Certifying Parents, 22 March 2008, Wall Street Journal, New York, New York
The case was initiated by the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services after a home-schooled child reportedly complained of physical abuse by his father. A lawyer assigned to two of the family’s eight children invoked the truancy law to get the children enrolled in a public school and away from their parents. So a single case of parental abuse is being used to promote the registration of all parents who crack a book for their kids. If this strikes some readers as a tad East German, we know how you feel.
Bureaucracy Closes In On Parents Who Are Home-School Teachers, letters, 29 March 2008, Wall Street Journal
Regarding your March 22 editorial “Certifying Parents” criticizing the California court that ruled that parents cannot “home school” their children without government certification: I am conservative enough to reflexively balk at most attempts by government to force fiat compliance. Yet I have no such dread of requiring some standard of excellence for anyone seeking to teach, regardless of their venue.
“Certifying Parents” aptly describes the failure of California’s public-schooling monopoly, and why so many parents want out. Thanks to a handful of State Assembly members, a record-setting five parental choice bills are being introduced this legislative session. This is the first time in six years that any such legislation has been introduced in the Golden State, and thus far California leads the nation for the most parental choice bills introduced this year.
The second question asks: Does the state have a more compelling interest than parents in the education of children? Again, the answer is clearly “no.” Although a well-educated citizenry is in our society’s best interests, professional educators face little accountability and few compelling deadlines when their efforts fail to produce satisfactory results. Schools will always have next year’s students to “fix” what ails them. Indeed, this has been their approach for the past three decades. Parents do not share this luxury; in each child there is only a very small, finite period of time in which to achieve results.