Wednesday, March 12, 2008

CA Superintendent Supports Homeschooling...Somewhat

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell has issued a statement that "Parents still have the right to home school in our state." He indicated that state policy regarding homeschooling would not change.

However, the L.A. Times notes "O'Connell repeatedly refused Tuesday to rule out requiring parents to enroll their children in a formal program." This is cause for concern.

As I noted here, O'Connell has stated he wants homeschooling parents to have "partnerships" with school districts and use the "right curriculum."

If he offers the partnerships and curriculum as optional services, terrific. For example, California already has some wonderful charter homeschooling programs available at no cost.

However, if he tries to use the court's new interpretation of existing state policy to mandate state supervision of homeschoolers, that's a problem which won't go over well with private homeschoolers and would doubtless be fought in the courts or the legislature.

Just as the state cannot supervise children who attend religious or other private schools, it should not be able to supervise or direct the curriculum used by private homeschoolers.

Still, most of O'Connell's statement was positive: "I have reviewed this case, and I want to assure parents that chose to home school that California Department of Education policy will not change in any way as a result of this ruling...

"...some parents choose to send their children to private schools or to home school, and I respect that right. I admire the dedication of parents who commit to oversee their children's education through home schooling."

If he lives up to that commitment, he will be doing the right thing, and his support of educational freedom will earn him the appreciation of thousands of California homeschoolers.


Blogger Dana said...

I'm cautiously optimistic about O'Connell - too good to be true sort of thing. However, he doesn't sseem to have an axe to grind with homeschoolers, to the contrary it would appear he sees homeschooling as an equally viable option along with private schools, Independent Study, charters, etc. It really would be hard for him to argue the validity and benefits of homeschooling in light of test results but still...

8:14 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

At least O'Connell isn't like his predecessor, Delaine Eastin, who actively campaigned against homeschooling...

Random thought, we were out running errands at noontime today and saw several other school-age children, and that's quite common. Some of this may be due to year-round schools in some districts in the area, but this kind of high-profile presence of children in public during "school hours" just wasn't the case even a few years ago. I feel sure that the biggest reason we see so many other kids "out and about" is so many people are homeschooling.

And people nowadays are so accepting and unquestioning. A clerk in Barnes & Noble today had a very nice discussion with my daughter about the relative merits of different editions of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE on the shelves (we were "upgrading" our old paperback which is now being read by the third generation in the family!). I suspect places like bookstores are particularly used to serving homeschooling families.

Back to O'Connell -- he may realize he doesn't have a leg to stand on against homeschooling, given the academic success of the various forms of homeschoolers compared to public schools...he's got enough to worry about just trying to improve public schools without chasing after homeschoolers!

Best wishes,

9:10 PM  
Blogger windycorner said...

The situation in CA is difficult to understand. Is there pressure from the teacher's union or are school districts loosing federal dollars? As you say, it can't be due to lack of success. My sister and her husband moved from San Diego(which they loved) to Atlanta because they wanted to homeschool without all the oversight. Doesn't the state government have bigger fish to fry right now?

11:57 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older