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California Parents Do Not Have Right to Homeschool

This week, a California appeals court reaffirmed the state's compulsory education statute — which requires parents to send children to an accredited full-time day school, or have their children instructed at home by a credentialed tutor. The panel of three judges, rejected the notion that parents have a constitutional right to educate their children at home.

The parents in the lawsuit also argued that the state's law violated their freedom of religion. But the court rejected a parallel to US Supreme Court allowing for Amish families to withdraw their children from schools at age 13. The judges reasoned that the present case missed various common factors, including deep religious beliefs held by an organized group. Simply asserting a religious objection, would be too easy a loophole.

Do you think parents have a right to teach their children at home, or a legal duty to make sure they are being taught by accredited teachers?


Join The Conversation
publicoffering publicoffering 9 years
One problem for most of you is that you are not familiar with what it means to have a teaching credential. After Steve Wozniak left Apple Computer (he was a co-founder of Apple Computer, for those who don't know), he wanted to teach Computing at the local schools, but couldn't, because he didn't have a teaching credential! (He ended up going back to college to get the credential, and then taught 5th grade.) As a daughter of a public school teacher, and a sister of two other public school teachers, I can tell you that ANYONE can get a teaching credential! My younger sister flunked out of four different degree programs, and finally had to settle for a teaching credential just to get out of college. To get the credential, you have to take really demanding classes like Kiddie Lit (means "Children's Literature"), Blackboard Design, Classroom Management, etc.! Tough stuff! They say the proof is in the pudding. Go back and read the comments from those who said they had been homeschooled. Spelling, grammar, punctuation..... Then compare those to comments from people who were not homeschooled. You can usually see the difference. Another tidbit: If you think having a credential means you are more qualified to teach, then how do you account for the fact that the private schools churn out better educated students than the public schools, and the law does not require teachers at private schools to have credentials! To their credit, 60% of public school teachers send their children to private schools (where teachers don't have to be credentialed)! Maybe they know something the rest of us don't??????
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
I've been tracking this case, and I'm absolutely apoplectic about it. Primarily because it's one more invasion into the family. As for why the court decided the way it did, two reasons: (1) California schools are more about politically correct indoctrination than about education. (2) Follow the money. Schools are funded based on butts in seats. More students = more money. My high schoolers are students in the LA Unified School District--arguably one of the worst in the country, IMO. Today and tomorrow, they are taking the CAHSEE: The California High School Exit Exam. It's that scandalous mandate that kids actually learn something to get their diploma. My daughter passed it the first time around, in tenth grade, and was surprised that it was so easy. (I believe most of the material is on about a seventh grade level.) What about all the other kids who have already passed it? (Apparently quite a few have to try several times.) They were rounded up and warehoused in "assemblies" supposedly about planning for college. And they were supposed to watch "Akeela and the Bee" and "The Great Debaters". (This is a two-day thing, remember.) For several reasons, I let my daughter stay home. One of her friends said they actually watched "Transformers". Hey, folks, your tax dollars at work. And they're worried about slacker homeschoolers?
ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 9 years
i think kids should have the option of being home-schooled, but only by someone who's knowledgeable and accredited.
stefsprl stefsprl 9 years
I think that it needs to be regulated, but if I lived in a state where they told me I had no right to homeschool my child, I would probably move. I've seen good and bad stories from homeschooling. I know lots of kids who were homeschooled and they are well-spoken, mature, intelligent people. I also know that my aunt (who is mildly mentally handicapped) decided to homeschool my little cousin (also mildly mentally handicapped), and it was a huge disservice. He was seven years old and they were working on the ABCs. If I hadn't been a young teenager, I would have called child services. Now, I certainly would, except (for a whole different set of reasons) I'm estranged from that part of the family and I don't know what's going on now. We live in an area where the public schools are just awful. If the parents have the means, they send their kids to private schools, and if they can't afford it, they are forced to endure apathetic instructors and subpar lessons. My husband and I have already discussed that if we're still in the area when our kids are school-aged, we will more than likely homeschool (since we will probably not be able to afford private schools). I would be more than happy to take tests myself to prove that I am capable of teaching my child. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask parents to prove that they have the means to teach their children at home, because the child's best interests need to be protected as well.
cageyme cageyme 9 years
I don't think it is a bad thing to have parents be credentialed before they home school their kids. It sends the message to the kids that education is a life long process.
mjane79 mjane79 9 years
I'm unsure on this. I think there needs to be more standards on home schooling but I don't think it should be illegal. I know many people who have home schooled their kids and, sadly, the majority of them don't do a good job. My aunt homeschooled my cousins, but my aunt never graduated high school. I don't know if my cousins finished school. She didn't put any structure in the day and they slept late and didn't really do much of the school work. Unfortunately, a lot of the people I see home school their kids seem to do it out of laziness. Are there issues with schools? Yes, but as a parent you have a responsibility to train your children to make good decisions when confronted with things at school like violence or drugs. If they are taught something incorrectly or something that goes against your religious beliefs, you should spend the time at home correcting it. Teaching your kids at home and ignoring anything you don't want them exposed to outside of the home doesn't help them. When they are done with school and leave home, they are going to be exposed to it. It's better to deal with it in the small, increasing amounts they are exposed to at school then all at once when they are older. I think homeschooling can be helpful but I do think there needs to be some kind of standardization and resources available for parents who choose to do this. Perhaps some kind of test for parents to see if they are qualified to teach? It's a very complex issue.
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
It's so great to hear some real-life stories about the issue.
melizzle melizzle 9 years
And the government slowly yet surely eats away a bit more at parental choice...
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
There sure are a lot of good arguments here, I'm glad to tell you you are all educating me right now! ;) My boyfriend and I would like to send our future kids to private school, from middle school at least, and up like he did. But you never know if you are going to have the resources when it comes up. I haven't had the best of experience with public schools, but I'm sure a lot of it has to do with what area you live in.
If I live in the suburbs when I have children, they will absolutely be home schooled. I believe every parent should have the right to make the decisions concerning their child's education, as long as it is not causing damage to the child. They have ways of testing your child to make sure they are to par with their age group. Often times, public schools will label a child before they reach high school. By the time they reach high school, they are then unable to receive the proper education because they are being suspended for this reason or that. My brother was labeled as a trouble maker (completely laughable today!) in middle school. By the time he was a junior, they did their best to find every excuse in the book to suspend him as often as possible. I would like to have the option to teach my child myself (or my hubby) rather than sending him to school to be bullied. Our public schools do absolutely nothing to prevent or stop bullying, because the bullies are usually in the popular crowd or a leader of the football team.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
You have a good point remedios, but I personally felt that the two have a lot to do with the other, so I added it ;-)
remedios remedios 9 years
Many are arguing different things. It's one thing to argue about whether the state should step in and require a certain level of competency on a parent who homeschools. It's another to argue the benefits of homeschooling. These are separate issues.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
Why, thank you Jude C :-) My mother and aunt both love homeschooling (especially my aunt, who says she really cherishes being able to spend more time with her children than other mothers) and the benefits they recieve from it. Though, I must say, private school was also a fantastic experience for me for the short time I was there, so if you can afford it (and want to send your children there) I'd say do it, by all means. If you decide otherwise, I don't doubt that your children would recive a thorough education (even if Californian courts do) !
lushylashes lushylashes 9 years
the problem with homeschool to me is that some parents don't actually take the time teach. I also think being in a social environment benefits children.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Excellent and on-point arguments, JovianSkies :) Considering the sad state of public education in many places, my fiance and I do sometimes seriously discuss home-schooling our future children should we not be able to afford a top-notch education for them. I, as most of the parents who currently home-school their children probably do, would make every effort to make sure I provide my children a curriculum as comprehensive and in-depth (and, I'd hope, more so) than what would be available to them in the public system. I'd hate to have that option taken away from me.
JaeB JaeB 9 years
"i think the ruling said there were 170k home schooling families in california. if they all show up monday morning demanding a space in a public classroom then what?" Haha, I know what. Public schools would have no idea what to do! When I showed up at my local high school, administrators were dumbfounded and wanted to enroll me as a freshman. (Ahem, I was a senior.) Apparently, that's what they usually did to homeschoolers! It took me the whole year to convince them I was a senior (I got straight A's and they had to hand me academic achievement awards and then look bad for treating me like I'd be some uneducated goon). Then they were defensive using things like, "Well, you haven't taken the computer proficiency test yet!" as reasons why they weren't recognizing it. It was ridiculous. They only let me take all the appropriate tests the week before graduation (finals week, so it was in addition to all my class tests, thank-you-very-much), and I aced them all. They only let me know I could graduate the day before graduation!
JaeB JaeB 9 years
sophia_HL, those kids sound like drop outs, not homeschoolers. Someone could just call a truancy officer or the police. Smoking pot is against the law. Those kids can get busted for that...not "homeschooling." First, so much pot smoking occurred in public school without most teachers or administrators doing anything about it, my local high school has a bad name because of it, despite the school getting great scores overall. Second, homeschoolers aren't as isolated as many people think they are. There are tons of groups they join that have activities, homeschool related or not, or community college classes to take, plus don't forget their neighborhoods. Homeschooling isn't just sitting at home with a book in front of you and a parent barking at you. I don't think many parents would have the patience for that! In fact, I got "outside the home" doing more activities and socializing when I was homeschooled than I did in high school, stuck in a classroom all the time with kids who were disinterested in whatever was going on.... I found that, being a homeschooler, I wasn't prevented from socializing, I did even more of it--it makes you social outside of that "oh there's this person I'm sitting next to and may have to do a presentation with, maybe I should be friendly" public school context. I had to become comfortable with doing activities in work settings and community settings. And in my case, I was never restricted to ideas inside my home because of that. I was schooled by my community and people in other countries in that sense, because I wasn't limited to school material and contacts only. How about ideas outside of school?
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
In my opinion, this is not only a dangerous bill, but an erroneous dicision in general. How is it that the state can tell you what kind of education your child can, and cannot have? How is this not an infringement of rights? A parent should have every prerogative to say what happens to their child (as long as it's not abusive, as remidios said). Regardless of whether or not parents are 'qualified' to teach, the curriculum for homeschooling doesn't solely rely on the parents. They send you programs, books, and a number/website where your child can recieve extra help (from real people), should you not be able to provide it, nullifying the need for a parent's 'credibility' to teach. In fact, when a child calls the Homeschool base for tutelage, it's completely free, so his/her parents don't ever need to pay extra (unlike a private tutor) and someone is always ready to help. There are many benefits to homeschooling that exceeds those of public schools. I know three people who are homeschooled (my sister in high school, and two cousins in elementary grades), and have seen the advantages of it firsthand. They recieve an education I wish I'd been privy to! The questions and tests are by no means less difficult than those of public schools, but just as(if not more) challenging. They have just as many term papers, tests, quizzes, book reports, and homework, in all subjects, including religion. Papers are sent in through the mail/fax, and recieve grades given by a qualified educator (often a professor). Homeschooled students are also given more electives than other schools, and are elegible for more languages (Chinese, Italian, Sign language and latin are only a few) and are connected to groups such a Co-op, who teach dance, chorus, ecology, art, cooking, wildlife, (there's a professor of Aerospace Engineering teaching at our local Co-op) and more than I care to post. My point is that students of Homeschooling are in no way lacking a well-rounded education. Nor are they lacking in social skills. My homeschooled cousins have a wide variety of friends, and meet new people all the time, especially in Co-op and their church chorus group. They're intelligent, well-spoken, affable, and grounded. They haven't missed out on anything by not attending public school. Though my sister doesn't go to public high school anymore, she still has a very active social life, and goes out with friends all the time. Homeschoolers also tend to graduate earlier, since they don't have to wait day to day to attend school and start the next lesson. My sister will complete one subject at a time, and start the next when she's finished. She'll quite possibly finish the 11th grade in half of this year (she's already completed the 10th). Being able to graduate earlier than those who attend a public (or even a private) school is an enormous advantage, as they'll be the ones able to attend college and still live at home to save money. An example of this would be the best-selling author Christopher Paolini, who graduated at 15, and decided to write a novel before heading to college. My question is, what is it about Homeschooling that California is afraid of? There have been countless sucessful people who've been homeschooled; Whoopi Goldberg, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and the aforementioned Christopher Paolini just to name a few. I hope that this bill is repealed for its' unjustified, and controlling nature.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
if it sticks nothing will change except that parents will go through a credentialed tutor sign off on their lesson plans. they will continue to teach their children as they wish it will just create another middle man. i think the ruling said there were 170k home schooling families in california. if they all show up monday morning demanding a space in a public classroom then what? this is 170k students the state doesn't have to support, i don't know what they're afraid of.
sophia_HL sophia_HL 9 years
I grew up in an area where MANY kids were home schooled. And by home schooled, I mean the kids stayed home all day and smoked pot. I hope that there are parents out there who are more responsible than those whom I've met, but unfortunately that is my impression of home school. I think its very important for parents to allow children to have the experience of going to school with others, participating in activities, and developing their personalities by including ideas outside of their homes. For that reason, I believe this law is a good idea.
JaeB JaeB 9 years
Required testing for homeschool students would be fine, but I think forcing parents to get credentialed is just too much. Homeschooling is a big commitment for parents to make, big enough as it is without that. That could drive parents who would do a good job away from doing something that would indeed be better for their child. snowbunny11--I'm surprised your high school would not let you take community college classes! That's sad. Where I live, it's common to take community college classes throughout high school. My little sister is takes them, and she's in middle school. I guess that just depends on your area. That's another thing I've heard of "homeschoolers" doing--taking community college classes for many subjects, if not all. Homeschooling as a term is a little too vague, because people go at it so many different ways. Thanks Jude C for the clarification. I'm not surprised. Right now, homeschooling really isn't allowed in California, but, yes, they don't enforce that. For kids not to be in public schools, they need to be enrolled in a "private school" that must be registered with the State of California. A lot of homeschool parents register their homeschool as a private school, although it says on the forms that homeschools do not qualify. It's parents attempt at being upfront about their homeschooling, even though the state does not condone it.
demeter demeter 9 years
I'm in between.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
I just don't think it's inconsistent to say that you support homeschooling and also this bill. It's just setting standards for homeschooling, not literally saying that parents CAN'T homeschool. I see Remedios' point, that you could argue the government doesn't have any interest in children except for preventing abuse. I disagree, I think the government should also provide accessible healthcare for children when the parents can't afford it, and also make sure there is compulsory education. I am just not comfortable with the idea that a parent could (I'm not saying it is this way with homeschooling now) allow his child to sit at home all day and watch tv, without ever learning to read or write, simply because it would be the parent's right to decide how his child was educated. I think it makes sense to set standards for parents if they want to choose to provide their child's education. I think the government should do a better job of allowing for alternative education choices though. I really wanted to take community college classes my senior year of high school, because I had already taken pretty much everything my school offered, but needed to stay another year to take the gym credits. The school wouldn't allow me to graduate early without finishing my gym unit (which consisted of crossword puzzles about the origin of badmitten) and it wouldn't let me take community college courses while I was there. I ended up retaking drama and art classes because theyw ere the only ones we were allowed to retake. It made no sense.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
*immediate plans
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Just FYI: I read in the San Diego Union Tribune yesterday that despite this ruling, there are no immediate to enforce the ban. The question about homeschooling came up, oddly enough, as a side issue related to a case of suspected abuse within a homeschooling family.
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