California Court Rules Against Home Schooling
Special Report - March 7, 2008
California parents without state-approved teaching credentials have no right to home school their children, according to a recent ruling by the California Court of Appeals. In an opinion filed on February 28, the Court determined that “parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children,” even in circumstances when the public school curriculum in is conflict with their religious beliefs.
Justice H. Walter Croskey wrote in the opinion, “It is clear to us that enrollment and attendance in a public full-time day school is required by California law for minor children unless (1) the child is enrolled in a private full-time day school and actually attends that private school, (2) the child is tutored by a person holding a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught, or (3) one of the other few statutory exemptions to compulsory public school attendance…applies to the child.” Furthermore, the court determined, “Because parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling within the provisions of these laws, parents who fail to do so may be subject to a criminal complaint against them, found guilty of an infraction, and subject to imposition of fines or an order to complete a parent education and counseling program.”
According to the ruling, parents who home school their children must attain the relevant California teaching credentials, have their child tutored by someone with valid teaching credentials, or enroll their children in a public or private school. The Los Angeles Times quotes Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, who said, “This decision is a direct hit against every home schooler in California.” Dacus estimates the number of home schoolers in California to be as many as 166,000. The ruling is expected to be appealed to the California Supreme Court.
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