Although homeschoolers are quiet in California right now, as we wait for the next judicial or legislative event to occur, there is actually quite a bit happening behind the scenes as we prepare for the upcoming re-hearing of In Re: Rachel L., and for the Assembly’s Education Committee to vote on ACR 115.
Representatives from both HSC and CHN have been traveling up to Sacramento to meet with Assemblymen, to find out first-hand what their concerns are about homeschooling. They have also been handing out information. Some Assemblymen hadn’t even heard about the homeschooling resolution that is being considered by the education committee.
This kind of proactive work is paving the way for when, and if, the in Re: Rachel L. case becomes a serious threat to homeschooling. It will also help us if any legislation efforts result from the attention homeschooling has been getting of late.
In addition to the efforts of many of our families (some of whom have spent several days meeting dozens of Assemblymen, dressed in their business best), CHN has been working on garnering support from credentialed teachers, to specifically address the issue of whether or not requiring credentials from homeschooling parents will make an actual difference.
They have created a petition asking credentialed teachers to sign and comment. It’s only been available for a few days, and it already has 100 signatures.
Generally, I don’t support online petitions. Petitions don’t have any weight, nor can they be used in any kind of legal or judicial situation. However, in this case, I’m intrigued, because even if they never actually use this petition for anything, there is a certain kind of informational power to having people who have a credential say that it’s not necessary to have one.
The message that homeschoolers need a credential has been heard loud and clear here in California, from the teachers union. They, of course, support this, and have many teachers who would sign a petition to confirm that support. But, wouldn’t it be nice to have teachers who are willing to say, “No, we don’t support that, and here’s why?” It won’t negate the teachers union’s official position, but perhaps it will put doubt in the air, that hey, maybe a credential isn’t a universal ticket to educational bliss?
Well, maybe not. But at least, it won’t hurt anything. It’s bi-partisan, it’s secular, and it’s democracy at work. This particular petition is more powerful than a bunch of homeschoolers saying they want the In Re: Rachel L. ruling depublished – because, well, that’s obvious. Why sign a petition to say the obvious?
But this, this is not obvious. This petition says that, “Hey, things aren’t what you think they are.” The other petitions, so far, just reinforce what people already know – homeschoolers don’t want to be regulated. Well, duh. This petition, is not a “duh”, it’s about as opposite as a “duh” as we can get. And that’s why this petition is worth signing. Because it shows, well…. whoever cares about these things, that guess what, it’s not as clear-cut and easy as it seems. There are teachers, with credentials, who work as teachers and think public school is important, who say that credentials don’t help homeschoolers.
I agree with this sentiment. And I think it’s important for people who are not in hate with public school, who don’t have anything against democrats and who don’t have any particular axe to grind, to come out and have a voice. Those voices mean a lot, even if they are only for appearances sake. If we can grab these opportunities often enough, and for long enough, it can really effect the perception of who homeschoolers are and what homeschooling is.
Now, the next question is, and I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently – is this what we really want? Is mainstreaming and bringing homeschooling into the public consciousness as a non-radical idea, something we can handle? Are we ready for the consequences?