Home schoolers in California and their supporters are celebrating a legal decision in which the court handing down the ruling actually reversed itself.
Earlier today (Friday) the California Court of Appeal ruled that the state's education code allows parents to home school their children. That decision means parents do not have to obtain state credentials in order to home school. The court acknowledged that a state prohibition on home schooling would intrude on parents' constitutional right to direct their children's education, and that that any limit on that right would be presumed unconstitutional.
Gary McCaleb, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, is pleased that the court decided parents have a constitutional right to make educational choices for their children. "Thousands of California families have educated their children through home schooling," he states. "[This decision] protects the rights of families and protects an avenue of education that has proven to benefit children time and time again."
In early March a three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal determined that parents in the Golden State had
no legal right to home school
-- a ruling that one Christian attorney said would leave thousands of students subject to criminal sanctions unless reversed.
Mike Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), says today's ruling was unexpected. "We're very thrilled, not just a little bit, [and] we're surprised as well," he remarks. "To get a court to do a 180-degree reversal is a remarkable thing and we view it as a blessing from God. We're really thankful for it, and there's hundreds of thousands of home-school kids in California who are now able to breathe a sigh of relief."
Farris says groups like the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Counsel, HSLDA, and Focus on the Family teamed up and were armed with new information that compelled the court to uphold parents' constitutional right to educate their children at home.