Homeschooling ban in California?

“Parents who lack teaching credentials cannot educate their children at home, according to a state appellate court ruling that is sending waves of fear through California’s home schooling families.” (Seema Mehta and Mitchell Landsberg, “Ruling seen as a threat to many home-schooling families”, Los Angeles Times, Mar. 6)(via Malkin). More: Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason “Hit and Run”.

More: Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades writes that this is a false alarm and that the L.A. Times account misses crucial elements of the case which distinguish the family under review from homeschoolers generally. But the normally well-informed Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle sums up the case in terms much like those of the L.A. Times, as imperiling the legality of all arrangements in which children are not taught by credentialed tutors or at accredited or public schools. More: Betsy Newmark, Protein Wisdom, Eugene Volokh, Hans Bader @ CEI, Time.

And an update from Egelko, “Homeschoolers’ setback sends shock waves through state“: “A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution. The homeschooling movement never saw the case coming. …The ruling was applauded by a director for the state’s largest teachers union.”

Update Aug. 9: appeals court reverses itself.


  • I find it hilarious that California thinks only a credentialed educator can educate. Wasn’t it just last month that there was a news story about a CA “credentialed” educator that admitted he was illiterate during his 17 yr. teaching career? Google “John Corcoran”

  • Homeschooling is one of the biggest impediments to the cause of destroying traditional America going. So, it must be destroyed. We cannot have young American minds torn from the state borg.

  • Interesting. One of the allegedly “unqualified” moms interviewed in the SF Chronicle is a barred attorney with an undergrad degree from Wessley and a JD from U. Chicago.

    I would venture to guess that she is likely more qualified than a 22 year old with an elementary education degree from Chico State.

  • To be credentialed, doesn’t one have undergo at least some of the educational system indoctrination? Plus, the NEA can get larger membership. Remember, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY (and power).

    I’m just glad that the public schools in my area are excellent. I’m still going to keep a very close eye on what they are teaching, though, and correct where appropriate.

  • My kids started in private school. We homeschool because the public schools in our city are incredibly bad and private school has moved beyond our budget. I challenge anyone to test my kids against any California state standard. You don’t have to have a credential to teach a child. My children are learning art and art history. They also have a whole year of history and science. They would be learning LESS if I sent them back to school!!!

  • Funny how it is perfectly acceptable for the school to get waivers to hire “teachers” who don’t have credentials to teach the kids they really don’t care for…those in special ed. People without credentials get hired in schools ALL THE TIME when there are supposed “teacher shortages”…

  • @Anonymous Attorney, i think you just want to live in a communist country.

  • Kevin, it was satire. I hope…

  • This is a serious miscarriage of justice in these democratic United States. We are a homeschooling family in North Carolina. I have a degree, which isn’t necessary in NC, and no teaching credentials. However my severely dyslexic son, who couldn’t read or write by 3rd grade in the public school system, spent about 6 months with me at home and was reading above grade level. His older brother, who is also homeschooled, just took 1st place and a $1500 scholarship, in the NC State Scholastic Chess Tournament that was held in Charlotte, NC, this month. He beat out many public and private schooled teens in Mecklenberg County and was the long shot to win the thing. (Check out Jonathon McNeill’s photos on the USCF website if you don’t believe me)

    Also, the argument about socialization is sure to rear its ugly head, so let’s clear that one up right now. My kids get more healthy socialization now than before when they had to come home from the public schools with about 3-4 hours of homework a night. We had to give up just about all of our church and extra-curricula activities to accommodate the homework. Both of my sons have enjoyed Boy Scouts since being homeschooled. My oldest son just made Eagle and was inducted into the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s most prestigious honor. His younger brother is working toward 2nd class and has earned the God and Country award, which is pursued independently.

    From what I hear the California public schools are overcrowded, full of sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence, and their reading and math scores are awful. If you were to ban homeschooling, are you going to put all the homeschooled kids in an already overcrowded, overtaxed, failing school system?

    I think the situation here is this: the CA schools get per capita income, so it makes sense to jerk the homeschoolers away from an environment that they are thriving in; put them in your overcrowded schools so you can get more money per head. Furthermore, the schools are probably hoping that if homeschoolers, who are naturally bright and intelligent, are forced into your failing schools, then that will bring up your end of grade test scores because homeschoolers could pass those tests blindfolded!

    My oldest son has already taken the ACT in the ninth grade and scored high enough then to get into several colleges of his choice. He took placement tests at the local community college his junior year in high school, and was allowed to take ANY college math, reading, or writing course the school offered through the Dual Enrollment program. When he graduates homeschool this May, he will have earned 27 college credit hours (and has been on the Dean’s List every semester)

  • Malor states in his article that the Supreme Court has never established a right to home schooling. Not directly, but I think a fair reading of Pearce v. Society of Sisters means that the right exists. What is clear though is that Pearce clearly establishes that the California law that states “all children . . . must attend public school” is unconstitutional.

  • Home schooling is illegal in California. Most home schoolers are Christians and all they know to do is fearmonger. Just look at this as an example!

  • Besides the fact that the average homeschooled child scores in the top 20% of the nation’s standardized tests (HSLDA), taking away the right to homeschool is just one step closer to America becoming a communist country.

  • Hm. Homeschooled for 12 years here. I think homeschooling parents need to be a little more cautious about dropping the “wow now we’re going to be communist” line. People already think we’re paranoid freaks. Please stop giving them ammo…

    If the California decision is being properly characterized, though, it is pretty stunning. And frightening, although I think people should try not to sound like they live in a compound near Waco Texas when they say it’s frightening.

  • Making homeschooling illegal is almost the stupidest thing i have ever heard. Homeschoolers are found to be smarter than most public students, because they don’t have to deal with all the crap going on in public school. And it’s not like homeschoolers are hiding in their own little corner, it’s protecting them from seeing things that children and teens shouldn’t be seeing. Plus, there are extra things out there (homeschool resource centers, co-ops, etc) so there are no social problems at all!
    The government is just taking any opportunity they can get to stop homeschooling, because they don’t make money from homeschoolers. All most schools care about is how much money they’re making, not about the students. I think this is baloney, and if this does go through, what does that tell you about our country? They won’t let us make decisions…i thought we were a free country??

  • Comradefornia:

    Stay West young man, stay west. Keep your red laws and all the other gags that you claim as “personal liberty”. The rest of the US does not need you or your judges.

    Texas needs to succeed anyways!

  • […] “A state appeals court lifted the cloud it had cast on the homeschooling of 166,000 California children and ruled Friday that parents have a right to educate their children at home even if they lack a teaching credential.” (Egelko, SF Chron; Malkin; earlier). […]