Within many social areas, it is believed with great justified conviction that parents are the first and main educators of their children. Today, it seems that this is clear neither in theory nor in practice among parents and public authorities.
The right of parents to educate their children, which has foundation upon natural law, is essential because it is them that have given life to their children. Moreover, children depend on their parents for their own development, not only for sustenance and physical care, but also for the acquisition of early habits of personal autonomy, which takes place within the intimacy of the family, i.e. the authentic community of love. The role played by parents for the emotional development of a child throughout the first years of that child’s life is fundamental. Furthermore, emotional deprivation is one of the most important causes of school failure.
The education of children, other than being a right, is a duty of parents since they brought their children into the world and no one can exempt them from that responsibility.
The right and duty of parents is primordial and original in respect to other people and institutions that are involved in education. For having given life to their children, parents have the natural duty to educate them and this duty should be recognized by all.
Moreover, the right to education and the duty of educating are irreplaceable and inalienable. Schools are collaborative entities for education but can never substitute parents on this responsibility. There is no rational sense to commentaries made by parents, such as: “I don’t know how to educate children, I was not taught to do this, may schools teach them instead”, etc. Parents cannot completely delegate their duty to educate their children unto others, because the role of the family is irreplaceable.
Throughout history, there have been tentative carried out by totalitarian States to separate children from their families by making the State the main responsible for the education of children. These tentative have always been a failure.
In the realm of cooperation between families and educational institutions, it should always be clear that both the right to education and the duty to educate children are essential, primordial, and irreplaceable (Translated by Gianna A. Sanchez Moretti).