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This is judicial activism at its worst. The vast majority of studies on the topic show that home schooled children out-perform their public school counterparts. Why are CA citizens being forced to send our children into an inferior system? One-on-one instruction in a loving environment counts for far more than the supposed benefits of "certification". I'm sure the NEA is thrilled. This is an attempt to consolidate power to the state and surpress freedom of choice, learning, education and thought. The courts are creating massive problems here, they have an agenda. There are too many drug dealers and real criminals on the streets than to criminalize decent citizens who have committed no crime and who historically raise very able and law abiding citizens.
The issue here is bigger than just who is doing the teaching, but if a certified teacher were the one giving the instruction, writing the curriculum, and conducting the assessments then following the state guidelines would be a whole lot easier. I am a parent who wanted to homeschool and I pursued a college degree with teaching licensure. I have to say, now that I've walked the walk, that I didn't know all that was needed to be equal to a qualified teacher before. Sure, I could have just gone to a local school and asked for their canned curriculum and basically tutored my child at home, but the reason I wanted to homeschool was because I didn't want to follow a canned curriculum, instead I wanted to write my own to fit the needs and interests of my own child. That can't happen unless you walk the walk. Sure, every parent has a right to decide what's best for your child, but becoming a certified teacher is a lot of work and by saying that training is not needed is minimalizing the hard earned respect due those in the profession who are quality teachers by basically saying that anyone can do their job. No wonder teacher pay is so low compared to the amount of education one must have to be considered highly qualified by No Child Left Behind standards. This is not about broaching parent's rights and freedoms, it's about having standards for education and for what makes someone qualified to teach.
Good thing this argument doesn't involve whether parents have the right to supercede a medical degree just because they want to practice at home.
As a parent and a public school teacher, I feel that home-school educators should be certified and should adhere to the same curricular aims as I. For years, I have seen parents, some without high school diplomas, remove their struggling children from public school to home-school them. Sadly, these children reenter the school system even further behind academically than before. When I asked one parent about her course of study, she looked at me in a puzzled way and asked, "What do you mean? I just
teach them what I think they should learn."
Rather than require a credential, homeschool parents should meet certain criteria or standards in order to obtain an affidavit to operate and should be accountable to a credentialed teacher or administrator for meeting those standards. They should be held accountable for student achievement, also, as measured by the same assessments required of public school students.
Statistically homeschooling children do better than average on college entrance exams and SAT scores, so testing proves it works. There are always some bad situations, but we have some bad teachers as well and teacher certification doesn't help. We really don't need big brother looking over our shoulder when big brother doesn't do a good job and as an average, homeschoolers do better. California has no standards except “able to teach” for private school teachers and they do a good job. I have my California teaching certification and much of it is political garbage and doesn’t help you teach, but that is another issue.
Parents should have the right to educate their own children without the unnecessary burden of earning teacher certification. But the real question is, who has rights to the children - their parents or the government? I think it is clear that government is overstepping its legal bounds. This is country with rights to freedom, not a police state. Additionally, the public school system has produced some dismally uneducated students using certified, professional teachers. A certified teacher is no guarantee of anything. Parents are the key in whatever kind of education their children receive. "We" may think that a child should be educated differently, but that's our opinion, not a law. Besides, I have learned far more as an adult than I did as a school child. I don't think I am handicapped because of possible holes in my childhood education.
I have been high school teaching science for 33 years. During that tenure I have taught a large number of students who have been home schooled for 8 years before entering the public school system. I would estimate that over 90% of those students leave the public system within one year. This year I had one student enroll for a single day!
The students who come from a home schooling environment are most prepared in reading, writing, and history. The math skills vary but few are successful except in the "drill and kill" world of Saxon like math programs. The ability to decode and solve typical mathmatics questions is rarely evident.
It is quite obvious that most home school programs have a religious underpinning that usually becomes so ingrained that these students are ill prepared when it comes to the field of science Most students have a rudimentary understanding of physics and geology. Biology and Chemistry are a different matter completely. Most of my home schooled students refuse to even consider some basic topics. Reproduction, especially human reproduction, genetics, discussions of the effect of human population growth on the biosphere, etc. I can occasionally get these students to LISTEN and possibly understand the evolution of bacteria and the rise of new diseases. However, their minds are usually closed to discussions of change of the earth or its inhabitants.
This prejudice worries me. God did not create the computer, man did, and modern society cannot function with out them. All education systems, including home school programs need to prepare students so that they are in a position to invent solutions for the future. Religion is essential for those who wish to have reasons. Those who need an answer for "why are we here?" However students need a competent, unbiased science background that teaches them "how" the universe works even if that knowledge is in conflict with their beliefs. Home schooling programs and those "teachers" who instruct students should meet some standard.
I don't think a certificate necessarily creates a teacher. As a teacher in a public school (who homeschooled her own child!) there are MANY certified teachers that I would not want teaching my daughter. As a classroom teacher, I also have seen the flip side, where students were "homeschooled" and register for PS classes and are a year or two behind the rest of their age peers. I think there is an environment for every child. For mine, a "regular classroom setting" didn't work (GT/LD/ADD). For some kids it does. Parents should have the right to decide what is best for their child unless/until they are proven incompetent of doing so.
We are no longer riding wagon trains across the country in search of homesteads wherein to cultivate a life and way of living. Back then, who best to educate the children than the parents and family members who could properly train their precious assets for a successful existence.
Today we have schools and educators who have benefited from years of research and application to determine the 'best practices' for teaching children to survive and prosper in today's world.
That said, parents still have a vital role in the education of their children. Most often parents are the best advocates for their children. Should a child not 'fit' traditional modes of schooling, options such as online learning and homeschool should be available. In alternative modes of schooling there must always be a moderator/overseer/facilitator who needs to have the proper training and credentialing to ensure consistency in what is being taught.
I was a homeschooling parent and saw the good and the bad that can come from it. There are guidelines in place that vary from state to state, and parents can receive training from many sources other than the traditional certification path. I was a college instructor when I homeschooled, and I attended seminars and read up on topics I felt I needed help with. I was never certified by any agency, but I know my kids got a quality education during the time I taught them. One is attending a state university making all A's and the other has finished college and is successfully employed as a journalist. Don't lump all homeschooling parents together! They are as varied as are their reasons for choosing this option.