California’s Criminal Parents

Hattip to Gates of Vienna

Time says about 200,000 children are home-schooled in California, while The San Francisco Chronicle gives the figure as 166,000. Neither source mentions where they got their figures, but I can tell you from experience with other parents that at least three times that number are flying under the radar.

Parents are simply not reporting their children to their school district. Unlike others, these non-reporters do not trust the state authorities to protect their children in a public school environment and trust even less the arbitrary nature of the law when it comes to the treatment of children.
This past week a California appeals court ruling proved the distrust of the scofflaws to be correct:

A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials
sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution.

The homeschooling movement never saw the case coming.
As a former home-schooler, I never quite believed The Bureaucrats wouldn’t shut us down on a whim…
– – – – – – – – –
School unions are very powerful, even if their education skills leave something to be desired. When we submitted our bureaucratic forms to the local county agency, our approval to home school came back approved – and with serious spelling and grammatical errors – but signed by one of the people with Teaching Credentials.
In America, it does not matter if you are skilled enough to teach, it matters only that you are “credentialized” to do so. Thus:

Homeschooling parent Debbie Schwarzer of Los Altos said she’s ready for a fight.

Schwarzer runs Oak Hill Academy out of her Santa Clara County home. It is a state-registered private school with two students, she said, noting they are her own children, ages 10 and 12. She does not have a teaching credential, but she does have a law degree. [my emphasis]

“I’m kind of hoping some truancy officer shows up on my doorstep,” she said. “I’m ready. I have damn good arguments.”

She opted to teach her children at home to better meet their needs.

The ruling, Schwarzer said, “stinks.”

The judge says otherwise:

“California courts have held that … parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children,” Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. “Parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling under the provisions of these laws.”

Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.

“A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare,” the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.

It doesn’t matter that the “educational” “system” is often unsafe, lacking basic hygiene facilities, and dangerous to students.

Who on God’s green earth wants to send their child to a school where the presence of the police is necessary to ensure order? Who wants their children to endure these conditions when they can learn safely at home? Here’s a report from 2002:

Despite clearly unsafe and unsanitary conditions in public schools in California and in Dade County, Florida, students and teachers have been required to work in those schools for years while school officials have done nothing to address the problems.

On May 17 [2002], the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action lawsuit against the state of California, contending “appalling conditions” regarding safety, sanitation, and educational resources violated the state constitution’s guarantee of a free and equal public education for all. Broken windows, falling ceiling tiles, vermin infestation, leaky roofs, non-functioning toilets, broken HVAC systems, and lead in drinking fountains plague many of California’s public schools, according to the suit.

… a class action lawsuit was [also] brought against the Miami-Dade County School Board, calling on the board to correct and remedy “life-threatening violations of fire safety and other safety code requirements” detailed in the State Requirements for Educational Facilities (SREF). The lawsuit noted the school board “is aware of the violations and has in many circumstances failed and refused to correct them.”


“The School Board’s action and inaction have created a dangerous environment for Plaintiff’s children in that the students are required to attend schools that contain numerous serious violations of the SREF regulations, which constitutes the fire and safety code for state schools.”

These are the reasons many families have sacrificed the income that would be generated by two working parents in order to have one stay home and teach the kids. What is the point of creating so-called “wealth” when your child comes home with questionable ideas and very little solid learning?

As for schools teaching what the judge claims they do – “A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare” – try asking a youngster to sing the national anthem or to recite The Pledge of Allegiance, both of which were part of the school morning routine back when public schools produced educated children. Better yet, find out how many recent high school graduates have registered to vote. Or for that matter, if they even know who their governor, senators, or congressional representative are. See if they can tell you who is campaigning for office this year and what office they are seeking.

The results of your small survey will be disheartening. Some sample answers I’ve gotten: “oh, I don’t pay attention to that stuff.” Or, “it doesn’t matter to me.” My favorite so far is “vote for what?” One child said, hopefully, “could I learn about this?”

When it comes to an awareness of civic responsibility, our public schools have a miserable record. We feel fortunate if no one comes into the schools and shoots the students. What does it matter if they learn American history, math, or science as long as they get out alive?

And by the way, ask to see the history book you child is using. If it’s from a teachers’ union government school it is full of grievance issues dressed up as the correct paradigm. Every child can tell you about Harriet Tubman, but none of them know the Gettysburg Address or The Emancipation Proclamation.

Of those three subjects, Harriet Tubman has the most google hits. That fact would distress Tubman no end. She would be alarmed that so few children could even hazard a guess about the dates of the Civil War.

Fortunately, California’s governor is not sympathetic to this ruling. He has vowed to fight it in court and in the legislature:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denounced a state appeals court ruling that severely restricts homeschooling and promised to change the law if necessary to guarantee that parents are able to educate their children at home.

“Every California child deserves a quality education, and parents should have the right to decide what’s best for their children,” Schwarzenegger said in response to the ruling, which said children educated at home must be taught by a credentialed teacher.

“Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children’s education,” Schwarzenegger said. “This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts, and if the courts don’t protect parents’ rights then, as elected officials, we will.”

If you want to see a good curriculum used by homeschoolers and foreign service parents overseas, go here. We especially liked the Maths books at Calvert – serious business and not a politically correct picture to be seen in any of them. Just math and more maths.



  1. You mean Arnie finally grew a pair, shocking..

    Nothing pisses the nanny state off like not having your children under their control. Heavens above, you might teach them to be strong independent citizens who love their country and can read and write and add. What’s more important than that, oh yeah, multiculturalism, tolerance, appeasement, ‘alternate’ lifestyles, go figure.

    MK, you crack me up with Arnie.

    I have to agree that in the deeper scope of things such as education that when freedom goes in countries, it is not long before they do try to get control of childrens thinking. We can look back at history and see this from other countries. I think it is all such a gradual thing here that ‘we the people’ won’t see it coming before it is too late. I am overwhelmed that so many do not know. What is that saying..something like if we don’t know our history we are doomed to repeat it.

  2. Angie, even though people are saying not to freak out over this, I think this is a really ominous thing and it is, at the very least, the beginnings of trouble. With the candidates lining up for the job of governor in that state next, I think it’s going to end up even worse than it is right now.

    I think you are right Aurora. Power is a thing all seem to want and when they get it, they have an awesome responsibility toward others. Where are the great statesmen? Where are those leaders that care about the consequences of such actions?

  3. great work Angie!..can u imagine forcing all kids to go to public skool?..what a horror!

    Hi Angel.The public schools should be what they once were, we actually learned. Today I would have to agree that many of them are a horrow. I feel so sorry for those with children that have no choice but to send them to schools where they are not safe, not to mention so many can’t read, Education in many cities has gone to pot.

  4. This scares the booties off my feet! I hope and pray that Arnie and his new kahunas can change it before he leave office!

    You and me too. I wonder about Arnie sometimes on some of his record. It seems sometimes he plays to all, so don’t know if it’s for his political future intentions or not, Do hope they can change it, You know what they say, as Calif. goes so does the rest of the country in time.

  5. Wow, Lady, when you come back, you bring a boatload of great posts!!! Thank you!!

    I taught at our middle school until a few years ago when I began having chest pains from worrying over the students floundering so desperately. The majority had serious issues, but parental inability and disinterest was worse.

    iow, I rejoice and applaud parents who recognize the quality of their children’s lives depends profoundly on having an advocate and education that isn’t gov’t regulated.

    Croskey is one of satan’s minions—every word here and in other reports online screams “brainwash”! Let him go try to teach for a school term! No robes, no judicial power, no defense mechanism. Better yet, send his wife, daughter, or mother “in there”.

    Oh, the stories teachers could tell!!

    I remember the time I taught Kindergarten, eveb then there were parental issues. I feel sorry for many of the teachers trying to do a good job today. It really is almost impossible with the situation in many schools being as it is.
    I too applaud those who are trying so hard to see that their children have a good future with their education. My heart goes out to those who ‘do not have a choice’. Can you imagine being a student who is trying, a parent worrying, a teacher in an inner city school? Can you imagine the fear being struck in the hearts of those in Californa trying to home school?
    Yes Croskey and others like him ‘rarely send their loved ones to that situation. They are hypocrites in the worse way!

    Wow, the stories teachers could tell, well let’s just say many would probably be discouraged from entering such a noble profession. We have had many, unfortunately and I know personally some that have said, they did not know what else to do when pursuing their degree AND really did not like it but thought. ‘WELL I CAN ALWAYS TEACH’. NOT!

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