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March 7, 2008

Defending Homeschool Freedom in California

March 11 Update: O’Connell Supports Right to Homeschool

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell comes to the defense of homeschool families. “The California Department of Education policy will not change in any way as a result of this ruling. Parents still have the right to homeschool in this state,” he said.

After the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District in Los Angeles ruled on February 28 that parents had to be credentialed teachers to educate their own children, the statement from O’Connell is encouraging news for the homeschool community.

“O’Connell has it right,” said Michael Farris, Chairman of HSLDA. “But the court decision must still be overturned before homeschool freedom can be restored in California.”

The Court of Appeal ruling shocked the homeschool community because in one sweeping decision it effectively outlawed homeschooling.

“We hope the statement from O’Connell puts the brakes on any enforcement action,” said Farris.

HSLDA will be pursuing several legal options, including seeking review by the California Supreme Court and petitioning the same court to depublish the opinion in order to return California to being a state where a family can legally homeschool in California without fear.

“We have just started the legal battle to restore homeschool freedom in California,” said Farris.

Summary of Court of Appeal Ruling

On February 28, 2008, the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District in Los Angeles handed down a very bad decision regarding a case involving a homeschool family.

HSLDA was not involved with this case, and the family are not members.

The opinion holds that homeschooling is not a legal option in California. HSLDA strongly disputes this interpretation of California law. We believe that the court made a mistake when it relied on a decision from 1953 in order to show that homeschooling is not a legal option.

If the opinion is followed then California will have the most regressive law in the nation and homeschooling will be effectively banned because the only legal way to homeschool will be for the parent to hold a teaching certificate. Parents should not have to attend a four year college education program just to teach their own children.

California is now on the path to being the only state to deny the vast majority of homeschooling parents their fundamental right to teach their own children at home.

In response, HSLDA believes that the best course of action is to petition the California Supreme Court to depublish the opinion. If the opinion is depublished then this ruling can not be used against every homeschooling family in California.

 Other Resources

Read the court opinion. (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

For more information on the legal grounds for homeschooling in California. (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

HSLDA's Response to Ruling of California Court of Appeal