Should Homeschooling Be Illegal?

This is the title of a brief article in yesterday’s Parade section of the Santa Fe New Mexican. I missed it, since I didn’t get past the front page, local news and opinion sections. My conscientious friend and fellow homeschooling mom Melissa alerted our local homeschooling e-mail list.

There was nothing really new in the article (now you know why I don’t often make it to the Parade section of the paper), just a reference to the February 2008 ruling of a California appeals court that parents can only homeschool if they have teaching credentials. Appeals will be ongoing, and no California officials are barging into private homes and dragging children off to school as yet.

The article includes a poll asking whether parents should need credentials to homeschool their children. When I checked the website, the results were 92% no, 8% yes. A reassuring verdict, but I suspect one inflated by hordes of homeschooling parents rushing to the site to vote. Back when the appeals court made its ruling, I read a story about it in the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle, and while many of the 1391 reader comments were supportive of homeschooling, others were intensely hostile, likening teaching one’s own children without a credential to practicing medicine on them without a license.

This contentious battle in the Culture Wars is, I fear, far from over.

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