The January/February 2001 issue of Home School Legal Defense Association's Home School Court Report had a terrific graphic on page 22-a color-coded United States map categorizing each state's home schooling laws by least to most regulated. This is a very helpful tool for our members contemplating a move. Unfortunately, the map erroneously indicates that California is a state with "moderate regulation." We're sorry that we did not catch this error before it went to press.
We would like to reassure you that California definitely falls into the category of "low state regulation." California simply requires notification of the establishment of a private school by filing a private school affidavit. This form does not even require children's names. In California, private schools are not regulated, licensed or approved, nor is the course of study evaluated by any public school entity. Student performance is not monitored. Like other "private school" states California enjoys tremendous freedom and we consider it one of the best states for home schooling.
What makes home schooling in the golden state somewhat uncomfortable is that the California Department of Education does not share our view. The department persists in circulating opinion letters from its legal staff stating that home schooling under the private school exemption is not a legal option. School districts continue to use these opinion letters to pressure home schoolers into enrolling in the local public school or public school independent study programs. Generally, HSLDA has found that when we are able to intervene on behalf of that family early in the proceedings, we are able to alleviate such pressure and avoid court cases.
We applaud Christian Home Educators Association of California and Family Protection Ministries for their tireless efforts to monitor legislation and protect the freedoms that we enjoy in California. We need to support these organizations financially so they are able to continue to successfully fight the battle to preserve our freedoms in the legislature.
Despite the state department of education's animosity toward home schooling and the media's sometimes very misleading reporting, this effective educational alternative continues to grow and prosper in California. — J. Michael Smith