A reasonable acknowledgment of a parent's rights in this regard can certainly specify that particular subjects must be taught, and I see no reason why a parent ought not to be required to know enough about the rudiments of teaching to do the job properly. But no one who has witnessed what goes on in many American classrooms today will readily argue that a properly trained parent couldn't do better. Children in many public and private schools are subjected to an "education" that is positively hair-raising.
I expressed at the outset my confidence that the California judge's ruling will be overturned on appeal, or, if necessary, reversed by the legislature or a constitutional amendment. Quite possibly there will be a provision, in the revised law, that the state may intervene if the child in question is not getting an adequate education at home. But the key provision will vest priority for the child's education in his or her parents' hands, where it belongs.
Most parents will be only too happy to leave instruction in matters such as arithmetic in the hands of professional teachers. But a lot of them will draw the line at having their children taught civics by tin-horn revolutionaries who confuse themselves with Patrick Henry.
William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author of How to Win Arguments .
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