Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Victory for home schoolers in California ... now it goes to appeals court

by Devon Williams, associate editor

Family-court action could convince appellate court not to interfere with home schooling freedoms in California.

A California family-court judge has dismissed the case that led a higher court to call for a statewide ban on most forms of home schooling.

Home-school advocates are hopeful the decision will influence the 2nd District Court of Appeals, which ruled Feb. 28 that California parents without teaching credentials cannot home-school their children.

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said the family-court ruling is a victory for home-schoolers.

“This development likely means that the horrible Court of Appeals decision outlawing home schooling in California will not be resurrected,” he said. “That's good news for the 200,000 home-schooled kids in that state.”

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, said the appellate court is expected to decide in the next few weeks whether to drop its earlier ruling.

“If that were to happen, we would be back at square one as if this whole mess had never taken place — at least legally speaking — because there’d be absolutely no precedent on the books,” he said.

Gary McCaleb, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, said he is hopeful the court will do the right thing.

“We’ve had a tremendous alliance arguing on behalf of home-schoolers, and the case has been tossed out of the lower court,” he said. “We think the appellate court will do the right thing and settle the matter that parents can home-school in California.”

Dacus encouraged home schooling families not to lose heart.

“These ups and downs can be very nerve-racking, but in the end, we’re confident home schooling will be legal in California,” he said. “People should be praying for this matter, praying for the appellate court.”

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