There is no right to homeschool?


The following was filed on February 28, 2008. The California state court declared that parents have no right to homeschool. (the bolding is mine)


In this dependency case (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 300), we consider the question whether parents can legally “home school” their children. The attorney for two of the three minor children in the case has petitioned this court for extraordinary writ relief, asking us to direct the juvenile court to order that the children be enrolled in a public or private school, and actually attend such a school.

The trial court’s reason for declining to order public or private schooling for the children was its belief that parents have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home. However, California courts have held that under provisions in the Education Code, parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children. Thus, while the petition for extraordinary writ asserts that the trial court’s refusal to order attendance in a public or private school was an abuse of discretion, we find the refusal was actually an error of law.

Some clips from the full text:

  • 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.

  • Included in the laws governing the educational program were those regulating the attendance of children at school and the power of the state to enforce compulsory education of children within the state at some school is beyond question.

  • Full-time public school education for persons between the ages of six and eighteen is compulsory under California’s compulsory education law “and each parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of the pupil shall send the pupil to the public full-time day school . . . and for the full time designated as the length of the schoolday by the governing board of the school district”

  • Exemptions to compulsory public school education are made for, among others, children who (1) attend a private full-time day school (§ 48222) or (2) are instructed by a tutor who holds a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught (§ 48224).

  • Upon remand, absent any legal ground for not doing so, the court must order the parents to (1) enroll their children in a public full-time day school, or a legally qualified private full-time day school and (2) see to it that the children receive their education in such school. Given the history of this family, which we need not discuss here,7 permitting the parents to educate the children at home by means of a credentialed tutor would likely pose too many difficulties for the tutor. Further, the court should not permit the children to be enrolled in the Sunland Christian School because that school was willing to participate in the deprivation of the children’s right to a legal education.

You can read the full court text here:

What can we do? Visit the HSLDA website to sign their petition to uphold our rights.