A recent above-the-fold headline in our parent newspaper, the Daily Press, made a curious declaration: "Local Home-Schoolers Not Worried About Ruling." The headline echoed the sentiments of two Victor Valley women who have home-school ed their children, including one woman who has home-schooled all six of her children.

The parents interviewed weren't overly concerned that a state appellate court recently ruled home-school teachers must have teaching credentials to home-school their children. They may not be worried, but they should be.

Why? Because as the state flounders due to the budget mess, teacher unions would love the courts to legally rip away home-schooled children from their loving parents and throw them into the public education Average Daily Attendance money pool. Junior may be a freckle-faced bundle of joy to you, but to many public school teachers a child may also represent money that ensures their livelihood.

While the majority of home-school parents pay less than $2,000 annually to educate their student, some considerably less, state public education costs have risen. According to one analysis of the the Governor's budget for K-12 per-pupil funding for 2008-09, each student is expected to cost taxpayers $11,626. No wonder public school teachers want your child in their system. Additional ADA money helps guarantee teachers receive their annual step raise, cost of living increase, impressive number of vacation days, and the like.

Critics of home-schooling maintain that a home-schooled student especially those who are taught by non-certificated parent teachers won't receive as good an education as their public-schooled counterparts. But there is ample evidence to prove that is just not the case. According to one study, the average homeschooler outscored his public school peers by more than 30 percentile points.

Another criticism is that home-schooled students don't learn necessary social skills, but studies also indicate that contention is false. A study the the National Home Education Research Institute found that home-schooled students are active in their communities, are involved in civic affairs (including voting more often) and even live happier lives.

Home-schooling isn't a fad. Formally, it's been around for centuries. And there is a long list of famous people who received their education at home rather than public schools. The list includes U.S. presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. military leaders Douglas MacArthur and George Patton, artists Claude Monet and Leonardo da Vinci, and composers Irving Berlin and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. If Thomas Edison were forced to attend compulsory school rather than being home schooled, as he was for most of his education, perhaps you'd be reading this commentary by the feeble flicker of a candle rather than an incandescent lightbulb.

While some basic parents-as-teachers requirements may be appropriate yes, parents should know how to read and write mandating that all who home-school their children must have formal teacher credentials is over-reaching. Parents, not teachers unions or appellate courts, know what's best for their own children. Parents need a wide berth to do what they believe is right.

The two home-school parents quoted in the recent newspaper article may believe that the courts will see it their way. But an ever-expanding public education system is crying out for more funds. They may see love and hope when they look into their child's eyes, but the system just sees dollar signs.

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