Friday, March 7, 2008

Homies Dissed

The California home-schooling set received a jolt on Feb. 28th when Justice H. Walter Croskey of the 2nd district court of appeals ruled with the two other members of the court that home-schooling was illegal, stating, “Parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children”.

According to the article here, the consensus is that there may be no effective way of enforcing this. But this being America circa 2008 where we cannot enforce our own borders, we’re confident that some busy-body wing of the Board of Edumacation will take a jack-booted stab at it.

But that’s not the point…

That this statement that is so narrow in the context of freedoms and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution was agreed upon by 3 people one would think should know better is baffling.

We searched high and low in the Constitution and nowhere did we see anything regarding home schooling. What we did find, though, is a bunch of “shall nots” and “forbids”…. checks not against the citizens, mind you, but against the state. So, the judge has got it all backwards. Instead of there being no constitutional right to home schooling, there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits home-schooling. In fact, we believe the 14th amendment re-enforces the legality of home-schooling (Several years back, two high school girls in the L.A. area sued their school district under the 14th amendment's “equal protection” clause for not providing them an equitable educational opportunity as other surrounding districts. Not sure how it turned out - we'll dig around for it).

In fact, the entire tone of the bill of rights suggests that our grand experiment in democracy is to be one big unholy mess bounded only by the common decency and good neighborliness of its participants. Equal parts drunken brothel brawl and tent revival meeting. And this speaks to the beauty of it all: that we are granted license to act like complete idiots but expected to exercise our God-given common sense to refrain from acts of idiocy. That is the only way this thing can work.

And because of this very expectation of rational self-interest, we indeed have home schooling as many of us have figured out that this whole public education thing ain’t working. KT, posted a Reason.TV spot hosted by Drew Carey on public education in L.A. The level of naked self-serving rhetoric on display by the teachers’ union is chilling. Its obvious the welfare of the children and the education that we are paying for and which is to be provided to the kids is the last thing on their mind.

And makes us question what the real motivation was behind the court's ruling.

Update #1: We totally forgot Ogre had a take on this matter here. He links to piece that pulls quotes from the court's ruling like this one: "keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where (1) they could interact with people outside the family, (2) there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children's lives, and (3) they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents' 'cloistered' setting."

The assumption of responsibility and moral high ground the state grants itself in lieu of the parents is staggering.


Ogre said...

Constitution? HAHAHAHA! I bet you still think that old thing means something, don't you? The Emperor has no clothes. The Constitution has no power today -- as your post so clearly points out.

But don't worry -- this will be appealed to the CA Supreme they'd overturn it. Sad times, these days, very sad times.

Thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

It's when I hear the term "jack-booted" that I figure somebody in government must be doing something right. It's one of those right-wing go-to phrases that you listen for when playing a round of GOP Turkey Bingo.

- Mongo

Foxfier said...

"Hey, we're going to force you to buy a poor-quality product from the gov't, and you can't even have any input into it!"

Mongo: "Oooh, that sounds good!"


Please. We didn't even get around to the branches of gov't until the last year of school-- that sort of thing should be covered along with what a "verb" or "noun" is, and how to do basic math, at early levels.

K T Cat said...

Thanks for the links. In point of fact, there's nothing in the Constitution that forces the State to educate the kids, not the other way around.

K T Cat said...

The story wasn't quite right. Here are the corrections.

Dean said...

Good point, Mongo. I had intended to use "fascist" instead but it turns out that term is locked up by HuffPo, DailyKos, the Nation, Maureen Dowd, etc.

It was the best I could do. I'm sure you understand.

Anonymous said...

The setting: California, 1910 A.D. (or thereabouts). The offices of BwD Evening Post. The Editorial Page ran this column:


Dadd gummit! We have a right provided in the 14th Ammendment to drive automobiles, and wherever and however we want to! In fact, if I want to fire up Old Mildred to break 30 mph, I'm-uh goin' to. And no jack-booted politician or white haired judge is-uh gonna tell me I kaint! I may even paint my automobile a different color than black!

Now they want us to be "licensed" drivers! This is just one more instance of the government encroaching on our lives. I almost spilled my 'shine on the gear shift when I heard that one.

Next thing you know, they'll want our teachers to be "credentialed". Can you imagine? Classes taught by folk who are certified to be proficient in the basic topics? That's just not American!

- Mongo

Foxfier said...

Ah, Mongo, so you support the enforcement of licensing against the 1 of three drives in my area of washington?

Or...are you maybe willing to admit that "teaching your children" isn't the same as "endangering other drivers"?

Dean said...

Mongo, Another great point you bring up which begs the question: Where was it that you really learned how to drive? At school with the "credentialed" JV basketball coach teaching driver's ed or... at home with your Dad beside you in the passenger seat?

Anonymous said...

BwD. Good point. Good point. My dad made an excellent driving instructor. MY dad.

But perhaps if my dad sucked at driving, or never drove a day in his life, or had some disability that didn't allow him to drive, or was no longer around to show me how to drive, or any of an infinite amount of reasons why carte blanche in car operation (and teaching) is not a good idea, we would arrive at the conclusion that government oversight of such things is common sense.

Otherwise, we would have a state full on NASCAR drivers on the roadways -- Uneducated necks believing whatever they want to believe, driving 200 mph and crashing into everything.

- Mongo

Dean said...

Let me try to bring things back to midships.

If I lived in Poway, the education my child is receiving probably isn’t a concern. We’re I to live in South-Central, though, I would expect to have the right to exercise an alternate path to what Locke HS is experiencing as depicted in that video and I also believe I would be in the right to home-school my child, credentials or not.

This is the flip side of your “What if Dad isn’t around?” argument. “What if my school sucks?”

And if the end-game of all this is to obtain either a) a GED or b) a high school diploma then isn’t this whole “credential” business a moot point? Afterall, we can see how well those inner-city schools that are swimming in credentials are performing.

To your driving point: Don’t confuse education with enforcement. Idiot drivers are not the result of any state-sponsored driver’s ed program, or lack thereof…. they’re just idiots and should be punished by the state as such.

Oh, btw, “NASCAR” and “redneck”…. BINGO!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Mr.(Mongo)Lloyd, what if the parents are Wickens and want to teach their children witchcraft? Huh? Huh?

Darren Stevens

Foxfier said...

I'll assume you me wiccan: I don't care.

You may as well ask if I think that those who are non-my-version of Christian are allowed to bear children.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Foxflier,
Thanks for the spellcheck. I was being totally facetios. I have a hard time even understanding Mr. Mongo Lloyd's logic, therefore I meant to show his absurtity.

I would hear the witchcraft argument presented from the anti school choice crowd.

We are a partial, homeschooling family.

Road Dawg

Anonymous said...

I wish blogs had spell check, absudity. jeesh

Anonymous said...

My, what salient points are being brought to the fore by the anti-certification crowd.

You've all put the spotlight on a prejudice of mine that I've been in denial about for too long:

You're right... I have been too worried about the wiccans and their evil, sorcerer's ways. And to think Escape From Witch Mountain was one of my favorite movies as a kid.

My judgment on this topic has been completely clouded by my perception of the wiccans all along. I want to thank you all for setting me straight.

I can now clearly see the light. Unregulated, unmitigated, and unencumbered home schooling is the only way to fly.

This is all such an epiphanic moment for me...

sniff. Can you ever forgive me?

- Mongo

Foxfier said...

I use it-- horrible spelling if I don't.

Finish what you're saying, right-click and it's go a "check spelling" option.

Or go to Firefox, they've got an in-line spellcheck

B-Daddy said...

I still don't believe that driver's licenses make us proportionally safer for the money we spend on the system. I am not saying that state licensing has no benefit, just that the benefit is small compared to the dollars spent. As a result, I am opposed to the driver's license program. If someone is able to obey the traffic laws, then they should be allowed to drive. Period.
Also, I would argue that licensing has reduced liberty in this country by providing a de facto national id card. Bottom line, I don't find the snark comparing driver's licensing to home schooling persuasive.

Anonymous said...

Why does it seem the same people who don't want our rights violated by listening to phone calls ending from a cave in Pakistan are the same people who want that same evil government in charge of teaching our children?

Is it a matter of "who's in charge?"

(Ms. Foxflier, I tried right click spell check, no hepl)

And Bdaddy, Wow, there's the Libertarian radical I know and love! Where've you been? I thought you gave up on us and went Republican.

Mongo, thank you for pointing out our frustration with you. The wiccen argument was used to show your absurdity.

So you would have the children in the LA School district, replete with credentials and a history of failing their students to have no choice? Mongo, are you saying the public school system is doing a fine job of educating our youth? Where is your data to support this, and if none, why do you wish to take our parents rights?

By the way, home schooling parents still have to adhere to a curriculum set forth by the state.

Is this merely a power play by the teachers unions who feel threatened by home and charter schools?

Where is home schooling prohibited in the constitution?

If we send our children to Caesar, why would we not expect them to be Romans? (Paraphrase from Ron Gleason)

So if the pendulum ever swung to the right, my dear Mr. Lloyd, and they start teaching “creation science”, “flood geology” and the “evil choice of homosexuality” and you had children in school, let them tell you what a criminal you would be for pulling out your child?

What if my Muslim beliefs don’t permit to have my child subjected to the public schools reading of “My Two Mommies?” I should wage Jihad on your ass.

Or perhaps the school was rampant with drug use, assault and an insane amount of gangland peer pressure. What then? But what the heck, the teachers are accredited!

Road Dawg

Anonymous said...

Road Dawg,

Worry not. I joined wicca last night.

And with my new-found sorcerer powers I have come to the conclusion that it is credentialed teachers that are responsible for the downfall of our state education system -- and not my previous belief from 24 hours ago of a lack of funding for the schools brought on by a slashed taxes.

And oh, by the way, I didn't realize Sacramento was in charge of monitoring phone calls with Al Qaeda. That's quite a development! I guess I didn't pick up on that bit of knowledge from my "branches of government" studying I did, as foxfier pointed out in his/her original post. You know, it is one of those things that should be covered early on along with what a noun, verb, and how to do basic math.

If only I had the power of wicca back then!

- Mongo

Ogre said...

KT, that "correction" not withstanding -- the judge's words have still been reported correctly. The judge has said that you clearly have no right to homeschool, period.

Anonymous said...

So now you're saying the state government is less capable of incompetance and evil than the Feds? Hacks are Hacks, on whatever level.

Are you saying we pay less taxes than our parents per capita and that is the reason for a failing public school system?

Glad you pointed out the flaw in my term paper, Mr. Lloyd. When you can't answer the question, change the point. You make my point for me over and over again. When the flaw in your logic is pointed out, you are like a child saying. "lookit him, lookit him" This has been a consistant theme of yours.

So what would you do if your school was overrun with gangs, drugs or incompetence? What would you do?

Road Dawg

By the way, I'm not sure where my english and math went awry. Maybe you could point it out more specifically to feel superior. I will try to be a more gooder blogger.

Anonymous said...


I suppose, with my newfound wiccan insight, that if my school was being overrun by gangs, drugs, and incompetence, I would certainly put in for another tax cut.

Because, really, isn't that the solution for everything?

I would couple that time-honored strategy with a strong PR campaign against the jack-booted teachers, the jack-booted administrators, and the jack-booted government.

Which branch, department and level, you ask??

It doesn't really matter. They're all out to get us.

That's what I'd do.

By the way, I wonder what incredible intelligence on the Evil Doers the State of California was able to come up with today with their phone tapping program. You get any word? Dawg???

- Mongo

Foxfier said...

Hey, Mongo, go any evidence that school spending has been cut as opposed to the times when actual education was higher?

Because I seem to recall dozens of studies that found that spending had zero relation to output....

Foxfier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dean said...

I'd just like Mongo to sign in on his Google account when commenting. That's all.
Unless of course, he's afraid that Dick Cheney or someone more sinister is listening in.

Dean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Road Dawg said...

Still with the sarcasm, Mongo, do you have a short term solution? It's a legit question, "What would you do?"

Ogre said...

Hehe. There's a very simple solution to all education's problems. Unfortunately, it would mean less power and control for bureaucrats and labor unions, so HUGE forces and billions of dollars would be spent opposing it. The solution is freedom -- and it works every time it's tried.

Anonymous said...

You asked for it. You got it...

This is the most direct evidence I can offer on the question of school funding:

I have three friends who are teachers: Jennifer, a 7th grade teacher; Heather, a kindergarten teacher; and Mya, a 2nd grade teacher. Each of them is highly qualified and dedicated to their students. A short note on the current state of each of their classrooms...

Jennifer, on her already paltry teacher's salary, is forced to go to places like WalMart and spend money out of her own pocket for pens, pencils, erasers, etc, for the kids in her classroom.

Heather, the Kindergarten teacher, works incredibly hard to manage the twenty 5 year olds she already has in her class. She has just been given notice that her K class will increase this coming fall from 20 students to 30 students. She also takes money out of her own pocket for supplies the kids need.

Mya has no such problems -- at least she won't anymore after school lets out for the summer. This week she was just given her pink slip for this coming fall's school start due to the governor's indiscriminate budget cuts.

Now, I don't know what part of "inadequately funded" you guys don't understand -- but of my friends, these are the only three that are teachers. I can't believe that they are the only three teachers in the state who are experiencing these problems. My guess is that the three you just read about above are pretty much represntative of every other teacher in the state.

- Mongo

B-Daddy said...

I do not dispute the truth of your comments about your teacher friends. However, it is also indisputable that California spends an average $11,000 per pupil per year. With an average class of 25 children, each class would be funded at $275,000 per year. So the issue is not the funding but where the funding goes. It turns out that it goes to bureaucrats and administrators, janitors and counselors. Some of the overhead is necessary but most is not. My own workplace operates with less than 10% overhead and we are government. I don't know what your teacher friends make, but if their salary is considered as the actual cost of operations and they make less than $100K per year, then you have an overhead rate of over 100%. Pretty outrageous. Why give such an inefficient system more money? Why shouldn't we demand that overhead be reduced? If the cause is too many regulations, why aren't we pushing for regulatory relief? I think it is obvious that education is not underfunded, maybe classrooms are, but not education as a whole. Only in government does such waste and failure lead to requests for more of our money.

Dean said...

Underfunded? Does this mean we get another state lottery? sweet. How about another Prop. MM? Perhaps, not.

Road Dawg said...

So I used my right to opt out of the system, using a charter school to assist with our homeschooling.

Mongo, it's a damn shame what the administrators are taking from teachers and student, and under the guise of "the teachers union".

So take a look at whose constituency the teachers lobby is. And if you really want to fund your teachers, change your system. But in the meantime, don't force others to subject our children to a broken, inefficient mess.

What would you do?