Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Threat to Homeschooling

I've been following this for a while, in fact. There are certainly those of you who are concerned about this issue, especially for those of you who want to homeschool your children. I want to add another dimension to this.

From John Stossel's column...
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.
I suggest you read the whole thing.

I want to note this morning some news regarding Illinois' school system on the Capitol Fax blog today. The news includes money that should've gone to Pilgrim Baptist Church that instead goes to a school that is housed in that building and that school moved to another building. It's just that this building was supposed to play host to this school until the city of Chicago stopped all interior work because the contractors didn't have the required approvals or permits. The building is now in foreclosure.

Also a feud between the Governor and a north side state representative. I saw a press release yesterday by Rep. John Fritchey decrying the fact that Governor Blagojevich is holding up funds for schools in Fritchey's district. Even worse however is that the governor resides in Fritchey's district. Consider this an extension of the fight Blagojevich seems to have with the Illinois House of Representatives. Perhaps even by extension Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan.

Also, the IL House of Representatives wants to retake control of the State Board or Education. Before Rod became Governor it was said to be an independent body but at some point during Blagojevich's administration the state legislature allow the Governor take it over. It's a good idea in theory to give the board some political muscle by being under the governor's office, however...
...he has used it as a parking place for political appointees and forced it to bow to his bidding. The Board won’t challenge the governor on school funding, even this year when Blagojevich’s funding proposal represented the smallest increase of his entire time in office.
The General Assembly isn't in fact wrestling control away from Blagojevich, but they are making an attempt to remake the board by throwing out the current members and taking away his power of appointment. That is they will nominate the possible appointees and the governor must pick from this pool.

Wow with this disarray and especially if I lived in Fritchey's district I'll have to admit this would make me want to homeschool my kids. Unfortunately it has been ruled out in California that parents don't have that right. Teacher's union are using a technicality, no credentials, to oppose homeschooling. It almost sounds like they feel like they would be out of a job if not all kids partake in compulsory education. Or at least choose not to attend public schools.

At least read the rest of this column by John Stossel and give me your thoughts.

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