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Court to reconsider California home school ruling

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By Michelle Malkin  •  March 27, 2008 06:03 AM

Hey, remember that California home-schooling case in which Justice H. Walter Croskey ruled that “Parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children?”

Well, the ruling is going to be reconsidered by the 2nd District Court of Appeal. Via the SJMercNews:

A state appeals court will reconsider last month’s controversial decision that said parents who home-school their children must have a teaching credential.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles granted a rehearing Tuesday, essentially voiding the 3-0 decision until it rules again. The decision will now allow home-schooling organizations that had blasted the decision to weigh in.

“Wow!” said Diane Flynn Keith of Redwood City, who edits Homefires, an online home-schooling journal. “I think the judge recognized that he hadn’t done his homework.”

The case centered on a Southern California couple, Phillip and Mary Long of Lynwood, who home-schooled their eight children through the Sunland Christian School in Sylmar. The family came to the attention of Los Angeles County social workers when one of the children claimed the father was physically abusive. The workers learned that all eight children in the family were home-schooled, and an attorney representing the two youngest children asked the juvenile dependency court to order that they be enrolled in public or private school as a way to protect their well-being.

Ruling that the parents had no right to home-school their children because they weren’t credentialed as teachers by the state, Justice H. Walter Croskey pointed to a similar 1953 appellate court decision.

The Longs are being represented by the Pacific Justice Institute, which released a statement saying that Tuesday’s decision was a hopeful sign.

Here’s PJI’s statement on its website:

Pacific Justice Institute has just received word that the court ruling which declared most forms of homeschooling unlawful in California has been vacated. This means the Rachel L. decision, which has sparked a nationwide uproar, will not go into effect as it is currently written. The Second District Court of Appeal has instead decided to re-hear the case, with a new round of briefings due in late April. It would likely take the court several additional months to schedule oral argument and issue another decision.

Today’s announcement by the court that it will re-hear the case reinforces PJI’s position that homeschooling families should continue their current programs without fear of governmental interference. PJI will be actively involved in the upcoming briefs and will continue to post updates and special bulletins on this vital issue.

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “We are pleased that the Court of Appeal has decided to re-hear the Rachel L. case, and we are hopeful that the fundamental rights of these parents, our clients Sunland Christian School, and the tens of thousands of homeschooling families in California will be honored. Homeschooling parents should be treated as heroes – not hunted down or harassed by their own government.”

This is welcome news, but the war on homeschooling continues apace.

Linda Whitlock reports on homeschooling in jeopardy. Ken Blackwell notes the antagonism of teachers’ unions. And Juanell Garrett in the Kansas City Star reports on legislative efforts to undermine homeschooling parents.

Stay vigilant.

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