Tedder

Judges Try to Strip Right to Home-school

I’m not the type of parent who could ever home-school. I just don’t think I have the patience. Some parents can. Some parents have a knack for teaching; even those without a teaching certificate. But if you’re in California and you don’t have a teaching certificate, your days of home-schooling may be numbered. That’s if a panel of activist judges gets its way.

The 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled that “parents do not have a constitutional right to home-school their children.” That statement itself is absurd. The question isn’t whether a parent has a constitutional right to home-school their own children. The question is does the constitution even address such a matter? The United States Constitution certainly does not. Education was left to the individual states and, more specifically, fell under the responsibility of the individual communities.

California’s founding document merely states, “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.” The legislature shall “encourage” the promotion of education. Nothing in the California constitution says parents can’t home-school but, essentially, the appeals court is saying nothing in the constitution says they can.

That kind of reasoning is completely backwards. Constitutions, whether they be state documents or our own federal document, are, in essence, contracts. These contracts delineate what powers the people grant the government, not the other way around. Yet, in this age of judicial activism, courts have taken it upon themselves to erase many of our liberties and grant governments power they, heretofore, never enjoyed.

The overriding driving force behind this activism is control. Whether it is engorging our welfare programs or filling congressional legislation with earmarks, the object is to get as many people as possible beholden to the government. Once the people begin believing their well-being comes from the government, it’s a simple matter of extortion to ensure that the power brokers stay in control.

In the case of home-schooling, it’s a matter of indoctrination. The radical forces that control the teachers’ unions have a social agenda that is short-circuited if parents choose to remove their children from public schools.

Dave Arnold is a member of the Illinois chapter of the National Education Association (NEA). In an article on their Web site he opined that parents “would be wise to help their children and themselves by leaving the responsibility of teaching math, science, art, writing, history, geography and other subjects to those who are knowledgeable, trained and motivated to do the best job possible.” Aside from the sheer arrogance of the statement, that would be great if only it were always true. Being a parent of public school children and a big supporter of public schools, I know that not all teachers are knowledgeable and competent. The key to getting a great education in public schools?which is entirely possible, by the way?is knowing who these incompetent teachers are and staying away from them. The problem is someone has to have these teachers and many principals are powerless to remove them because of the NEA. If they ever are removed for whatever reason, chances are they’ll simply be transferred within the system instead of fired, thus becoming someone else’s problem.

Teachers’ unions are the problem, not home-schooling. If we could break their stranglehold on our education system perhaps more of these home-schoolers would be more inclined to give public education a chance.

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About the Author

Phil Valentine is an author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host with Westwood One. For more of his commentary and articles, visit philvalentine.com.

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