California Court Shows Contempt for Parental Rights

A California Appellate Court has effectively made home schooling illegal, further eroding the rights of parents to care for their children in the ways they think most appropriate. Instead, childen will be required to attend government schools, or, at least, have only government approved teachers. This comes only months after the Los Angeles Times reported that “California schools are failing our kids” and a “2005 RAND REPORT SHOWS CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS LAG BEHIND OTHER STATES ON ALMOST EVERY OBJECTIVE MEASUREMENT.”

Although home schooling has been abused and misused by a small minority of parents, overall, homeschoolers rank high in most assessments of educational achievement and many top-tiered colleges and universities actively recruit homeschooled students because of the reputation of excellence that many associate with home schooling. –National Home Educational Network
This will surely be appealed to the Supreme Court of California, but some home schooling advocates are anticipating a lengthy fight there and in other jurisdictions.

As reported by The San Francisco Chronicle:

A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution.
‘California courts have held that … parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children,’ Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. ‘Parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling under the provisions of these laws.’
Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.
‘A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare,’ the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.
The ruling was applauded by a director for the state’s largest teachers’ union.

One Response to “California Court Shows Contempt for Parental Rights”

  1. Your headline is misleading.

    My wife has home schooled my children for about 5 years now, part of which we lived in California. With no legal education we were able to read the relevant statutes and figure out we couldn’t just declare we were home schooling our children and pull them out of school. I’m not a fan of the system, but that’s how the democratically elected California legislature chose to set it up.

    The court didn’t show contempt; they read the law and gave it the only plausible interpretation. They didn’t pass judgment on the wisdom of the law or twist the meaning to comport with their political opinion. I thought they showed respect for the democratic system and restrained themselves from stretching the law beyond its obvious limits.

    If anybody deserves blame it’s the legislature that passed the law. The good news is that the California legislature can change the law using the same democratic process the court respected in their decision. I hope they do.