WorldNetDaily | Bob Unruh | Feb. 29, 2008
A California court has ruled that several children in one homeschool family must be enrolled in a public school or “legally qualified” private school, and must attend, sending ripples of shock into the nation’s homeschooling advocates as the family reviews its options for appeal.
The ruling came in a case brought against Phillip and Mary Long over the education being provided to two of their eight children. They are considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court, because they have homeschooled all of their children, the oldest now 29, because of various anti-Christian influences in California’s public schools.
The decision from the 2nd Appellate Court in Los Angeles granted a special petition brought by lawyers appointed to represent the two youngest children after the family’s homeschooling was brought to the attention of child advocates.
“We find no reason to strike down the Legislature’s evaluation of what constitutes an adequate education scheme sufficient to promote the ‘general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence,'” the court said in the case. “We agree … ‘the educational program of the State of California was designed to promote the general welfare of all the people and was not designed to accommodate the personal ideas of any individual in the field of education.'”
The words echo the ideas of officials from Germany, where homeschooling has been outlawed since 1938 under a law adopted when Adolf Hitler decided he wanted the state, and no one else, to control the minds of the nation’s youth.
Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has said “school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct, encourages dialogue among people of different beliefs and cultures, and helps students to become responsible citizens.”
Specifically, the appeals court said, the trial court had found that “keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where (1) they could interact with people outside the family, (2) there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children’s lives, and (3) they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents’ ‘cloistered’ setting.”
The appeals ruling said California law requires “persons between the ages of six and 18” to be in school, “the public full-time day school,” with exemptions being allowed for those in a “private full-time day school” or those “instructed by a tutor who holds a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught.”
The judges ruled in the case involving the Longs the family failed to demonstrate “that mother has a teaching credential such that the children can be said to be receiving an education from a credentialed tutor,” and that their involvement and supervision by Sunland Christian School’s independent study programs was of no value.
Nor did the family’s religious beliefs matter to the court.
Their “sincerely held religious beliefs” are “not the quality of evidence that permits us to say that application of California’s compulsory public school education law to them violates their First Amendment rights.”
“Such sparse representations are too easily asserted by any parent who wishes to homeschool his or her child,” the court concluded.
The father, Phillip Long, said the family is working on ways to appeal to the state Supreme Court, because he won’t allow the pro-homosexual, pro-bisexual, pro-transgender agenda of California’s public schools, on which WND previously has reported, to indoctrinate his children.
“We just don’t want them teaching our children,” he told WND. “They teach things that are totally contrary to what we believe. They put questions in our children’s minds we don’t feel they’re ready for.
“When they are much more mature, they can deal with these issues, alternative lifestyles, and such, or whether they came from primordial slop. At the present time it’s my job to teach them the correct way of thinking,” he said.
“We’re going to appeal. We have to. I don’t want to put my children in a public school system that teaches ideologies I don’t believe in,” he said.
A spokesman for the Home School Legal Defense Association, one of the world’s premiere homeschooling advocacy organizations, said the group’s experts were analyzing the impact of the decision.
“It’s a very unfortunate decision,” he said.
Randy Thomasson, of Campaign for Children and Families, said under California law parents have the legal right to create a private school in their home and enroll their own children.
“Children belong to the parents, not to the state,” he said. But he acknowledged that there’s a great deal of misinformation about the status of homeschooling in California.
“For years the government school establishment has been lying to parents about the law. Just this week, a Los Angeles Unified school district employee lied to a mother who wanted to homeschool, telling her you must have a license, you must be credentialed and you must follow all the state curriculum. That’s three lies in one sentence.”
“Now we have judges going crazy and actively separating children from their parents.”
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