Thursday, March 20, 2008


Yes, Woodrow Wilson did say that the purpose of education is to make children “as unlike their fathers as we can.” That statist goal seems to have motivated a recent California Appeals Court ruling on home schooling.

Justice H. Walter Croskey and two other black-robed despots issued an opinion on February 28 (In re Rachel L.) that overturned the decision of Superior Court Judge Stephen Marpet. Marpet had ruled that “parents have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home.” Croskey and company, however, discounted U. S. Supreme Court cases (like Wisconsin v. Yoder) that informed the lower court decision and issued a precedent-shattering opinion that appears to prohibit non-credentialed parents from home schooling their own children.

The fact that the home schooling in question was done under the supervision of an accredited private school didn’t impress this judicial Troika. Nor did the quality of the school’s curriculum seem to matter—or the fact that Sunland Christian School had been operating as a home schooling program in compliance with state laws for more than twenty years. Instead, the tribunal regarded the parents’ relationship with Sunland as a “ruse” and focused on a 1953 ruling that supported their state-certified conclusion.

Whatever the nebulous child welfare issues involved in this case, there was no good reason for the court to deliver such a sweeping decision instead of one narrowly tailored to the specific situation. Brad Dacus, President of the Pacific Justice Institute, said if the court’s ruling isn’t reversed, “more than 166,000 students currently receiving an education at home will be subject to criminal sanctions.”

That comment echoes Justice Croskey’s own words, which warned parents that they “may be subject to a criminal complaint against them…[or] to imposition of fines or an order to complete a parent education and counseling program."

Any bright individual who’s spent time in education knows that teacher certification is itself one of the biggest “ruses” in the professional world. Indeed, at the prep-school where I taught for two decades, education degrees were regarded less highly than discipline-specific degrees—while certification was viewed as a scrap of paper when weighed against a candidate’s academic competence and his or her ability to perform in class.

As scholars like Thomas Sowell have pointed out ad nauseam, education majors consistently rank toward the bottom of the barrel when it comes to test scores—a fact that explains the relative simplicity of California’s C-BEST test and, even more, why teachers unions and their judicial shills despise competition. What they want is a monopoly that creates as many union jobs and PC socialist students as possible.

The good news is that even Education Superintendent Jack O’Connell, knows better than to support this absurd ruling. Moreover, North County’s Assembly Representatives, following El Cajon’s Joel Anderson, are backing a resolution (A.C.R. 115) that calls on the California Supreme Court to reverse the Appeals Court’s folly. If it doesn’t, the U.S. Supreme Court probably will—and certainly should.


Here is a rather compelling essay by Don Feder on Rev. Wright and the implications of his long pastoral association with Sen. Barack Obama.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Two weeks ago the Escondido Police Department began a program that targeted illegal immigrants who not only had committed crimes in the U.S. but also had been deported and returned. According to the North County Times piece on the subject (Feb. 23, “Escondido launches criminal illegal immigrant sweep’) the first three-day sweep netted 15 criminals from a list of 70 of the department’s “most frequent customers.”

The story observed that this was “the first time a local police force in the region has specifically targeted the criminal illegal immigrant population,” and noted that six officers were involved in the project.

Also included in the article was this criticism of the program by El Grupo spokesman, Bill Flores: “Escondido seems to be deliberately earning a reputation as being a racist community because of these kinds of policies.” No doubt the “policies” Flores had in mind also included the City Council’s unsuccessful 2006 attempt to prevent landlords from renting to illegal immigrants and the license-check traffic stops that have become common in the city.

In defense of the new policy Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher assured critics that the department isn’t looking for illegal immigrants who have violated “only” federal law and noted that traffic stops are inherently race-neutral. These critics might also be happy to know that (according to the article) only six illegal immigrants were turned over to the Border Patrol in 2007 due to the traffic checks. But presumably that’s six too many.

This front-page article about a new law enforcement response to foreign criminals who clearly scoff at laws well beyond the immigration variety generated a ton of web page comments—most of which were quite supportive of the police department. It also provoked a few comments that reflected Flores’ point of view.

For myself, I fail to see how a program of such limited magnitude and specific scope could generate such profound expressions of support or opposition. Targeting a few criminals who have been deported and returned is hardly a draconian policy. And unless some unspecified new penalties are involved, it isn’t clear why newly deported criminals won’t be back again—though perhaps in a locale where their mugs aren’t so well known.

I suspect the real point at issue here is the limited cooperation this new program exhibits between local police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement—a policy the City Council approved last spring that allows police officers to confirm the immigration status of persons detained even for minor offenses. Indeed, a Customs agent now has a desk at the department so officers can check a suspect’s “criminal deport status.”

For open-border advocates even this small degree of cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement violates a federal-local division of labor that they insist upon as fervently as ACLU lawyers insist on the recently invented separation of religion and state. Such individuals can only imagine the legal horrors that might arise if local police, ICE, and Border Patrol agents actually cooperated in earnest.

Another name for these horrors would be “border enforcement.”