NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

A First Step Toward Outlawing Home Schooling In California?

June 20, 2000

Bureaucrats at California's Berkeley Unified School District have brought proceedings against four families there who home school their children. When the families were summoned to a truancy hearing at which they declined to provide attendance records or curriculum information, they were referred to the Alameda County District Attorney for contributing to the delinquency of minors.

Legal observers warn these actions could be the first in a test case to outlaw home schooling in the state. But the teachers' unions and educational establishment bureaucrats who are pushing such an outcome are up against a state code which doesn't even mention home schooling -- let alone prevent it.

  • The families' refusal to present the documents is their right under the California Education Code -- which protects private schools from regulation by any agency of the state government.
  • While not specifically mentioning home schooling, the code outlines the procedure for establishing a private school and cites no minimum size for one.
  • There are no stipulations on familial relationships between teachers and pupils.
  • Over the years, the education establishment has annually threatened a small number of the most vulnerable home-schooling families -- but for fear of losing they have not challenged the legality of home-based private schools in the courts, until now.

Observers say that money is behind the most recent attack. Schools are reimbursed by the state according to their average daily attendance. The more pupils -- including home schoolers who might be lassoed in -- the more money the school gets, the more teachers to be hired, the more union members recruited and the more union dues collected.

Source: Cathy Cuthbert (California Homeschool Network), "Berkeley's Crusade: Educrats Target Home Schoolers With Truancy Suits," Investor's Business Daily, June 20, 2000.


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