Main | Friday, March 21, 2008

Huge Setback For CA Wingnuts

In a stunning blow to California's rightwing, an appeals court judge has ruled that parents who homeschool their children must have teaching credentials.
The ruling arose from a child welfare dispute between the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and Philip and Mary Long of Lynwood, who have been homeschooling their eight children. Mary Long is their teacher, but holds no teaching credential.

The parents said they also enrolled their children in Sunland Christian School, a private religious academy in Sylmar (Los Angeles County), which considers the Long children part of its independent study program and visits the home about four times a year.

The Second District Court of Appeal ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home. Some homeschoolers are affiliated with private or charter schools, like the Longs, but others fly under the radar completely. Many homeschooling families avoid truancy laws by registering with the state as a private school and then enroll only their own children.

Yet the appeals court said state law has been clear since at least 1953, when another appellate court rejected a challenge by homeschooling parents to California's compulsory education statutes. Those statutes require children ages 6 to 18 to attend a full-time day school, either public or private, or to be instructed by a tutor who holds a state credential for the child's grade level.
Yesterday's ruling is applauded by the state's largest teachers union. Last year California passed SB777, an anti-bullying measure aimed at protecting LGBT students. Since then the Christian right-wing has bleated loudly about the "homosexual agenda" and urged parents to remove their children from public schools for homeschooling. The new ruling by the appellate court effectively outlaws homeschooling in California, although the case will surely be reviewed by the state Supreme Court.

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