Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cali Homies

While listening to NPR's "All Things Considered" yesterday, I heard a story about a recent California judicial ruling that will affect all California homeschoolers. A child welfare case was brought to the state supreme court partially involving what is legally considered school. The judge set a precedent ruling that a child (ages 6-17) must either be enrolled in a public or private school or be tutored by a credentialed adult.

Most parents that homeschool their children are not certified to teach. Also, the homeschool students aren't mandated to take standardized tests to make sure their they are on par for their grade. Since the ruling that was made a few days ago, it's illegal to homeschool your children in California unless you are credentialed. I'm sure that this ruling will be appealled in higher courts so don't worry about cops going rodney king on these parents yet.

As a evangelical christian, I know many parents that homeschool their children and I have many friends that were homeschooled (shout out to Chris Camp!). I still haven't figured out why parents do this to themselves but I'm sure homeschooling works for many families. I am concerned that not all the homeschooled children are getting a good education. There's no way to tell if they are though without using standardized tests. I think that if the children can pass these standarized tests then they can remain being taught by their parents. If they can't pass then the kids must enroll in a public or private school or be taught by someone who holds a teaching certificate.

Question for the public: Do you think parents have the right to homeschool their children without being credentialed and without standardized tests?


Doreen T. said...

"Question for the public: Do you think parent's have the write to homeschool their children without being credentialed and without standardized tests?"

After reading your last paragraph (above), I am wondering about your education and YOUR PARENTS. Didn't your parents teach you about possessives (parents, not parent's) and homonyms (right, not write)? Hmmmmm....

Great thoughts and questions, Kara. It will be interesting to see where the California higher courts go with this ruling. In the meantime, I do believe that parents have the right to teach their children without being credentialized by the state. But, as you mentioned, I know of too many children who did not get a good education through homeschooling and who have then become a drain on public schools (after their parents have given up on homeschooling) or who have become underemployed because they did not learn basic educational concepts. Standardized tests, or some other objective measurement tool, might be a good requirement.

I would be interested in hearing what public school teachers Anne and Dusty have to say in response to your questions.

Chris Camp said...

As a two year homeschooler I can tell you that a lot of homeschoolers choose to take standardized tests of their own accord. Which is generally a good rule I think, let the people decide what's best for their kids. I think most homeschooling parents choose to have their kids take standardized tests anyway.
My general rule of thumb for such questions like this is that the people know how to run their lives better than the government does. I wouldn't mind however if the standardized tests were controlled by a competitive private market. But even in that case you've got big brother telling you that you must make you kids take it. It comes down to an issue between what's best for society as a whole and individual rights. In this case I think what's best for the society should win, meaning that the government should mandate standardized tests that are completely controlled by a private market.

Christy said...

My vote is that parents who are not credited can teach their kids, but they should have to take the standardized test. Otherwise the gov't is forcing families to put their kids in public school since many cannot afford private.

anne said...

I have mixed feelings. Instead of answering the question, I'm off on a tangent first...

Why do you suppose that so many Christians choose to keep their kids at home? If they don't like the public school arena, they should get involved and strive to change things. Those of us who teach and love Jesus need involved parents (like those who homeschool) to support us and influence the public schools.

Now back to the question. I hate standardized tests. The theory is great, but the reality is ALL JACKED UP! Currently, standardized testing is a multi-billion dollar industry. How about putting some of that funding towards the actual education (instead of the testing part)? At the same time, I have faith that eventually we'll get there - to a solution that can be used to measure a student's achievement (a fair solution). I think we need something more like portfolios.

The bottom line is this - if it's required for kids who are enrolled in public schools, I think it should carry over to homeschooling. If standardized tests are the current tool used to measure success, then it should be that way for all students. Homies better gear-up for some changes.