Parents who retain their desire to teach their children to be productive adults and good people in society are doing their job and no court should be able to take that away.
That, however, is the exact opposite of a ruling handed down by a judge in the 2nd Appellate Court of Los Angeles. He found that home schooling is not a legal option for a family that has been doing it for years until suddenly they came under the suspicious eye of Children's Services.
The judge ordered that the two youngest of the family's eight children be sent to public or private schools. The ruling said youths between the ages of 6 and 18 must be in "public full-time day school," or a "private full-time day school" or "instructed by a tutor who holds a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught."
This disregards the California law that lets parents apply for private school status to home-school. It also disregards the law that allows parents and children to be enrolled in satellite programs or independent study programs of public or private schools. The teaching qualification is generally "the instructor is capable of teaching."
But according to this ruling, parents without teaching credentials are breaking the law. More than 160,000 children in California are home-schooled, some with a combination of public or private classes or tutors, but many without.
The success of home schooling has been shown in various studies. Such students are almost always at a higher grade level than their age would suggest. They score as well as and usually better than their public- and private-school counterparts. And no difference has been found in how students perform based on whether their teacher was certified.
It's no wonder really that home-schoolers do well, considering one of the biggest factors of a child's school success is involvement of the parents. Home schooling is the ultimate in involvement.
This judgment, which seems to change the rules and make most home-schooling illegal, is misguided. And it is unlikely that we have heard the last of this case. Next stop: the California Supreme Court.