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Home school court ruling raises parents', lawmakers' ire
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Recently the Second Court of Appeals came down on parents home schooling their children without teaching credentials throughout the state.

"Parents have both the right and responsibility of being the primary educators of their children," Sen. Dave Cogdill (R-14) said. "This right needs to be protected, but the decision by the Second Court of Appeals seeks to strip parents of this right.

"While school spending has increased substantially over the years, many of California's schools are still failing its students. For example, the most recent national assessment of educational progress ranks California's fourth-graders as 47th in the nation in math and 48th in reading - down from 45th and 47th respectively, in 2003. On the flipside, home schooled students consistently outscore their public school-educated counterparts. An independent study demonstrated that, on average, home schooled students outperform public school students by 30-37 percentile points in all subjects. And yet, the court wants to deny parents the right to take matters into their own hands to ensure that their children receive a quality education? This is a slap in the face to the family unit and an affront to commonsense."

Local parent Jonelle Bateman, whose children are homeschooled through the Connecting Waters' Ceres office, also believes in the right of parents to decide how to provide the best education for their children. Bateman has home schooled all of her nine children.

"I don't think the law is going to stand. There is too many home schooling success stories, too many home schoolers and too many home schooling venues, charter schools, independent study programs and many options that are not public schools," Bateman said. "Anything that hinders freedom in America needs to seriously be looked at."

While six of Bateman's nine children are currently home schooled, they will not be directly effected by the Feb. 26 ruling. She will remain an advocate for home schooling because she believes the success record of home schooling speaks for itself.

"Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein received the bulk of their education at home," Bateman said. "Anyone who has children knows that children are unique individuals and what works for one doesn't work for the other. Public schools may reach the average child, but that doesn't mean they do the best for average children."

Despite the court's ruling, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, assured parents that they will still have a right to home school in California.

"I have reviewed this case, and I want to assure parents that choose to home school that California Department of Education policy will not change in any way as a result of this ruling. Parents still have the right to home school in our state," said O'Connell. "Every child in our state has a legal right to get an education, and I want every child to get an education that will prepare them for success in college and the world of work in the challenging global economy."

The second District Court of Appeals ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to a full-time private or public school or have them home schooled by accredited tutors.

Some home schoolers who are affiliated with private or charter schools, like the Batemans who are associated with Connecting Waters Charter School, avoid truancy laws by registering with the state as a private school and then enroll only their children.

Many home schooling parents, like the Batemans, have success stories from educating their children in an environment that works best for each individual child. Bateman's oldest child received a nearly perfect SAT score and is an AP national scholar, while another child has played his violin at Carnegie Hall, twice.

"They had all these dreams because they were not in a specific parameter of education," Bateman said. "Why would we want to put a stop to something that has, for many people, been a great success?"

A viewpoint O'Connell agrees with.

"I admire the dedication of parents who commit to oversee their children's education through home schooling. But, no matter what educational program a student participates in, it is critical that the program prepare them for future success in the global economy," O'Connell said. "I urge any parents who are considering or involved in home schooling their children to take advantage of resources and support available through their county or district offices of education."