California Assembly Member Susan Eggman has recently introduced a piece of legislation ab2926, calling for the creation of an advisory committee to make recommendations regarding the feasibility and appropriateness of imposing additional requirements on California's private homeschools. According to the bill text, these additional requirements will include (but are not limited to): health and safety inspections, additional specific curriculum standards, and credentialing or certification of teachers. This bill is unnecessary and has the potential to destroy the way many families educate their children. (You can read the bill text in full here)
According to Eggman, she was motivated to write this law after the Turpin case in Riverside county. The Turpins were accused of severely neglecting and abusing their 13 children. Some of the children were not in public school and were reportedly homeschooled. While the Turpin case is horrific, it has nothing to do with homeschooling. One family's bad choices are not indicative of all homeschooling families. As a whole, homeschoolers are some of the most caring and involved parents out there.
Requiring all private homeschools have yearly safety inspections is a direct violation of the 4th amendment. Homeschoolers are not criminals, they should not be forced to let the state into their homes. There is absolutely no statistical data suggesting homeschooled children are at an increased risk for either abuse or accidents. And why in the world should they be submitted to health checks? A person's medical records are not the state's business. Medical records should strictly be between patient and doctor.
Requiring additional curriculum standards is unnecessary and will hamper many homeschooling familiy's ability to tailor to their children's individual interests and learning style. Additional curriculum standards simply are not needed. Homeschoolers consistently score higher than their public school counterparts on academic achievement tests (source). Many homeschooling families choose home education to break away from the traditional school setting where kids spend much of their day working on "seat work", and instead take a hands on, real life learning type of approach. Not all kids thrive in the same environment. Not all kids have the same learning style. Imposing additional curriculum standards will hinder parent's abilities to educate their children in the way that works best for each individual child. Maybe we should focus our attention on California's public school system instead, it ranks 42nd in the nation.
Requiring homeschool teachers to be credentialed or certified, is again, unnecessary. Virtually all academic research that has been done on this topic shows absolutely no correlation between teacher qualifications and student performance (source). You don't have to know everything to successfully educate your children. You just need to know how to access information and have the ability to teach your children how to access information, which is so easy in the information age! As William Butler Yeats said "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
As parents we have the fundamental right to educate our children the way we see fit. Bills like ab2926 not only hinder that right but directly violate the U.S. constitution. Homeschooling in California already works splendidly. There's no need to "fix" a system that isn't broken.
How You Can Help:
-If you live in California contact your local representatives and let them know you oppose ab2926. If you don't know who your representatives are or need their contact information, click here.
-Contact Assembly Member Eggman's office and let them know that you oppose ab2926. Here's her contact information:
Phone number: 916-319-2013
-Contact the chair and vice chair of the Assembly Education Committee (which ab2926 has been referred to) and let them know that you oppose ab2926 and that it's bad for school choice in California. Here is their contact information:
Patrick O'Donnell Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Kiley E-mail: email@example.com
Parents United 4 Kids
Real CA Homeschool
Please join the fight and help protect private homeschooling families in California!
-California Legislative Information- Bill Text:
-HSLDA- New Study Shows Homeschoolers Excell Academically:
-HSLDA- The Myth of Teacher Qualifications: