Houston parents keeping eye on CA court

March 7, 2008 4:00:32 PM PST
Local parents who choose to home-school their children are closely watching what's going on right now in California. There's increased pressure for those parents to have teaching credentials. Thousands of parents could even be at risk of prosecution. The court decision in California could make it illegal for parents without teaching certification to home school their own kids. It is a very different story here in Texas, where parents have a lot of freedom when it comes to educating their kids. Moms we talked to say they hope it stays that way.

Doing schoolwork at the family bookstore is nothing new to Andrew Swirski. His parents operate one of the biggest home school supply stores in the country. Andrew says he enjoys the home schooling environment and hopes it doesn't change.

"For just a home schooled parent, I don't think the government should have any say so in whether they can education their child a home," he said.

But Andrew and some home schooling parents are well aware of the tightening of regulations in California. Cherissa Holt hopes Texas won't follow suit.

"I believe it's a parent's choice," said Holt, who is a home school parent. "If a parent feels like they should teach their children, then I think they have that right."

Even though Texas doesn't have a certification requirement, supporters of home schooling say there are plenty of books and resources to help home school novices.

"These kids grew up together. They're almost like brothers and sisters," said Simone Brown, founder of a home schooling co-op. "We're just blessed to be together and one huge happy family and some place to connect."

Brown is the co-founder of a local home school co-op where parents and kids offer each other support and a variety of programs. The head of the Houston Federation of Teachers says such co-ops, if run well, are beneficial to home schoolers, but says some sort of oversight should be required.

"I got mixed feelings on it to be honest," said Gayle Fallon with the Houston Federation of Teachers. "I think it should be regulated. If it's done with some degree of regulation showing that there's really a program, I don't have a problem with home schooling."

Fallon says she doesn't think Texas needs to go the California route and require parents to have certifications. However, she believes a little more oversight could be beneficial all the way around.

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