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Some bad news for California home schoolers

A California state court has handed down a ruling that, if not overturned, is bad news for home schoolers in the state.

The Home School Legal Defense Association was not involved in the case. The family in question were not HSLDA members, and HSLDA says that it's still digesting the legal issues but considers the ruling prima facie incorrect and hopes to help in an appeal.

The legal situation for home schoolers in CA as I understand it is this: Home schooling is not mentioned in California law, but private schooling is. Home schoolers register with the Department of Education as small private schools with just the number of students that they actually educate. Typically, of course, this would be their own children. This interpretation of California law has been accepted by most California education officials, although from time to time one hears rumblings that a new official has said that schools in a home cannot be private schools. It's quite evident, however, from the long-standing use of the private school option, that California law does not address the definition of a "private school" in a way that decides the issue one way or another, particularly not in a way that defines a private school as, for example, one in which most students are taught by someone other than their parents, one that has a separate building of its own, and so forth. So with occasional speed bumps, the private school option has worked well for California home schoolers.

The new court ruling apparently states that parents cannot teach their children at home without a special teaching credential. It seems to me that this ruling must do one of three things: The ruling might assume that home schools simply cannot be considered private schools under state law and that they therefore can be regulated directly by the courts on an ad hoc basis as an entirely different category unaddressed by statutory law at all. Second, the ruling might be based on a requirement for teacher accreditation in private schools. But I very much doubt that this is the case. I don't think the HSLDA would have encouraged parents for all these years to register without state accreditation as private schoolers if private schoolers are required to have state accreditation! I am, of course, open to correction on this point, but HSLDA is pretty careful to abide by the letter of the law, so I would be astonished if all private (e.g., church school) teachers in California have to be state accredited. Very often religious school teachers do not, in my experience. Or, third, the ruling could be treating private schools carried on in a private home differently from private schools carried on in a bricks-and-mortar building, requiring credentials for the former that are not required for the latter. This would be an entirely judge-made law, if so, and it should not stand up to scrutiny at a higher court level.

My own preference would be for the appeal to be based on these arguments rather than on a supposed "fundamental right to home school," the existence of which I rather doubt. But if state law does not rule out private schooling in private homes, then it is not up to a judge to declare that such schooling is ruled out nor to treat home schoolers differently from other private schoolers. The matter should be referred to the legislature which can, if it wishes, define "private school" so as to exclude home schoolers. But liberal though the state is, this has not happened yet, so I doubt that it would happen now. It appears that if home schooling falls in California, it will be to legislation from the bench.

Comments (43)

That sums it up pretty well, Lydia. We're watching this very closely as you can imagine. There are approximately 166,000 homeschooled children in California that could be affected by this ruling.

HSLDA and the Pacific Justice Institute will be addressing each of those angles. PJI is maintaining that homeschooling is still legal in California and advising homeschooling families not to panic just yet. HSLDA's action is detailed in the following correspondence:

"HSLDA will file an amicus brief on behalf of our 13,500 member
families in California. We will argue that a proper interpretation of
California statutes makes it clear that parents may legally teach
their own children under the private-school exemption. However, if the
court disagrees with our statutory argument, we will argue that the
California statutes as interpreted by the Court of Appeal violate the
constitutional rights of parents to direct the education and
upbringing of their children ...

The second appellate option is to seek to have this particular
decision "depublished. " Depublication is a decision that can only be
made by the California Supreme Court. If the Court determines that the
decision should stand, regarding this family, on the facts presented,
but that the general pronouncements of law for all of homeschooling
should not be determined by this case, then the Court has the option
of "depublishing" the Court of Appeal's decision. This would mean that
the case is not binding precedent in California and has no effect on
any other family. HSLDA will take the lead in an effort to seek to have
this case depublished."

Thanks, Jeff, for the additional info. I'm glad I seem to have it right thus far.

I had wondered why the court had to make such a general pronouncement anyway. Even if parents have a prima facie right to home school, or even if the private school option is legal for home schooling in CA, just like their other parental rights this could be lost in a particular case if neglect or abuse were demonstrated. The court's opinion as represented in the story in question seems far more sweeping than anything that could be necessary for the case at hand.

I was also thinking after publishing the post that this family seems to have been using the umbrella school option. For the court to rule that the umbrella school may not let the parents teach the children at home--may not "delegate" part or all of the teaching under their aegis to the parents--would seem to be an extra-legislative regulation on ordinary bricks and mortar private schools, as well.

Ironically, if the court's opinion is as represented ("parents cannot teach their children at home without an education credential") this could even rule out those virtual charter schools that HSLDA is opposed to (wisely opposed to, in my view), where the public school enrolls the children, chooses or restricts the curriculum, and then "lets" the parents do all the work by teaching the children the material at home. But if parents "can't teach their children at home without a teaching credential," then even this _public_ schooling option would be ruled out.

As far as you know, Jeff, do "ordinary" private schools--schools with buildings run by churches and the like--have to have state accreditation or other state-specified education credentials for their teachers? I would think not.

As an aside, with 166,000 homeschooled children California has more homeschoolers than any other state - representing approximately 13% of US homeschoolers. Texas ranks #2 with 105,000. See this site for more info: http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/weblinks/numbers.htm .

The California Department of Education claims to "have no authority" over private schools and does not offer them accredidation. Like you, my understanding has always been that teaching credentials are not required. And yes, this ruling does impact many students enrolled in California charter schools who are homeschooled under independent study programs.

I'm reminded of what Joseph Sobran once wrote:

"Freedom is coming to mean little more than the right to ask permission."

Hi Lydia,

Don't know if you saw this yet, but Volokh briefly addressed the case in a post on his blog: http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2008_03_02-2008_03_08.shtml#1204845642

Thanks, Perseus. I didn't know that about Volokh. Volokh doesn't seem aware of, or just doesn't address, the question of the private school exemption. I have just now skimmed the judicial opinion.

The judge appears...how can I say this...wholly ignorant of the fact that the state's own Department of Education has accepted private school affadavits from gazillions of parents who are schooling their own children at home under the private school exemption, _for years_. He also seems completely ignorant of the fact that what he calls the "ruse" of enrolling the child in a bricks and mortar school and then allowing the parents to do the teaching at home is not only a widely employed method of education in his own state with Christian schools but is even employed deliberately by public schools in the creation of "virtual charter schools." The real truth regarding legislative history is that it has been a completely open secret, not a secret at all in fact, that home schoolers thus interpret the law and apply it in California, that public schools thus interpret the law to permit at-home education by parents under the umbrella of a public school, and that if the legislature wanted to rule out this use of what the judge calls a "ruse" or this use of the private school exemption, they could have done so many years ago and many different times. The whole body of California legislators cannot possibly be unaware of these facts. Has the education law of California never been amended in recent years? (At which point, by the way, the more recent legislature would become its "author" or "authors" in the present educational setting.) Has there never been any opportunity to clarify this point in the present educational setting, if the law really means that students must physically attend school?

And by the way, home schoolers use private school exemptions in other states as well. Sometimes the only difference is the list of courses you have to teach. Even in the "bad old days" when teacher accreditation was required, correspondence course schools run by accredited teachers were set up to help home schoolers. This was done in my own state many years ago before home schooling was recognized by law, and it was indeed legal and passed muster with the relevant authorities.

The Home School Legal Defense Association needs to reconstitute itself as a Moslem civil rights organization and find an appropriately burqa-draped spokeswoman. Quickly.

You mean so the liberals will like them? I don't think it would work. :-)

I'm quite willing to admit, by the way, that some version of the legislature at some time in California probably envisioned what the judge has in mind by the legal language he quotes. (Circa 1960, perhaps?) But numerous people--not just private people but also government officials--have been working rather carefully for years now under an interpretation of it which is quite different, and members of the legislature must have known this. It isn't a matter of anyone's trying to be a scofflaw. Consider parents who enroll their children in a public school's virtual charter school program and teach them at home. They must have thought that they of all people were being carefully compliant with the law by actually enrolling in a public school's deliberately set-up program and following their instructions. Yet even that would be illegal under this judge's interpretation. Parents who file private school affadavits with the DOE for their home schools and have them accepted are trying to follow the law, and the DOE has accepted them. For years. Over a hundred thousand families, Jeff mentions. And bricks and mortar private schools have considered it a matter of their discretion to decide how much teaching to delegate to parents at home. Umbrella schools are a long-standing institutional way of meeting educational requirements.

If this is all based on a radical misinterpretation of the law and all of these people are really unwitting law-breakers, then it seems to me the legislature is the proper group to take cognizance of this and clarify the matter. It doesn't even seem fair, to say nothing else, for so practically entrenched a legal interpretation to be overthrown by the stroke of a judge's pen.

This does make me glad to live in a state with an explicit home schooling law. I have read a criticism of the HSLDA for coming into states with no home schooling laws and getting them written so that home schooling is an expressly recognized option. The people voicing this criticism have said that if things were going along okay with home schooling parents using the private school option, why should the HSLDA rock the boat? Well, as an advocacy organization, the HSLDA takes those considerations seriously, and they have taken just that approach in California and left things where they stand in terms of there being no mention of home schooling in the language of the education law. But it makes for an unstable legal environment, as this ruling shows.

Lydia writes, "My own preference would be for the appeal to be based on these arguments rather than on a supposed "fundamental right to home school," the existence of which I rather doubt."

And Eugene Volokh at The Volokh Conspiracy:

5. As a constitutional matter, I'm not at all sure what the rule ought to be. On the one hand, I sympathize with parental rights claims, especially given the dangers of giving the government broad power to control children's upbringing, and given the American tradition of recognizing parental rights (though a tradition that has not been uniformly friendly to home-schooling).

But on the other hand, I think that whatever one thinks of the general unenumerated constitutional rights debates, a claimed right to control a third party -- however much the claimed rightsholder might generally love the third party, and however much that third party might need some control from someone -- strikes me as among the weakest sorts of claims for unenumerated rights. So I'm not confident about the right answer here; my post is primarily aimed at reporting on the controversy.

A respondent writes:

To me it's clear that the strongest case for unenumerated rights are natural laws enwoven into the basic fabric of virtually every society and seem embedded in the human genome. In virtually every society it is understood that it is the parents who are to raise their children . . .

If otherwise, I suppose we should be grateful for the privilege granted by the state to parent third-party citizens.

I just consider "fundamental rights" claims to be rather strong ones that I'd like to restrict to a very few things like "not being murdered," "not being tortured," etc. It's one thing to claim a fundamental right--at least a prima facie one--to be a parent to one's own child. But claiming that it's also a fundamental right for this to take the form of schooling one's child at home is a stronger statement about the relation of positive law to rights than I'm willing to make. I think that outlawing home schooling is _very bad law_--wrong-headed, big-brotherish, etc., etc. It _should_ be legal to home school. But I think the same about a lot of laws on a lot of subjects where I wouldn't say you have a "fundamental right" to do the thing in question.

"You mean so the liberals will like them? I don't think it would work."

Implicit in the appeal for "safe, legal Madrassas'" is that Moslem children will not experience the kind of discrimination that inevitably leads to suicide bombings. As strong as it is, the Liberal Death Wish won't be able to overcome the soccer moms who will suddenly embrace the concept of home schooling, ar least in this case.

You see this the same way for parenting?

I see what the same way? I've already said, yes, I'd say you have a fundamental right to raise your own children, unless you forfeit that right by serious abuse or neglect. (I dislike the use of "parent" as a verb.) But declaring the details of that also to be fundamental rights is something I'm disinclined to do. Is it a fundamental right to teach your teenage son to shoot a gun? I think you _should_ be able to do that, that good laws will allow that, but does that make it a fundamental right? Parents _should_ be able to home school. I'm just miserly in the use of "fundamental right." Call it a terminological hesitation if you like.

For the record, Troxel v. Granville (posted here) the U.S. Supreme Court stated that

-the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children--is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court. More than 75 years ago, in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399, 401, 67 L. Ed. 1042, 43 S. Ct. 625 (1923), we held that the "liberty" protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right of parents to "establish a home and bring up children" and "to control the education of their own." Two years later, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-535, 69 L. Ed. 1070, 45 S. Ct. 571 (1925), we again held that the "liberty of parents and guardians" includes the right "to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control." We explained in Pierce that "the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations." 268 U.S. at 535. We returned to the subject in Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 88 L. Ed. 645, 64 S. Ct. 438 (1944), and again confirmed that there is a constitutional dimension to the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. "It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder." 321 U.S. at 166.

Two points: First, the constitutional issue. I'm inclined to agree with Bork that unenumerated rights are for the legislature to articulate, not for the courts. Bork's opinion is that the argument in Pierce should have been rather that the ban on Catholic private education was an abrogation of the freedom of religion, which is expressly mentioned in the Constitution. Scalia too has expressed doubts about the aspect of Pierce according to which the right to direct the upbringing of one's child is *in the Constitution*. He has said rather that he takes it to be an unenumerated right for which he would argue in the legislature if he were a member of the legislature.

Second, the issue of home schooling and the right to raise one's child: Teaching one's child in one's home is a natural aspect of raising one's child. I'd be the first to agree with this. I tend to think of education as part of life. However, again, in practice there is a difference between saying that one has the right to direct the upbringing of one's children and saying that this right _must include_ the right to instantiate a specific educational arrangement--home vs. physical school. Indeed, if I recall correctly, this very distinction was made in the Pierce decision, where it was stated that the state could compel school attendance despite what Pierce treated as a _constitutional_ right of parents to direct their children's upbringing.

Again, I think it's _wrong_ to outlaw home schooling. But I also think a lot of laws are wrong where I would not want to say that the thing they outlaw is a "fundamental right."

I think you might want to read this:


"The parents in this case lost because they claimed that the students were enrolled in a charter school and that with minimal supervision from the school, the children were free to skip classes so the mother could teach them at home. There is no basis in law for that argument. If only the parents had attempted to homeschool their kids in one of the statutorily prescribed methods, they would have prevailed."

Royale, have you read the opinion? Has the guy at Ace of Spades? I read virtually all of it last night. The PDF is linked from Volokh, which saves me the moment it wd. now take to put the link in here while I'm in a hurry.

In short, Malor at Ace of Spades is big-time wrong to think that the opinion permits home schoolers to use the private school option. The judge discusses this explicitly and *expressly rejects* the idea that schooling in a home can be done under the private school exemption. He argues from the fact that education at home with a credentialed tutor is distinguished in the education law language from education in a private school and concludes that a home cannot be a private school. He argues (following a case called Turner which looks to be pre-1968) that it is legitimate for those who educate children in a private home to have to be more highly credentialed than those who educate them in a physical, private school, because (inter alia) it's supposed to be easier for the state to keep an eye on the uncredentialed teachers in a physical private school. (This is particularly silly since the state _doesn't_ monitor the teachers in bricks and mortar private schools. But oh, well. I guess it was the argument in Turner.)

It's rather amusing that Ace of Spades is so pleased with himself at having discovered the possibility that a home school could be easily registered in CA as a small private school and that he takes this to mean that home schooling in CA isn't imperiled by this decision. Um, HSLDA and California home schoolers discovered the possibility he's talking about a long time ago and have been using it these many years. Part of the huge furor over this opinion arises precisely from the fact that the judge rejects that option and insists that private schooling by definition takes place in a physical school outside the home.

The judge argues at his best in his claims that the State of California can legally forbid schooling because there is nothing unconstitutional about forbidding it.

I found this statement from the ruling provoking and telling:

Turner was cited with approval in Board of Education v. Allen (1968) . . . There, the Supreme Court stated: 'Since Pierce . . . 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 met has been considered a sufficient reason for refusing to accept instruction at home as compliance with compulsory education statutes. These cases were a sensible corollary of Pierce v. Society of Sisters: if the Sate must satisfy its interest in secular education through the instrument of private schools, it has a proper interest in the manner in which those schools perform their secular educational function." The Allen court cited Turner as a case in which home instruction was rejected as a means of complying with a state's compulsory education laws . . . Moreover, as noted above, the appeal to the United States Supreme Court by the parents in Turner was dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.

"can legally forbid home schooling"

I have read it and they remand it for further evidence because the judge found the religious claims to be conclusional. That's an issue of evidence, not parent rights.

I cannot speak to the California cases and statutes it cites as I'm not familiar with California law.

This case isn't that much of a big deal. My prediction that is that it could easily be overturned should it be appealed to a federal court.

"The parents in the instant case have asserted in a declaration that it is because of
their “sincerely held religious beliefs” that they home school their children and those
religious beliefs “are based on Biblical teachings and principles.” Even if the parents’
declaration had been signed under penalty of perjury, which it was not, those assertions
are not the quality of evidence that permits us to say that application of California’s
compulsory public school education law to them violates their First Amendment rights.
Their statements are conclusional, not factually specific. Moreover, such sparse
representations are too easily asserted by any parent who wishes to home school his or
her child.
4. Remand for Further Proceedings
Because the trial court in this case simply ruled that the parents have
a constitutional right to home school their children, the court made no explicit factual findings concerning the parents’ compliance with California’s compulsory public
education law.

It should actually be overturned on appeal at the state court level on the grounds that the private school exemption permits small schools meeting in homes to be registered, as that exemption has been widely interpreted, understood, and applied for years.

I was responding to the Ace of Spades post Royale linked that insists that home schooling is not imperiled by the opinion, and does so on the grounds that it's easy for parents to register their home schools as private schools. Ace of Spades expressly says that the only reason the parents here had a problem is because there is "no provision in law" for what I have been calling the umbrella school option, which they were using. This is simply false. The judge makes it amply clear throughout that he takes the private school option to be legally ruled out as well, which affects thousands of CA home schoolers who have been attempting to abide by the law. (I also disagree that there needs to be an express "provision in law" for the umbrella school option, given the fact that private schools are otherwise relatively unregulated. There seems no reason why their delegation of teaching duties to parents requires special mention in law before it is permissible, any more than other aspect of a private school's educational decision-making. But that's a separate issue.)

Herewith some quotes that just show Ace of Spades to be wrong to think that the private school affadavit is a magical solution to the issue here. Far from it--the judge obviously views it as nonsensical that this should be an allowable interpretation of the private school exemption. He is clearly insisting that specially credentialed tutoring is the only way that children can be educated by parents at home.

Additionally, the Turner court rejected, and noted that courts in other states had also rejected, the notion that parents instructing their children at home come within the private full-time day school exemption in then-section 16624 (now section 48222). The court stated that a simple reading of the statutes governing private schools and home instruction by private tutors shows the Legislature intended to distinguish the two, for if a private school includes a parent or private tutor instructing a child at home, there would be no purpose in writing separate legislation for private instruction at home.


The Legislature has not amended the substantive aspects of the compulsory education statutes that were analyzed in Turner and Shinn. Like those courts, we find no reason to strike down the Legislature’s evaluation of what constitutes an adequate education scheme sufficient to promote the “general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence,”


However, the parents have not demonstrated that mother has a teaching credential such that the children can be said to be receiving an education from a credentialed tutor. 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.


the parents present no authority to the effect that a charter school can excuse the statutory requirement that tutors be credentialed if their students are to come within the tutor exemption to compulsory public school education.

I think the judge is saying two things:

1. If you're gonna homeschool out of religion, then the burden of proof is on you to prove your motivation is religious. This alligns the facts with Yoder and First Amendment case law.

2. If your motive is not religious, then you need credentialed teachers.

Yes, but that's why this really is a threat to home schooling in California. Private schools do not require specially credentialed teachers, and a huge number of home schoolers in California file private school affadavits and teach under the private school option.

Ace of Spades says this court opinion isn't a threat to home schooling in California, because parents can just register their home school as a private school, and that this would mean they wouldn't have to have specially credentialed teachers. Private schools don't in California. He talks about how easy it is to do and so forth. He just seems unaware that the judge has closed off this option. So Ace of Spades is wrong. Home schoolers in California shouldn't just "take a breath" and calm down. They do have something to worry about if the opinion isn't overturned at least on this particular point.

It may be bad news for some parents of home schooled kids, but overall it will be a God-send for their children. California schools are the best in the nation. The coup would be if parents could home school their college kids, thats where our nation has dropped the ball. They are pathetic.

Oh, yah, it'd be a godsend if all those California kids who are home schooled were sent to public school. Just think how they'd thrive.


Johnny Cobb: [to Whittier, who is reluctant to give him a gun] Search for a place where there are no bruises and tie it up with a ribbon, and tell yourself that what's inside is the sum total of your life, and what I didn't see was the day a man decides not to face the world is the day he better step out of it. Now give me that gun! [ Fire Creek ]

I like the world and I'm not giving up on it.

Teaching one's children at home is a wonderful way not to give up on the world. One of the very best. Russ, you are an ideologue (on more than one subject, actually); if you think you even remotely know what you are talking about on the subject of home schooling, you are far wrong, and I'm not going to let you waste any more of my time.


Your a kind person, and you taught me a new word. In a funny sort of way I am an ideologue.

Lydia, you mentioned as fundamental rights the right not to be murdered, tortured, etc. But those are intrinsic evils, opposition to which always takes the form of a negative prohibition: Thou shalt not...etc. It's just another way of saying that the "right" to murder is nonexistent.

But with essentially good things, like the raising of one's children (which includes their education), we don't say Thou shalt not. We say Thou shalt, e.g., honor thy mother and father. So shouldn't the precept be put in the form of an obligation rather than a right? It's not that I have a right to children, but that, should I have them, an obligation is incurred. That is, I have a duty to educate my children, and the state does not have a corresponding duty to usurp it. Or is your objection only that this duty cannot be said to take a particular form, e.g., in the home? But once they force you to school them outside the home, they've sort of won the whole ballgame, haven't they?

I haven't thought it all out, but this worries me on its face: "in practice there is a difference between saying that one has the right to direct the upbringing of one's children and saying that this right _must include_ the right to instantiate a specific educational arrangement..."

What worries me is that if you surrender the parents' right to "instantiate" that arrangement, what's to stop the state from doing it for you in any way they see fit? I guess I'm afraid that if you give the state a little, you must give them all.

What worries me is that if you surrender the parents' right to "instantiate" that arrangement, what's to stop the state from doing it for you in any way they see fit?

There's the rub. The explicit constitutional mandate to the states to regulate education takes precedence in the courts.

Honestly, Bill, very nearly my only objection is to the phrase "fundamental right." I don't in fact think the state should force the parents to send their children to school. I think that's very bad law. I would fight such a law tooth and nail, as a legislator or as a citizen. It's not that I'm saying, "Oh, it's fine if the state wants to force parents to send their children to school. That's a legitimate thing for the state to do." It's more that I'm saying, "If the state does that, the state is encroaching beyond its proper bounds, but I don't think it's violating a fundamental right as, say, the Chinese government violates a fundamental right when it forces women to have abortions."

I think we ought to have a category of "things the state ought not to do" that doesn't require us to label them as "ways in which the state is violating the fundamental rights of its citizens."

I suppose I should add another point, which may make me sound squishy on this: Sometimes we recognize that the state is pressing beyond its proper bounds only when there is a sea change in the society such that people start trying to do something that no one ever wanted to do before. As long as a given society was cohesive and everyone agreed that no one should do such-and-such, the regulation didn't seem like a violation of anything at all.

A weird example might be if we imagine a pacifist community where no one is allowed to own a gun but where no one wants to own a gun anyway. We can say there _shouldn't_ be a rule that people aren't allowed to own guns, but if you have a local society that is in agreement that no one should own guns anyway, the law in question is a sort of fifth wheel, more or less just an expression of what everybody in the community thinks anyway. It only starts to show up as a Big Brother thing when somebody comes into town who wants to own a gun and gets it confiscated by his neighbors or some officious local official.

Now, one can similarly imagine some small 1950's Mayberry-like town where, yes, it's a law on the books that everybody has to send their kids to a physical school, but everybody is pretty much satisfied with the local public school, where prayers are regularly said and all that and which well reflects the decent values of the parents, and for the Catholics there is a local Catholic parochial school, and nobody has even thought of such a thing as home schooling. The law on the books never has to be enforced except in the case of kids who really are truant in the bad sense, whose parents really can't control them or certainly aren't educating them and who make no pretence of being home schoolers.

Is the law on the books still a bad law? Yes, I would still say it is, because it blocks out a good and legitimate option that should be on the table, an option parents _should have_. But its coercive bad effects for parents are at that point there only potentially--they will become evident when some parents think of the idea of home schooling, have good reasons for it, and aren't allowed to pursue it.

All of that goes some way to show why I have trouble seeing such laws as a violation of a "fundamental right."


Are you saying you have the right OF CHOICE to teach your own children in you home? Each state has education standards to be maintained and I'm sure California some education standards they are trying to maintain for your children. So, they should have a say for every minor in the state of California. You would violate state and county statutes would you?

This Walter in FL guy continues to show himself incredibly ignorant and incapable even if reading what has actually been written. As a matter of fact _I'm_ the one who has been saying that I hesitate to use the phrase "fundamental right" for home schooling. Walter is too illiterate to understand that. I do, as I've said, also think that good and wise laws will permit home schooling. I think that is the best way for laws to be. I've been arguing carefully that the widespread understanding in California for some years has been that CA statutes _do_ permit home schooing chiefly under the private school option, and that this judge's interpretation of CA law is an outlier. Hence, of course, I am not recommending that anyone violate any law here but rather disagreeing with the judge's interpretation of the state law and arguing that his opinion should be overturned on the grounds that it is legally incorrect. That, too, appears to be beyond Walter's capacity to take in.

If anyone wonders at my acerbity, understand that Walter from FL came in with bizarre, ranting, insulting, and semi-coherent comments on another one of my threads, most of which I had to delete, though I left some of them (including the last) standing. This most recent is, I suppose, a model of good behavior inasmuch as it is not ranting but only astonishingly dumb, demonstrating a complete incomprehension of the thread, especially of everything I have written.

Walter, please, do us all a favor and go away. It's a nuisance to delete you, and you just appear to be unable for whatever reason to carry on even a minimally intelligent side of a conversation on the topics we discuss here.

Every state has the right to maintain educational standards. So their [sic] are minimums that have to be maintained.

Your [insult, mispellings and punctuation errors redacted].

[vulgarity redacted].

What Lydia McGrew would argue, however, is that [off-topic, irrelevant red herring redacted].

Thanks, ed. :-)

No prob,

Ed I. Tor

This statement by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell is now making the rounds.

Notice his mention of "non-classroom based programs." That's probably a reference to what are known as "virtual charter schools," which the judge's ruling is also, in effect, declaring illegal.

I would have expected myself that perhaps California public schools would get nervous about these non-classroom-based programs in light of the ruling, but it appears that they, like the home schoolers, are going to sit tight and assume that those aspects of it will be overruled or made moot by some subsequent action of the legislature.

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