Here’s the deal.

I love Christians (I married one!) but if the goddamn crazy fundamentalist ones don’t stop ruining everything for the rest of us they are going on my permanent shit list.

Pretty much everyone I know has emailed or otherwise brought to my attention the California court case from earlier this week (last week?) in which the judge ruled that home schooling is ILLEGAL unless the parent is an accredited teacher.

This is the most ridiculous interpretation of the law that I have ever heard.

According to California law (and I am not versed in legalese so I am going by what the Home School Legal Defense says) any family can become a private school. Private school teachers in California ARE NOT REQUIRED to be accredited.

You can see how the ruling contradicts the law entirely, can’t you?

The main problem seems to be that the laws don’t actually say ANYTHING about home schooling itself, leaving it kind of open for interpretation whether it’s allowed. But there are a number of things that definitely ARE allowed, including the private school option I mentioned.

The OTHER main problem is that the family the court case was actually about have been up for various charges of abuse for the past TWENTY YEARS, so it seems to me that this was not about the home schooling AT ALL. And of course, they are Christian.

So of course, every single article about this either focuses on why home schooling is stupid or on how ONLY CRAZY FUNDIES HOME SCHOOL. Which we all know is absolutely true, right?

I am not worried. For one thing, I am certain it will be overturned OR applied only to the one family (there is a legal term for that which I have forgotten). For another, there are four and a half years until Sam is required to be enrolled in school. The laws might change by then anyway, or we might move, or my entire philosophy might change, or… really, anything could happen. I’ll worry about it then.

(Links to come. And possibly some more angry ranting because I am seriously OVER being lumped in with the wackos.)

(Please don’t write to defend the rest of the Christians. I know this is not Jesus’ fault.)

UPDATE: The Governator wants the ruling overturned. I love you, Ahnold!

13 thoughts on “Here’s the deal.

  1. Kirk

    March 7, 2008 at 11:23am

    Ok, that totally mangled my comment. Let’s try that again:

    My local rag’s article is fairly balanced:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/03/07/MNJDVF0F1.DTL

    Here’s a quote that offers some hope:

    “State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell issued a statement saying he supports “parental choice when it comes to homeschooling.””

    I certainly thought of you as soon as I read about this this morning. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but the ruling does seem overly restrictive. Also from the article:

    “the appeals court said state law has been clear since at least 1953, when another appellate court rejected a challenge by homeschooling parents to California’s compulsory education statutes. Those statutes require children ages 6 to 18 to attend a full-time day school, either public or private, or to be instructed by a tutor who holds a state credential for the child’s grade level.
    “California courts have held that … parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children,” Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. “Parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling under the provisions of these laws.””

    Sounds to me, then, like there hasn’t been much desire for enforcement since 1953…

  2. Soupytwist

    March 7, 2008 at 12:05pm

    I already responded to your tweet about this, a la CRAZY FUNDIES, but I think their defense attorney made a gambit along the lines of “they’ll never disqualify religious schooling based on a 1st Amendment Claim!” and it bit the defense in the ass because of the overwhelming evidence that it wasn’t “religious schooling” as much as “religious abuse” but the grounds of the claim were around a constitutional right to educate your children in the setting of your choosing when, as Kirk pointed out, that basis has already been disqualified in California.

    Where the judge fucked up, in my opinion, was issuing a potentially more restrictive decision than the precedent case, when it’s not clear that by finding against the family required a more restrictive decision.

    And, of course, I don’t have a kid – but this could impact my husband’s situation as an Alt Ed teacher depending upon how this decision is applied… oy.

  3. Stephanie

    March 7, 2008 at 12:30pm

    I’m not really well versed in the legal aspects of homeschooling, except as far as what I need to do to be legal. And this year we are. Legal. But the local homeschool activist type people tell me that they have worked hard in Nevada to get the law to specifically mention homeschooling, to have actual homeschooling laws as opposed to just educational laws. And they’ve gotten it so it’s pretty easy here, all we do is fill out a form with our info, send it in, and then we never have to do anything again unless we move.

    I don’t actually consider it any of the governments business how I educate my children, but I do take into consideration a state’s homeschooling laws when I think about whether I would like to move there someday or not. Texas and Connecticut require absolutely nothing, as well as a few others I can’t remember right now.

    As for the lumping together with fundie Christians, it used to be *the* common way to write about homeschooling. Then some people figured out that hey! not all homeschoolers are doing it for wacky religious reasons and I’ve seen a lot of really great articles about homeschooling and even unschooling in recent years. But I guess when something homeschooling related pops up in the news in a bigger way (has it?) then all those people who never had any reason to change their assumptions, who never really thought very deeply about homeschooling or why people do it, start writing about it and then, well… here comes a lot of lumping. I don’t know. That was my first thought. It’s just been a really long time since I’ve seen a lump them in with the crazies article on homeschooling, but maybe it’s just because I unconsciously avoid them.

    Stephanie’s last blog post..A New Business Venture?

  4. Annika

    March 7, 2008 at 12:34pm

    Well, the articles I’ve read (not all of them, but many) tend to focus on the Christian aspect of it. Which is totally understandable since the case was a bout a Christian family, but that just makes me MORE angry because WHY did they have to be abusive and bring homeschooling to the public attention in a negative way yet again? (Not that abuse would be OK in ANY circumstances, but I am only talking about how it affects me.)

  5. Angela in Ontario

    March 7, 2008 at 12:58pm

    I saw this linked from Ravelry, and thought of you, but didn’t sent it on because I figured you’d have heard before me.

    I like your parable, and agree that the whole thing is beyond borked.

    Angela in Ontario’s last blog post..Messy.

  6. Stephanie

    March 7, 2008 at 1:05pm

    Oh, I just meant articles about homeschooling in general, not about this in particular. Which, okay, right there assumes that the person who wrote it has put some thought into homeschooling and why people do it, while people writing about the California case are writing about the case first, so if they know nothing about homeschooling, their assumptions and lack of depth of thought are going to show.

    As for bringing homeschooling to the public attention in a negative way, I guess there’s not really any way to avoid it. I mean, it’s just the fact of homeschooling’s differentness that makes it an issue when abuse makes the news, if that makes any sense.

    Stephanie’s last blog post..A New Business Venture?

  7. Angela in Ontario

    March 7, 2008 at 1:15pm

    Um. To be clear, I didn’t think of you because I lump you in with the nutters.

    Angela in Ontario’s last blog post..Messy.

  8. oslowe

    March 7, 2008 at 1:24pm

    we’re just a different KIND of nutters.

  9. Lolly

    March 7, 2008 at 6:20pm

    I wasn’t homeschooled and I’m not homeschooling my boy and I really know next to nothing about homeschooling…but I think you should have the option to do so if that’s what you want. Like you said, you’ve got over 4 years before you will need to make any official arrangement, and any number of things could happen between now and then. I think you are right to not let this stupid ruling worry you quite yet. And now you’ve got the Governator on your side!

  10. The Bargain Shopper Lady

    March 8, 2008 at 10:19am

    I think that it is a generalization that some homeschooling families are nutty! I think you have to just prove that your family is the exception to the rule. I know plenty of great ones and a few nuts too!
    I like your blog!

    The Bargain Shopper Lady’s last blog post..Do You Love A Good Bargain?

  11. Allison

    March 9, 2008 at 9:58am

    Can someone explain or link to a site with the story behind how the court made this ruling?

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