Home schooling vs. a sad state of affairs | SierraSun.com

Home schooling vs. a sad state of affairs

Bob Sweigert

A big battle is brewing between supporters and opponents of home schooling in California. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger blasted a recent court ruling in which Justice H. Walter Croskey wrote that parents do not have a Constitutional right to home school their children. Croskey is right. Parents do not have a Constitutional right to home school their own children. They have a God given, unalienable right. Justice Croskey might even think an ordinary citizen like myself (who just happens to have a masters degree in education) isnt qualified to figure out something as simple as that.Gov. Schwarzenegger promised to fight the ruling and give parents the right to choose home schooling if the courts did not reverse their decision. Apparently it will take a muscle bound actor from Austria to remind some Americans about a little, but somewhat important, thing we once knew as freedom.The courts also ruled that anyone teaching in a home school situation, usually the parents, must have a teaching credential, as if the California Department of Education is the only entity that knows what they are doing when it comes to education. Their record speaks for itself. Every child who goes through the public school system becomes a multi-billion dollar success story, can quote Tolstoy and Rousseau at cocktail parties, will most likely vote Democratic and live a perfectly green lifestyle, right?The fact is, too many educators nationwide, thankfully not all, have long since abandoned the best educational models and philosophies and replaced them with self-image psycho babble, political correctness, financial concerns and teaching for test scores.Money is one of the main arguments against home schooling. As long as the almighty dollar and politics are the only factors used to determine what is right and wrong about this issue, the future of education in this country looks even worse than its present state of disarray. Economic problems can be easily negotiated through compromise. But we cannot afford to compromise the fundamental issue, which is human freedom based on natural law. The freedom to educate ones own children should be regarded by everyone as being just as natural as the right to bear children in the first place.The conflict of value systems is at the very heart of the current issue. Regardless of where and how a person is educated there will be successes and failures. Thats just the way the world, and life, is. No one is ever going to change that. If parents feel their value system is superior to that of the public school system, no one should question those parents right to self-educate their own children. No one.The recent court ruling is based on the case of just one family out of a number of home school children in California that the Pacific Justice Institute estimates is at least 166,000. Hows that for fairness? If a case can be made to restrict, or even ban, home schooling based on the alleged problems in just one family, it would be just as easy to find hundreds, perhaps thousands, of examples of problems with students and teachers to make a case for abolishing the entire public school system. Of course, that would not be practical. Perhaps Catholics should take over education. They are better at it than most anyone else. The first thing they teach you in Education 101 is one of the most important educational philosophies of all time Platos. I bet there isnt a public school administrator in the state today who could explain and discuss even three of the main points of Platos educational wisdom in their own words, without Googling it. Therein may lie a big part of the whole problem undereducated educators. The state should not have absolute authority over the family no ifs, ands or buts about it.Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 25 years.