Madam Speaker, homeschooling has been a major part of this Nation's history since its founding. In fact, when the Constitution was written nearly everyone was homeschooled. Many of our country's greatest leaders received quality education at home including: George Washington, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, General George S. Patton, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, John Quincy Adams, Patrick Henry, James Madison, Davy Crockett, and General Douglas MacArthur.
From 1620 until the mid-1800s, most parents in America taught their children to read at home. Students would then attend university systems that were operated by religious leaders. Education was voluntary and yet literacy rates in colonial America were significantly higher than they are today.
Across the United States today more than 2.1 million children are homeschooled. Studies have confirmed that children who are educated at home consistently score higher on achievement tests and college entrance exams than non-homeschooled children. These graduates then go on to act as responsible parents and citizens in the workplace and the home.
Now judges on the California appellate court, want to overturn not only hundreds of years of tradition, but the United States Constitution by denying parents their constitutionally protected right to homeschool their children. According to the California court, parents who homeschool their children ought to be fined or sent to jail.
Who do these judges think they are?
Apparently, they don't believe they have a responsibility to uphold the Constitution of the United States. If they did they would have known that the Supreme Court has already addressed the fundamental and constitutional rights of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children and they have found in favor of parents.
In Wisconsin v. Yoder, decided in 1972, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of Amish parents who wanted to remove their children from public school after the 8th grade because it violated their religious beliefs. The Court held that the compulsory attendance law unduly burdened the free exercise clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution.
In Pierce v. Society of Sisters, decided in 1925, the Supreme Court invalidated legislation that required parents to send their children to public schools. The Court found that the law unreasonably interfered with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
Again in Meyer v. State of Nebraska, decided in 1923, the Supreme Court struck down a law that prohibited parents from letting their children learn a foreign language before the 8th grade. The Court held that the liberty guaranteed in the 14th Amendment protected the rights of parents to control the education of their own children.
In accordance with the Constitution, Supreme Court case law clearly supports the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
It's about time for the judges out in California to pick up the U.S. Constitution, look at Supreme Court case precedent, and issue a new ruling that is consistent with the freedoms this country was founded on.
And that's just the way it is.