A decision by the state legislature concerning school funding means many California parents have one less option for educating their children safely at home this fall.
With Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature of Senate Bill 98 at the end of June, public school budgets were essentially capped based on the enrollment for the 2019–2020 school year.
This measure especially affects charter schools, which have had to place thousands of students on waiting lists due to a rush by parents to transfer their kids from brick-and-mortar public schools. However, the new funding constraints also restrict charter programs from accepting any more students than the total each had last year.
Change of Plans
Home School Legal Defense Association has received numerous calls from California families concerned by the situation—and they’re seeking alternatives.
Many of these families were hoping to participate in one of the 300 California charter programs that provide services for students schooling from home. Parents we’ve spoken with say they are now looking at their options for homeschooling.
HSLDA President Mike Smith, who is also the attorney for California, said he thinks this may be a blessing in disguise for some.
“Virtual charter school programs do exercise a degree of control as to curriculum content and in other ways,” he said. “Many parents may find it freeing not to have this oversight.”
California parents of children who are at risk of health complications in the COVID-19 era—like Dezi Padilla—need peace of mind that their kids’ health will be protected this coming fall.
As Dezi told Fox 26 News, “The reason I started homeschooling is that my son is immune-compromised. He’s had an organ transplant, so this helps keep the germs out of the house.”
Mike said “we encourage people to try private homeschooling, as it offers much freedom and flexibility.” He added that home education also helps parents who feel they need to focus on their children’s health needs.
California law allows parents to homeschool either by filing an affidavit establishing a private school or through enrolling in a private school satellite program.
Either option expands the ability of families to craft a custom education for students, even more so than even at-home charter programs allow. For example, parents whose students are enrolled in a public school program are not allowed to use religious materials.
“With private homeschooling,” said Mike Smith, “you select the curriculum, and you make the schedule. You could decide to spend more time on a subject a student is struggling with, or you could assign special studies in areas that really hold your child’s interest. The possibilities are nearly unlimited.”