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« Christian Priesthood and Sacrifice: Part 1 | Main | Christian Priesthood and Sacrifice: Part 2 »

April 03, 2008

Comments

David B.

Jimmy!

Chris

John Stossel FTW! A thousands internets for you my friend!

francis 03

Much as I support CA homeschoolers, I'm not sure this quotation makes sense. Why was the case in court unless the legislature had passed a law restricting homeschooling-- in which case people would not be free to do it in the relevant circumstances, because it would be "expressly prohibited by law?" I checked out the full article, and it doesn't explain where this ruling comes from either.

On another note, of course everyone should have the right to homeschool-- but if we've learned anything, it should be a wariness of creative interpretations of constitutional language that just happen to coincide with the political views or desires of some favored group.

francis 03

"CA" meaning "California," lest there be any confusion.

Marty Helgesen

Francis asks, "Why was the case in court unless the legislature had passed a law restricting homeschooling-- in which case people would not be free to do it in the relevant circumstances, because it would be 'expressly prohibited by law?'"

Here is an excerpt from a story in the March 7 San Jose Mercury News:
BEGIN QUOTE
The court case centers on a Southern California couple, Phillip and Mary Long of Lynwood, who home-schooled their eight children through the Sunland Christian School in Sylmar. The family came to the attention of Los Angeles County social workers when one of the children claimed the father was physically abusive. The workers learned that all eight children in the family were home-schooled, and an attorney representing the two youngest children asked the Juvenile Dependency Court to order that they be enrolled in public or private school as a way to protect their well-being.

Home-school advocates criticized the Feb. 28 decision, written by Justice H. Walter Croskey of the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

"Instead of making a ruling that affected two children, he made a ruling that affects tens of thousands of children," said Debbie Schwarzer, a Los Altos attorney who home-schools her two children and is active in the HomeSchool Association of California. "What the judge has done is send us back to the Dark Ages."
END QUOTE

Of course, in the "Dark Ages" God was not excluded from education.

Marty Helgesen

Francis asks, “Why was the case in court unless the legislature had passed a law restricting homeschooling-- in which case people would not be free to do it in the relevant circumstances, because it would be ‘expressly prohibited by law?’"

Here is an except from the March 11 San Jose Mercury News:

BEGIN QUOTE
The court case centers on Mary and Philip Long, a Southern California couple who home-schooled their eight children through the Sunland Christian School in Sylmar. The family came to the attention of Los Angeles County social workers when one of the children claimed the father was physically abusive. The workers learned that all eight children in the family were home-schooled, and an attorney representing the two youngest children asked the juvenile court to order that they be enrolled in public or private school as a way to protect their well-being.

Home-school advocates blasted the Feb. 28 decision, written by Justice H. Walter Croskey of the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

"Instead of making a ruling that affected two children, he made a ruling that affects tens of thousands of children," said Debbie Schwarzer, a Los Altos attorney who home-schools her two children and is active in the Homeschool Association of California. "What the judge has done is send us back to the Dark Ages."

END QUOTE

Of course the “Dark Ages” did not exclude God from education.

DJY
"Why was the case in court unless the legislature had passed a law restricting homeschooling-- in which case people would not be free to do it in the relevant circumstances, because it would be ‘expressly prohibited by law?’"

The immediate answer to that question has already been addressed, given the charges of possible abuse. The more important question is why did the court rule so generally, attempting to ban homeschooling when no law exists?

Two answers (both cynical) come to mind:

1.) Activist courts. Since when has legislation, case law and common sense stopped a court on either coast? How does gay marriage happen? What penumbras exactly give right to kill the unborn.
2.) In a similar vein: the fear of letting the legislature actually define a right to homeschooling, thereby circumventing the court's almighty power to control the citizens. Given the tenor in the state immediately following the ruling, it is highly likely the legislature might take such a move. Indeed, if one is cynical enough, one might suspect that the move by the court was taken for just the same reasons; realizing they had vastly overstepped their bounds, they are moving to reign in negative opinions, stop reactionary legislation and thus keep future options open.

francis 03

Oh. Well, I still don't get why this is so awful. The court didn't "ban" homeschooling, did it? It just said that if a court finds that you're abusing your children, it has the authority to keep you from homeschooling. That's awful for the family involved (assuming they're *not* actually abusing the kids), but exactly how this affects "tens of thousands" of children is going to have to be explained more clearly to me.

Elaine T

Yes the court did ban home schooling. The decision is at

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B192878.PDF

Quote:

In this dependency case (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 300), we consider the question whether parents can legally “home school” their children. The attorney for two of the three minor children in the case has petitioned this court for extraordinary writ relief, asking us to direct the juvenile court to order that the children be enrolled in a public or
private school, and actually attend such a school.
The trial court’s reason for declining to order public or private schooling for the children was its belief that parents have a onstitutional right to school their children in their own home. However, California courts have held that under provisions in the Education Code, parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children. Thus, while the petition for extraordinary writ asserts that the trial court’s refusal to order attendance in a public or private school was an abuse of discretion, we find the refusal was actually an error of law. 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 (Ed. Code, § 48220 et seq.) applies to the child.


Hope this clears up your questions and shows why people are so upset.

Cienwen

It's such a big deal that it's on the Governor's website.

If you go to this address: http://gov.ca.gov/interact

In the pull-down "PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR SUBJECT" one of the options is Education- Homeschooling Ruling.

It's a good place to voice your discontent.

francis 03

Wow. So homeschooling is illegal in California. That is definitely a very big deal; obviously it shouldn't be. It does look to me, though, like the court is saying that the *legislature* banned it. All the court is saying is that the legislature is allowed to do it. Whether the court is interpreting the statute honestly or not, I don't know.

francis 03

After reading the opinion, I'm not sure the court was being "activist." It's an entirely fair (maybe the best) reading of the statute that you have to send your kids to public school unless they're (1) in an organized private school or (2) being tutored by a credentialed tutor.

At any rate, the quote Jimmy chose is, I'm afraid, nonsense. It's quite true that "people are free to do anything not expressly prohibited by law." It sure looks like California *has* prohibited homeschooling by law, but whether or not that's the case it is *not* true that "If the Constitution is silent about homeschooling, then the right is reserved to the people."

That betrays, I am sorry to say, an incredible ignorance of how the Constitution works. The Constitution is silent about speed limits. Does that mean that the right to drive 200 mph "is reserved to the people?" No-- the 10th Amendment reserves all powers not given to the federal government or prohibited to the states to "the states respectively, or to the people."

In other words-- whether California is to allow homeschooling or not is, under the Constitution, up to its government. My guess is that now that the courts have spoken the law will get changed pretty quick.

Sleeping Beastly

It sure looks like California *has* prohibited homeschooling by law

The courts have actually ruled twice before that the language of the California Education Code is too vague for it to be interpreted as banning homeschooling. In the instance in question, the parents appeared to be adhering to the law in any case, since they did have their children enrolled in a private school's independent study program. While I can't look into the hearts of the judges who made this ruling, it looks a lot like judicial activism to me.

francis 03

Well, I'm not intimately familiar with the case, or the history of judicial treatment of California's Education Code. What I said was based on a quick perusal of the relevant sections. Of course, even non-activist courts disagree with each other from time to time. In any event, I agree that this holding is really bad news for California. Hopefully it can get reversed, either on appeal (if that's the right legal outcome) or--better yet-- by the legislature.

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