- BitsBlog - http://bitsblog.theconservativereader.com -

Parents Vs the State

Comes a point in nearly every discussion about man and his endevors, where there is no room for compromise. This over-reach of governmental power is one such  Hume: [1]

California parents who home school their children are reeling from a court decision earlier this week that all students must be taught by credentialed teachers. The San Francisco Chronicle reports many home schooling parents avoid truancy laws by forming private schools and enrolling their children – but the parents are not certified teachers. The president of The Home School Legal Defense Association says the ruling effectively bans home schooling in California.

The head of the state’s largest teachers union applauds the decision – which means parents who disobey could be subject to criminal prosecution. One home schooling parent says she is ready for a fight – “I’m kind of hoping some truancy officer shows up on my doorstep. I’m ready. I have damn good arguments.”

It’s interesting to note who is in support of this nonsense [2]:

Now, if you make a religious claim, i.e., you require home or private schooling for religious reasons, then you can make a rights claim under Wisconsin v. Yoder [3] (406 U.S. 205)

In terms of California law, the state supreme court held in 1953 in People v. Turner (121 Cal.App.2d Supp. 861, 865 et seq.)-a case in which the US Supreme Court denied certiorari-that there is no right under the California constitution to home school either, in a decision that follows closely the reasoning of the Court in Pierce.

Under §48220 [4] children may be home schooled as long as the home “tutor or other person shall hold a valid state credential for the grade taught.”

So, I’m not sure what all the uproar is about, at least in terms of the legal issues. The Supreme Court made this determination in 1925. California did so at the state level in 1953, and this court merely applied the 55 year-old precedent in Turner.

Well, that’s fine, if you hold the law to be the highest arbitor of rights. I hasten to add, that this is something the federal Constitution does not do, and the DOI leaves quite clear where the founders held rights to come from… and it most certainly was not the law. That’s an interesting position, though, for a self-proclaimed libertairan to take. Particualrly gauling, though, is this:

Q: “Oh, and by the way, which constitutional amendment says that parents have a right to home school their kids?”A: “Which constitutional amendment says that you have a right to cultivate begonias?What’s your point?”Since children are not property for parents to dispose of as they wish, what’s yours?

So, if not the responsiblity…(With all that the word imparts) of the parents, are these children, then, the property of the state, to dispose of as they wish? That, in reality is the argument being made, here.

And, look, man…forget the matter of the law, for the moment and ask the fundimental question:  Which has the responsibility and the rights attached to it… the state, or the parent?

An an extension, then;Should the state have the right to dictate education of a sort which the parent does not want their child exposed to? Which has the greater right, here? The government, unsurpisingly thinks they do. What interests me is a self-described libertarian seemingly supporting that notion.

As a practical matter, this uproar is really a function of the fact that no one has really challenged the law for the past 50 years. It required a) a school district to push the issue, and b) a set of parents to object.

Well, that’s right enough, but the problem here is with the framework you’ve just laid out, that is, the government having the final say, under what pretext would such a challange ever be mounted? These kids are the property of the state, after all. It’s the ‘village’ that needs to raise them, by the lights you’ve shown us, not the parents.

 The big deal, here of course, is the state usurping the rights of the parents to raise their own kids. Think about it; can you imagine such a ruling coming down in any state in the union, in 1860? this is something the founders never envisioned. Interesting, also, taht so much is being made of the idea that this is under the State constitution, and those supporting it include big government liberals… who are not usually the people you’d anticipate arguing for states rights… but do so in this case since it serves the leaning toward big government power.

Thing there is too, that with the increased role of the federal government in the education of every child in every state, the little ‘states rights’ trap door isn’t so little anymore. The interaction of the state and the federal government will get a little dicey, if this case ever goes to the USSC.

Finally, consider this: If the state has the larger right within the law’s definition, what of religious instruction? Can such instruction of children be outlawed on that basis? I mean granted, that there’s the matter of Wisconsin vs Yoder. But on what basis can this be upheld, if the state has the bigger claim on the child?

 But again, this falls down to the most basic of questions: Which has the larger right? The parent, or the state? The basis of the ruling in question is that the state has the larger right. That’s not what the founders intended. It’s certainly not a minimalist government, and it comes nowhere near freedom. The law may say one thing, but morality says something very different.

Now, before you start, I am by no means minimiizing the idea that a good education provdies the best future.  But who gets to influence the child’s future? The state, or the parent? If the state, at what point did that transition get made?