Whether it be a perceived political indoctrination, a disagreement with vaccine laws, or increasingly large classroom sizes, homeschooling numbers in California are breaking at the seams. The surge in California homeschooling, for many, is considered proof of a state with an overreaching and broken system.
Back in 2016, California passed one of the toughest mandatory vaccine laws in the nation. At the time, there was nothing like SB-277 anywhere in the nation. With SB-276, a bill that would allow the state’s public health department to review medical vaccine exemptions, waiting in the wings for passage, many parents remain on edge. Even celebrities like Jessica Beil are protesting SB-276 for what they feel is an overreaching law that intimidates medical professionals.
In California, there’s a vaccine divide. The state, on one side, is attempting to reduce exemptions. Parents seeking medical freedom are on the other side hoping to expand choices.
Statistics don’t lie.
During the 2016-17 school year, 1,880 kindergartners were not vaccinated. Last year, that number dramatically increased to 6,741 kindergartners. The Sacramento Bee reported that vaccine medical exemptions have tripled in the past two years alone.
But the rising home school numbers aren’t just a result of a vaccine divide. California schools have recently come under fire for pushing politics, as well. Last April, parents protested a proposed statewide education reform plan that allows schools to read transgender materials, such as My Princess Boy, to students. Parents are calling much of the overhaul a massive overstep that allows sexually explicit materials to be promoted to young children. Schools are also coming under fire for teaching climate change.
California parents are strongly embedded in one trench or the other, there are hardly middle grounds on any of these issues.
California Homeschooling Numbers Are Exploding
Sure, the vaccine issue is blamed for much of the rise in California homeschooling numbers. But the fact is, the increase is a result of an overall war for parental freedom regarding a slew of issues. The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the number of vaccine exemptions and home-school kids has tripled. Again, the correlation between numbers might be slightly unfair, however, it’s all leading to one big massive showdown between parents and state.
Here’s a graph courtesy of the California Department of Public Health.
Parents deciding to homeschool their children aren’t making a light decision. Homeschooling is tough business. Homeschooling can be a great option, but only when the parent is driven to succeed.
But the heart of the issue is that this game of chess probably ends with a war on homeschooling. Look no further than the verbiage the mainstream media is using when reporting on the topic. The LA Times article says that homeschooling is “a loophole that parents seem to be increasingly exploiting.”
The language is important. Determining homeschools to be loopholes suggest that laws need to be tightened. There are only two options:
1) Ban homeschooling.
2) Force vaccine schedule on homeschool kids.
The second option almost certainly means state personnel going door to door for well-visits. And that can’t go anywhere good.
The fact is, a proxy war could deteriorate into a more formal version of itself. Attempting to ban homeschooling in general, or more likely, creating harsh homeschool restrictions, would most certainly serve as the first shot of a long drawn out engagement. Parents vs. government isn’t a showdown we want to see anytime soon. But again, the chess-like patterns suggest that’s exactly where the state may be headed.
The unvaccinated and homeschooled will continue to rise. The state’s just not likely to allow the momentum to continue uninterrupted.
In California, homeschool kids typically meet up with their public school counterparts as part of homeschool programs. Dr. James Cherry of UCLA’s pediatric division, claims this creates a ripe environment to spread illnesses.
“They frequently get together,” he said in the LA Times article. “If there’s a cluster, and they’re getting together, and [a disease] gets introduced, then there are going to be a lot of cases — and that’s likely to happen.”
But the vaccine schedule continues to swell, something parents like Kardie Lee isn’t comfortable with. She claims that her daughter woke in the middle of the night screaming following the injection of several vaccines. Her daughter’s health was determined to be fine, but in the LA Times article, Lee says it scared her away from a vaccine schedule that mandates 15 shots before school begins.
Homeschool numbers continue to surge not only in California but throughout the nation. This is something the author of SB-277, Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), believes is problematic and the result of soft laws.
“We know home-schooling is increasing across the country,” said Sen. Pan. “We haven’t passed vaccination laws across the country.”
But again, the media tends to associate increased homeschooling numbers solely with the vaccine divide. That’s not true.
“The majority of people who we home-school with did not come into it because of SB 277 at all,” said Monique Labarre, who admins a San Diego Facebook Homeschool group.
School safety, one-sided political teachings, and bullying are also big drivers of increasing homeschool numbers.
Nevertheless, a confluence of political divisions is evolving into a bigger, more pronounced showdown. That won’t end well for anyone. The hope is that a moderate position is found before any engagement occurs. That said, California doesn’t seem very flexible when it comes to relinquishing any amount of power and overreach. The bad news is, they’ve now hit a brick wall with parents who refuse to give up any more parental rights.
The state of California is suffering from exploding homelessness. In fact, many middle-class Californians are sleeping in their cars. There are videos of “zombies” traversing San Fransico’s BART stations. The state recently came under fire for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars painting chemically lathering neighborhood streets as a way to reflect sun rays and fight climate change.
The point is, California is most likely to do what it wants to do. The question now is, where do parents make their ultimate stand?
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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