Monday, August 11, 2008

Home-schooling IS Acceptable After All

Some readers may recall the February 28 decision by the Los Angeles Second District Court that essentially would have forced home-schooling parents to hodl a teaching credential in order to teach their own children. I wrote at the time that based on my reading of the law in question, the Court simply upheld the existing law. However, I also said that I believ that parents absolutely should have the right to teach their own children at home, provided they are competent adults.

Today, the same court that handed down the original decision reversed themselves, stating that California law did allow parents to home-school without the necessity of obtaining a teaching credential. And the story in the San Francisco Chronicle provides a startling insight into the mind of the teachers' union, stating,
"Parents do not have an unfettered right to dictate the terms of their children's education," a lawyer for the union said in written arguments. Unregulated, unsupervised homeschooling, the lawyer said, is an invitation to "educational anarchy."

Parents do not have an unfettered right to dictate the terms of their childrens's education? Really? And why should some 'teacher' have that right? Especially when I am well aware that in most areas of study, I hold higher certifications than virtually any public school teacher? This mindset by the union is shocking and one of the many reasons why my child(ren) will never be taught in a public school setting if I can avoid it.

This is good news, although I continue to think that the Court acted in a strict constructionist manner throughout- both upholding the original law, and subsequently interpreting it based on the Legislature's apparent wishes. In other words, they did their jobs, which is to interpret the law- not make the law. In his re-interpretation, Judge Walter Croskey wrote,
"Recent statutes indicate that the Legislature is aware that some parents in California homeschool their children by declaring their homes to be private schools," Justice H. Walter Croskey, author of the earlier ruling, wrote Friday.

Croskey said one of those laws, a 1998 measure exempting parents from fingerprinting requirements imposed on private school employees, indicated "a legislative approval of homeschooling." A 1991 law requires the state school superintendent to compile information on all private schools except those with five or fewer students, an exemption that was probably created for homeschools, Croskey said.

In a rare statement from the judiciary - which usually considers itself the ultimate authority on the meaning of the law - Croskey said the 1953 decision that applied compulsory education without exceptions has been effectively overruled in the real world.

I applaud Judge Croskey for recognizing that while the original law does indeed make education compulsory, the Legislature has itself recognized that home-schooling exists and has made accommodations for those who wish to home-school their children. Too many judges have forgotten that subtle difference between the job description of a judge and that of a legislator. Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

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