The story hit mainstream media, “sending waves of fear through California’s home schooling families.” It was only a matter of time before this story hit the big papers. How can they resist the chance to monetize on a story that is so easy to sensationalize?
There isn’t much new in the article. Since the ruling, and since the article, this is what has happened in California:
1) Homeschoolers have NOT been rounded up and sent to prison. There has been no official statement from the CDE or local school districts.
2) Homeschooling still isn’t illegal. The laws haven’t changed.
3) The news and people’s reactions are highly emotional. When we take the emotion out of the equation, there really isn’t much to say.
Some thoughts on the LA Times article:
The second paragraph pretty much sums up the issue, and the article could have stopped there:
Advocates for the families vowed to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. Enforcement until then appears unlikely, but if the ruling stands, home-schooling supporters say California will have the most regressive law in the nation.
Enforcement is not only unlikely, it’s impossible. Here’s why: the court’s ruling, if taken as law, would cause a cascade of confusion on what the laws really mean, and who gets to decide. For example, the private school laws in CA say that for all private schools, teachers must be “capable of teaching.” There is no mention of credentials in any part of the private school code. If the judges’ ruling is interpreted that all parents who teach through their own private schools at home must have a credential, then what does that mean for all other private schools?
There is nothing in the law that says that certain kinds of private schools have one kind of teacher requirement, and others don’t. There is no indication in the law that parents who teach their children at home have to have any different credentials than a private school teacher at large private school. One judge mentions that large private schools have a natural self-regulation because of the demands of the parents, but that doesn’t exist anywhere in the law. But, according to the law, if homeschoolers are doing something “illegal”, aren’t all the parents who send their kids to large private schools who don’t hire credentialed teachers? If the law says one thing to cover all private school teachers, how does the court decide that one kind of private school teacher is legal and another isn’t? That’s not in the law.
If this were somehow “enforced”, and there was a mass round-up of parents, each time they were taken to court, the judge would have to show in the law where it says that the parents are required to have a credential of they are teachers at a private school. That’s not in the law. And where exactly does the law place the line between who has to have a credential and who doesn’t? Every time a parent wants to see if they are legally educating their children, do they have to get sent to court and assessed by a judge? Obviously not, so who has the jurisidiction to decide which families are legal and which ones aren’t? There is nothing in the law that prescribes that.
If this ruling were to stand, there would be so many questions that need to be cleared up, it would create a huge snafu for more than just homeschoolers.
It does not behoove the state, or the CA educational system, or anyone really, to accept this court’s ruling as the correct interpretation of the law. It might be the butter on some individual’s toast to “finally” get those pesky homeschoolers, but in reality, this is such a big ruling, it would effect everyone if it stood as is.
In fact, I’m not even exactly sure what would be “enforced” if someone were to try and enforce it. Would it be only homeschoolers who enroll in a private school ISP homeschooling program? Or PSA filing families? What about charter school families? What would be the law they are breaking? If something is illegal, it means someone is break the law, right? So what law are we breaking exactly? What are they going to enforce?
This is sooooo not over.
The Pacific Justice Institute is also quoted in the LA Times article. I am not familiar with this group. What I do know, is that they are not a homeschooling group, they are a family/religious/civil liberties group. I don’t know how well they will be able to defend the Long family, but outside support to fight the homeschooling law is another brick in the wall.
There is a lot of media about this. I was called this morning and asked to call into a program on NPR where they are discussing the ruling during one of their opinion shows. (I didn’t do it.) (If you heard it, send me an email. I couldn’t find a link.)
If you are in California, have something prepared to say to people who will inevitably ask you about it, since it’s coming out in the general media. And it wouldn’t hurt to warn your immediate family before they hear it from the tip-of-the-iceberg news reports that focus on the sky falling.
Alright, back to real life. We’re headed to Sea World, Day 2, where we continue to live our homeschooling life, ready for whatever comes next.
(P.S. If this seems rambling or is full of typos, I apologize. While I was trying to write this, my kids were crawling all over me trying to get me off the computer so we can go to Sea World.)