I grew up in Southern California and spent the majority of my life living there. It is a BEAUTIFUL place. And the weather is near-perfection. You have oceans and mountains and deserts and valleys all within an easy driving distance. Despite all that California has going for it, including being the home of most of my family, I pretty much fled from there back in 2005, in part as I was increasingly sickened by “the state of the state”. California will soon fall into the ocean, but not because of some powerful earthquake. No, it will fall into the water under the weight of all the stupid that is building up there. Case in point:
Homeschoolers’ setback sends shock waves through state
Friday, March 7, 2008
(03-07) 04:00 PST LOS ANGELES —A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution.The homeschooling movement never saw the case coming.“At first, there was a sense of, ‘No way,’ ” said homeschool parent Loren Mavromati, a resident of Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County) who is active with a homeschool association. “Then there was a little bit of fear. I think it has moved now into indignation.”The ruling arose from a child welfare dispute between the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and Philip and Mary Long of Lynwood, who have been homeschooling their eight children. Mary Long is their teacher, but holds no teaching credential.The parents said they also enrolled their children in Sunland Christian School, a private religious academy in Sylmar (Los Angeles County), which considers the Long children part of its independent study program and visits the home about four times a year.The Second District Court of Appeal ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home.Some homeschoolers are affiliated with private or charter schools, like the Longs, but others fly under the radar completely. Many homeschooling families avoid truancy laws by registering with the state as a private school and then enroll only their own children.Yet the appeals court said state law has been clear since at least 1953, when another appellate court rejected a challenge by homeschooling parents to California’s compulsory education statutes. Those statutes require children ages 6 to 18 to attend a full-time day school, either public or private, or to be instructed by a tutor who holds a state credential for the child’s grade level.“California courts have held that … parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children,” Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. “Parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling under the provisions of these laws.”Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.“A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare,” (emphasis mine) the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.
Union pleased with rulingThe ruling was applauded by a director for the state’s largest teachers union.“We’re happy,” said Lloyd Porter, who is on the California Teachers Association board of directors. “We always think students should be taught by credentialed teachers, no matter what the setting.”A spokesman for the state Department of Education said the agency is reviewing the decision to determine its impact on current policies and procedures. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell issued a statement saying he supports “parental choice when it comes to homeschooling.”Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which agreed earlier this week to represent Sunland Christian School and legally advise the Long family on a likely appeal to the state Supreme Court, said the appellate court ruling has set a precedent that can now be used to go after homeschoolers. “With this case law, anyone in California who is homeschooling without a teaching credential is subject to prosecution for truancy violation, which could require community service, heavy fines and possibly removal of their children under allegations of educational neglect,” Dacus said.Parents say they choose homeschooling for a variety of reasons, from religious beliefs to disillusionment with the local public schools.Homeschooling parent Debbie Schwarzer of Los Altos said she’s ready for a fight.Schwarzer runs Oak Hill Academy out of her Santa Clara County home. It is a state-registered private school with two students, she said, noting they are her own children, ages 10 and 12. She does not have a teaching credential, but she does have a law degree.“I’m kind of hoping some truancy officer shows up on my doorstep,” she said. “I’m ready. I have damn good arguments.”She opted to teach her children at home to better meet their needs.The ruling, Schwarzer said, “stinks.”
Began as child welfare caseThe Long family legal battle didn’t start out as a test case on the validity of homeschooling. It was a child welfare case.A juvenile court judge looking into one child’s complaint of mistreatment by Philip Long found that the children were being poorly educated but refused to order two of the children, ages 7 and 9, to be enrolled in a full-time school. He said parents in California have a right to educate their children at home.The appeals court told the juvenile court judge to require the parents to comply with the law by enrolling their children in a school, but excluded the Sunland Christian School from enrolling the children because that institution “was willing to participate in the deprivation of the children’s right to a legal education.”The decision could also affect other kinds of homeschooled children, including those enrolled in independent study or distance learning through public charter schools – a setup similar to the one the Longs have, Dacus said.Charter school advocates disagreed, saying Thursday that charter schools are public and are required to employ only credentialed teachers to supervise students – whether in class or through independent study.
Ruling will apply statewideMichael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, said the ruling would effectively ban homeschooling in the state.“California is now on the path to being the only state to deny the vast majority of homeschooling parents their fundamental right to teach their own children at home,” he said in a statement.But Leslie Heimov, executive director of the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles, which represented the Longs’ two children in the case, said the ruling did not change the law.“They just affirmed that the current California law, which has been unchanged since the last time it was ruled on in the 1950s, is that children have to be educated in a public school, an accredited private school, or with an accredited tutor,” she said. “If they want to send them to a private Christian school, they can, but they have to actually go to the school and be taught by teachers.”Heimov said her organization’s chief concern was not the quality of the children’s education, but their “being in a place daily where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety.” (again, emphasis mine)
More regulations, more restrictions, more ridiculous impositions by the state into the lives of American citizenry, and a couple of THE MOST ridiculous statements I’ve ever heard from anyone anywhere…
To Justice H. Walter Croskey…you truly sound like someone who toes the Communist party line, or like a character from “Animal Farm”.
To Leslie Heimov…how arrogant can you be to imply that a child in their own home being taught by their own parents aren’t being observed by people who have a duty to ensure their ongoing safety and that this observation can only be carried out by the state in the public school arena. Shame on you. Watch the news. Hear about the bullying, the shootings, the assaults on buses, the fraud (holy cow, the fraud in the LAUSD is fathomless but I won’t go into THAT debacle here), and the teachers who are luring their young charges into sexual relationships, and then come back with a straight face and tell me that our children’s ongoing safety is being adequately ensured in our schools! And you don’t even hide behind the agenda of assuring a quality education! You just come right out and say that across the board, the state does a better job caring for children than parents do.
Where have we heard these sorts of statements before about the state being the only entity truly qualified to raise children, educate them, and make good citizens out of them? It’s kind of scary!!!
And finally, should all these homeschooling parents decided to get their teaching certificates, just to get those bozos off their backs, will they then be forced into joining the all powerful teacher’s union? Will they be forced into using “state approved” curriculum??? I bet the answer is yes. And then what?? This is only the beginning. Homeschooling parents (and others like myself who don’t even have children) everywhere are gearing up to fight this decision. It’s an assault on the family and on PARENTAL rights. I don’t think that the establishment is quite aware of just what sort of hornets’ nest they’ve blasted their shotgun into…