Court hears Calif. homeschool case; Brown urges judges to overturn ruling

By Chris Rizo | Jun 23, 2008

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline)-Following a request by Attorney General Jerry Brown, a California appeals court today will reconsider a ruling that parents must hold teaching credentials to homeschool their children.

Brown, along with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, had filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the 2nd District Court of Appeal to send the case back to a trial judge.

They want the court to determine whether there are other ways parents who home school their children may satisfy California's compulsory education laws.

The court's decision, which has been vacated, found that California's compulsory attendance law permits homeschooling only if the parent or guardian has a valid state teaching credential for every grade to be taught at home.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal made its controversial ruling in February, which could affect thousands of California's homeschooled children. They reopened the case in March, prompting a flood of amicus briefs to the court.

"The Education Code provides a broad statutory basis for homeschooling in California, setting forth three different avenues through which parents may legally homeschool their children," the brief submitted by Brown and Schwarzenegger said.

California's three statewide homeschool organizations - the California Homeschool Network, Christian Home Educators Association of California and Homeschool Association of California- have also filed a brief in the case.

Nineteen members of Congress also submitted an amicus brief, urging the appeals court to remand the case back to a trial court. Their brief was prepared by Liberty Counsel, the conservative legal group based in Los Angeles.

Among other things, critics of the ruling argue that for years the state has given homeschoolers the ability to establish their homes as private schools so long as they meet certain requirements.

State law requires children between 6- and 18-years-old to attend a full-time public or private school, or be taught by someone with an appropriate grade-level teaching credential.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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