So the California courts think that every parent who home schools their children should have government certification, to ensure the quality of education their children receive. Ok, fine. I can understand wanting to control standards for education. Just do one more thing: pay those home-schooling parents the $8,000 per child that is currently going to the public school system from which they are opting out. I think many home schooling parents would gladly undergo whatever certification testing is required, in order to recoup their substantial tax investment in the public schools.
Whenever the public tries to hold the public school teachers accountable to the results of the school, the teachers unions immediately complain about having insufficient resources to do the job, and the unfunded mandates imposed by No Child Left Behind. Well, if the teachers don't like unfunded mandates for themselves, they shouldn't seek to impose them on home schoolers, either. You want professional-grade teachers for every child? Pay for it. Otherwise, leave the home schoolers alone.
My first instinct was to agree with you. But upon reflection, I realize that I agreed for two reasons.
1. The money--in my interpretation--is a red herring. What you're really saying is not "pay them" but "leave them alone."
2. Most home-schooling parents, from what I can tell, are actually really good at what they do--certainly better than the public schools, which after all set a pretty low bar.
But remember why we have mandatory education in the first place: because without it, farmers kept their children at home to work the fields, which kept those children from becoming educated, and perpetuated the cycle. If there were suddenly a trend of ignorant, apathetic parents keeping their kids home and giving them little or no education of any kind, so their kids grew up unable to read or add, I would be all about some sort of certification.
My real intent is to demonstrate whose ox is getting gored here. The teachers claim they want quality education for all, but what they really want is a state-sanctioned monopoly on the education business. If they faced the prospect of losing money to certified parent teachers, they would drop their insistence on certification in a heartbeat.
And you're right about the need for mandatory education. I believe we do have a stake in making sure all kids have an education, and I'm willing to accept some standards to insure that happens. I just don't trust the current education establishment to be setting those standards, given how miserably they are failing.