Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Real Threat to California Home-Schoolers (Steven Greenhut)

Steven Greenhut says the threat to homeschooling in California is quite real:

I’m not sure how the Free State Project is going in New Hampshire, but the Police State Project appears to be advancing rapidly here in California.

The latest installment: A state court of appeal has basically outlawed home-schooling. As the Los Angeles Times reported, "Parents who lack teaching credentials cannot educate their children at home, according to a state appellate court ruling that is sending waves of fear through California’s home-schooling families."

The judges – two Republican appointees and one Democratic appointee – argued that "parents do not have a constitutional right to home-school their children. … Because parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling within the provisions of these laws, parents who fail to do so may be subject to a criminal complaint against them, found guilty of an infraction, and subject to imposition of fines or an order to complete a parent education and counseling program." The court made it clear that parents face a loss of custody if they don’t comply, arguing that "the juvenile court has authority to limit a parent’s control over a dependent child … ."

The ruling is shockingly totalitarian, as it echoes this point: "In obedience to the constitutional mandate to bring about a general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence, the Legislature, over the years, enacted a series of laws. A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare."

The "loyalty to the state" phrase captures the essence of the decision.

Read the rest

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