from experts in the field:
Marty Hittelman, a Los Angeles community college math
teacher, is president of the California Federation of Teachers
All PArentS hAve a right to be involved in the education of their
own children, as they believe best meets their needs. All students
deserve to have a quality education.
home-schoolers should be required to deliver quality instruction,
and their efforts should not result in students falling behind. Parents
who decide to home-school their children take on a huge responsibility.
We believe there should be standards for all teachers. it shouldn’t matter whether they
teach in a home school, public or private school. the current certification process does not
necessarily guarantee a good teacher, but we are assured certificated teachers have had training in subjects, in teaching and in a body of knowledge that has been developed, critiqued
and revised based on many decades of research.
A certificated public school teacher is evaluated during his or her preparation program
and spends two more years improving with a support provider or mentor teacher before
being granted permanent status. A home-school teacher may be a natural teacher but lack
necessary training and supervision.
Parents serving as home-school teachers need to teach to the california or other state
curriculum standards and should be qualified in the subjects they teach their children. they
owe that to their children.
home-schoolers can contract with a public school, under the direction of a credentialed
teacher, to offer instruction through independent study. there are other additional venues to
help home-schoolers meet high standards. they can also create their own home-based private
school, subject to regulation by the local education agency.
We believe the best education comes about when parents are involved in their children’s
public school education. We’d prefer that home-schooling parents work with their local public schools so that all students are assured of a standards-based education. C
from experts in the field:
the recent court of Appeals decision in california was a throwback to the 1980s and early ’90s, when teacher certification was a sacred
cow in many states and home-schoolers were regularly prosecuted for
truancy. Since then, more than 30 states have addressed home schooling
and not one legislative body requires teacher certification as a teacher
qualification, and most states impose no minimum education level for
the main reason states have moved toward home-school freedom is because research
shows that home-schoolers on average score 20 to 30 percentile points above the national
average on standardized achievement tests. research also demonstrates that home-schooled
children score higher on college scholastic aptitude tests. these results have been achieved
despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of these students are taught by parents who
are not teacher certified.
Another consideration is whether teacher certification is justified for public school teach-
ers. the state should be required to prove that its licensing or credentialing requirements are
valid and a good use of taxpayer funds.
research in the last decade casts serious doubt on the relationship of teacher certification
to a student’s academic achievement. in a 2007 article in Education Next, several economist/
educators studied teacher certification in new York city. the title of their article says it all:
“Photo finish: certification doesn’t guarantee a winner.” the report concluded that teacher
certification status matters little for student learning.
Additionally, california’s public schools are failing to measure up to national standards.
on the most recent national assessment of educational progress conducted by the u.S.
Department of education, only 30 percent of california public school fourth graders were
proficient in math, an astonishing 47 percent of california fourth graders were not at the level
of basic skills in reading and 77 percent were below the level of proficiency.
the bottom line is that there is no evidence to support the requirement for teacher
certification in either home schools or public schools. C
Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal
Defense Association (
AUGUST DEBATE UPDATE:
Do eco-tourism costs
outweigh the benefits?
Percentage reflects votes
received by August 11, 2008.
JULY DEBATE RESULTS:
Do politics have a place at
YES: 17% NO: 83%
Percentage reflects votes received
by July 28, 2008.
Opinions expressed are those of the individuals or organizations represented and are
presented to foster discussion. Costco and
The Costco Connection take no position on
any Debate topic.