The Right To Educate Your Kids – Updated

Do you have the right to homeschool your children? In California, the answer may be no.  At best, it’s a privlege, bestowed only upon the properly credentialed (read: Show me your papers, PLEASE! Schnell!).  From the LA Times:

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.

The argument is, of course, that too many California children are unaccounted for, and due to lax enforcement of existing standards, there’s no way to tell if homeschooled children are getting any education at all.

The California Department of Education currently allows home schooling as long as parents file paperwork with the state establishing themselves as small private schools, hire credentialed tutors or enroll their children in independent study programs run by charter or private schools or public school districts while still teaching at home.California does little to enforce those provisions and insists it is the local school districts’ responsibility. In addition, state education officials say some parents home school their children without the knowledge of any entity.

Others say this is simply a power play by the teachers unions who feel threatened by homeschooling and charter schools.

California state appellate justice H. Walter Croskey wrote

“Parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children. Parents who fail to [comply with school enrollment laws] 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.”

Huh?  Parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children?  What part of “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” does he not understand?  Is homeschooling somewhere prohibited in the U.S. constitution?  Don’t. Think. So.

This ruling stems from a case involving by Phillip and Mary Long, of Lynwood, who have been, up to now, homeschooling their children.

Phillip Long said he believes the ruling stems from hostility against Christians and vowed to appeal to the state Supreme Court.”I have sincerely held religious beliefs,” he said. “Public schools conflict with that. I have to go with what my conscience requires me.”

This sounds to my ears exactly the situation foreseen by the founding fathers.  This case was exactly the reason they came down in favor of separating Church and State.  It was to protect the Long’s religious beliefs, not Justice Croskey’s statism.

When I calm down and stop hyperventilating, I’ll admit that it’s right and proper for “the state” to enforce some sort of regulations and standards on parents who want to opt out of the public school system. But then again, isn’t passing the California High School Exit Exam(CAHSEE) sufficient proof of meeting requirements (and if not, why not)?

H/T to Michelle Malkin.

Update: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has some more information and an update of his own that adds to this.

Now, his source, Ace at Ace of Spades HQ, says that the LA Times misunderstood the ruling, and this misunderstanding shows up in the very first sentence, which I quoted.  According to Ace:

The LA Times got it wrong in the first sentence of their article. Parents without teaching credentials can still educate their children at home under the various exemptions to mandatory public school enrollment provided in § 48220 et seq. of the Cal. Ed. Code. The parents in this case lost because they claimed that the students were enrolled in a charter school and that with minimal supervision from the school, the children were free to skip classes so the mother could teach them at home. There is no basis in law for that argument. If only the parents had attempted to homeschool their kids in one of the statutorily prescribed methods, they would have prevailed.

This may be so.  However, unless Justice Croskey has been misquoted (which is not in question here), I’ll stand by my statement.

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