FYI: HELP is the Home Education Liberty Project. For those of you who haven't been following CA and what's happening to those who choose to educate their own children, you can see the beginnings of this here: http://survivalmonkey.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9049 HELP STATEMENT ON THE CALIFORNIA CASE OF PHILLIP AND MARY LONG March 10, 2008 By now most home schooling families are aware of a recent Court ruling in California that dramatically reduces the right to home school. The Court ruled that parents "do not have a constitutional right to home-school their children." Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute stated: "The scope of this decision by the appellate court is breathtaking. It not only attacks traditional home schooling, but also calls into question home schooling through charter schools and teaching children at home via independent study through public and private schools. If not reversed, the parents of the more than 166,000 students currently receiving an education at home will be subject to criminal sanctions” While there is much to this story and there is much dispute about how it will actually effect home schoolers in California, it has resonated enough that even California’s Governor has felt the need to speak up in defense of home schoolers. (Not something many of us would have predicted.) Right now, this decision only effects California, but make no mistake, states often use precedents set in other states to make up new rules at home, and California is clearly a trend setter. Debbie Schwarzer, Co Chair of the Legal Team at California Homeschool Network recently posted an e-mail on an Oregon home school e-mail group and stated the following: “I have been astonished about the hype about this case. So many have been making sensational claims that parents will be criminally prosecuted, etc.:” She went on to say: “We know what we're doing. Please let us do our jobs. I would be personally, professionally, and, as a representative of HSC, globally grateful if everyone on this list would calm down and ask others to calm down. Specifically, I would ask people: a. Not to write to the Supreme Court or any court. b. Not to talk to their legislators or make any public statements about a need for legislation. c. Tell their neighbors, friends, lists, groups both of the above and to educate them about the choices available and about how panic isn't necessary, marches on Sacramento aren't necessary, etc. I wish this were the type of situation where we could put the fury,passion and energy of the members of this list to good use. Trust me, if we end up having to go the legislative route, we will have that situation at some points. But this isn't that type of situation, and too many folks stirring things up hurts instead of helps.” We are fully supportive of California homeschoolers’ efforts to reverse this dangerous decision, but we would never advocate that activists not contact their legislators and even their courts. This sounds suspiciously like a case of “sit down and shut up while we pro’s handle things.” You can rest assured that the educational establishment and the teacher’s unions are not taking that approach. All home school families, indeed, all people who believe in freedom have a mandate to make their voices heard. and to attempt to silence them because “we know what we’re doing” is dangerous and disingenuous. Oregon home schoolers should recognize that year after year some legislators make an effort to restrict their freedom. One Democratic candidate for US Senate, Steve Novick testified against home school families accusing them of being "drug dealers" and the teacher's unions nationally and locally are determined to end home schooling. We all have a vested interest in the outcome of this issues, and none of us can afford to be silent.