A California appeals court is showing good sense – and a feel for public sentiment – by reconsidering a sweeping ruling that undercuts the thriving home school movement.
This state needs more educational options, not fewer, and an appeals court ruling in February definitely worked against this goal. In that decision, the court went too far by declaring that parents of 166,000 home-schooled students needed teaching credentials.
The ruling hinged on a rule that children attend full-time schools or be taught by an credentialed instructor, but state authorities had usually left oversight on home-schooling parents to local school districts. This pliant arrangement has allowed home schooling to flourish alongside conventional classrooms, charters, private and parochial schools.
The rehearing is anything but a rehash. The outcry over the February decision drummed up a list of allies who virtually spilled out of the courtroom door this week. Lawyers for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Attorney General Jerry Brown and state schools superintendent Jack O’Connell all chimed in on behalf of home schools. The main, no-surprise opponent is the California Teachers Association, which wants the court to stick to the letter of the law and require credentials. It’s a demand that could doom home schools and further alienate committed parents who find schools a bad fit for their children.