Saturday, March 8, 2008

Homeschooling, Another Point

Karen found this interesting blog post today from Question the Culture. It makes an excellent case against states requiring certification for parents teaching their own children by comparing it to the job of feeding children, something else individuals and states both do.

When the government feeds your child at school, we tend to require a certain level of competence. Is the food healthy? Did the lunch ladies wash their hands before preparing it? If we get any unacceptable answers, phone calls will be made and heads will roll. On what basis do we ask these demanding and probing questions? Schools feed children (and must do it adequately) because we pay them to do it. It's our business to monitor them.

Does it work the other way around? Do state officials have the right to look in your refrigerator and certify that your food is healthy? Do they have a right to check your hands pre- and post-meal? Of course they don't! Even communists don't take it that far. Why does the state not have a similar right to demand and probe? We (well, most of us) pay for our own food. It's really none of their business what we feed our kids, so long as they don't starve to death.

Now, apply all this to the California homeschooling controversy. We require that teachers in government schools be certified because we pay for them. Certification is expected for private school teachers by the parents of their students because they foot the bill. Does it work the other way around? Should the state require certification for parents who only teach their own children? Last time I checked, states aren't very interested in paying my wife to homeschool our children. Who's footing that bill? Us. Whose business is it? Ours and ours alone.

The only way the California stance makes sense is if you switch around the responsibility for the children. If parents are responsible (if they are the parents' kids), parents should get the final say in any matter regarding their children. However, if government is responsible (if they are the government's kids), they should get to call the shots. So whose kids are they anyway?


Dana said...

Very true...but now we have those who might not think that is such a bad idea as we move to make trans fats illegal and want to outlaw overweight people being served in restaurants.

I think people have forgotten that government is supposed to preserve the good, not do good.

Philip said...

I'm afraid you're right. Once we get universal health care (when, not if), everyone's personal health will be a pressing matter of state. Then it will truly (and sadly) be in our interest to keep up with how much salt or sugar you eat, etc. Abdication of personal responsibility is a forfeiture of personal rights.