Recently a landmark ruling that stunned many parents and could have legal repercussions for families across the country was handed down by a California state appellate court.
Judge H. Walter Croskey wrote a court opinion that declared California children were only allowed to be taught by teachers credentialed by the state. Such a decision was a stark about-face from the previous California policy that provided parents with options in determining how best to educate their children.
A decision such as this has profound ramifications that stretch beyond educational choice, from parental rights to privacy laws.
California parents should be encouraged that the majority of elected officials and government appointees in the state are taking their side. California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell released a statement vowing his department’s continued support of parental rights: “I have reviewed this case, and I want to assure parents who choose to homeschool that California Department of Education policy will not change in any way as a result of this ruling, parents still have the right to home school in our state.”
Governor Schwarzenegger also has ensured that if the courts did not overturn the decision upon appeal, the legislature will move to ensure that education choice remains an option in California.
The support of these officials may come as cold comfort to parents in California and concerned activists nationwide, but the decision of the court should not have come as a surprise. Rather, it is simply the most prominent salvo in an increasing trend against parents’ rights that exists under the guise of globalization and the innocuously-named “children’s rights movement.”
It has been nearly 20 years since the United Nations first agreed to codify the Convention of the Rights of the Child into international law and since that time, America has been only one of two member states of the United Nations to have not ratified the Convention.
The California case is a perfect example of why America has not ratified the treaty. The United States Constitution is unique in that many of the rights declared in the U.N. document are explicitly spelled out in our Constitution. The dignity and right to life of every human being is a cornerstone of our democracy. It a great shame that we live in a world where issues such as child soldiers and child pornography exist, and, in some countries, flourish.