Saturday, March 8, 2008

Constitutional Rights: Home Schooling? Abuse? Neglect? None of the Above?

..."allowing every person to make his own
standards on matters of conduct
in which society as a whole
has important interests”
is precluded by
“the very concept of ordered liberty ...

Can't help wondering...

what you're wondering about today?

I'm wondering about parents, children and constitutional rights a lot lately... usually with an emphasis on child abuse of course. But today the news from California focuses on another aspect of that concept... home schooling. will I. parents have a constitutional right to homeschool their children?

So...did they ever?

Nowhere in the Croskey Court document is the proposition presented as anything new, let alone supported by cherry-picked words quoted by this blogger called KipEsquire, that "California courts have held that ... parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children,"...

But by cleverly taking a few words out of context, KipEsquire, and others doing the same thing today, create a firestorm that sucks even the CA Governor into the smoky maelstrom. The choice of words easily leads the careless reader to believe this ruling drastically changes something…forcibly rips away someone's inalienable and constitutional rights...deprives parents of some previously assumed authority over their children's education. No doubt it threw welcome fuel on the fire that smolders among the more radical home schoolers.

KipEsquire is clever. He throws out the lit match with this:

"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.

No doubt knowing full well the sparks will fly on that one, KipEsquire then fans the flames with this:

"Parents have a legal duty to see to their children's schooling under the provisions of these laws."

And knowing, no doubt, that with eyes burning no one will notice, KipEsquire splashes more fuel on their blazing emotions with this:

"Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said."

Sound like if you home school, you have no right to do so and face prosecution if you do?

However, that isn't what The Croskey Court finds at all. Here are the words KipEsquire chooses to use placed back in their original context:

The trial court’s reason for declining to order public or private schooling for the children was its belief that parents have a constitutional 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.

That doesn't say you can't home school your children, or are in danger of prosecution if you do. The Croskey Court opinion does say the trial court declined "to order public or private schooling" because of a belief the parents have a constitutional right to home school their children.

However, the issue of a parent's constitutional right to home school was settled prior to this case in the California Courts:

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.

Abuse of discretion or error of law? The Croskey Court confirms that parents do have a right to home school in CA, when they do so in accordance with existing 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.

Finally, the Croskey Court notes:

Because the parents in this case have not demonstrated that any of these exemptions apply to their children, we will grant the petition for extraordinary writ.

Amazing to me that KipEsquire, who claims to be a lawyer, albeit a NY not CA lawyer, also says:

"…It is a fine line (or a massive chasm, depending on your point of view) between insisting, as I do, that there is no right to badly homeschool your child and this court's ruling that there is no right to homeschool whatsoever…" (KipEsquire's emphasis; my hi-lite).

And, KipEsquire continues:

"…To adopt a bright-line rule that any homeschooling is "bad" homeschooling is arbitrary, irrational -- and likely an unconstitutional violation of due process. Even in the knowledge that some homeschooling will be bad homeschooling, the state should be required to demonstrate that a particular parent is failing to properly homeschool a particular child, just as it should be required to demonstrate that a particular parent is neglecting or abusing a particular child." (KipEsquire's emphases; my hi-lite)

KipEsquire's rant becomes of particular interest to me with those last words! But this post is so long that I will continue my thoughts next time….so long, so long!

For you:
California Court: No Right to Homeschool In re RACHEL L. et al., Persons Coming,8599,1720697,00.html?imw=YCriminalizing Home Schoolers Schooling

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee


KipEsquire said...

You realize I hope that you are not "quoting me," but rather "quoting me quoting the San Francisco Chronicle," right?

And on the subject of "omissions," I find it curious that you omit my repeated use of the word "non-credentialed" in the context of "no right to homeschool."

So remind me again who "splashes more fuel on their blazing emotions"?

P.S. Great show of maturity there with the "claims to be a lawyer" tantrum. You are quite the intellectual powerhouse.

Child Person said...

Good morning Kip! I'm delighted to hear from you. Actually I'm not aware of the fact that you are
quoting the San Francisco Chronicle. I'm actually an old horse learning new tricks and don't get all these things right yet. So, I'll return to your site and see what I missed on that.

As for your use of the word "non-credentialed," I'd noticed you used that in response to a comment on your site but didn't "get" it then as relevant so need some help from you on understanding that.

As to who (m?) is "splashing fuel on the fire"... touché... I admit I am trying to do just that. If you spent any time at my site, as I did at yours, you must have noticed the purpose of mine is to arouse emotions enough to get more people to pay attention to the issue of child abuse. I use almost any subject that provides a starting point.

As to "intellectual powerhouse" ... nah, just an old lady with few remaining options trying to make a difference. So what's your excuse?

You might consider getting some help on your defensiveness... it's not at all becoming in one so obviously brilliant (no sarcasm there, my friend!). Thanks for stopping by Child Person....
A Child is Waiting...
Take care...Be Aware,