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Threat to Homeschooling (John Stossel)
Townhall.com ^ | April 2, 2008 | John Stossel

Posted on 04/02/2008 7:03:40 AM PDT by Tired of Taxes

Threat to Homeschooling By John Stossel Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The cat is finally out of the bag. A California appellate court, ruling that parents have no constitutional right to homeschool their children, pinned its decision on this ominous quotation from a 47-year-old case, "A primary purpose of the educational system is to train schoolchildren in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare."

There you have it; a primary purpose of government schools is to train schoolchildren "in loyalty to the state." Somehow that protects "the public welfare" more than allowing parents to homeschool their children, even though homeschooled kids routinely outperform government-schooled kids academically. In 2006, homeschooled students had an average ACT composite score of 22.4. The national average was 21.1.

Justice H. Walter Croskey said, "California courts have held that under provisions in the Education Code, parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children," Justice Croskey said.

If that is the law in California, then Charles Dickens's Mr. Bumble is right: "the law is a ass, a idiot."

The California Constitution says, "A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the Legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement."

That doesn't appear to rule out homeschooling, unless you read it as a grant of absolute power to politicians.

Admittedly, the education code is vague. It requires children to attend public school or a private school (where certified teachers are not required). But they can also be taught by state-credentialed tutors. Homeschooling is not directly addressed. There's disagreement over what that means. The court and the teachers' union claim homeschooling is illegal unless the teaching parent has state credentials.

Homeschooling parents, many of whom have declared their homes private schools, say what they do is legal. Up till now that's been fine with the California Department of Education. And California reportedly has 166,000 homeschoolers.

Nationwide, the National Center for Education Statistics says that in 2003 (the latest year for which it has a number), almost 1.1 million children were being homeschooled. The numbers keep increasing, so clearly homeschooling parents think their kids get something better at home than they would from public schools.

The Los Angeles Times isn't sure where the state law stands. "If no such right [to homeschool] exists, as a court ruled, the Legislature should make it an option," the newspaper's editorial board said. The editorial wondered why parents who teach one or two children at home need credentials, while private-school teachers in classes full of kids don't.

The danger in having the legislature clarify the law is that the legislature is controlled by politicians sympathetic to the teachers' union, which despises homeschooling. "[H]ome-schoolers fear that any attempt to protect home-schooling would end up outlawing it," writes Orange County Register columnist Steven Greenhut.

It reminds me of what New York Judge Gideon Tucker said in the Nineteenth Century, "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session."

This particular case is muddied by suspicions of child abuse, but as the Times said, the court improperly "used a single example of possible child abuse to throw the book at tens of thousands of home schoolers."

I think the state court is looking at the state Constitution upside down. The court finds no constitutional right to homeschool one's children. But in a free country, people are free to do anything not expressly prohibited by law. If the Constitution is silent about homeschooling, then the right is reserved to the people. That's how the Framers of the U.S. Constitution said things are supposed to work.

Last week, the appellate court surprised everyone by agreeing to rehear the case. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the judges "hinted at a re-evaluation of its entire Feb. 28 ruling by inviting written arguments from state and local education officials and teachers' unions."

On top of that, state Schools Superintendent Jack O'Connell says he thinks homeschooling is legal and favors choice in education.

That's reasonable news. But why is education the business of government? It's taken for granted that the state is every child's ultimate parent, but there's no justification for that in a free society. Parents may not be perfect -- some are pretty bad -- but a cold, faceless bureaucracy is no better.

Let's hope the court gets it right in June.

John Stossel is an award-winning news correspondent and author of Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: homeschool; johnstossel

1 posted on 04/02/2008 7:03:40 AM PDT by Tired of Taxes
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To: metmom; Clintonfatigued; DaveLoneRanger

Ping


2 posted on 04/02/2008 7:04:08 AM PDT by Tired of Taxes (Dad, I will always think of you.)
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To: Tired of Taxes

Its all about government control. Control of our money, of our live, of our thoughts. We are all slaves to the government. Freedom is an illusion, and it slips away a little more each day.

Time for a Revolution?


3 posted on 04/02/2008 7:05:09 AM PDT by Astronaut
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To: Tired of Taxes
"A primary purpose of the educational system is to train indoctrinate schoolchildren in good socialism, and loyalty to the state democRATic party and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare. party."

There, that's better

4 posted on 04/02/2008 7:08:24 AM PDT by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: Tired of Taxes; fromscratchmom

PING!


5 posted on 04/02/2008 7:10:28 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Tired of Taxes

The California Constitution says, “A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the Legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement.”

If this is read as a REQUIREMENT to educate children,
then
“A well regulated militia being necessary to a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms”

requires that everyone one a personal firearm.


6 posted on 04/02/2008 7:11:46 AM PDT by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: MrB

damn, I’m on a roll this morning...

“requires that everyone OWN a personal firearm”


7 posted on 04/02/2008 7:12:35 AM PDT by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: Puppage

So they teach them to be loyal to the state, but making kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance is off limits. Um, ok.


8 posted on 04/02/2008 7:16:11 AM PDT by whatexit
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To: Tired of Taxes
I think the state court is looking at the state Constitution upside down. The court finds no constitutional right to homeschool one's children. But in a free country, people are free to do anything not expressly prohibited by law. If the Constitution is silent about homeschooling, then the right is reserved to the people. That's how the Framers of the U.S. Constitution said things are supposed to work.

Framers Bump!

9 posted on 04/02/2008 7:18:24 AM PDT by ecomcon
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To: Tired of Taxes

“A primary purpose of the educational system is to train schoolchildren in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare.”

If that is the case then every teacher and administrator should be fired for malfeasance and incompetence.


10 posted on 04/02/2008 7:19:04 AM PDT by Hacklehead (Crush the liberals, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the hippies.)
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To: whatexit

the pledge of allegiance mentions a “republic.” It will poison the minds of the future socialists. /s


11 posted on 04/02/2008 7:23:34 AM PDT by Loud Mime (If Muslims love death, why do they have hospitals?)
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To: Tired of Taxes

“A primary purpose of the educational system is to train schoolchildren in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare’

I believe that government-ruined schools have produce a huge “F” in those 3 critical areas.


12 posted on 04/02/2008 7:23:41 AM PDT by texson66 ("Tyranny is yielding to the lust of the governing." - Lord Moulton)
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To: Astronaut

I think it’s been time for awhile actually...


13 posted on 04/02/2008 7:29:54 AM PDT by gjones77
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To: Tired of Taxes
In 2006, homeschooled students had an average ACT composite score of 22.4. The national average was 21.1.

My daughter had a 22 in 9th grade.

14 posted on 04/02/2008 7:46:49 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger; 2Jedismom; aberaussie; Aggie Mama; agrace; Antoninus; arbooz; bboop; bill1952; ...

ANOTHER REASON TO HOMESCHOOL

This ping list is for the “other” articles of interest to homeschoolers about education and public school. If you want on/off this list, please freepmail me. The main Homeschool Ping List by DaveLoneRanger handles the homeschool-specific articles. This can occasionally be a fairly high volume list.

Another update.

15 posted on 04/02/2008 7:48:14 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Tired of Taxes
Loyalty to the state and good citizenship? What a joke! I home school my 10th grade son and he tested in the top 3% of the country on his SAT’s. He doesn't drink, smoke, and is respectful. He can sit and talk to an adult about whatever. He has tons of friends, that are actually active in the community and church. Next year he can dual enroll in college and still home school with me.

Now, my nephew, in public school, has failed every subject and is put through to the next grade anyway. He is now a senior. He spells like a 9 year old and can't write a paper. He stayed with me a week and I found out (my son told me) that this “good citizen of the state” stole from every store I was in with him! He hates America, gets drunk, and fools with drugs.

Now, I believe in taking control of my own kids future and the government is pissed because I am doing a better job than they are in a lot less time per day and with a lot less money!

16 posted on 04/02/2008 8:02:36 AM PDT by AFPS
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To: metmom
My daughter had a 22 in 9th grade.

That's one thing this otherwise excellent article didn't take into account. Many of the homeschoolers I know got their GEDs at age 15 or so, and are in community college taking courses by age 16.
17 posted on 04/02/2008 8:07:14 AM PDT by Antoninus (Tell us how you came to Barack?)
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To: Tired of Taxes
Put a homeschooler agasinst a public schooler and see who comes out the smartest. (snicker) My kids who were mostly homeschooled read/do math at college level and better.

But public schools can't have that cuz it puts them to shame.

18 posted on 04/02/2008 8:34:20 AM PDT by mommadooo3 (Old concept in justice. If the law won't take care of it, it's just us.)
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To: metmom
"My daughter had a 22 in 9th grade."

Cool, but I hope you convinced her not to take it to school.

19 posted on 04/02/2008 8:38:25 AM PDT by diogenes ghost
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To: Astronaut
Time for a Revolution?

Our founding fathers would probably say, "Long Past Time".

20 posted on 04/02/2008 8:48:06 AM PDT by kimmie7 (<<<---- Too surly for the hoarde.)
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To: kimmie7

I agree. The Founding Fathers would be vomiting in their graves if they could see what has become of the Republic they created.


21 posted on 04/02/2008 9:42:39 AM PDT by Astronaut
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To: ecomcon

I think the state court is looking at the state Constitution upside down. The court finds no constitutional right to homeschool one’s children. But in a free country, people are free to do anything not expressly prohibited by law. If the Constitution is silent about homeschooling, then the right is reserved to the people. That’s how the Framers of the U.S. Constitution said things are supposed to work.

I just had to repeat that again


22 posted on 04/02/2008 10:58:05 AM PDT by DeLaine
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To: Antoninus
That's one thing this otherwise excellent article didn't take into account. Many of the homeschoolers I know got their GEDs at age 15 or so, and are in community college taking courses by age 16.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Yes, homeschoolers often take the SAT and ACT at far younger ages than institutionalized children.

By the way, two of my homeschoolers finished college at the age of 18 with B.S. degrees in mathematics!

23 posted on 04/02/2008 1:45:06 PM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: Tired of Taxes

Good for him, for making this point.

Though, honestly, government schools aren’t turning out good citizenship or patriotism, so loyalty to the state is all that’s left. Problem with that is, no one pays attention to who’s running the state anymore.


24 posted on 04/04/2008 1:46:29 PM PDT by lainie ("You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." - C.S. Lewis)
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