Kids Rights: schooling

Everyone I know is talking about the California Supreme Court’s recent decision declaring gay civil unions legal “marriage.” A good and reasonable decision, in my opinion. However, the California court system is only 1 for 2 over the past few months.

If you’ll recall, their last notable case involved criminalizing teaching your own children. The appellate court involved ruled that children 6 to 18 must be taught by a teacher who is credentialed by the state. Over 150,000 kids are now truant and parents are now liable for damages because of this ruling, which is a travesty.

Kids learn best when they are given choices; when they are given the freedom to follow their own interests to the end and pique their natural curiosity. Public school may be the right environment for some kids, but it’s definitely stifling for many and some of them are comparable to prisons for kids. Parents need choices and kids do as well.

As I alluded to in my post on the Village Free School, I came up in a Montessori private school, and find Montessori, free schools, and Waldorf schools very alluring. These are environments where kids learn to learn. They learn to teach themselves skills that they need. They are perfect for producing well-rounded and grounded adults who can navigate their own lives without someone telling them where to go and what to do. They also usually produce students who have the skills necessary to succeed in college.

I never went to public school, so I don’t know if I’m entitled to question what goes on there, but it seems to me that a state-run institution is not going to produce people who question the state. Questioning your leaders is a long-time American tradition, and hopefully one that is not being lost as we speak.

So, just like kids should have a right to vote, trade, and declare themselves adults, they should also have a right to learn what they want to learn and to be taught by whoever they or their parents believe will help them learn. No state (even California) should be able to take those rights away.


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