Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

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Mr. Speaker, homeschooling is an ever growing choice for parents in America. Parents teach their children at home for various reasons: They are concerned about the quality of education, or the lack of it, in government schools; they don't approve of the public school curriculum; they want their kids to have a religious-based education, which is of course strictly forbidden in public schools; parents are concerned about school safety, especially in big urban schools; or, parents have special needs children that are not adequately served in public schools. Whatever the reason, many parents choose to homeschool.

Homeschooling is successful. Recent statistics show that homeschooled kids get higher test scores on ACT tests than non-homeschoolers. In the last 10 years, homeschooled children have scored higher every year on the ACT test than non-homeschoolers. I just recently appointed a homeschooler to the United States Air Force Academy, and his homeschooled education was superb.

But now, an appellate State court in California has ruled that, "Parents not only don't have a constitutional right to homeschool; parents that homeschool their children can face fines and go to jail," sayeth the all-powerful Judge Walter Croskey.

Where does the California court get such nonsense? Education has been the responsibility of parents since the beginning of time. Public education really is a relatively new concept. And now we have judges saying that parents are criminals unless their children are taught in government schools. This reminds me of my visit to the school system in the Soviet Union, which mandated all students should be indoctrinated with propaganda in the communist school system. This is Big Brother and government control at its worst. Can you imagine? A crime to teach your own children.

I have nothing against public schools or teachers. My mother was a public school teacher. All my daughters are teachers. I even taught in the State university. But no government has the right to tell parents how to educate their children, not even the government in California.

Parents and students need all education options. They need private school options, public school, religious school, or even home school. The real issue is not quality of education, but education freedom of choice by parents.

The judge says it is unconstitutional to homeschool your children. Well, Justice Croskey must not have ever read the U.S. Constitution. There is nothing written in the United States Constitution about giving government or judges the authority to control education. In fact, the word "education" is not even mentioned in the Constitution as a responsibility of government. The California court's ruling, in my opinion, is unconstitutional.

Education has generally been deemed a matter for local communities and parents. We have always believed that in this country. In fact, the Constitution in the Tenth Amendment states,"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the states are reserved to the states respectfully or to the people."

And, I submit, "the people" in that phrase are parents that have the power, under our Constitution, to decide how to educate their children. It is their responsibility, their right, and their authority. After all, our children do not belong to the government and are not government possessions to be molded as the government or government