Saturday, March 08, 2008

Is the CA home school decision as bad as it looks?

There is another perspective on the In re Jennifer L. decision on home schooling in California. The argument goes like this: that basically the decision is not dangerous to home school families because the decision involved a family that was claiming the students were enrolled in a charter school (which is a public school), but wasn't, rather than claiming that their home school was a private school, which it was. Under this argument, the court could have decided differently if the family had argued the latter rather than the former.

Here is Ace of Spades HQ on the decision:
In the Longs' case, they attempted to claim that their children were enrolled in a "valid charter school" and that the school was supervising the mothers' instruction in the home. It is unclear from the court's opinion, but it looks like the parents tried to argue that the children were enrolled in a public school (since all charter schools in California are public schools). But since they obviously couldn't meet any of the attendance requirements for public schools*, the court also examined the question of whether the parents were credentialed. Since they obviously aren't, the court kicked it back to the lower court to order them to "enroll their children in a public full-time day school, or a legally qualified private full-time day school." It looks like the parents never bothered to argue that they were running their own private school in compliance with § 48222.
But this analysis ignores the fact that the decision does not limit its consideration to whether the student was or was not enrolled in a charter school. As I pointed out here, it asks instead whether the student qualified under any of the exemptions under California law.

So maybe, in fact, the decision was is really as bad as it seems.

6 comments:

nourishing said...

"The argument goes like this: that basically the decision is not dangerous to home school families because the decision involved a family that was claiming the students were enrolled in a charter school (which is a public school), but wasn't, rather than claiming that their home school was a private school, which it was."

Hello Martin!
Just wanted to point out that in the wording here from you and Ace of Spades, there is an error in the category of schooling here in CA. CA does have charter schools and they are all public schools. We also have individual private "home" schools which are individual families filing the same paper work as any other private school.

The family in question here did not come under either category-they fell into the 3rd group-an umbrella school (ISP) which is when a family joins an organization that has filed as a private school with the state-no campus, parents are the teachers...I believe that it is clear from the documents that the family was enrolled in Sunland and that is one of these private umbrella programs.

Leah

Anonymous said...

Yes Leah, the laws are different in California. Thanks for pointing this out. Even though the newspaper articles mention this (and the unlikelihood that home-schoolers in that state in general will be affected) it seems to have been overlooked in the rush to react to a perceived threat. But as he wrote in an earlier post, sometimes Mr Cothran shoots from the hip.

Cogita ante salis.

jah

Leah said...

I really wasn't trying to be snakry in pointing this out! I guess I am just one of the Californians getting a bit overwhelmed with the mis-information on this situation. I am glad it is being talked about-it needs to be. The whole situation has many layers and can be confusing!
Leah

Martin Cothran said...

Leah,

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply you were snarky. I wasn't thinking of you. I thought maybe Jah was being snarky, so I was just poking fun at him.

Anonymous said...

Snarky?
Next I'll be accused of being sarcastic!


jah

Anonymous said...

Nonetheless, in my opinion Leah's and kristina's understanding of the issues matches mine much better than Mr Cothran's headlines and stories. The home schooling movement is vocal and quick to act, so taking a few moments to get the facts straight first would save a lot of misguided commotion. From the statements of the governor, it seems highly unlikely that there is anything to worry about and in fact there should be a legislative change making the status of home schooling better off than before.

Cogita ante salis.

jah