No Constitutional Right to Teach Your Children

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by Tracy, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    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:

    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.
  2. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

  3. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    I had this in a newsletter this morning.

    Parents of 166,000 students could face criminal charges

    A "breathtaking" ruling from a California appeals court that could subject the parents of 166,000 students in the state to criminal sanctions will be taken to the state Supreme Court.

    The announcement comes today from the Pacific Justice Institute, whose president, Brad Dacus, described the impact of the decision as "stunning."

    "The scope of this decision by the appellate court is breathtaking," he said. "It not only attacks traditional homeschooling, but also calls into question homeschooling through charter schools and teaching children at home via independent study through public and private school."

    "If not reversed, the parents of the more than 166,000 students currently receiving an education at home will be subject to criminal sanctions," he said.

    WND broke the story of the ruling against Phillip and Mary Long of Los Angeles.

    The decision from the 2nd Appellate Court in Los Angeles granted a special petition brought by lawyers appointed to represent the two youngest children after the family's homeschooling was brought to the attention of child advocates. The lawyers appointed by the state were unhappy with a lower court's ruling that allowed the family to continue homeschooling and challenged it on appeal.

    Justice H. Walt Croskey, whose opinion was joined by two other judges, then ordered: "Parents who fail to [comply with school enrollment laws] may be subject to a criminal complaint against them, found guilty of an infraction and subject to imposition of fines or an order to complete a parent education and counseling program."

    The determination reversed a decision from Superior Court Judge Stephen Marpet, who ruled "parents have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home."

    As WND has reported, the Longs had their children enrolled in Sunland Christian School, a private homeschooling program.

    But Croskey, without hearing arguments from the school, opined that the situation was a "ruse of enrolling [children] in a private school and then letting them stay home and be taught by a non-credentialed parent."

    Officials with the school said they asked Pacific Justice to work on the Supreme Court appeal because the organization "has been in full compliance with the requirements of the law for more than 23 years."

    "We've never been given an opportunity to represent our case in the Court of Appeal," Terry Neven, the president of the school, said. "Consequently, we are excited that PJI will represent us before the California Supreme Court so that the rights of homeschooling families are preserved."

    The ruling, on which WND previously reported, also issued a further warning of potential penalties for parents, this time in civil court.

    It said under a section titled "Consequences of Parental Denial of a Legal Education" that "parents are subject to being ordered to enroll their children in an appropriate school or education program and provide proof of enrollment to the court, and willful failure to comply with such an order may be punished by a fine for civil contempt."

    The school's website notes it offers a homeschool/independent study program that is accredited. It began in Los Angeles in 1986 with 24 students and now serves more than 3,000 families.

    "While SCS is a Christian program, we enroll any family desiring assistance in teaching their own children at home. All we ask is that each family respect our values," the school said.

    "The future of homeschooling (both public and private) in California requires the reversal of this decision," Neven said.

    WND also has reported on concerns expressed by Roy Hanson, chief of the Private and Home Educators of California, about the way the ruling was issued.

    "Normally in a dependency court action, they simply make a ruling that will affect that family. It accomplishes the same thing, meaning they would force [the family] to place their minor children into school," he said.

    Such rulings on a variety of issues always are "done in the best interests of the child" and are not unusual, he said.

    But in this case, the court said went much further, essentially concluding the state provided no circumstance that allowed parents to school their own children at home.

    Specifically, the appeals court affirmed, the trial court had found that "keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where (1) they could interact with people outside the family, (2) there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children's lives, and (3) they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents' 'cloistered' setting."

    Further, the appeals ruling said, California law requires "persons between the ages of six and 18" to be in school, "the public full-time day school," with exemptions allowed only for those in a "private full-time day school" or those "instructed by a tutor who holds a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught."

    For homeschoolers in California, Hanson said, "there may be everywhere from concern to panic, just based on not knowing what the [ultimate] results will be."

    The Home School Legal Defense Association, the world's premiere international advocacy organization for homeschoolers, emphasized that the ruling made no changes in California law regarding homeschooling.

    While the decision from the appeals court "has caused much concern among California homeschoolers," the HSLDA said, there are no immediate changes any homeschoolers need to address.

    The Longs earlier told WND they also are considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court because of the impact of the order for their family, as well as the precedent that could be construed.

    They have disputed with local officials over homeschooling and other issues for years, they said. In at least two previous decisions, courts affirmed their right to homeschool, they said.

    The current case was brought by two attorneys who had been appointed by the state to represent the family's minor children in a dependency case stemming from accusations of abuse that resulted from the parents' decision to impose discipline on their children with spankings. The case actually had been closed out by the court as resolved when the lawyers filed their special appeal.

    Phillip Long has told WND he objects to the pro-homosexual, pro-bisexual, pro-transgender agenda of California's public schools, on which WND previously has reported.

    "We just don't want them teaching our children," he told WND. "They teach things that are totally contrary to what we believe. They put questions in our children's minds we don't feel they're ready for.

    "When they are much more mature, they can deal with these issues, alternative lifestyles, and such, or whether they came from primordial slop. At the present time it's my job to teach them the correct way of thinking," he said.
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    No constitutional right? Now, that flies in the face of the idea that all rights not otherwise restricted belong to the people. (Or did I get that wrong somehow?)
  5. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    I wonder how the California Goobermint, already heavily strapped for cash - will enjoy having 166,000 fewer tax-paying families residing in-state . . . lots of future revenue LOST due to stupidity.
  6. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    The following is an update on the developing situation in California from Michael Farris, Chairman, Home School Legal Defense Association.

    State Superintendent Supports Homeschooling

    On Tuesday, March 11, Jack O'Connell, California Superintendent of Public Instruction, announced that he believed that homeschooling is still legal in California. O'Connell's statement is welcome news. To read it visit . Some might conclude that the statement ends the controversy. However, it is not the end of the matter; it is just an important step along the way.

    His clarifying statement was probably the result of the massive public outcry against the February 28 decision of the California Court of Appeal which effectively ruled that homeschooling is illegal in California unless conducted by a credentialed teacher and that parents have no constitutional right to homeschool.

    O'Connell's statement is helpful, but the courts will undoubtedly take the position that their determination of the meaning of state law is final even though they should give serious deference to the position of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

    It should also be remembered that local school districts make the decision about when to initiate prosecutions for truancy, and they are not officially controlled by the state agency on these matters. However, many local officials may be influenced by O'Connell's positive statement.

    Did the February 28 Ruling Intend to Affect All Homeschooling Families?

    Some have contended that the decision of the Court of Appeal in In Re Rachel L. only affects that particular family. While a court order can only direct one family to stop homeschooling, the case clearly sets a legal precedent that will be binding against all other families if this case is not reversed. (Technically, the decision is binding only in the Second District which consists of Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties. However, other appellate districts will normally treat it as persuasive precedent. If ratified by the Supreme Court of California, it formally binds all California counties.)

    There are two basic issues in the case:

    1. Does state law allow parents to homeschool without a state teaching

    2. If not, is this law unconstitutional?

    Below are three short quotations from the case which give the clear answer:

    "It is clear to us that enrollment and attendance in a public full-time day school is required by California law for minor children unless (1) the child is enrolled in a private full-time day school and actually attends that private school, (2) the child is tutored by a person holding a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught."

    "California courts have held that under provisions in the Education Code, parents do not have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home."

    "We agree with the Shinn court's statement that 'the educational program of the State of California was designed to promote the general welfare of all the people and was not designed to accommodate the personal ideas of any individual in the field of education."

    In the first quote the court makes it clear that it believes that parents may not operate their own private schools. In the second they deny that a parent has a constitutional right to homeschool, and in the third they concur that California law does not accommodate parents pursuing their own education program for their children.

    As you can see, the decision is categorical and was not written to be limited to just the facts of this case.

    Due to the scope of the court decision, HSLDA is pleased to be working with other self-identified pro-homeschooling organizations, including Christian Home Educators Association of California (CHEA), Homeschool Association of California (HSC), California Homeschool Network (CHN), and Family Protection Ministries (FPM) in order to oppose this ruling.

    We are all in this one together.

    What is HSLDA's Immediate Plan of Action?
    We plan to:

    1. Support the family's petition for review to the California Supreme Court.

    2. File an amicus brief on behalf of all our members, and others we represent, if the California Supreme Court accepts the case for review.

    What Can California Homeschoolers Expect in the Short Run?

    We believe that it is highly unlikely that local officials will begin proceedings against homeschool families until this present case is resolved.

    This ruling has obviously caused great concern among California homeschoolers. We want to remind all California homeschoolers that you should stay calm in the face of this decision. Please continue to operate your homeschool, because we believe that our interpretation of the law is correct and will ultimately prevail in the court system.

    We must remain vigilant, however. If you are a member of HSLDA, and you are contacted by a school district, please contact HSLDA immediately.

    Long-Range Solution

    On another front, later today I am meeting with a half-dozen congressmen to plan a strategy to push for a constitutional amendment on parental rights. We have been receiving numerous calls from members of Congress wanting to respond to this decision. See for more information.
  7. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Hitler said "Give me one generation and I will rule the world." or something to that effect. He was saying that to control the future we have to control todays children.

    Homeschooling and private schooling is a threat to the NWO. How else are they going to indoctrinate our children into a globalist one world system?
    Too many of these homeschooled children are being taught a lot of dangerous things. Like freedom, free thinking, etc.

    Wasn't it something like 5 years in a row that the national spelling bee was won by homeschooled children? Yeah, definitely a problem there.
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