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Saturday, March 01, 2008
LAW OF THE LAND
Judge orders homeschoolers
into government education
Court: Family's religious beliefs 'no
evidence' of 1st Amendment violation
Posted: February 29, 2008 3:24 pm Eastern
By Bob Unruh
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."
A legal outline for parents' homeschool rights in California, published by Family Protection Ministries, confirmed Thomasson's description.
The state's legal options for home educators include establishing a private school in their home by filing a private school affidavit with state regulators or enrolling in private school satellite instruction programs or independent study programs, it said.
The Long family had been involved in such a program with Sunland Christian School, but the appeals court took the extraordinary step of banning the family from being involved in that organization any longer, since it was "willing to participate in the deprivation of the children's right to a legal education."
A number of groups already have assembled in California under the Rescue Your Child slogan to encourage parents to withdraw their children from the state's public school system.
It's because the California Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger worked together to establish Senate Bill 777 and Assembly Bill 394 as law, plans that institutionalize the promotion of homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism and other alternative lifestyle choices.
"First, [California] law allowed public schools to voluntarily promote homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality. Then, the law required public schools to accept homosexual, bisexual and transsexual teachers as role models for impressionable children. Now, the law has been changed to effectively require the positive portrayal of homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality to 6 million children in California government-controlled schools," said Thomasson.
Even insiders joined in the call for an abandonment of California's public districts. Veteran public school teacher Nadine Williams of Torrance said the sexual indoctrination laws have motivated her to keep her grandchildren out of the very public schools she used to support.
The Discover Christian Schools website reports getting thousands of hits daily from parents and others seeking information about alternatives to California's public schools.
WND reported leaders of the campaign called California Exodus say they hope to encourage parents of 600,000 children to withdraw them from the public districts this year.
The new law itself technically bans in any school texts, events, class or activities any discriminatory bias against those who have chosen alternative sexual lifestyles, said Meredith Turney, legislative liaison for Capitol Resource Institute.
There are no similar protections for students with traditional or conservative lifestyles and beliefs, however. Offenders will face the wrath of the state Department of Education, up to and including lawsuits.
"SB 777 will result in reverse discrimination against students with religious and traditional family values. These students have lost their voice as the direct result of Gov. Schwarzenegger's unbelievable decision. The terms 'mom and dad' or 'husband and wife' could promote discrimination against homosexuals if a same-sex couple is not also featured," she said.
Karen England, chief of CRI, told WND that the law is not a list of banned words, including "mom" and "dad." But she said the requirement is that the law bans discriminatory bias and the effect will be to ban such terminology.
"Having 'mom' and 'dad' promotes a discriminatory bias. You have to either get rid of 'mom' and 'dad' or include everything when talking about [parental issues]," she said. "They [promoters of sexual alternative lifestyles] do consider that discriminatory."
The California plan still is facing a court challenge on its constitutionality and a possible vote of the people of California if an initiative effort succeeds.
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