California parents who want more for their children than the institutionalized indoctrination of public schools are being boxed in more and more, according to an international pro-family organization whose leaders are expressing horror over a recent court ruling banning homeschooling in the state.
WND broke the story about the ruling from a Los Angeles appeals court that ordered a homeschooling family to enroll their children in a public school or “qualified” private school, specifically disallowing the program they already were in.
Since then, several petitions have been assembled to protest the decision, a multitude of homeschooling advocates have announced plans to seek to overturn it, and even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell have acknowledged parents’ rights in determining their children’s education should be protected.
Now comes the concern from The World Congress of Families.
“There’s something like a perfect storm relative to educational freedom in California,” said Congress founder Allan Carlson. “You’ve got the governor and state legislature (in 2007) in a sense signing off on a fairly radical sex gender education program. And two years ago there was a court decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that basically said once you put your children in a public school parents abdicate control.
“Now one of the few escape valves available for parents still trying to be the primary educators, namely homeschooling, is being shut off,” he said.
He said the ruling from Judge H. Walt Croskey was “blatantly anti-family” and the ruling concluding parents who homeschool their children without a teacher’s certificate could be subject to both criminal and civil penalties is “outrageous.”
“It’s an attempt to cut off escape routes to families fleeing the public education system,” Carlson said. “This had nothing to do with the quality of homeschooling. Homeschool graduates tend to score higher on aptitude tests than products of public education. Students schooled at home frequently attend the best Ivy League colleges and universities.
“Judge Croskey doesn’t want children to miss out on all of the wonderful indoctrination that has become an integral part of public education, like national Day of Silence, where students are compelled to affirm the homosexual lifestyle,” he said.
Carlson told WND that he doesn’t think such circumstances are “an accident.”
“There’s a common denominator, the public teachers unions, who are extremely hostile to homeschooling, not because they are so much concerned about the children, but I think mainly because they’re embarrassed. They (homeschool students) are a standing affront to the claim that only someone with a teacher’s certificate can teach a child,” he said.
Assemblyman Joel Anderson already has proposed a resolution in the state Legislature in California that calls for the Croskey ruling to be overturned, and Gov. Schwarzenegger said, “if the courts don’t protect parents’ rights, then, as elected officials, we will.
The Home School Legal Defense Association has launched a petition seeking to have the legal opinion “de-published,” which is a process that would prevent it from being used as a widespread precedent for other homeschooling families.
Yet another also is under way, at the ReverseTheRuling.com website.
That organization offers information for homeschoolers who want to follow the California case, because of that state’s influence throughout the nation. It was assembled by the organization Learning By Grace, an outreach dedicated to providing parents with innovative online Christian homeschool materials.
Another effort, endorsed by the Home School Legal Defense Association, actually is to encourage an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would recognize the rights of parents to homeschool their children.
HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris noted he had a meeting scheduled with several members of Congress over that very issue.
“We have seen God’s hand of protection on the homeschooling movement for the 25 years we have been working together for this cause. There is no reason to begin to doubt God now,” he said.
Pacific Justice also is representing Sunland Christian School, which has been working with the family’s children in a study program, on an appeal to the state Supreme Court.
The family involved in the case, Phillip and Mary Long, have told WND they plan to appeal, too, but their specifics were not yet assembled.
The school itself, Sunland, issued a statement to assure its constituents of their continuing ability to work with Sunland, and its plans.
“Are you confused?” the school asked. “Let’s look at the facts.” It said:
- This ruling sets precedent and interprets the law for everyone in California in its current status. It is not a ruling just for the family involved.
- At this moment, there is no provision in the California Constitution to allow parents a constitutional right to direct their children’s education.
- California Educational statutes do not currently define homeschooling.
- California homeschoolers have been educating their children under the current laws for the past 27+ years without any major conflict.
- This ruling effects both private homeschoolers and public charter home school programs, distant learning and independent study programs.
- Filing for an appeal (which SCS’s legal team, Pacific Justice, will be doing) puts in suspension the ruling until the appeal is denied or heard (possible 4 months to 5 years). During this time no homeschool family will be challenged in a court of law with this ruling.
It is creating panic among homeschoolers because if left unchanged, it soon could be cited against other families, the school said.
“Don’t panic,” the school said. “Help those who feel distraught and afraid, to be at peace and have faith for a favorable outcome. While we are appealing this ruling, it won’t be used in court against homeschoolers. Continue to homeschool effectively, caring about your family, children, their growth and development and their academic instruction,” the school said.
Pacific Justice chief Brad Dacus promised, “I will leave no stone unturned in an effort to reverse this heinous attack on parental rights, and that includes asking for your swift and immediate help.”
Carlson said the recent decisions are a “step backwards” in a burst of educational freedom in the United States that has encompassed the last 30 or 40 years. Every state recognizes, in one form or another, the right to homeschool.
But California, with its new opinion, has aligned itself with the two other governments around the world that explicitly ban homeschooling, Germany and Brazil. In Germany, Hitler banned it under the ideology that the state needs to control the minds of the next generation.
Carlson said he feared California was following a similar path. “They are afraid to not keep tight control,” he said. “They fear liberty.
“In America one of our great virtues is that when in doubt we tend to trust freedom,” he continued. “But California is coming into line with Brazil’s leftist government.”
The ruling depriving parents of influence in their children’s public school education actually came in 2005, when the 9th U.S. Circuit ruled that schools could provide students with any sexual information or instruction they chose, and parents had no right to object.
Then in 2007, the legislature and governor imposed a sexual indoctrination plan that bans any negative references in any school, class, material or event to alternative sexual lifestyles including homosexuality, bisexuality or transsexuality.
Family advocacy organizations have even expressed concern the words ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ could be banished because using those terms, without accompany references to same-sex couples or other alternatives, could be considered discriminatory.
Carlson said the ruling “shows just how far some judges will go to strip parents of any rights over their children’s education.”
“This horrendous decision must be reversed,” he said.
There are an estimated 166,000 children in formalized homeschool situations in California, but officials estimate there are others “under the radar” that would be several times that number.
The Longs previously told WND of their concerns with the public school district’s advocacy for alternative sexual lifestyles and promotion of the theory of evolution.
“The parent-child relationship existed long before any government and makes it the responsibility of the parent to educate the child,” Phillip Long told California reporters.
He said the responsibility includes protecting children from things that are hazardous “emotionally” as well as physically.
Croskey’s ruling reversed a decision from Superior Court Judge Stephen Marpet, who said “parents have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home.”
As WND has reported, the Longs had their children enrolled in Sunland Christian School, a private homeschooling program.
But Croskey, without hearing arguments from the school, opined that the situation
was a “ruse of enrolling [children] in a private school and then letting them stay home and be taught by a non-credentialed parent.”