A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution.
The homeschooling movement never saw the case coming.
"At first, there was a sense of, 'No way,' " said homeschool parent Loren Mavromati, a resident of Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County) who is active with a homeschool association. "Then there was a little bit of fear. I think it has moved now into indignation."
Naturally, the teachers' union is ecstatic- they have one more weapon to force all students not in private schools into their little socialist paradise, thus allowing them to demand more money. And parents have one less alternative to the forced indoctrination into Leftist philosophy that has taken over the public school system. Personally, I would rather my children learned about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, George S. Patton, Booker Washington, Douglas MacArthur, Christopher Columbus, John C Fremont, Kit Carson, Davy Crockett Chester Nimitz and other great American heroes than feminist or environmental icons like Rachel Carson or Susan B. Anthony. The former were far more important to the development of this great nation than the latter, no matter what the arguments of the chattering classes.
This case has some interesting angles. On the one hand, I am a firm believer that states should be in charge of their own education. As the story states, the attorney for the home-schoolers admitted that, as regards the court decision,
"They just affirmed that the current California law, which has been unchanged since the last time it was ruled on in the 1950s, is that children have to be educated in a public school, an accredited private school, or with an accredited tutor," she said. "If they want to send them to a private Christian school, they can, but they have to actually go to the school and be taught by teachers."
If this is state law, then it behooves either to change in in the Legislature (unlikely due to the amount of influence the teachers' union possesses over the Democratic majority), or to have the California Supreme Court step in and overturn the law. As I am not a legal expert, I cannot say for sure what the California Supreme Court might do, but they tend to be more conservative than the government, so there is a good chance they might tell the Legislature that the law forcing children to attend school is unconstitutional.
However, I also believe that parents should absolutely have the right to educate their own children. Many parents, myself included, have far more education, skills and knowledge than the typical primary and even secondary-school teacher. For example, my wife is a registered nurse in two different countries. I myself hold a graduate degree in History, have worked as a professional musician and have technical certifications as well. I even hold a California 30-day substitute teaching permit. But neither she nor I hold a teaching credential. So in California's eyes, that would disqualify us from teaching our children at home, even though we are expert in many areas that virtually no primary-school teacher can match. Not even mentioning the fact, as reported this morning by Lee Rodgers on KSFO radio that homeschooled children outperform their public school counterparts in virtually every statistical area.
Ultimately, I would hope the California Supreme Court strikes down this law as unconstitutional, but based on my reading of the California Constitution Article 9, I fear that the 1953 law does not violate the Constitution itself, so we will have to put our trust in the Legislature. And they are far too much under the thumb of the teachers' union to expect any action that way.
UPDATE: It seems Jerry Pournelle has weighed in on this topic as well. His thoughts are more succinct than mine- he says sue. For Jerry's thoughts, go to the link, then scroll down to 'Sic Semper Tyrannus'. A fitting demarcation for the tyranny the government has become.