Is it time for California homeschoolers to panic?

Is it time for California homeschoolers to panic? by Mary Nix

Since Friday morning, Home Education Magazine has been contacted by readers and the media wanting to know if the fearful headlines growing out of California Friday were true. I have been following the California situation since I first saw it come across my newsfeeds in a February 29th World Net Daily article, titled “Judge orders homeschoolers into government education.”

Shortly after I read that article, a gentleman emailed me a copy of the California Appellate Court decision, In re Rachel L that had been issued on February 28, 2008. I blogged a little about it on March 4th, stating that there were D.C. and CA issues to watch, but I did not see any type of panic from California homeschoolers that indicated that homeschooling was now illegal. There was certainly cause for concern, but reports indicated the CA homeschool groups were hard at work on this issue.

However, on Wednesday, March 6th, an alert was sent out by the HSLDA Director of Media Relations announcing that the Focus on the Family daily radio broadcast with Dr. James Dobson would feature “California’s Threat to Homeschooling Families.” This announcement was sent all over the country and it included an invitation from HSLDA to sign a Petition to Request Depublishing of California Court Case In re Rachel L.

As soon as the alert was sent out, the petition started being posted across the Internet, but I had not seen a call from the California groups requesting this kind of help. When I read that the Homeeschool Association of California (HSC) supported depublishing the California Court Case as well, I contacted California homeschoolers and HSC to find out their story.

The broadcast and the petition were causing a panic all across the internet and the country. Thankfully, Debbie Schwarzer, homeschool mom, attorney and HSC Legal Team Co-chair, issued a statement titled, Appellate Court Case, Please Remain Calm. Here is a quote from what she wrote:

A t the present time, it is recommended that California homeschoolers not change anything they are doing, just remain informed, support the groups who are handling this, and don’t panic. When and if the time comes that public support needs to be rallied, we’ll let you know. We specifically request that no one contact any members of the legislature to suggest that a legislative solution be found. It is quite possible that we can reach a result that limits the impact of this case and makes legislation unnecessary.

Debbie Schwarzer was kind enough to speak to me in an interview about the situation. You can listen to her thoughts on the situation via this March 8th phone interview below.

Other California Homeschoolers were assuring me that the request to sign a petition was not originating from California homeshoolers.I have been given permission to reprint this post:

At some point, and you may already have, you will probably receive an e-mail asking you to sign a petition about the court case in California. PLEASE do NOT sign it! What it really is about isn’t California but more scare tactics and part of a membership drive.

Homeschool is still very much alive and LEGAL in California. We do NOT need hysteria fueled by HSLDA! The last time they did this we almost lost our right to homeschool. Please don’t feed into their hysteria.

If you have questions, then go to the HSC (Homeschool Association of California) or CHN (California Homeschool Network). Leslie Buchanan is Board President of HSC and has let us know that the legal teams of the California homeschooling groups are meeting and will deal with this. IF, let me repeat myself here, IF the legal teams feel that California needs help, then HSC and CHN will send out a message asking for help.

Just sign me, a California homeschooling mom who would like to get back to homeschooling and spend less time putting out unnecessary fires <g> P.S. Please feel free to forward!

Articles and Resources

  • Interview with Debbie Schwarzer,HSC Legal Team Co-chair. Listen here: [display_podcast]
  • Schools Chief Jack O’connell Issues Statement Regarding HomeSchooling In California “I have reviewed this case, and I want to assure parents that chose to home school that California Department of Education policy will not change in any way as a result of this ruling. Parents still have the right to home school in our state.”

You can visit these sites to learn more about the case from California Homeschoolers and to find action that they are taking and learn if you can offer any assistance:

Other opinions outside the state:

For those listening to The Focus on the Family Interview with Michael Farris or considering signing their petition, please remember that HSLDA has a checkered history in terms of using hard cases for political gain. Please read the following articles to learn more about this account to prevent history from repeating itself. Does HSLDA need a Civics Lesson?

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