Thursday, March 6, 2008

A California appeals court issues a ruling that may threaten many home-schoolers:
Parents who lack teaching credentials cannot educate their children at home, according to a state appellate court ruling that is sending waves of fear through California's home schooling families.

Advocates for the families vowed to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. Enforcement until then appears unlikely, but if the ruling stands, home-schooling supporters say California will have the most regressive law in the nation.

"This decision is a direct hit against every home schooler in California," said Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which represents the Sunland Christian School, which specializes in religious home schooling. "If the state Supreme Court does not reverse this . . . there will be nothing to prevent home-school witch hunts from being implemented in every corner of the state of California."
Actually there is something that can be done to "prevent home-school witch hunts from being implemented in every corner of the state of California": a law allowing home-schooling by non-credentialed parents.
Unlike at least 30 other states, home schooling is not specifically addressed in California law. Under the state education code, students must be enrolled in a public or private school, or can be taught at home by a credentialed tutor.
The state legislature could pass a law to defend home-schooling. Where would the state teacher's union stand?
Though even passing a law might not change the precedent that this ruling sets in adjudicating the relationship between parents and schools.

H/T: Protein Wisdom, which includes some comments on the way in which California courts have worked to limit the power of parents vis-a-vis public schools.

UPDATE: Some argue that the LA Times story quoted above misunderstands the import of the ruling and that it is not such a blow to home-schooling after all.