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California Homeschoolers Win Landmark Case in 2008

Landmark Court Case – California Home Schoolers Win

By Ann Zeise

11:40 AM I got a call from an excited Debbie Schwarzer, as she drove along the highway, hopefully hands-free, that the California Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of homeschooling in our state.

You may read the whole Opinion on Rehearing here, as written by Judge Croskey, who has apparently done his homework, reading the over 400 pages of documentation that was submitted to the court regarding the nature of homeschooling in California and in the whole country.

In summary, the court upheld the right of fit parents to homeschool as private schools, if they so wish, but that parents who are already being held dependent on the court for child abuse or other reason, might have their permission to control their children’s education revoked. In other words, while this is a victory for state homeschool families, it is not a favorable ruling for the family that caused the case in the first place.

This ruling specifically overruled the Turner (1953) and Shinn (1961) cases, which gave private homeschooling families problems in the past.

Mon, Aug 11, 2008 — 9:00 AM Teaching Without Credentials
A California appeals court has ruled that parents can homeschool their children, even if they don’t have a teaching credential. This overturns an earlier ruling that required such a qualification. Host: Michael Krasny Guests:

  • Dana Hull, metro reporter for the San Jose Mercury News
  • Debbie Schwarzer, attorney with GCA Law Partners, LLP; co-chair of the legal team for the Homeschool Association of California; and a homeschooling mom
  • Dennis Kelly, president of United Educators of San Francisco, vice president of American Federation of Teachers and California Federation of Teachers

Association Reports

California Homeschool Network Today’s court ruling held that (1) California statutes permit home schooling as a species of private school education; and (2) the statutory permission to home school may constitutionally be overridden in order to protect the safety of a child who has been declared a dependent. Homeschooling, therefore, remains a legal educational option in California.

HomeSchool Association of California According to HSC’s legal co-chair Debbie Schwarzer “They did the right thing. They did their job. They carefully read everything (they don’t cite the HSC/CHN/CHEA brief, but believe me, much of what they write is based on our arguments), and reached the legally correct conclusions.”

Ruling in the News

http://aclj.org/american-heritage/aclj-pleased-ca-appeals-court-clears-way-for-homeschooling The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law, said today it is pleased a California appeals court overturned a previous decision and cleared the way for parents to homeschool their children. The ACLJ filed an amicus brief in the case in support of homeschooling.

California appeals court upholds home schooling by non-credentialed parents By Sharon Noguchi, Mercury News A California appeals court this morning affirmed the right of parents who don’t have a teaching credential to educate their children at home. A three-judge panel overturned a lower-court order in February that had created an uproar among home-schooling parents when it required the credentialing. An estimated 166,000 California children are home schooled.


Court backs off ruling that restricted home schooling by By Jeff Ristine, San Diego Union-Tribune The new decision from the 2nd District Court of Appeal says California law permits home schooling, but that the permission can be overridden when a court has determined that the safety of a child is at issue.

Homeschooling a Constitutional Right, Americans Tell LifeWay Research “The California appeals court shocked the nation with its ruling in February,” said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research. “We decided, as part of a broad survey of more than 1,200 adult Americans, to get their reaction and found that 61 percent strongly agreed that the Constitution guarantees the right of parents to homeschool, and another 25 percent agreed somewhat.”

Parents have the right to home school, state court says By Bob Egelko, Chronicle A state appeals court reversed itself today and ruled that parents in California have the right to home school their children even if they lack a teaching credential. After hearing from an array of objectors that included state education officials and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the court agreed to reconsider the case and issued a new ruling today that reached the opposite conclusion: State law allows home schooling, although children can be required to attend school if they’re being abused or neglected at home.


Parents may home-school children without teaching credential, California court says Gov. Schwarzenegger praises the reversal by the 2nd District Court of Appeal as a victory for students and parental rights. By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times “This is a victory for California’s students, parents and education community. This decision confirms the right every California child has to a quality education and the right parents have to decide what is best for their children,” he said. “I hope the ruling settles this matter for parents and home-schooled children once and for all in California, but assure them that we, as elected officials, will continue to defend parents’ rights.”


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