Summary: This email is in response to requests for information about a recent California appeals court ruling. All the major homeschooling organizations in California, including both religious and secular ones, are working together on this. They are asking California homeschoolers to remain calm, continue homeschooling as they have been, and wait for further information. WPA recommends that homeschoolers in Wisconsin support this request and not sign a petition being circulated by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) or take other action at this time. WPA will continue to track this issue and inform you if, at any point, action by Wisconsin homeschoolers would be helpful.(The e-mail also went on to discuss problems with virtual charter schools, which WPA strongly opposes.) I thought there were some very worthwhile points made here and thought that some of my readers would find it helpful. I particularly support the important concept of dealing with state legal issues at a state level because each state has unique legal quirks and challenges that the state organizations have become very well acquainted with.
Details: A lot of attention has been given to a February 28, 2008, California appeals court decision concerning a family charged in juvenile court with child abuse and neglect. The family also happened to be homeschooling. The appeals court went far beyond the charge of abuse and neglect and issued an opinion that has been interpreted by some to render any education not conducted under the authority of a certified teacher to be illegal. The opinion has been criticized by a variety of people, including Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger.
All the major statewide homeschooling organizations, both religious and secular, are asking homeschoolers to go about their business as usual, not to panic, not to contact their legislators, not to write to the California Supreme Court, and to give the organizations time.
HSLDA has gotten involved and is circulating and strongly urging people to sign a petition addressed to the California Supreme Court. WPA suggests that homeschoolers NOT sign the petition for several reasons, including the following:
- The major California homeschooling organizations, including those that are religiously based, have not called for signing the petition. In fact, there is concern about possible backlash if lots of people contact the court. WPA has consistently argued that homeschooling issues in a given state should be addressed by homeschoolers in that state and has opposed intervention by "outside experts."
- Because HSLDA is not a party to the case, it does not have the authority to submit the petition and signatures to the California Supreme Court.
- HSLDA has a history of inserting itself into highly visible court cases. When the cases have been decided in favor of homeschoolers, HSLDA has tended to take undue credit. Many more of the cases have led either to a decision that limits or undermines homeschooling freedoms or one that leads to legislation that regulates homeschooling strongly and unnecessarily.
Larry Kaseman,Executive Director
Wisconsin Parents Association
Sunday, March 09, 2008
WPA on Concerns about the Homeschool Ruling in California
WPA (The Wisconsin Parent's Association - our statewide homeschool association - website here), had this to say about the homeschool ruling in California: