We send our kids to public school. However, we have several friends who have chosen to homeschool their children with fantastic results, and most are not credentialed teachers. So, this recent decision by the California Second District Court of Appeals is very disturbing:
“California courts have held that … parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children,” Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. “Parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling under the provisions of these laws.”
Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.
“A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare,” the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.
The ruling was applauded by a director for the state’s largest teachers union.
I’m sorry, but this is just wrong. Report after report has our schools failing to educate our children. Schools whose classrooms are run by credentialed teacher. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not an attack on our teachers. In fact, I believe that one of the biggest problems with our education system today is the lack of parental involvement, not the teachers in the classroom. Which is what makes this decision so absurd, homeschooling a child is the ultimate level of parental involvement in a child’s education.
Incidentally, in the 1990’s, I worked for five years in California public schools as a teacher. First as an emergency credentialed substitute, and ultimately as a long term substitute. I took over the math classes in early October one year for the department chair who had died. I taught those classes until the end of the school year.
I was offered a teaching contract at least once a month during every month that I taught. I never took one because it would’ve resulted in a significant pay cut and required me to go back and get a teaching credential. This despite the fact that I was finishing a Master’s degree.
I bring this up because I do have a unique understanding of what makes a good teacher, and the credential is not what separates the good from the mediocre and the bad. I sincerely hope this is overturned in the California Supreme Court. I also think it should go out as a wake-up call to parents in every state of our nation.