Monday, March 10, 2008

On California and homeschooling

My take on the whole California Homeschooling mess.

I didn’t realize it was such a little known fact, but homeschooling has ALWAYS been illegal in California. That’s right folks, if you homeschool your children in the golden state you are in fact breaking the law. Mostly. Kind of.

Unless you invoked the loophole.

Let me explain. In one of my favorite books “Cryptonomicon” , a bunch of geeks have to go out and defend their favorite server farm (don’t ask) from the evil head of the FBI (still, don’t ask). In order to do this they used a loophole in California law. Like most states California says that if you want to carry a concealed weapon, a handgun, you have to have a license, even if it’s only partially, temporarily concealed, such as sitting on the seat of your car and you sweater lands on it. But it is perfectly legal to carry openly. So the geeks brought shotguns and hunting rifles instead.

They invoked the loophole.

It is illegal in California to teach your children at home without a teaching credential. It is legal to teach at a private school without a teaching credential. However, it is ridiculously easy to set up a private school in California. So you set your home up as a private school and hire yourself as a teacher. Technically you’re not homeschooling. And technically you’re legal because you’re not concealing the gun.

Make sense? Good.

The problem comes about when you call attention to yourself. No one is going to care if you’re walking from the car to the range/gunsmith/friend’s house. And no one is going to care if you’re raising healthy, well cared for/well educated children. However, they are going to notice if you’re standing in the street, waving that rifle at people. And they are going to notice if your children are battered, hungry, not healthy, being molested, and can’t read or add or subtract.

If you call attention to yourself, they will push you out of the loophole. If enough people call attention to themselves, they will close the loophole.

I have noticed that a lot of the Fundamentalist/Dominionist/Patriarchal types are calling attention to themselves.

They beat their kids (and yes, I believe most forms of spanking are beating. So does a majority of the state. You have to deal with this opinion, you live with us. This goes triple if you use plumbing line.)

They don’t feed their kids and have substandard housing. (For every quiverful family with 6…8…10..12 kids who is doing well there are at least 4 who are living below the poverty line or who have no parenting skills or who are too overwhelmed to keep up the house.)

They don’t get medical care for their children. (I give you Candy as an example, who let her baby’s 104 deg fever work itself out and treated her elder son’s conjunctivitis by wiping his eyes with fermented mushroom and bacteria juice.)

They teach their children nothing about sex, and they teach them never to stand up to an older male. (If you can’t see how that would lead to victimization, then you have not been paying attention.)

Their children don’t learn. Even if their children do learn to read and write and spell and basic math, sorry, that’s not enough. The state has a right to expect its citizens to be trained well enough to function, to drive and vote and get a job and understand a doctor’s orders. That means science folks, not just Genesis. It means real US history, starting with St. Augustine being the oldest city in the United States NOT Jamestown. It means you can’t stop educating girls at 13 because they “are just going to be mothers, anything more is a waste of time and resources”.

It’s a loophole, people. If you’re going to invoke it, don’t call attention to yourself, do the right thing by your kids.

And as a final note, for those of you who say “it is my Constitutional, God-given right to homeschool”, I give you

The Constitution of the United States of America


The Christian Bible

Show me where either says anything about homeschooling.

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