Eroding Parental Rights in California

Dear blog friends…
I have not used this blog to write about anything political (although I am a VERY political person) but what I am writing today is very crucial to our rights as parents – the right to choose how we educate our children! This right is being threatened in my home state of California.  If you are at all concerned about the government infringing upon your rights you need to read this AND DO SOMETHING about it. (even if you are not a homeschooler or live in California!)
Here is “the deal” in a nutshell (as stated by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association) — 
A California Court of Appeal recently decided that homeschooling is illegal in California unless a parent is a certified teacher. (how ridiculous is that!  In California the classes you take to get your credential are mostly classroom management, teacher organization & other “politically correct” classes including how to teach non English speakers –  tell me WHY any home school parent would need those classes to effectively teach her own children?????)
The case arose in a confidential juvenile court proceeding. (IE – behind closed doors – how sneaky is that!) The family was represented by court-appointed attorneys and Home School Legal Defense Association did not become aware of the case until the Court of Appeal case was published on February 28, 2008.

The Court could have restricted its decision to the facts before it, but instead, it issued a broad ruling that effectively outlaws home education in California. The Court also certified its decision for publication, which means that the decision can now be cited as legal authority by all other courts in California.

The family and their California counsel are planning to appeal to the Supreme Court of California, which could result in reversal.

Another option to keep homeschooling free in California is to petition the Supreme Court of California to “depublish” the opinion. If the opinion is “depublished” then it cannot be used by other California courts and this threat to homeschool freedom will be neutralized for other California homeschoolers.

HSLDA will be formally petitioning the California Supreme Court to depublish the opinion. We would like to show that many other people, both in California and across the country, care deeply about homeschool freedom in California.

Please show your support for this effort by signing the petition today at the following link and encouraging others to do the same! (And please don’t say – “I don’t homeschool” or “I don’t live in California” – if we let our parental rights continue to get eroded – it is ONLY a matter of time before it will be an issue that DOES effect you and then you will be wishing you had made a stand!!) 

If you would like to hear more – Focus on the Family has a radio broadcast today over the court decision made in CA to make homeschooling illegal.
Please pass this information on to everyone who believes in parental rights!
P.S. – Here are three comments received from friends who I emailed about this earlier (none of these people homeschool!) –   
“Beth, although I no longer have children that would be affected by this.   I support your right to homeschool your children.  If “public schools” did as good a job educating our children as you do educating yours,  there wouldn’t be such a need for an alternative to what is offered by the Government.  I’ve completed the petition.  Good Luck!”
“Signed, sealed and delivered! While the issue of home schooling doesn’t hold much of a direct impact for me, I’m firmly of the belief that the state should not go about casually interfering with issues where its intervention is not pressingly needed. State intervention is not pressingly needed here. ‘Nuff said!”
“I absolutely couldn’t believe it when I heard this, and walked through the day in shock & INCENSED at such arrogance. What I experienced  JUST TODAY (foul language of the most descriptive kind) as a substitute teacher on the public school campuses coming out of the mouths of eight year olds would make me, if I had children, want to leave California or go to school with my child–or fully protest this asinine ruling.”

As always, you are welcome to leave your comments here. 🙂




Filed under Homeschool

7 responses to “Eroding Parental Rights in California

  1. Sandra Lyons

    Beth, many years ago I started a homeschool group when it was illegal to do so in the state of Florida. We lived in constant dread of that “knock on the door”. Through the years I have been heartwarmed by the progress made in homeschooling across the nation and delighted that homeschool children continue to show amazing abilities to be admitted into prestigious colleges with exception abilities. This is truly a blow to that progress and I trust that this decision will be overturned with the efforts of many.

  2. Melinda Smith

    We worked hard in Louisiana to pass the best law for homeschoolers. I homeschooled my 4 children from birth through high school. My youngest will be 20 next month.

    Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) helped our state in many ways. We were happy to be members of that group. They were there if we needed them & our dues helped pay the expenses for others that had to use their services.

  3. Carleen Maselli

    I respect the right for everyone to educate their own children in the way they feel is right for them, and though I do not homeschool my own children, if I ever ran into a situation that required me to for the best interests of either of them, I would want that right.

    However….I want everyone to remember that not all public schools are bad. I have been a teacher in the Benicia Unified School District for the last 10 years and we work hard to create environments, classrooms and lessons that are effective so that kids are learning….and we do a great job. It is hard to listen to the public school bashing so much of the time.

    My husband works in a tough district, and the teachers there work just as hard, and probably harder, because their students have many more social issues than mine and have home lives that are not conducive to fostering a positive attitude toward education. Many kids come to school hungry, some don’t have homes, some may be living with grandparents, aunties, etc, and our charge is to provide a free education to all.

    Private schools and homeschooling do not have to worry about these issues. Behaviorally, there is a lot more they can control than in a public school, yet teachers still get up every day and are happy to go to work and make a difference to our young people.

    What people need to understand is that its politicians that make laws that make it harder to teach and create budgets that increase class sizes and limit supplies needed to teach. They make laws that require us to test on our curriculum before our year is complete (April, but we finish in June and have 15-20% of our curriculum left to cover, and thenthey tell us we are not proficient in our scores. These results get published to the states and country and compare us to the world. Who is holding our govenment accountable for these sneaky tactics?

    California is 48th in funding per student in the nation….that includes homeschooling…we are expected to do more with less all of the time. Public school teachers many times buy their own supplies to keep their classes running, yet politicians call for merit pay because our teachers are lazy and don’t care, and if we tie their pay to their students tests, maybe they will.

    I work 60% so I can be home when my children are home from school, but several times a week I am at school 2 hours longer than I am paid for and still have to work at home.

    Many people can’t afford private school, or for one parent to be at home to homeschool…and many people don’t have the ability to home school. Many parents are excellent educators for their children. As a charter school facilitator for a time, I saw both ends.

    As a teacher in a public school, I often feel that it is the agenda of some to get rid of public education…then what? What private schools will educate those tough kids? Who will homeschool those who are in a single parent family and mom is working two jobs to put food on the table? Something to think about…..

    So while I support homeschooling rights…I ask for support for your public school teachers who work hard above and beyond their duty days and regardless of their pay to do justice to your children’s education. We are all a piece of the puzzle and one size does not fit all.

  4. Jill Denton

    Beth, I was working in my car yesterday when I heard Dr. Dobson’s broadcast and immediately thought of you. I was shocked by this decision. As you know, we have one child in the public school system and one in private school, so this decision affects us indirectly. Also, you know how I feel about the Lodi Unified School District because of the fight we just encountered to keep Dylan from being removed from her own school due to the district’s lack of planning for a quality GATE education for 7th and 8th graders in LUSD. I don’t know the details of the actual case in question, however, this decision, in my opinion, stems from the financial crisis our public schools are facing. This is an opportunity to get bodies in seats, which is how the schools get paid. It is a gross infringement of parent’s civil rights and a tragedy if the decision is upheld. I have signed the petition and will pray the the opinion is depublished.

  5. Tunya Audain

    Rights are not freely granted top-down by some government authority.
    It is only when people feel inalienable rights in their bones can they assert them proudly and openly. Parents should not be meek and humble as supplicants and petitioners in face of government heavy handedness.
    Parents have choice in how their children are to be educated, publicly, privately, or at home. This ruling in California is so feudal it sticks out as an outrage in a democracy.
    Furthermore, it is parents’ duty to educate their children. School laws across the free world state that. Only in totalitarian countries is home education not permitted.
    The first School Laws in America (1642) underlie the system to this day: “Universal education of youth is essential to the well-being of the State. The obligation to furnish this education rests primarily upon the parents.”
    Parent groups should evolve their own Charter of Parent Rights statements and educate their members about what is decent and proper in this day and age. I am providing a link to such a statement, compiled in 1977 in Canada, and which can serve as a good starting point for others.
    I was heavily involved in Home Education causes in the 80’s and do know such statements empower parents to confidently do what is right by their children.

    Click to access 43.pdf

    Tunya Audain

  6. Betty LeJeune

    I help homeschool some of my grandchildren. Two of them go to public school. I am involved in the public system at all grade levels. I have compassion for most of the teachers because I see that if they were allowed to teach, the schools would function as they should. Instead they have to do tons of paperwork, and try to “care for” the mental health of so many troubled kids.
    Homeschool “teachers” are often more qualified to teach than some certified teachers. Many homeschool kids are getting a much better education than many who are socially promoted because they are too old. Having a 10 year old in the second grade, bullying and causing the 7 year olds not to get needed attention at times, is not unusual. So many need the option to homeschool just to protect their children.
    The right to homeschool being taken away, is only the beginning of more control of our children by those who think they know what is best for our families. A certification does not qualify someone to teach or “raise” our kids. The children are in school so long that we have to remember how much influence teachers have on them. In high school, if you take a survey of students at election time, the kids will lean towards their economics and history teachers views over their parents. It is rare to find a conservative or moderate view in the high schools. We do allow our kids to go into high school if they choose, because they are grounded having spent their formative years with our family values being instilled into them at home.
    Just pray, pray, and pray some more, that everyone will come to their senses and fight for our right to take care of our families. We should not be shocked. After all, I never thought anyone in our country would ever consider electing someone who professes prejudice, and distain towards so many of our citizens. I am so glad to know that God is in control, but remembering all the while, He will not stop the free will actions of His people.

  7. Tunya Audain

    As a grandmother of the early home education movement in North America, naturally I was concerned about the recent court ruling in California which basically criminalized about 200,000 home schooling parents lacking teaching credentials. Hopefully, if it is not overturned by the Supreme Court, Governor Schwarzenegger has promised legislative remedy: “Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children’s education.”

    I am very impressed by the extent and depth of feeling and outrage expressed by supporters. But, I am disappointed at the hostility and shallowness of those who are opposed, either out of self-interest (teacher unions) or basic intolerance. (Just Google California home schooling ruling…)

    It is because this case even came up in 2008, and because the hostility and threat can be reasserted at any time, that I would like you to read my publication in 1987 which was useful in two ways: 1) to encourage home educators, and 2) to put the education establishment on notice about the legality and imperatives driving this movement. In the article I quote John Holt as saying: “Today freedom has different enemies. It must be fought for in different ways. It will take very different qualities of mind and heart to save it.”

    Published in a prestigious educator magazine, it carries weight to this day, often quoted.

    My history in home education goes back to 1972 when, after being credentialed from a Teachers College, I traveled with my children to Mexico to study under Ivan Illich of deschooling fame.

    There I met with John Holt. He knew I had two young children with me, ages 3 and 5, and asked if I would be enrolling them in school soon. I said I might educate them at home.
    He thought this was illegal, but I said I found from my readings at Teachers College that the “otherwise” clause in most Education Acts allowed it.
    He then commented that at least I would be qualified to do it, having obtained a teaching certificate. Again, I enlightened him with the fact that this was not a requirement.
    He then posed the thoughtful but predictable question about socialization, and we chatted about the various community opportunities available and the negative aspects of socialization that parents wanted to avoid.
    His parting comment was: “Smart City!”
    Using his mailing list which he used to encourage education reform, he soon embraced home education and in 1975 started a new publication, “Growing Without Schools.
    Meanwhile, Dr. Raymond Moore was spreading the word amongst his mainly Christian audience and paid frequent visits to Vancouver, especially when we held Home Learning Fairs.
    You can download the 5 page article: Home Education: the third option to see concerns of 20 years ago reappearing today……

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s