I know, not very original and there definitely has been lots of talk about the California court homeschooling ruling. But since there is so much information floating around, I kind of felt like I needed to pull some of it together in one place, at least for my own sake. It has been amazing the amount of speculation going on about what this means, both for homeschooling in California and for homeschooling nationwide.
One thing you will see is that I am not going to link to any news coverage. Most reporters really do not understand homeschooling in general and there are so many subtleties to this case that media just can't seem to get it right and has been full of dire predictions and misinterpretations.
VaHomeschoolers has put out a statement for Virginia homeschoolers who might be worried about the larger implications of this case. It is very unlikely that this will affect us here because, unlike California, we have a specific home instruction statute and in order for us to loose our rights, the General Assembly would have to pass legislation to remove that language from the Code of Virginia and the Governor would have to sign it. VaHomeschoolers closely monitors legislation every year to ensure that this does not happen.
I have found that the best place for information has been the California state homeschool organizations. They are the ones most familiar with the state laws and the political climate (not to mention the ones with the most vested interest in the outcome!) and will be posting frequent updates as things go on.
There was an informative podcast interview with Debbie Schwarzer,HSC Legal Team Co-chair. She talks a little about what they know about the case, what they are doing and reassures folks that right now what they need most is for everyone to sit tight and let them work on it.
National Home Education Legal Defense (NHELD) has issued a Bulletin about the ruling in which they talk a lot about the legal issues involved. I found this to be a good overview of the legal intricacies.
As far as the petition being circulated by HSLDA, HSC has said the following:
Dear List MembersWe have seen a post forwarding a letter from HSLDA that addresses the recent court ruling regarding homeschooling in California. Their letter offers a link to a petition, saying that you can help stop this threat to homeschooling by signing the petition. While we believe there is no harm in signing the petition, we do not feel it is necessary.We believe that it is important to remain calm and allow the Legal Teams of the various homeschooling organizations to address the issues appropriately through legal channels. We certainly understand that you will want to stay informed and be involved in any ways that can help in resolving threats to homeschooling freedoms, and we will be keeping you closely posted as things arise that can be impacted with your help.So while we do not discourage you from signing the petition, we also see no benefit in signing it either.We encourage you to read our position recently posted on our website at http://hsc.org/AppellatedecisionThank you so much for all your patience and support.Sincerely, HSC Board of Directors HSC Legal Team
I find this good to know as I have many issues with HSLDA's political stances on issues outside of homeschooling and prefer not to give them my personal information (although I would have if it would have helped). It does look as if HSC and CHN are taking donations for their legal funds so that is another more direct and effective way of helping.
One lesson that I think can be taken from the situation in California is that it is is vitally important to support your statewide homeschool organization, if your state has one. California is lucky to have several active groups who already had networks and relationships in place so they were able to mobilize quickly.
Virginia is lucky as well to have two statewide organizations and it is for this reason that I donate both my time and money to VaHomeschoolers. VaHomeschoolers has been working for over 10 years to promote homeschooling, developing good working relationships with both the Virginia Department of Education as well as state lawmakers. VaHomeschoolers believes that all homeschoolers' interests are served when government, news media, and the public see us as a diverse people united in our love of our children and in our valuing freedom to teach and learn at home.
Education is the key to keeping our homeschool freedoms.