Posted by: Nick Poma | March 7, 2008

California Court Decision on Homeschooling – No need to panic yet

Know your rights            The home schooling community at large was stunned to hear a California Appellate court’s ruling concerning the issue of homeschooling. The 2nd Appellate Court of Los Angeles, California issued a ruling that the ability of parents to choose homeschooling for their children was not protected by the Constitution. The judges passed down their ruling based upon the California Constitution, not the United States Constitution. Currently, the California education laws require that children between the ages of six and eighteen attend a state approved educational facility.


            However, this ruling does not ban homeschooling altogether. Instead there is a clause for parents that have teaching credentials. In order to be a teacher in California you must have a Bachelors degree and pass the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test). This ruling will likely affect many homeschoolers that do not meet these requirements. Many of these parents have relied on private schools and academies for support in the homeschooling of their children.


            The ruling is said to only be singling out one particular family, but home school advocates see much more far reaching implications to this court’s opinion. As of now this ruling is not being enforced and sources say that there is no intention of enforcing this it on a large scale. However, parents and homeschool advocates have no choice but to sit and wait for the California Supreme Court to hear the case and hopefully toss out the lower court’s decision.


            Homeschooling parents have several reasons for their choice of opting their children out of the public education system. Some of the reasons include religious beliefs and a low quality of education in the state run system. Still others parents express concerns over the safety of their children. They cite such things as bullying, gang violence, and drugs as the main determining factors in their decision to homeschool. It is apparent that there is an attack against homeschoolers and it is the state’s intention to take away a parent’s right to be involved in the education of their own children.


            This is a situation where if everybody does not get involved, homeschooling will be abolished by those that have a vested interest in educating our children by means of the state run system. This is a much bigger issue than just the quality of education, but instead, it is a matter of the state trying to force children into an education system which is contrary to the belief system held by many parents.


            Until this ruling is overturned, it is feared by many in the homeschooling community that it may be enforced. If this were to happen parents that refuse to enroll and have their children attend state schools will be subject to fines and possibly prison. The Pacific Justice Institute is at the forefront of this fight and is planning to represent the rights of parents to homeschool their children. PJI seems confident that the enforcement of this ruling will be suspended until the case goes before the California Supreme Court.





Kate Gibbons


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