The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXIV
No. 3
Cover
May/June
2008

In This Issue

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Compiled by Court Report Staff
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Rude Awakening!

The Reactions

Dan Andrus, homeschooling dad: My first reaction was basically to get to the bottom of it, to take it with a grain of salt. I wanted to find out all the details and not jump to any conclusions. My other reaction was just disbelief that homeschooling could be made illegal that quickly.

Schwarzer Family
Courtesy of the family
As co-chair of HSC’s legal team, Debbie Schwarzer emphasizes that “homeschooling is not a partisan issue.” She and her husband, Fred, homeschool their two sons in Los Altos, California.

Grace Andrus, mayor of Crescenta Valley Town Council, California, and homeschooling mom: I’m an elected official in my community—I’m elected to the town council and I’m serving my second term as council president/mayor, so I work very closely with the Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Michael Antonovich. I actually got an email from his field deputy and also one from him, saying that they had heard the news and were wondering how this would affect us.

So my first reaction was, that’s weird! And how could the court possibly do that? The court’s judgment of all homeschoolers based on one family and one case is not correct.

Roy Hanson, director of Private and Home Educators of California: My first thought was how come nobody knew this was going on? It’s 180 degrees from where we’ve been heading all these years of working in California. It is a blow, but we began to immediately work on it.

Marcia Neill, homeschooling mom and director of St. Michael the Archangel Academy Private School: I called Pat Ramirez [legal assistant to Mike Smith] immediately. And then I sent an email to all the families who participate in our academy’s classes, saying functions were normal. I had felt for a long time that we homeschool because it’s a mission from God, to promote the family and protect the family and the parent’s right to educate their children.

This is an attack, but we’re going to win.

Mary Schofield
Courtesy of Mary Schofield
“Homeschooling is not going to end,” emphasizes CHEA Vice President Mary Schofield.

Mary Schofield, vice president of Christian Home Educators Association of California: I was shocked, just like everyone else. It just seemed to come out of nowhere. Usually, we hear when these issues are going on. But it was a juvenile dependency matter and those are confidential—if someone doesn’t choose to communicate with us, we have no way of knowing. It was kind of a rude awakening.

Debbie Schwarzer, co-chair of the legal team for HomeSchool Association of California: My initial reaction was, how could all of us not have heard about this? I’ve worked in homeschool legal issues for 10 years and when I first read the opinion I was bewildered by the judge’s bizarre reasoning. It was very clear that he wanted to reach a result and then he was going to structure the argument that was going to help him reach that result.

Karen Taylor
Courtesy of Karen Taylor
Know the law firsthand, CHN Vice President Karen Taylor advises parents.

Karen Taylor, vice president of California Homeschool Network: I immediately realized that we had a serious problem on our hands, and that we needed to mobilize quickly. I was not afraid to continue to homeschool or go out in public. Homeschooling is just too huge a movement, and we have the support of the public and the media, so I was not worried about homeschooling becoming illegal. However, we want to continue to be able to homeschool using California’s private school option, and that could be at risk. California Homeschool Network is doing everything we can to ensure that that option stays viable.

Thanks for Your Support

During the crisis in California, homeschoolers and other concerned citizens swung into action, standing together to protect homeschool freedom. Thank you for joining with HSLDA to fight this court decision!

HSLDA’s immediate strategy was to petition the Supreme Court to “depublish” the opinion, in other words, to prevent the decision from being applied to all California homeschoolers and being used as legal precedent. We asked everyone who wanted to protect homeschooling to sign an online petition supporting depublication. In just 10 days, over 250,000 people signed. Although the court’s decision to rehear the case means that we no longer need to pursue depublication, your signatures are a strong testament to the public support for homeschool freedom.

In the weeks following the decision, HSLDA’s phone lines were humming with calls from homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers wanting to know more about the California situation and what they could do to help. Call volume peaked on March 7, 2008, following Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio interview that day with HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris regarding the ruling.

“We’re going to have to feel out the best way to handle these calls today,” HSLDA President Mike Smith told staff members early on the day Farris’ interview aired. “We’ll have to adapt and be mobile.”

“OK, troops, let’s go and do the job!” was his final rallying cry.

When HSLDA receptionist Naomi Johnson heard about the avalanche of calls expected, her first reaction was “Ohhhh boy!” She continues, “In my mind, it wasn’t a question of whether we’d be able to physically answer all of the calls, but whether we’d be capable of giving everyone a satisfactory answer.”

Receptionist Carolyn Weatherholtz says, “When Mr. Smith mentioned how many people listen to Dobson’s daily radio broadcast, I thought, ‘Wow! The whole world is going to call us!’ We called for reinforcements, and it was a blessing to see how our fellow employees came together and helped.”

As we wait for the court to issue a new decision, we encourage you to continue staying alert and united. Thank you for your support!