Emotions of shock, fear and indignation continue to prevail amongst homeschool supporters nationwide regarding the California appeals court ruling on homeschooling last week. Many people are wondering how this will affect homeschoolers in other states. Our answer is that it depends on the laws in each state.
Just after our new homeschool law here in Nevada was passed last June I remember being asked on several occasions what was “different”. The most obvious difference is our one-time Notification. But underneath, homeschooling in Nevada was completely changed! The analogy I used was a bridge over a river: you can drive over a turn-of-the-century wooden bridge, and unknowingly cause structural creakings and stresses. Or replace it with a modern super-structure designed to handle modern traffic, and the bridge will hardly know you’re crossing. Although Nevada has had a homeschool law of sorts on the books since 1947, it gave broad powers to the local pubic school district and to the State Board of Education. In fact, a 1982 court case in Humboldt County resulted in a court opinion very similar to this California case; homeschooling was not allowed. Had our new law not passed, this California case almost certainly could have had a huge negative affect on Nevada homeschoolers. There could be significant impact in states with laws similar to our old law, or in states similar to California where homeschooling isn’t even defined.
Earlier today Dr. James Dobson had several important guests on his Focus on the Family radio show. Roy Hanson of Family Protection Ministries (the California version of Nevada Homeschool Network), Michael Farris of HSLDA, and others discussed the California situation. You can listen to the broadcast I also saw the San Francisco Chronicle had this homeschooling case as their front page top headline. It was encouraging to read this:
“State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell issued a statement saying he supports “parental choice when it comes to homeschooling.” That was encouraging!
Click here to read the entire article.
It’s important to know that, unfortunately, this case has it’s roots in a family where there have been several allegations of abuse over the past two decades. We’ve read some court documents – we don’t know if they’re “public” information and don’t want to be part of spreading them if they’re not – that depict some of the abuse the children have allegedly gone through. So we encourage people to sign the petition to depublish the court case, but we suggest people refrain from jumping to the defense of the family. The case centered around abuse, not around homeschooling. This court opinion, however, went far beyond the immediate case at hand, judging all homeschoolers in the entire State.
We will continue to keep everyone updated as we learn more. The bottom line for Nevada is, be thankful! And keep California homeschoolers in your thoughts and prayers.
Elissa Wahl, Laura Siegel, Carl Lucas, Kelley Radow, Barb Dragon,