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Postby Marina » Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:17 pm

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Petition seeks rehearing in homeschooling case
Law firm says state statutes support parents teaching their own children

Posted: March 14, 2008
10:47 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

A California appeals court that issued a ruling banning homeschooling in the state failed to recognize existing state law, according to a lawyer who filed court documents today.

The petition for rehearing before the state's 2nd Appellate District Division Three court in the case involving the family of Phillip and Mary Long was filed by Gary Kreep, of the United States Justice Foundation.

The appeals court earlier concluded that there is no provision in California law for parents who want to teach their own children at home, but the petition notes that is supported numerous places in existing California law already.

The opinion, delivered just two weeks ago, has generated a shockwave through homeschooling circles in the United States. Just a day earlier, WND reported that Michael Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, said he had met with several members of Congress, and they expressed "a lot of concern and outrage" over the issue.

He said although plans still were being developed, it was possible members of Congress could seek to intervene in the case.

The California case stemmed from the family's juvenile proceeding. That case already had been closed by the court when court-appointed attorneys for their children appealed specifically trying to have homeschooling banned, and the ruling from Appeals Court Judge H. Walt Croskey granted their wishes.

The court ruling said: "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 … 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.'"

Those words echoed 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."

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."

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," the court said.

In his petition for rehearing, however, Kreep said he suggested the appellate decision had not recognized a number of references in California law addressing parents who want to teach their children at home.

And he said the opinion relied on precedents that have since been rejected in newer court rulings.

The USJF specifically is appealing on behalf of the father, since the mother still was represented by court-appoint lawyers, officials said.

The law firm said a review of all pertinent statutes supports the idea of parents homeschooling their children.

Farris said one logical solution would be an amendment to the U.S. Constitutional specifically recognizing parental rights. That effort already is under way under the banner of Parental Rights.

The website notes the campaign exists "to secure a constitutional amendment that defends the rights of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children. … We believe that no government, regardless of how well-intentioned it might be, can replace the love and nurture of a parent in the life of a child."

Spokesman Allan Carlson of the The World Congress of Families told WND earlier if California's ban would be allowed to stand, the state would be on par with Germany and Brazil, two other governments that ban homeschooling.

In significant developments already.

Assemblyman Joel Anderson has proposed a resolution in the state Legislature in California that calls for the Croskey ruling to be overturned.

Gov. Schwarzenegger said, "if the courts don't protect parents' rights, then, as elected officials, we will."

California Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said, "Parents still have the right to homeschool in this state."

The HSLDA said it would coordinate a petition seeking to have the legal opinion "de-published," which is a process that would prevent it from being used as a widespread precedent for other homeschooling families.

Another petition appeals to Schwarzenegger and the state legislature and is being run by the Pacific Justice Institute, which is working with the website

Yet another petition also is under way, at the website. That organization offers information for homeschoolers who want to follow the California case, because of that state's influence throughout the nation. It was assembled by the organization Learning By Grace, an outreach dedicated to providing parents with innovative online Christian homeschool materials.

"We have seen God’s hand of protection on the homeschooling movement for the 25 years we have been working together for this cause. There is no reason to begin to doubt God now," Farris said.

Pacific Justice also is representing Sunland Christian School, which has been working with the family's children in a study program, on an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

"Don't panic," the school said in a statement. "Help those who feel distraught and afraid, to be at peace and have faith for a favorable outcome. While we are appealing this ruling, it won't be used in court against homeschoolers. Continue to homeschool effectively, caring about your family, children, their growth and development and their academic instruction," the school said.

The Longs previously told WND of their concerns with the public school district's advocacy for alternative sexual lifestyles and promotion of the theory of evolution.

"The parent-child relationship existed long before any government and makes it the responsibility of the parent to educate the child," Phillip Long told California reporters.

He said the responsibility includes protecting children from things that are hazardous "emotionally" as well as physically.

Croskey's ruling reversed a decision from Superior Court Judge Stephen Marpet, who said "parents have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home."

As WND has reported, the Longs had their children enrolled in Sunland Christian School, a private homeschooling program.

But Croskey, without hearing arguments from the school, opined that the situation was a "ruse of enrolling [children] in a private school and then letting them stay home and be taught by a non-credentialed parent."

The Private and Home Educators of California organization is posting a list of updates on the situation, and also a legal fact sheet for those who want to homeschool in California.


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Postby Marina » Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:18 pm

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Homeschooling and Parental Rights Under Attack in California
by Chris Banescu

Declaring that “parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children,” the Second District Court of Appeal for the state of California recently issued a ruling that effectively bans families from homeschooling their children and threatens parents with criminal penalties for daring to do so. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) this court decision has made “almost all forms of homeschooling in California” a violation of state law. Once again our judicial system moves to restrict religious and personal liberties, severely limit parental rights, and significantly increase the power, scope, and control of the state over our lives.

There are approximately 166,000 homeschooled children in California. With the stroke of a pen the appellate court criminalized the lawful educational choices of tens of thousands of innocent families across the state, subjected them to possible fines, and labeled their children as potential truants. This activist court chose to bypass the will of the people and legislated from the bench based on anecdotal evidence and its own clearly biased and subjective opinions about the constitutionality of parental rights and the quality of a homeschooled education. This decision attacks the freedom of parents to decide on the best educational environment for their children, restricts their religious rights to practice their faith without governmental interference, and violates their freedom to raise their offspring as they see fit without the ideological pollution and atheistic/leftist indoctrination so prevalent in our public school system.

In a state that allows minors to have abortions without parental notification and consent, having the court complain about the welfare and safety of children who are homeschooled is laughable. The court also conveniently turned a blind eye to the increasing levels of violence and murder in many California public schools, as well as the abysmal quality of education in those very same schools. With California ranking near the bottom in the quality of its public education system, a state-wide illiteracy rate of approximately 24 percent, and drop-out rates hovering around 30 percent, the California public education system is not the shining example and standard the courts should be applying and measuring against.

Case history
The appellate court reviewed the decision reached by a juvenile court regarding the quality of education provided to homeschooled children of the Phillip and Mary Long family. The children were homeschooled by Mrs. Long with assistance from the Sunland Christian School (SCS), a private religious academy in the Los Angeles area. According to its website, SCS “is a private school in the State of California and is an accredited home school program offering independent home schooling study, correspondence home schooling and online home school.” The Long children were enrolled in the independent study program at SCS. While the lower court had concerns about the quality of the education received by two of the eight children, the trial court did not order the parents to enroll their children into a private or public school, and stated in its opinion that “parents have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home.”

Rather than confine its ruling to the specifics of the Long case, the court of appeals instead chose to considerably broaden the scope of its decision, further strengthen state power over individuals, and deny California parents the right to homeschool their children. In his written opinion, filed on February 28, 2008, Justice H. Walter Croskey, joined by the other two members of the appellate panel, categorically asserted that: “parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children.” Furthermore, in the section ominously named “Consequences of Parental Denial of a Legal Education” the judge states:

Because parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling within the provisions of these laws, parents who fail to do so may be subject to a criminal complaint against them, found guilty of an infraction, and subject to imposition of fines... Additionally, the parents are subject to being ordered to enroll their children in an appropriate school or education program and provide proof of enrollment to the court, and willful failure to comply with such an order may be punished by a fine for civil contempt.

“Breathtaking” judicial activism
The totalitarian impulses of the court were further evidenced by the arguments it used to justify its decision: “A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare.” As someone who has lived and suffered under a communist regime (I grew up in Romania), the “good citizenship,” “patriotism,” and “loyalty to the state” justifications have struck a little too close to home. These were precisely the kinds of arguments the communist party used to broaden the power of the state, increase the leadership’s iron grip on the people, and justify just about every conceivable violation of human rights, restrictions on individual liberties, and abuses perpetrated by government officials.

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, got it right when he said that the “scope of this decision by the appellate court is breathtaking. It not only attacks traditional home schooling, but also calls into question home schooling through charter schools and teaching children at home via independent study through public and private schools.” The sentiment was echoed by Michael Smith, president of HSLDA: “California is now on the path to being the only state to deny the vast majority of homeschooling parents their fundamental right to teach their own children at home,” he said. This is exactly what the judges have done and the precedent they have set for California and possibly for the rest of the country.

Homeschooling effective
The appellate court also chose to ignore the many studies and solid research data showing that homeschooling is a well-established and exceptional method of education that overwhelmingly produces superior academic results and well-adjusted individuals. According to David Barfield’s review of the available data on home education “dozens of studies have yielded the consistent result showing home educated students average 15-30 percentile points above the national average. Research demonstrates that, unlike their public school counterparts, the performance of home educated students bears little correlation to family income, the degree of state regulation of homeschooling, teacher certification, the educational level achieved by parents, sex, or race.” In another study by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) he shows that “home educated students excelled on nationally-normed standardized achievement exams. On average, home schoolers outperformed their public school peers by 30 to 37 percentile points across all subjects.”

Similar studies documented by the HSLDA also confirm that the poor “socialization” objection by the court is a red herring. Numerous studies have shown that homeschooled youngsters have excellent social skills, are active in groups and community activities outside the home, engage in many extracurricular activities and sports, are exceptionally prepared to deal with the real world, interact better with adults and a variety of age-groups, and take their civic duties more seriously than their public school counterparts.

Pushing back
Fortunately the people of California and homeschooling associations across the country, outraged by these latest developments, are taking steps to proactively deal with and redress the situation. Many homeschooling families are determined to fight for their parental rights and countermand the court’s decision. The HSLDA has followed a two-prong approach to help. It has advised the Long family to appeal the decision to the California Supreme Court and it will file “an amicus brief on behalf of our 13,500 member families in California” arguing that the proper interpretation of California statutes allow parents to teach their own children under the private-school exemption. The HSLDA will also seek to have this decision “depublished,” which can only be done by the California Supreme Court. According to them, depublishing the case “would mean that the case is not binding precedent in California and has no effect on any other family.”

Even Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has issued a statement in full support of homeschooling families. "Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children's education. This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts and if the courts don't protect parents' rights then, as elected officials, we will," he said.

It remains to be seen if reason and common sense will prevail in this latest battle for the individual God-given liberties and freedoms of American families. The relentless march towards full government control of all areas of our lives must be halted. The people must push back. Our children’s lives and their future are too precious to surrender to government bureaucrats and teacher’s unions. For their sake and ours, freedom must prevail.

Chris Banescu is an attorney, entrepreneur, and university professor. He is an ethics and business management specialist, and manages the conservative Web site and blog at


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Postby Marina » Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:47 pm

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Homeschool advocates fight for parental rights
Oral arguments heard to decide fate of California educational choice

Posted: June 23, 2008
10:12 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Oral arguments were heard today in the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles, with the fate of homeschooling in California at stake.

As WND reported earlier, the court's decision four months ago to compel two homeschooled children to attend a public or qualifying private school effectively stated that parents held neither a statutory right nor a constitutional right to provide homeschooling for their own children.

After much public and political outcry, the appeal court agreed to revisit its prior ruling.

Michael Farris, chairman and co-founder of the Homeschooling Legal Defense Association, was one of many attorneys from several organizations urging the court to reconsider, and he presented the day's final argument.

"Anybody that claims they know which way the court will decide would be wrong," Farris told WND.

"The judges asked very hard, pointed questions," he said. "There was no indication that they thought their prior ruling was wrong."

Specifically, Farris said, the judges asked why they should permit homeschooling when California changed the law to withdraw it from the statutes in the early 1900s.

Attorneys advocating homeschooling argued that when California in 1967 added the singular word "person" to the list of those that can operate a legitimate private school, it opened the door for homeschooling. "If a person can provide education, if one person can operate a school," argued the attorneys, "then why not a parent?"

"Their questions were about the 1910s; our answer was from the 1960s," Farris told WND.

Furthermore, said Farris, "I argued that the California constitution requires the state to encourage all education. It's the court's duty, rather than banning education, to encourage it."

He also urged the judges to take into account the thousands of people who have implied from the 1967 law that homeschooling is permissible "and not willy-nilly overturn that practice."

An estimated 166,000 children are being homeschooled in California, and their parents and advocates have expressed concern that the court's original ruling would leave parents who educate their children at home open to criminal truancy charges and civil charges for child neglect.

Some grounds for that concern may come from the appeal court's first ruling, where it 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."

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, a parental rights advocacy organization involved in the case, told WND earlier, "We are looking forward to this opportunity to defend the thousands of families who are making sacrifices to teach their children at home. The state should be applauding, not threatening, these families," he said.

Though he expressed concern over which way the judges would decide, Farris told WND, "We hope that the court reverses its decision and restores homeschool freedom to California."


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Postby Marina » Sat Dec 13, 2008 8:05 pm ... geId=83239


Homeschoolers win when government charges dropped
Mom, dad no longer threatened by penalties including jail

Posted: December 11, 2008
12:00 am Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Authorities are dropping criminal child-neglect charges pending against a German mother and father who could have faced up to two years in jail and loss of custody for homeschooling five of their children, according to a report from the International Human Rights Group.

Spokesman Joel Thornton said his group, which has been working on the case involving the Brause family from Zittau, Germany, heard from local counsel about the government's decision.

"We received word from our German counsel in this case, Johannes Hildebrandt, that the court and the prosecutor are dropping the charges against Mr. and Mrs. Brause. This means they no longer face up to two years in prison and the potential loss of their children. The decision of German officials is a huge victory for this family and for homeschool families in Germany," Thornton told WND.

"We are pleased that the court and the prosecuting counsel asked whether the process can be ended," he continued.

The case involved custody of Rosine, Jotham, Kurt-Simon, Lovis and Ernst Brause.

Thornton said the announcement came after the court received a detailed psychiatric report that there is no psychological harm to the children from homeschooling. The report also stated that the children have not been harmed, which is evidenced by their exit exams from high school, he said.

"Now the Brause family may choose whether they want to have a sentence of acquittal in a public meeting in court or a document issued that declares the process closed and the charges dropped," he said.

"This is a huge victory for homeschool families in Germany. It means that government officials must be more careful when bringing criminal charges against home school families," Thornton said.

WND reported in 2007 when the IHRG reported the five "well-educated" children in the Brause family were ordered into state custody by a court decision.

Thornton, the president of IHRG, said at the time the ruling gave government officials permission to take custody of the children, although they did not do that immediately.

The case came shortly after another homeschool dispute developed in Germany. In that case, Melissa Busekros, who was 15 at the time, was removed from her home by police on a court order instructing that she be detained in a psychiatric ward because of her homeschooling.

Later, when she turned 16 and fell under a different set of regulations in Germany, she voluntarily returned home, and the courts have since backed off.

Thornton said the case involving Bert and Kathrin Brause and their family began in 2001. The family lives near the German borders with Poland and the Czech Republic. Brause wrote a letter to the governor of Saxony asking for permission to homeschool the children.

In response, state officials tried to force the family to register their children in the local public school.

Threats of fines followed, and even though social youth workers eventually testified the children were taught well, a family court decision said the custody could be moved to the state.

Then, just before the 2008 school year ended, the government registered the children in the public school involuntarily and delivered an ultimatum, Thornton reported.

The government warned that if the children were not sent to school within the week, police action could follow. When the family declined to deliver the children to a state-run school that is part of the German system criticized for its explicit sex education courses and advocacy for secular values, a prosecutor called a hearing on a charge of intentionally harming a child.

Thornton said the Brause family members are Christians and the parents homeschool for reasons of parental responsibility before God and the law.

A trial was scheduled then delayed when the IHRG announced plans to provide expert testimony about homeschooling.

Then came word the counts no longer would be pursued.

Thornton reported the two oldest children, ages 16 and 18, already successfully completed their public school exams.

The Homeschool Legal Defense Association also has been taking a hands-on approach to working on homeschooling cases in Germany.

Just a few days ago, the organization said it was helping a family with an unusual, first-of-its-kind application: political asylum in the United States from Germany's oppressive homeschooling laws.

The Uwe and Hannelore Romeike family fled their native Bissingen, Germany, to escape persecution under a Nazi-era law requiring all children to attend public school to avoid "the emergence of parallel societies based on separate philosophical convictions" that could be taught by parents at home.

WND reported two years ago on the day police knocked on the Romeike's door and forcibly escorted their children to public school.

The family fled Germany and this summer arrived in Tennessee, where they hope they will be permitted to make a permanent home.

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