The following article at WebMD uses the ‘recent unpleasantness’ in California as its jumping-off point. A glitch for the article is that the decision was vacated and is to be re-heard. Because the decision has no legal force, relying on opinions in the decision nullifies the article opinions based on the decision.
Should Homeschooling be Illegal?, 4 June 2008, Healthy Children, WebMD
The California Court of Appeals recently decided a case which could have a major impact on the legality of homeschooling in California, and perhaps all over the U.S. The ruling involved the statutes that mandate – quite reasonably – that all children in California be taught only by persons with the state teaching credentials to do so.
I don’t think that was the crux of the problem (outside of the alleged abuse within the family). The problem, I believe, is that the family used the Sunland academy, and the academy was supposed to use credentialed teachers. By transferring the teaching to the uncredentialed mother, the private school was not complying with the law about tutoring.
In Re: Rachel L., pages 12 – 13 (bold added)
[footnote] 4 In support of the parents’ home schooling, Terry Neven, Sunland Christian School’s administrator, submitted a letter in which he stated the school is a private school and the two younger children are enrolled there. The letter fails to mention that the children do not actually receive education instruction at the school.
[paragraph in text] However, the parents have not demonstrated that mother has a teaching credential such that the children can be said to be receiving an education from a credentialed tutor. It is clear that the education of the children at their home, whatever the quality of that education, does not qualify for the private full-time day school or credentialed tutor exemptions from compulsory education in a public full-time day school.
California Decision Vacated, 29 April 2008, A to Z Home’s Cool
The appellate court, however, stated in its February opinion that it did not believe that private schools could permit homeschooling. The judges seemed to think that the state legislature had clearly thought about homeschooling when it passed the private school laws and had decided that the only way to teach children at home was under a separate statute about tutoring, which requires a state teaching credential. The court, of course, could not change a law or pass a new law; only the legislature could do that. But it was interpreting the law in an unfavorable way.
The Governor, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and all of the statewide homeschool support groups have gone on record as stating that the court’s interpretation was incorrect. The statewide groups were preparing to appeal to the state Supreme Court for help in rectifying the situation, but in late March, the appellate court decided to rehear the case itself.
But now, back to the WebMD opinion: “The ruling involved the statutes that mandate – quite reasonably – that all children in California be taught only by persons with the state teaching credentials to do so.”
What is reasonable is that all children whose education has been delegated to people paid at public expense be taught by credentialed teachers. People who are paid with public funds, who teach other people’s children, and who do so as a public service should be competent. The parents of the children pay to have this done (as do all of us).
The idea, though, that no child should “be taught” by anyone without a credential is un-doable. Taught what? Taught when? Does this rule out mom reading Hop on Pop to a child while pointing out how the words are pronounced? How about Aunt Susan teaching little Madison to knit and telling her how to increase and decrease stitches. Or maybe Uncle Rick explaining to Jordan that when the acidic vinegar saturates the alkaline baking soda that the chemical reaction causes the fizz? Maybe Grandpa Dave drove Angel and Kelly out to a national monument and described the event the monument commemorates. So far the grownups have “taught” the children something about reading, counting, science and history.
Reasonably there is oversight of people paid at public expense who are entrusted by the parents with the safety and well-being of the parents’ children. There is no oversight of the parents by the teachers (other than being mandated reporters of suspected crime, which is another subject).
The WebMD article continues, but taking the entire piece apart would run quite a ways down this blog. Luckily, Dana worked through the part on amateurs and the need to rescue all children from their parents, and Scott at “All in the Family” took on six topics, so I don’t have to mention them.
Still, there are the topics of:
- whether homeschooling parents are “talented”
- “parentectomies” to “allow [children] to transcend their parents’ narrow views and ambitions”
- the s-word
- academic quality
- “lax” states
- “tight regulations”
Some references to touch on those topics:
- Cradles of Eminence
- “Selected Current Citations to Inform Research on the Subject of Homeschooling” from the Ohio Home Education Coalition (OHEC).
- Problems with Legislation to Prevent “Unqualified” Families From Homeschooling
- Research shows teacher qualifications not a variable in student outcomes
- In a Class by Themselves, Nov/Dec 2000, Stanford Magazine