Wednesday, March 19, 2008

California Schoolin'

The strict constructionists in California read the law, and decided that home-schooling was illegal--not unlike the decision about 'virtual schooling' in Wisconsin. This according to Jos. Knippenberg on the First Things blogsite.

...According to the appellate panel, California law contemplates home education only by fully credentialed tutors, with only a few minor exceptions, generally provided for and supervised by public-school systems. There is, the judges held, no legal provision for private-school ISPs or private-school affidavits. Parents who failed to conform to the law by enrolling their children full-time in public or private schools, or hiring a credentialed tutor, “may be subject to a criminal complaint against them, found guilty of an infraction, and subject to imposition of fine.”

No wonder people were incredulous and outraged. Unfortunately for them, the court stands on pretty firm legal ground, following precedents and offering a “strict construction” of California law.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel (barring legislative remedy, which seems to be entirely possible.)

...the most relevant precedent is Wisconsin v. Yoder, a 1972 case dealing with the claim of Old Order Amish that their children should be exempted from compulsory attendance in school after completing the eighth grade

...but even Yoder is not entirely reassuring for the California situation--the "religious" claims of the Old Order Amish are far, far stronger than those of many homeschoolers.

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