Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » FINALLY GETTING CAUGHT UP

    Filed at 7:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    FINALLY GETTING CAUGHT UP Eugene Volokh blogged the CA HSing issue the other day. He comes down on the side of the HSers but misses the mark with his comments about requiring “certain output[s]” such as “good results on periodic tests.”

    Failing to make sure that one’s kids are adequately educated seems to me to be a form of child abuse, and I think the government is morally entitled to protect kids against this, though there are obvious pragmatic and public choice risks even with such requirements.

    I have a couple of problems with this.

    First, why should HSers be subject to proving that the kids are getting a good education when we have given the public schools a pass for at least the last 50 years? Would this apply to each and every HSer? Would ALL of our kids have to score at or above grade level or face some kind of retribution from the state? On whose curriculum would these tests be based? HSers usually don’t follow the same scope & sequence as the public schools; would a low score on a test even be meaningful?

    On a more fundamental basis, though, I disagree with Prof. Volokh’s assertion that the state is “morally entitled” to be involved in our children’s education. I believe that the state has an interest in assuring that the populace is literate enough to vote. Beyond that, the state’s interest is subordinate to those of the parents:

    The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 1925)

    If the state cannot standardize its children’s education, it certainly cannot demand a certain performance on standardized tests based on that education.

    UPDATE: Skip Oliva picked up on Volokh blog, too. He just did it a bit more, er, enthusiastically than I.

    UPDATE II: It’s apparently unanimous. Chris O’Donnell went after Prof. Volokh here.

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