CRP Blog

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Activist Judiciary Targets Kids

"An activist judiciary powerful enough to take away one family's choice in education is powerful enough to negatively impact any of us, with little recourse against those making the decision."

Republicans have long warned of the risks of activist judges who choose to make law rather than interpret it.

The latest victims of this judicial activism are California's more than 166,000 children who are receiving their education at home rather than in traditional public and private schools. That's because an appeals court in Los Angeles last week decreed that parents cannot home school their children without a government-issued teaching credential.

It's an outrageous decision that threatens to wipe out an important education option that hundreds of thousands of families have chosen to exercise.

Predictably, teachers union officials are thrilled. United Teachers of Los Angeles president A. J. Duffy told the Los Angeles Times he agreed with the court's ruling. Of course he does: Parents don't pay union dues.

If the ruling stands, Californians will be stuck with "the most regressive law in the nation" when it comes to home schooling, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association.

When I was a high school board member, my district helped parents who home schooled their children through a program called Home Choice, which "allows students who would not attend the regular program at the local site to acquire a high quality education validated through attendance records and transcripts, and monitored and assessed by certificated instructors. The student, parent, Home Choice Coordinator and supervising teachers contract as a team to facilitate this process."

The HomeChoice program demonstrates that public schools and home schoolers can work together toward the shared goal of ensuring kids are well educated. By contrast, the Los Angeles court ruling would deny families an important option when selecting how best to educate their kids.

Unfortunately, when it comes to education, choices are anathema to many of our friends on the left, and the appeals court ruling fits right into their "one size fits all" worldview. These are the same people who've consistently opposed school choice, resisted charter schools, and now cheer when the judiciary tries to pull a fast one and take home schooling off the table.

Governor Schwarzenegger, Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman and Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines were right in immediately responding to the decision with outrage, promising to support legislation to protect the rights of parents if the decision is not reversed by the California State Supreme Court.

Critics have long tried to dismiss Republican warnings of judicial activism by claiming we're acting purely out of narrow ideological interests. Yet, the truth is Republicans have been concerned for the victims when the least democratic branch of our government chooses to override the will of the people as expressed through lawmakers and instead imposes its own vision. This time, the victims are hundreds of thousands of California kids whose educational future is now threatened.

What if you don't home school your kids? Should you still be concerned? Yes, because an activist judiciary powerful enough to take away one family's choice in education is powerful enough to negatively impact any of us, with little recourse against those making the decision.

Our nation's founders understood the threat government poses to liberty, and erected checks and balances in our system of government to limit that threat. Yet, no system is perfect, and in California, our state has repeatedly demonstrated the threat that an unchecked judiciary can pose. Now we have a fresh example.

I'm confident Republican elected officials will continue to stand with parents to protect and expand their choices in education, while maintaining vigilance that laws should be written by the elected representatives of the people, not decreed by an insulated, activist judiciary.

This article first appeared on the Flashreport.

Social Networks:
Facebook Twitter YouTube
Contact Us  |  |  Site Map  |  Credits © Copyright 2010, California Republican Party.
Paid for by the California Republican Party. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.