The Old Schoolhouse Magazine on California

This is a good summary of the situation for home educators in California:The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Home Where They Belong
March 10, 2008
The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. 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.” (Pierce vs. Society of Sisters, 1922) What In the World Is Going On In California?
By Karen Braun

By now, most homeschoolers across the country have heard about the California appellate court ruling handed down on February 28 ordering the children of Phillip and Mary Long to attend public school or a legally qualified private school. The judge’s ruling surprised everyone and sparked a firestorm of concern among homeschoolers nationwide, many wondering if homeschooling had become illegal in California.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine staff has been following the developments since World Net Daily first broke the story a week ago. In this Homeschool Minute, we would like to provide a brief summary of the events and offer links to various perspectives to help homeschoolers understand this ruling, how it impacts homeschoolers in California, and what homeschoolers across the nation can do to help.

To gain a better understanding of this case, it is necessary to note that prior to this ruling, the Long family had been involved with the juvenile court system regarding the care of their children. Such proceedings are confidential, and in most cases, a court-appointed attorney is provided to represent the interests of the minor children. The attorney representing two of the children was not satisfied with a ruling made by Superior Court Judge Stephen Marpet, who found the children’s education to be “meager” but determined that Phillip and Mary Long have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home. The attorney for the children brought an appeal before the Second Court of Appeals of California.

The California Second Appellate Court in Los Angeles found that the Longs had not demonstrated that any of the exemptions to California’s compulsory attendance applied to their children. The court reversed the finding of the Superior Court and ordered the children to attend public or a “legally qualified” private school. The court remanded the case back to the lower court for a hearing to determine if the family was in compliance with the law. The family plans on appealing this ruling decision to the California Supreme Court.

Read the complete court opinion here.

The ruling spurred reactions from attorneys representing various homeschool groups and interested parties across the country. The Homeschool Minute provides these links for informational purposes related to this case and does not necessarily endorse these sites.

Sunland Christian School. The Long children were enrolled in this school.

Pacific Justice Institute (PJI). These attorneys are representing Sunland Christian School and advising the family.

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). HSLDA presents several appeal options to reverse this ruling or diminish its impact upon California homeschoolers. There is a petition available for those interested in supporting the HSLDA’s move to depublish the ruling.

National Home Education Legal Defense (NHELD). Attorney Deborah Stevenson offers a detailed and informative analysis of this case.

Several homeschool groups in California issued statements concerning this ruling:

Homeschool Association of California

California Homeschool Network

Christian Home Educators of California

Private and Home Educators of California

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement in support of homeschooling:

“Every California child deserves a quality education and parents should have the right to decide what’s best for their children. Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children’s education. This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts and if the courts don’t protect parents’ rights then, as elected officials, we will.”

By the end of a long news week, the court decision reached the broader Christian community through a radio broadcast by Focus on the Family. Dr. Dobson discussed the California court case with several prominent guests.

From All of Us at TOS

We hope this information has helped you gain a greater understanding of the facts surrounding this case and its impact on homeschooling in California.

The Homeschool Minute encourages you to pray for the family and those involved in this situation. Several of the websites present ideas about what you can do to help. We encourage you to prayerfully consider those ideas, to do all that you can to help retain the freedom to homeschool in our country, and to pass this message along to others. We will be following this case and will provide further updates as information becomes available.

Join us again on Wednesday with our normally scheduled topic. And now as much as ever, be sure to enjoy every minute!