Calif. attacks home schooling, parental rights - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Calif. attacks home schooling, parental rights

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Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 11:19 pm | Updated: 8:38 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Watch out home-schoolers, because an attack is on its way. A California appeals court ruled Feb. 28 that parents without state teaching credentials can’t home school their kids.

Tribune writer Andrea Natekar reported Monday the ruling has no jurisdiction in Arizona. But it will give fuel, inspiration, hope, energy and a blueprint to the people who hate home schools.

Back in 2000, as a home-schooled child from Alameda County, Calif., nearly won the national spelling bee, the Berkeley Unified School District challenged the legality of home schooling, saying home-schooled kids were truant from public schools. Attacks and legal challenges have continued ever since, with the Feb. 28 ruling giving home-schoolers their greatest blow yet.

“The court has assaulted parental rights again, and this time with a sledgehammer,” said James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, in a recent radio broadcast. “Listeners in all 50 states should take notice.”

Home-school foes seem unfazed by the fact that home-school students have a veritable monopoly on winning spelling bees and math contests, and consistently score higher in comprehensive testing. A study of 5,402 home-school students in 1997 shocked the academic world, finding that on average they outperformed their public school peers by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects. The study was confirmed by another study involving 20,760 home-school students.

Top universities, such as Stanford, used to reject home-school applicants outright. Today, they’re given admission preference in many cases because universities have found that home-schooled students outperform others.

So why do public schools, teachers unions and courts want to impede home schools? Mostly, for money. With a variety of school choice measures such as open enrollment, public schools have found themselves in competition for students.

Public-school zealots would rather underperform and count on every child who’s born eventually bringing money their way. They prefer the old monopoly, and they’re asking courts to restore it.

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