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California Ruling Against Home-Schoolers Causes Stir


A state appellate court ruling in California is raising major questions about the rights of parents in that state to home school their children, and that is causing a big stir.

"It is clear to us that enrollment and attendance in a public full-time day school is required by California law for minor children unless (1) the child is enrolled in a private full-time day school and actually attends that private school, (2) the child is tutored by a person holding a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught, or (3) one of the other few statutory exemptions to compulsory public school attendance applies to the child," says the Feb. 28 decision by the 2nd District California Court of Appeal in In re Rachel L.

The Los Angeles Times says in a story today that the ruling "is sending waves of fear through California's home schooling families."

It says the state currently does little to enforce provisions requiring home-schooling parents to file paperwork establishing themselves as small private schools, hire credentialed tutors, or enroll their children in independent study programs run by public or private schools.

The appellate-court ruling is likely to be appealed to the California Supreme Court, the Times reports.

Update: In a story posted today on Education Week's Web site, my colleague Lesli A. Maxwell reports on how home-schooling families are pushing back against a wave of efforts in several states to more closely regulate home schooling.


The ruling cites two cases, Shinn supra and Turner supra, in which the Turner ruling (People vs Turner (1953)) (p 868-869) stated that "home education, regardless of its worth, is not the legal equivalent of attendance in school in the absence of instruction by qualified private tutors." This is on page 9 of the filed decision.

So even if my children were not receiving the level of education they should receive from their public school system, there is nothing I can do except to send them back to the school. Basically as a parent, I have no rights nor responsibility for educating my own children, it must fall into the hands of someone with a teaching credential regardless of how "worthless" that may be and regardless of how worthwhile it is when I teach them at home. Is this logical?

I can certainly earn a credential, but it will require 5 more years of studies. By then, my children would have suffered 5 years of public school education of unknown quality - some good, some bad.

The court is simply interpreting the letter of the law so CA parents need to band together to seek changes to this law. When the law changes, the court will have to follow.

Home school can be abused by irresponsible parents, so can public school have poor teachers. To summarily disallow home school and adversely impacting thousands of children who may be performing at or above public school level is wrong.

Do we really care about the education of our children? Or do we just care about stuffing them all into a single monolithic system?

Almost everyone in America today is under Federal jurisdiction, where you have only government privileges; no conscionable rights, such as the conscionable right to home school. The solution is to turn in your Federal "Social Security" number, and return to the jurisdiction based on conscionable law. Jim, www.debatejim.com

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