Thursday, March 13, 2008

If I Lived in California, I'd Be Breaking the Law

I don't know if you heard about this, but just recently in California, homeschooling became illegal. Yeah, California! The state where they want to legalize marijuana, but parents better not educate their own kids! Give me a break... I just read a very informative article about this Californian decision. Please take an extra minute to go read it yourself, and if you think this is scary, please sign the petition linked in the article. This is truly sad that the Californian parents have lost a significant parental right; every parent should have the right to choose the type of education for their own children.


pwnspace said...

Well, technically, homeschooling is not illegal in CA.

The judge merely upheld an existing law that children must be taught by a certified teacher.

If a parent has a teachers certification, they are free to homeschool their children.

Perhaps the CA legislature needs to pass an exception for parents who teach only their own children.

Either way, anyone who opposes legislation from the bench would appreciate that the judge interpreted the law strictly as it was written.

The decision is now back in the hands of the elected legislators, where it belongs.

P.S. If the family wants to appeal to the federal system on the "sincerely held religious belief" that channel is still open to them. Although, I would prefer that homeschooling as a right would have a bit more backing than such a generic argument - not to mention the fact that if homeschoolers depended solely on that argument for their legality, then it would exclude entire swaths of other non-religious homeschoolers as well. The "religious belief" defense may have limited merit, but its not something to stake an entire homeschooling policy on.

Anonymous said...


Actually, "homeschooling" wasn't made illegal...yet. It is not as clear cut as you present. Getting credentialed takes at least a four year college degree. Plus, the law states that a teacher who would be credentialed “must provide instruction in all branches of study required in the public schools” and would need to receive a “Multiple Subject Teaching Credential” in order to satisfy “the credential requirement at all grade levels. The Single Subject Teaching Credential is not sufficient at any grade level. The Multiple Subject Teaching Credential is valid for kindergarten through grade twelve in self-contained classrooms, whereas the Single Subject Credential authorizes teaching a special subject only, such as math or English.” So, yes, homeschooling in the true since of the word would be made illegal.

The court made a decision that, as one put it, usurps “a fundamental right of parents based on an interpretation of a 40-year-old statute that has never been construed as a threat to homeschooling”. So, after 40 years, what changed?

As for the "religious belief" channel, it is still open but it is surprising that it was given little merit in this decision. No one asked that homeschooling policy be based solely on this issue. It is one amongst many legitimate reasons one may homeschool.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that the Supreme Court had already stated otherwise in more recent decisions (more recent then the lower court decisions the California court decided to base their decision on).

The Supreme Court defended the right to homeschool and the right for parents to decide how their cildren are reared, in the following decisions:

Wisconsin v. Yoder, 1972
(Read about it at and at

Troxel v. Granville, 2000
(read about it at and at

The lower court decisions were in 1929 and 1952!