On February 28, 2008, a travesty occurred in California that will have a long lasting ripple effect on all homeschooling families in California. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association:
On February 28, 2008, the California Court of Appeals (The Second Appellate District in Los Angles County) issued a ruling in a juvenile court proceeding that declared that almost all forms of homeschooling in California are in violation of state law. (Private tutoring by certified teachers remains an option.) Moreover, the court ruled that parents possess no constitutional right to homeschool their children.
The publication in question, document number B192878, asserts:
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 (Ed. Code, § 48220 et seq.) applies to the child.
However, the same document also states:
Exemptions to compulsory public school education are made for, among others, children who (1) attend a private full-time day school (§ 48222) or (2) are instructed by a tutor who holds a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught (§ 48224).
The opinion document also cites the following, from the case of People v. Turner [(1953) 121 Cal.App.2d Supp. 861, 865 et seq.]:
Since Pierce [v. Society of Sisters was decided], a substantial body of case law has confirmed the power of the States to insist that attendance at private schools, if it is to satisfy state compulsory-attendance laws, be at institutions which provide minimum
hours of instruction, employ teachers of specified training, and cover prescribed subjects of instruction. Indeed, the State’s interest in assuring that these standards are being met has been considered a sufficient reason for refusing to accept instruction at home as compliance with compulsory education statutes.
The opinion also provides:
It is clear that the education of the children at their home, whatever the quality of that education, does not qualify for the private full-time day school or credentialed tutor exemptions from compulsory education in a public full-time day school.
In all of this I have to ask one overwhelming question: When did the government receive the authority to decide the quality of a parent’s education for their own children? In all of the words in that opinion it becomes increasingly clear that the opinion asserts that parents are incapable of appropriately educating their children and that somehow the state education system is the best means by which children should receive education.
This is complete hogwash. The fact that a court, a group of judges or any other organization has the right or authority to impose upon me their opinion of what is best for my kids irritates me beyond words. They are my children. It is my responsibility to raise them and train them up in a way that is best for them. The court in this case has not only overstepped its bounds but have, in my opinion, grossly misunderstood the text of the law they are citing gives them the right to make the decision to illegalize home schooling.
It is a fact that any home can be declared a private school by the filing of an R-4 affidavit. Since the conditions cited in the judges opinion are “either/or” type conditions fulfillment of one of these conditions fulfills the entire requirement. An R-4 filing would satisfy this requirement.
There are many factors involved in this case, including the statement that one of the home schooled children actually filed a claim of abuse against his own father. I am not saying that I agree with the parents or with the children in this case. I am, however, stating clearly that I completely and emphatically disagree with the judges opinion in this case.
I would also like to recommend that if you are home schooling your children in the state of California that you become a member of the HSLDA and that you follow this case at the California page of the HSLDA web site.