10.01.2008 0

The Future of our Bureaucracy is at Stake!

  • On: 10/14/2008 15:01:11
  • In: School Choice
  • “[T]he Due Process Clause does not permit a State to infringe on the fundamental right of parents to make child-rearing decisions simply because a state judge believes a ‘better’ decision could be made.” —US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

    California parents are getting another chance to defend their constitutional right to homeschool, as arguments began at the California appeals court this week. The court is rehearing a case that was the cause of much controversy, when the court ruled that homeschooling was illegal in California unless performed by “credentialed” teachers—thus making it impossible for many veteran homeschoolers to teach their children at home.

    The decision handed down in Grace v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, on which ALG News has previously reported, has raised the ire of a broad spectrum of homeschool allies who are coming out in support of California parents’ right to homeschool. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), Attorney General Edmund Brown (D), and the state’s top school superintendent, Jack O’Connell, have all publicly defended homeschoolers. In fact, one of the only groups that has continued to openly oppose homeschoolers in this case is the (surprise!) California Teacher’s Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union.

    The backlash was intense. Many were upset that this case, which focused on one unique situation, was used to broadly “rule” against homeschoolers across the state. Following the outcry, the court quickly agreed to rehear the case. That provided a welcome reprieve for California homeschoolers, since the original ruling will not go into effect while the case is being reheard.

    Damian Schiff, attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, stated in his amicus curiae brief that any ruling prohibiting parents from directing the education of their children would violate the 14th Amendment of the US constitution, which protects the “fundamental right of parents to make childbearing and related decisions, including the decision not to send their children to public schools.” He went on to state that the intent of the previous case—ensuring adequate education for children—can be met by standardized testing, which would not be unconstitutional.

    ALG News was able to obtain an exclusive interview with California resident Daniel Osborne, presently a computer science major at La Sierra University. He told us of his family’s decision to homeschool and the resulting benefit he has received from it:

    “My father has taught at the public school for many years. My mother has taught at the community college as well. Their choice to homeschool me was an entirely educated decision. They saw the results of kids at public school, and they knew that with God’s help, they could take me beyond that. Not only did I learn more than most public school kids, I had more freedom to go on field trips.

    “People often asked me if I could sleep until whenever I wanted or play outside all day long. They didn’t quite have the true picture of homeschooling. While we did have more freedom, we were probably held much more responsible than the average public school kid was.

    “The freedom when it came to scheduling became very beneficial during my high school years. I started taking my math classes at the community college in 9th grade. By the time I graduated high school, I had completed 58 credits at the college. It wasn’t that I was some genius kid, it was simply the Lord’s blessing on my parents’ effort to give me the best education that they knew–homeschooling. The classes that I took at the college did not seem any more difficult than the classes I took at home. It was a pretty easy transition.

    “I am forever grateful to my parents for taking the time to homeschool me. I want to homeschool my kids someday!”

    Daniel’s story is not unique. Across the nation, homeschoolers have demonstrated academic proficiency above that of their public-schooled peers—and that those results are independent of parental credentials. Thus it becomes clear that any opposition to allowing “uncredentialed” parents to homeschool is based purely on ideological motives, not with the child’s best interests in mind.

    As Michael Farris, chairman and cofounder of the Home School Legal Defense Association stated, “You cannot deny parents the right to do good for their kids.”

    ALG Perspective: This case is a brilliant example of the utter stupidity of judicial activism. Homeschoolers have a solid track record of well-above average performance nationally, and are fitting into society just as well as their public schooled peers. For the state to attempt to deny parents the right to homeschool is laughable, if it were not such a threat to their rights.

    The real motives of those who oppose homeschooling are to perpetuate the government education bureaucracy and support the teaching unions, not to promote the education of our children.

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