Politicians back homeschoolers

As I predicted, California’s political leaders are supporting parents’ right to teach their children at home. Attorney General Jerry Brown, the former Democratic governor, and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the 2nd District Court of Appeal to reconsider a ruling that parents must hold teaching credentials to homeschool their children.

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Comments

  1. “As I predicted, California’s political leaders are supporting parents’ right to teach their children at home.”

    Well, yes. But, for a politician, this is a no-brainer. The government still gets the homeschoolers’ money but doesn’t have to spend it on the homeschoolers’ kids. And, the politician is unlikely to lose votes supporting homeschoolers and may even gain the votes of some homeschooling parents because he “supports” the parents’ right to homeschool their children. All in all, a win-win situation for politicians.

  2. Cardinal Fang says:

    It’s not as much of a no-brainer as Anon says. The teachers’ unions oppose homeschooling, and they make up a powerful political force.

  3. Mark Roulo says:

    I’m with Cardinal Fang on this one. It is *far* from a no-brainer given how much the teacher’s unions hate homeschooling *and* given how much money they can and will spend on political causes that they care about.

    There are probably fewer *voting* homeschoolers (~160K kids … 2 kids per family and 2 parents per family = 160K voters) than there are voting teachers (3M teachers in the US, 12% of the US population in California …). The homeschoolers would probably vote more on this issue than teachers would, but it still isn’t a lock.

    I actually expected the politicians to duck, if possible.

    Maybe things break in favor of homeschooling politically…

    -Mark Roulo

  4. Thus far it has been safe for the politicians. Public opinion ranges from neutral to generally positive. The unions have not targeted home schooling as threat. Homeschooling parents still pay taxes and as such do not appear to be a threat to the public school system. Additionally the numbers of homeschoolers are relatively small compared to the total student population.

  5. It’s funny how the teacher’s union is so opposed to homeschooling. Personally, I’ve found teachers, almost universally, to be supportive and encouraging (IRL or online) when I mention I homeschool my kids.

  6. mjtyson says:

    Steve,
    Do some searches and you will find instances of teachers’ unions (and local district superintendants, for which HSLDA is a good source of info) vehemently being opposed to HSing.
    Cheers,
    Mike

  7. Cardinal Fang said, “It’s not as much of a no-brainer as Anon says. The teachers’ unions oppose homeschooling, and they make up a powerful political force.”

    Mark said, “I’m with Cardinal Fang on this one. It is *far* from a no-brainer given how much the teacher’s unions hate homeschooling *and* given how much money they can and will spend on political causes that they care about.”

    Perhaps you are right, but I doubt it. The teachers’ unions are firmly in the back pocket of the Democratic party. Let’s face it–where else are the unions going to go to find politicians who will vote their way most if not all of the time? A Democrat may be taking a small risk by voting with homeschoolers but it is not much of a risk.

  8. Mark Roulo says:

    Let’s face it–where else are the unions going to go to find politicians who will vote their way most if not all of the time? A Democrat may be taking a small risk by voting with homeschoolers but it is not much of a risk.

    The unions can *threaten* to withhold support (money) from races (or, even more of a threat, from primaries so that they continue to support a democrat, just no the incumbent democrat). Maybe the unions actually *do* this in a few races [sometimes, you have to shoot a hostage. Just so the other team knows that you are serious]. If the unions think that this is a big deal (and I can see them viewing this either way …), then having their paid-for politicians bailing kinda misses the point to having a large, well-funded, scary PAC.

    Alternately, the unions may decide that charter schools and vouchers are much more important and that this isn’t worth spending political capital on.

    I don’t see it as a no-brainer, though 🙂

    -Mark Roulo

  9. The scariest thing the unions can do is run a challenger in the primary but getting what they want by just huffing and puffing is a far better strategy.

    A successful primary challenge means it’s an open seat and that signals that the union’s losing control; putting a seat at risk is a reckless idea and only ought to be pursued when all less reckless courses have been exhausted.

    Also, while homeschoolers represent a smaller constituency then unionized teachers, I’m not sure the difference is all that important. After all, the teachers are protecting their mortgages. The homeschoolers are protecting their children. Ferocity might make up much of the difference.

    > I actually expected the politicians to duck, if possible.

    Oh yeah.