Thursday, March 6, 2008

Court limits home-schooling to credentialed teachers


(03-06) 14:26 Pacific Time LOS ANGELES --
A state entreaties tribunal have got struck a blow against the home-schooling movement, opinion that Golden State law necessitates parents to direct their children to full-time schools or have them taught by credentialed coaches at home.

The opinion was issued by the Second District Court of Entreaty in a difference between the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and Phillip and Virgin Mary Long of Lynwood, who have got been home-schooling their eight children. Virgin Mary Long, who have no state credential, Acts as their teacher.

The Longs said they have got also enrolled their children in Sunland Christian School, a private spiritual academy, which sees them portion of its independent survey programme and visits the place about four modern times a year. A juvenile tribunal justice looking into one child's ailment of mistreatment by Phillip Long establish that the children were being poorly educated but refused to tell two of the children, ages 7 and 9, to be enrolled in a full-time school, saying parents have got a right to educate their children at home.

But the entreaties tribunal said state law have been clear since at least 1953, when another appellant tribunal rejected a challenge by home-schooling parents to California's mandatory instruction statutes. Those legislative acts necessitate children between 6 and 18 to go to a full-time day school, either public or private, or to be instructed by a coach who throws a state certificate for the child's class level.

"California tribunals have got got held that ... parents make not have a constitutional right to home-school their children," Justice H. Bruno Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling, issued Feb. 28. "Parents have got a legal duty to see to their children's schooling under the commissariat of these laws."

Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.

The tribunal told the juvenile justice to necessitate the Longs to follow with the law by enrolling their children in a school other than Sunland Christian School, because that establishment "was willing to take part in the want of the children's right to a legal education."

The tribunal did not stipulate how the law should be enforced in other cases. A lawyer for Sunland Christian School said today that 166,000 Golden State children are being educated at place and that the opinion endangers every 1 of their parents with prosecution.

The determination "not only onslaughts traditional home-schooling, but also names into inquiry home-schooling through charter schools and instruction children at place via independent survey through public and private schools," said lawyer Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Ocean Justice Institute, which represented the school.

Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, said the opinion would effectively ban home-schooling in the state.

"California is now on the way to being the lone state to deny the huge bulk of home-schooling parents their cardinal right to learn their ain children at home," he said in a statement.

But Leslie Heimov, executive manager director of the Children's Law Center of Los Angeles, which represented the two children in the case, said the opinion did not change the law.

"They just affirmed that the current Golden State law, which have got been unchanged since the last clip it was ruled on in the 1950s, is that children have to be educated in a public school, an accredited private school, or with an accredited tutor," she said. "If they desire to direct them to a private Christian school, they can, but they have got to actually travel to the school and be taught by teachers."

Heimov said her organization's head concern was not the quality of the children's education, but their "being in a topographic point day-to-day where they would be observed by people who had a duty to guarantee their in progress safety."

The Longs argued that the state laws violated their freedom of religion. They cited a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court opinion allowing Amish parents in Wisconsin River to take their children out of school after the 8th class and give their lives to the spiritual community.

But Croskey said the opinion makes not authorise parents who object to the educational system to take their children, even if their expostulations are based on spiritual beliefs. The Amish opinion was based on factors that the current lawsuit did not share, he said: deep spiritual strong beliefs held by an organized group, intimately related to day-to-day living, whose centuries-old existence might be endangered if their children had to go to high school.

By contrast, he said, the Longs simply asserted that they have got spiritual expostulations to sending their children to school. "Such sparse mental representations are too easily asserted by any parent who wishes to home-school his or her child," Croskey said.

The opinion can be viewed at .

E-mail British Shilling Egelko at .

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