Monday, February 19 , 2018, 4:41 am | Fair 48º

 
 
 
 

Commentary: Let Parents Make Decisions About Education

Home-school student sounds off on court case that may restrict education practice's process and require teacher credentials.

[Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of commentaries written by home-school students about a recent state appellate court ruling that may affect the future of home schooling in California. The students, in grades sixth through eighth, have been working with Annette Bannister, who offers writing classes for home-schooled students at the Goleta Valley Community Center.]

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Lainie Watson

The state of California is considering putting some restrictions on home-schoolers. These are not necessary, as many home-school students are above grade level in many subjects. Two potential requirements for home schooling I want to address in this editorial are requiring home-schoolers to take annual SAT tests, and requiring parents to have a teaching credential or take education classes in order to teach at home.

The SAT tests are optional, and many home-schoolers take them primarily for the parents’ benefit. They can see if they are educating their child as well or better than the public schools by comparing scores. If parents are going to be judged based on their child’s score, they might be tempted to “teach to the test” instead of following their child’s natural interest. One of the great benefits of home schooling is being able to teach to the interests of the child. It is beneficial to take the SAT tests, but it should remain an optional tool for parents. 

California is considering requiring that home-schooling parents have either a teaching credential or have taken enough education classes. Some parents have teaching credentials, but most don’t, although many do have a college degree in some other career. Parents can answer almost any question since they have been educated as well. It shouldn’t matter if the parent(s) have any teaching credentials or have taken education classes. This should not be necessary since parents today have the ability and resources, such as the Internet, to answer all of the student’s questions.

Many people ask, “Why do you home-school instead of attend a public school?” Home schooling allows students to work at their own pace, as opposed to working at other students’ paces. In addition, home-schoolers have one-on-one time with their teacher, and have only a few students in their class. This helps students who perhaps take their learning at a slower pace.

Home-schoolers are able to get into schools such as Stanford, UCLA, Harvard and Wheaton. They have been schooled without any state restrictions, and have been very successful. Therefore, none of the above restrictions should be necessary. Who is better than the student’s parents to decide how to educate their children? If the state were to say you can home-school but you have major restrictions, then it would be easier to send their students into public school.

The government shouldn’t be making the choices of how to educate other people’s children. So, please, fight for the rights of home-schoolers. Even if your child is in public school, there may come a time when home schooling is the best way. If you don’t fight, then you will regret today’s decision.

Lainie Watson is a sixth-grade home-school student. Click here to read a related commentary by Mikaela Ryan, or click here for a related commentary by Homaira Zaman.

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