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.
So...so will I.
So...do 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!
California Court: No Right to Homeschool
http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B192878.PDF In re RACHEL L. et al., Persons Coming
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1720697,00.html?imw=YCriminalizing Home Schoolers
A Child is Waiting,
Take care...be aware,