Sunday, March 9, 2008

Parents' Right to Educate Children at Home is Under Attack in CA

I don't get into the daily specifics of it much here, but you guys all know I homeschool my kids. I am not a college graduate. Had I stayed in school, I would have pursued a teaching degree, but I didn't stay in school. I got married and had babies.

There are many homeschool moms exactly like me. In fact, many families around the world have realized the benefits and blessing of educating their kids themselves at home, including those without college degrees or teaching certificates. It is entirely possible to prepare a child for college and life without being a college graduate or certified teacher.

Homeschooling is not unusual, strange, or a poor substitute for a good education. Homeschooled students are growing up to become intelligent, successful individuals, who in many cases receive an education far superior to what their local school districts could have provided. For the most part, they are not backwards, unsocialized, uneducated dopes; nor are they pathetic, anti-social little geeks. They are normal kids. They are usually wonderfully intelligent, interesting people who have not been ruined or slighted in any way by receiving their educations from their oftentimes uneducated mothers and fathers. They play sports, have friends, and many go on to attend prestigious universities, join the military and get good jobs. In other words, they're just "as good" as other kids, whatever that means. Additionally, homeschooled kids routinely score above their publicly educated peers on standardized tests. In fact, many universities now wisely recruit homeschooled students for that very reason.

An education at home can also prove to be the best thing for lots of kids with special needs who would otherwise fall through the cracks. In the case of a child with special needs, there is no substitute and no college degree equal to the love and patience of a parent. No one else knows that child, and his needs, or has the capacity to care about his future more than his own parents. There is no degree for that. No college, no matter how schwanky, can teach that.

Homeschooling is often misunderstood and criticized out of ignorance. Most of its harshest critics are education snobs; people with more education than sense, who can't see past their own teaching certificates and important credentials long enough to consider the overwhelming evidence supporting the merits of home education. However, it is not a passing fad or something to be feared, frowned upon, or mocked. It works and it is here to stay. It is recognized as a viable and legal option, in some form, in all 50 states. At least it was until this past week.

A state appeals court has decided California parents without teaching credentials do not have a right to homeschool their children. The 2nd District Court of Appeals ruling could affect up to 200,000 homeschooled students in the state (CitizenLink).

This decision is not one that affects only residents of CA, or homeschoolers- it should matter to any parent who is concerned about their rights to make decisions in the best interest of their children.

You can see and sign a petition, sponsored by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, asking to have this dangerous opinion depublished here. Please consider joining over one hundred thousand other parents to make your voice heard in support of homeschooling families in California, and ultimately across the US, and add your name to the list. Thank you! I appreciate your help! More information about the petition and the case can be found below.

From the HSLDA petition website:

A California Court of Appeal recently decided that homeschooling is illegal in California unless a parent is a certified teacher. The case arose in a confidential juvenile court proceeding. The family was represented by court-appointed attorneys and HSLDA did not become aware of the case until the Court of Appeal case was published on February 28, 2008. The Court could have restricted its decision to the facts before it, but instead, it issued a broad ruling that effectively outlaws home education in California. The Court also certified its decision for publication, which means that the decision can now be cited as legal authority by all other courts in California.
The family and their California counsel are planning to appeal to the Supreme Court of California, which could result in reversal. Another option to keep homeschooling free in California is to petition the Supreme Court of California to “depublish” the opinion. If the opinion is “depublished” then it cannot be used by other California courts and this threat to homeschool freedom will be neutralized for other California homeschoolers.
HSLDA will be formally petitioning the California Supreme Court to depublish the opinion. We would like to show that many other people, both in California and across the country, care deeply about homeschool freedom in California.
Please show your support for this effort by signing the petition today.

For more information on the California case:


Anne & Grant said...

I am going to sign the petition! I am always upset when the gov't or people who think they know better take the decision-making rights away from parents...who knows what's better for their kids, the courts or the parents? Obviously the decision about how to educate your children should be ONLY decided by the parents. I'm with ya!!!

Christina said...

I signed - saw it on another blog. I'm glad you're getting the word out too. Of all states, I can't think of one that needs homeschooling more than California!! Seriously though, how can we be the Land of the Free if parents aren't free to decide how their own children will be educated??