The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXIV
No. 4
Cover
July/August
2008

In This Issue

SPECIALFEATURES
REGULARCOLUMNS
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Examining the Amici

Negative

Four parties have filed friend of the court briefs against the right to homeschool in California. Two briefs strongly oppose homeschooling, and two contain mixed messages.

California Department of Education
Summary: Parents can homeschool as long as they meet the requirements of a private school. (Confusingly, the department’s brief supports homeschooling but opposes the use of the private school independent study program option.)

...
HOME-SCHOOL SUCCESS HAS
BEEN DEMONSTRATED BY A
NUMBER OF OTHER POPULAR
INDICATORS OF SUCCESS
...

California Teachers Association
The state’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 340,000 public school professionals and affiliated with the National Education Association.

Summary: Only parents with teaching certificates should be allowed to homeschool.

Los Angeles Unified School District
The largest school district in California, the second-largest school district in the nation, and the school district in which the L. family lives.

Summary: On the one hand, the court’s original conclusion that only certified teachers can homeschool is correct, and homeschooling is otherwise illegal. On the other hand, the LAUSD’s brief also states that a parent or other individual entity who meets the conditions of the law “may presumably operate a private school.”

Public Advocates Inc.
A non-profit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges poverty and discrimination in California.

Summary: Parents homeschooling without certification deny children their right to an education.

Positive

The 12 friend of the court briefs filed in favor of homeschooling represent a broad cross-section of the homeschool community as well as other groups. Each brief explains one facet of the argument for homeschooling. Some briefs were filed jointly by more than one organization.

American Center for Law and Justice, The Western Center for Law and Policy, The American Civil Rights Union, Jewish Homeschoolers of Napa and Sonoma Counties, and Christian Leaders

American Center for Law and Justice—a nationwide non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to the defense of rights guaranteed under the First Amendment, specifically religious freedom and freedom of speech.

The Western Center for Law and Policy—a California-based non-profit legal defense organization dedicated to the protection of religious freedom, parental rights, and civil liberties.

The American Civil Rights Union—a non-partisan legal policy organization dedicated to defending all constitutional rights; members of the policy board include former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, former federal appeals court judge and U.S. Solicitor General Robert H. Bork, and Pepperdine Law School Dean Kenneth W. Starr.

Jewish Homeschoolers of Napa and Sonoma Counties—an organization providing support for local homeschooling parents and students.

Christian Leaders—a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening Christian families by encouraging a lifestyle and culture of home discipleship as well as homeschooling.

Summary: Homeschooling should be protected because it is an expression of religious freedom.

Arbor Academy, A to Z Home’s Cool, Beach High School, Excellence in Education, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, Grace Christian Academy, Homefires Journal, and Northern California African American Homeschooler’s Association

Arbor Academy, Beach High School, Excellence in Education, and Grace Christian Academy—private faith-based and secular schools that offer services for homeschoolers.

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum and Northern California African American Homeschooler’s Association—homeschool support organizations.

A to Z Home’s Cool and Homefires Journal—provide homeschoolers with access to resources such as curriculum and classes, support groups, legal information, and speaker schedules.

Summary: Homeschooling in California is a well-established and academically successful practice.

California Governor’s Office
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Summary: Parents can homeschool as long as they meet the requirements of a private school.

California Homeschool Network, Christian Home Educators Association of California, and Homeschool Association of California

The largest statewide homeschool membership organizations in California, all non-profit, collectively serving tens of thousands of homeschooling families. The group filing this brief represents hundreds of smaller local homeschool groups and a wide range of individual homeschoolers from diverse religious, socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic groups.

Summary: A detailed examination of how California law allows for homeschooling.

Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
An education, litigation, and advocacy program in constitutional law and jurisprudence located at Chapman University School of Law and a part of the Claremont Institute.

Summary: Parents have a fundamental right to control the education of their children.

Home School Legal Defense Association, Focus on the Family, and Private and Home Educators of California

HSLDA—a non-profit membership association of over 80,000 families across America, with over 15,000 families in California.

Focus on the Family—a non-profit religious corporation committed to strengthening the family.

Private and Home Educators of California—a full-time organization advocating at the state capitol for private home-schooling; PHEC is a program of Family Protection Ministries.

Summary: Homeschooling is academically successful.

Liberty Counsel on behalf of 19 Members of Congress
The congressmen are united in their concern about the effect that an unfavorable decision in California could have on homeschooling laws across the nation, as well as on the parental rights protected by such laws; members include California representatives Ken Calvert (District 44), John Campbell (48), John Doolittle (4), Wally Herger (2), Dan Lungren (3), Howard McKeon (25), Gary Miller (42), and Ed Royce (40).

Summary: Homeschooling is already legal in every other state.

National Legal Foundation
A non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to the defense of First Amendment liberties and to the restoration of America’s moral and religious foundation.

Summary: Homeschooling is protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Pacific Legal Foundation
A non-profit foundation litigating matters of public interest; supports limited government and free enterprise, the protection of individual and property rights, and improving the quality of education by increasing alternatives to public schools, including homeschooling.

Summary: A requirement that only certified teachers can homeschool would be unconstitutional.

Seventh-Day Adventist Church State Council
The oldest public policy organization in the southwestern United States devoted exclusively to issues of liberty, conscience, and the separation of church and state.

Summary: Homeschooling is an expression of their members’ religious beliefs.

Sunland Christian School (filed by Pacific Justice Institute)
An accredited California private school offering homeschool, independent study, correspondence homeschooling, and online homeschooling to families throughout the United States (the L. family’s children were enrolled in Sunland). Sunland’s legal team is the Pacific Justice Institute, a non-profit legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties.

Summary: California’s compulsory attendance laws allow for independent study through a private school.

Sutherland Institute
A conservative think tank committed to shaping Utah law and policy based on a core set of governing principles such as private initiative, self-reliance, and family as the fundamental unit of society.

Summary: Homeschooling is protected by both the U.S. and the California constitutions.