Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Right to Home School

Posted By Chuck Muth On March 25, 2008

According to three California judges, parents "do not have a constitutional right to home school their children."

By thus ruling, the judges turned the parents of some 166,000 home-schooled children into criminals with the snap of their fingers and the stroke of a pen. According to these paragons of justice, parents should be forced to send their children to government-run education camps, whether they like it or not.

Wars have been started over less.

In my home state of Nevada, at least for now, the law sorta recognizes a parent’s right to educate their own children at home. However, the state still requires home-school parents to “register” with the government, ostensibly for “truancy” purposes. But this raises the same legitimate argument raised against gun registration: If the government knows who all the home-school parents are, and if three nitwit judges suddenly determine they’re all criminals, the government will know exactly who to round up.

Which is why I have pointedly elected NOT to fill out the “required” paperwork “registering” my children as being home-schooled. While many home-schoolers maintain that simple “registration” is not an onerous condition, I strenuously object to being required to notify the government of what I consider to be an inalienable right to teach my own kids - with or without a “teaching” degree.

And if the local school district wants to do something about it, bring it on. They know where I live. If not, just call Child Protective Services. They have the address. We’re the same folks who let our kids play out front without shoes on.

All kidding aside, let me put this in even more stark terms.

Suppose a woman decides she wants to terminate her pregnancy. Is she required to “register” with the government in order to notify the authorities of this decision? No.

So then, why should a mother who chooses to bear the child instead not have the right to educate that child without “registering” with the government, hmmm? Why does a woman have the right to make a life-and-death decision, literally, without providing official government notification, but not the freedom to decide how to educate her child? Whose child is it anyway?

Granted, there is a community interest in having an educated populace. But that means education should be available and encouraged, not mandatory. In a free nation, people should retain the right to be stupid - a right exercised with reckless abandon by three judges in California last month.

If you outlaw home-schooling, only outlaws will be home-schoolers. Just call me Josie Wales.

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