Monday, November 15, 2010

The "Exclusive" Right of Parents

Homeschooling is a grassroots movement in response to the current state of affairs of the public schools. Parents are leaving in despair and rolling up their sleeves to do the job themselves. Parents aren't recruited to home instruction.

Historically, it was understood that it was in a parent's own self interest to raise his child in a lawful and honest field of employment --- in order to be self-sufficient -- and hopefully to support his parents in their old age. Then came welfare and social security laws, which created an atmosphere of public mistrust. Will parents instruct their children properly, or will they become a burden to society?

Public schools and school boards are in no position to evaluate parents when they haven't resolved their own problems, including their own delinquent students. Parent left these schools because no one listens to their concerns; parents should not be subordinated to these same school boards.

Recognizing parent's right to independence is a good first step to resolving the current public school problems; it might finally force them to reconsider their position and listen to parents.... instead of a long list of state and federal policy experts.

10 states have NO regulation on home instruction (AK, CT, ID, IL, IN, MI, MO, NJ, OK, TX); 13 states only require notification (AL, AZ, CA, KS, KY, MS, MT, NE, NV, NM, UT, WI, WY). Given the size of CA and TX, that's nearly half of the country where home instruction has no state regulation. These children aren't falling into an educational abyss.

The problem is that NH is surrounded by states (MA, NY, PA, RI and VT) with very burdensome regulations. Flipping a state from burdensome to free isn't easy, but it's especially difficult in New England.

In 1990, when NH's home education law was adopted, legislators promised that if parents demonstrate their commitment and responsibility that these burdensome regulations could be lifted. Parents have done so for over 20 years, while legislators continue to discuss hypothetical problems as their excuse for keeping regulations.

Should parents be considered guilty until proven innocent ... forever? How would legislators like to be considered irresponsible? How would they like that stigma .... indefinitely? There are no homeschooling problems to justify this legislative hysteria. None.

Parents have the primary obligation to instruct their children. It's their exclusive right to do so.... just like the original Art. 6 Part I of the NH Constitution spoke to the exclusive right of the towns to determine and direct the instruction in their local schools in opposition to state interference. Religious or otherwise, it's all the same.