, from December 20, 1996, having the following text:

“Art. 81 ................................................................................

Sole paragraph. Home education mode, in the elementary level, is granted as long as it is administered in the home by family members or legal guardians only and as long as the regulations of this Law are obeyed. This is a must of the State facilitate, not to obstruct, this educational modality”.

I - Parents or guardians of children or adolescents in the system of home education shall use the services of an institutional school on an annual basis for the evaluation of educational progress, according to laws governing schools.

II - Evaluations will be done according to the national guidelines established in this Law and to the national curriculum commanded by the National Council on Education.

III - Parents will be accounted before schools for the results in the evaluation of a student in the home education mode. If the child’s or adolescent’s basic battery achievement score in reading, writing, and math is below the minimum of student achievement nationwide, at the end of the school year the permit for his home education will be made provisional and parents will be given another school year for recovery in order the student may score at or above the minimum of student achievement nationwide. Otherwise, the permit for his home education will be canceled at the end of the provisional school year and the child shall attend an institutional school in the following school year.

Article 2 This law shall go in effect in the date of its publication.


The Federal Constitution determines, in its article 205, that education is the right of all and duty of the State and of the family, and it shall be promoted and fostered with the cooperation of society, with a view to the full development of the person, his preparation for the exercise of citizenship and his qualification for work.

Furthermore, in the article 209, the Constitution makes clear that education is open to private enterprise, if the compliance with the general rules of national education and under authorization and evaluation of quality by the Government are met. Therefore, education shall not be considered a monopoly of school institutions.

Home teaching allows one to adapt education to the needs of each child and offers a room of intense intimacy and reciprocal education or schooling for the family. Therefore, it reinforces the irreplaceable educational role of the family in the development of their children.

Family is the main gearing in the education and the creation of home education. It also increases schooling opportunities for children and adolescents, and stimulates a differentiated integration between home school and conventional school, with redistribution of responsibilities. In addition, it promotes the development of self-discipline and self-learning, qualities eagerly looked for in the modern-day professionals.

Lawgivers, conscious of the changes and potentiality of the educational developments outside of the institutional school setting, allowed the establishment of courses or institutions of experimental teachings, provided that the regulations in the National Guidelines and Bases Law, Law nr. 9,394, 1996 (article 81), are met.

The Guidelines and Bases Law also tells, in its article 38, that the teaching systems will keep supplemental courses and evaluations, which shall encompass the common national curriculum base, enabling the continuation of studies for 15-year olds and older, and in the conclusion of the middle education, for 18-year olds and older.

Therefore, I ask the support from my Representative friends for this bill, so that the possibility of evaluation and certificate granting in education obtained outside of the school setting may not be limited only by age issues to youths and adults who had no access to school in their proper age.

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