Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Update on Homeschooling in California

From the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), dated March 26, 2008:

On March 25, the California Court of Appeal granted a motion for
rehearing in the 'In re Rachel L.' case--the controversial decision
which purported to ban all homeschooling in that state unless the
parents held a teaching license qualifying them to teach in public

The automatic effect of granting this motion is that the prior opinion
is vacated and is no longer binding on any one, including the parties
in the case.

The Court of Appeal has solicited a number of public school
establishment organizations to submit amicus briefs including the
California Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department
of Education, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and three
California teacher unions. The court also granted permission to
Sunland Christian School to file an amicus brief. The order also
indicates that it will consider amicus applications from other groups.

Home School Legal Defense Association will seek permission to file
such an amicus brief and will coordinate efforts with a number of
organizations interesting in filing briefs to support the right of
parents to homeschool their children in California.

"This is a great first step," said Michael Farris, chairman of HSLDA.
"We are very glad that this case will be reheard and that this opinion
has been vacated, but there is no guarantee as to what the ultimate
outcome will be. This case remains our top priority," he added.
I'm very glad that the February 25th decision has been "vacated." Although many of the filers of the amicus briefs will be against home schooling, at least the Superintendent of Public Instruction will be pro-home education as he has stated since the February 25 ruling. I'm hoping that HSLDA and the different home schooling groups statewide will also be allowed to file such briefs on the value of home education.

I have a neighbor who grudgingly admitted that myself and another friend are doing "okay" at homeschooling, but that she knows of a homeschooling mother who is "not educating her kids at all and that even her older kids cannot read." I do not know who this "other mother" is because I know of no one in our town's homeschooling community who is not doing an excellent job. But then I think of my own husband who slipped through the public school cracks even in the late 60s and didn't learn to read until his parents pulled him out of public school in sixth grade and put him in a private reading school. Kids can fall through the cracks in any situation; a public school teacher I know was just telling me in the last month that he is forced to give no grade lower than a "C" to any student and is not allowed to fail or hold back any student, even if the student can't read (he teaches 4th grade). Plus this same neighbor is blaming the local homeschoolers for the possiblity that our local school may have to close down next year because there aren't enough students in the school to keep it running. When J was attending, the school had 140 students in grades K-6; now the number is down to 80-something, and all of the teachers are forced to teach combination classes in order to keep the school open. It sounds like bussing the kids to the next town's much bigger and better-staffed school is a good idea compared to the current mess that's going on. But I digress; small town politics, I know....

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