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Archive for June, 2008

If you are a regular reader here, than you know that I have been following the court case regarding home education freedom in California very closely. We are still awaiting a ruling in this case, but I thought it might be nice to post an entry showing a more personal side to this legal battle, some comments from the Homeschool Association of California.

The source for this article can be found here:

http://www.hsc.org/

The story continues below:

Rehearing in homeschooling case

On Monday, June 23, the Court of Appeal in Los Angeles held oral arguments for the rehearing in the In re Rachel L homeschooling/abuse case in California. I flew down for it along with HSC’s lawyers from Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati. Elizabeth Bryant, HSC’s legal co-chair, did all the driving in crazy LA traffic, and Leslie Buchanan, HSC’s president, came to listen. Karen Taylor of CHN was there, as was CHN’s counsel (who’s really an HSC legal volunteer, Jerry Salcido). CHEA’s representative couldn’t come, but their counsel was there. HSLDA came as did the man who worked with me on the brief about the history and efficacy of homeschooling that was filed on behalf of several schools, advocacy groups and businesses such as AtoZHomescool and Diane Flynn Keith. There was a reporter there from the LA Times, but very few people who looked like regular members of the public (security was VERY tight). The court did not permit any TV cameras to show up.

The arguments were long (two and a half hours in a hot courtroom) and thorough. The judges asked lots of questions, with some consistent themes. As soon as you thought you had one judge pegged as to how he or she was thinking, he or she would ask another question that made you wonder about your prior conclusion. They were reasonably generous about letting people finish their presentations or points even if they ran over a little on time.

Some of the attorneys presenting made wonderful arguments that we loved. Others were potentially damaging. Most of the folks on our side did a really good job. One woman from Munger Tolles, who represented CHEA in our joint brief, made a presentation on behalf of all three groups and did very well.

It is absolutely impossible to predict how the court will rule on this — whether it will be narrow, sweeping, or something entirely different, and we don’t want to feed any rumor mill. It’s just too hard to read those tea leaves, although I am sure some people will try.

They have 90 days to do something, which means we should expect a ruling by late September. All three of the big groups will, of course, coordinate to make sure we give consistent advice about how to homeschool come fall, and will work together after the ruling comes out should any change in advice be necessary. If the ruling goes against us, our pro bono firms have assured us that they’re in it for the long haul and will be with us every step of the way.

As before, we encourage everyone to keep on doing what they’ve been doing, to keep showing the world a positive image of homeschooling, to educate their friends and neighbors about homeschooling, and to stay informed.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write me.

Debbie Schwarzer HSC Legal Co-Chair

This is a companion post to my continuing series regarding this matter. You can read the previous entries by following the links supplied below:

https://thefullquiverhomeschoolhouse.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/california-home-education-and-parental-rights-part-9/

https://thefullquiverhomeschoolhouse.wordpress.com/2008/05/21/california-home-education-and-parental-rights-part-8/

https://thefullquiverhomeschoolhouse.wordpress.com/2008/03/27/california-home-education-and-parental-rights-part-7/

https://thefullquiverhomeschoolhouse.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/california-home-education-and-parental-rights-part-6/

https://thefullquiverhomeschoolhouse.wordpress.com/2008/03/12/california-home-education-and-parental-rights-part-5/

https://thefullquiverhomeschoolhouse.wordpress.com/2008/03/11/california-home-education-and-parental-rights-part-4/

https://thefullquiverhomeschoolhouse.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/california-home-education-and-parental-rights-part-3/

https://thefullquiverhomeschoolhouse.wordpress.com/2008/03/07/california-home-education-and-parental-rights-part-2/

https://thefullquiverhomeschoolhouse.wordpress.com/2008/03/07/defend-your-parental-rights/

 

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The landmark case to decide whether home education in California is legal or illegal, has taken another turn. Oral arguments have been heard, and we are waiting on a ruling to determine whether parental rights will be upheld, or be threatened. This case has the potential to set a nation-wide precedent for homeschooling freedoms. The possible aftershocks that could result if home education is, in effect, ruled illegal, are widespread, so we must follow this closely.

I urge you not to take the  “I’m glad that it is THERE, and not HERE” attitude. Do not allow yourself to slip into complacency merely because this is not as much “big” news, as it was back in March. Know this. Whichever way the ruling goes will have an impact upon the homeschooling community at large, and we must remain watchful that it does not damage the rights we now have, that were won at a large cost to many families. You can read more below.

The source for this article can be found at the following location:

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=67859

The update follows below:

 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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A week ago, we took the children to a living history museum that is local to us, to enjoy a summer festival they were having. We met with their cousins there, and a great time was had by all. Here are some pictures that were taken inside the children’s discovery zone. Lots of hands-on activities, games, dress-up, and more!

Kassidy shows us that even two-year old pioneer girls have a job to do!

Kaitlyn and Kyle are ready to take your order in the country store.

Kourtney has a basket of goodies all prepared!

Kory likes the view from the train engine.

Who knew it takes THREE girls to drive a tractor?

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We all want our children to know the dangers of some of the choices they might make. We tell them not to run out in the street, so that they will not get run over by a car. We tell them not to play with guns, because they might accidentally discharge the weapon, and be hurt or killed. We tell them not to do drugs or drink alcohol, because it is harmful to their bodies and it could kill them. We tell them not to get behind the wheel of a car, if they have consumed a substance that would impair their abilities, so that they will not hurt themselves or someone else.

These are all important lessons that need to be taught, no argument there whatsoever. But children need to be approached in an honest and open way. They need to have these issues brought to their attention in a well-thought out and organized manner. The way to teach is not via scare tactics and careless lies that dismantle a child’s trust in you.

A school in California decided, that terrorizing students with blatant lies that some of their classmates/friends had been killed in car wrecks, was the way to go in teaching avoidance of DUI (driving under the influence) incidents. Another great example as to why it is best to keep your children at home to educate them, instead of handing them off to whatever unknown joker with a personal agenda or bizarre plan that happens to be waiting for them.

Continue reading below and you will see the nightmare that they put these teenagers through. I, for one, am glad that my children will not be subjected to deception and trickery under the guise of the “educational process”.

This news story can be found here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25123570/

Here is the article:

Calif. school defends DWI shock tactics
Students were told classmates had died in car wrecks — they hadn’t

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – On a Monday morning last month, highway patrol officers visited 20 classrooms at El Camino High School to announce some horrible news: Several students had been killed in car wrecks over the weekend.

Classmates wept. Some became hysterical.

A few hours and many tears later, though, the pain turned to fury when the teenagers learned that it was all a hoax — a scared-straight exercise designed by school officials to dramatize the consequences of drinking and driving.

As seniors prepare for graduation parties Friday, school officials in the largely prosperous San Diego suburb are defending themselves against allegations they went too far.

At school assemblies, some students held up posters that read: “Death is real. Don’t play with our emotions.”

‘They got the shock they wanted’
Michelle de Gracia, 16, was in physics class when an officer announced that her missing classmate David, a popular basketball player, had died instantly after being rear-ended by a drunken driver. She said she felt nauseated but was too stunned to cry.

“They got the shock they wanted,” she said.

Some of her classmates became extremely upset, prompting the teacher to tell them immediately it was all staged.

“People started yelling at the teacher,” she said. “It was pretty hectic.”

Others, including many who heard the news of the 26 deaths between classes, were left in the dark until the missing students reappeared hours later.

“You feel betrayed by your teachers and administrators, these people you trust,” said 15-year-old Carolyn Magos. “But then I felt selfish for feeling that way, because, I mean, if it saves one life, it’s worth it.”

‘We wanted them to be traumatized’
Officials at the 3,100-student school officials defended the program.

“They were traumatized, but we wanted them to be traumatized,” said guidance counselor Lori Tauber, who helped organize the shocking exercise and got dozens of students to participate. “That’s how they get the message.”

The plan was to tell the truth to the students at an assembly later in the day. But word that it was all a hoax began to spread before the gathering. Tauber said some counselors and administrators revealed the truth to calm some students who had become upset.

Oceanside Schools Superintendent Larry Perondi said he fielded only a few calls from parents, while the PTA chapter said it had not heard any complaints. Perondi said the program would be revised, but he would not say how. And he said he was glad that students seemed to have gotten the message.

“We did this in earnest,” he said. “This was not done to be a prankster.”

 

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The last couple of days I have been breaking out of the typical mold as to how I post entries on this blog. I usually do not delve too deeply into issues that tie to politics, that is not really the purpose of my writings. However, my personal belief system, and consequently this blog, is solidly pro-life. So, I feel like I cannot help but share the following information with you.

Be an informed voter. Please know that if you vote for Barack Obama in the rapidly approaching election for the Presidency, that you are voting for the unrestricted and unregulated murder of innocent children. Obama’s desire should he succeed in being elected President of the United States, is to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. This would destroy every single state law limiting or regulating abortion.

I pray that any voters out there who object to the continued willfull decimation of our country’s innocent unborn babies, will stand up against this evil agenda. We have a long way to go towards fighting the culture of death we currently face, and allowing this man to take office will push our culture into an even more terrible age that COMPLETELY devalues life.

You can read more about this matter below. Please join me in prayer and deed. Fight against those who wish to destroy the blessings sent to us as children.

You can find this news story at the following location:

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08061010.html

The article follows:

Obama’s Abortion Bombshell: Unrestricted Abortion Over Wishes of Individual States a Priority for Presidency

By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 10, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Barack Obama, the presumptive pro-abortion nominee of the Democratic Party, has plans to reward the allies that helped him topple Hillary Clinton from her throne by making total unrestricted abortion in the United States his number one priority as president.

In light of Obama’s recently achieved status as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink has decided to remind its supporters that almost one year has passed since Obama made his vows to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that abortion would be the first priority of his administration.

“The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act,” Obama said in his July speech to abortion advocates worried about the increase of pro-life legislation at the state level.

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is legislation Obama has co-sponsored along with 18 other senators that would annihilate every single state law limiting or regulating abortion, including the federal ban on partial birth abortion.

The 2007 version of FOCA proposed: “It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.”

Obama made his remarks in a question-and-answer session after delivering a speech crystallizing for abortion advocates his deep-seated abortion philosophy and his belief that federal legislation will break pro-life resistance and end the national debate on abortion.

“I am absolutely convinced that culture wars are so nineties; their days are growing dark, it is time to turn the page,” Obama said in July. “We want a new day here in America. We’re tired about arguing about the same ole’ stuff. And I am convinced we can win that argument.”

Besides making abortion on demand a “fundamental right” throughout the United States, FOCA would effectively nullify informed consent laws, waiting periods, health safety regulations for abortion clinics, etc.

Furthermore, medical professionals and institutions that refused abortions also would lose legal protections. FOCA would expose individuals, organizations, and governments – including federal, state, and local government agencies – to costly civil actions for purported violations of the act.

“Thirty-five years after Roe, abortion supporters, like Senator Obama, are dismayed that abortion remains a divisive issue and that their radical agenda has not been submissively accepted by the American public,” states Denise M. Burke, vice president of Americans United for Life.

“Rather than confronting legitimate issues concerning the availability and safety of abortion, they choose to blatantly ignore the concerns and interests of everyday Americans, as well as the growing evidence that abortion hurts women.”

Hillary Clinton, once the longtime Democratic front-runner and anticipated abortion president, conceded defeat last Saturday to Obama, who captured the nomination from her after a long and bitter campaign.

Obama has won the crucial endorsement of abortion activist Frances Kissling, who broke from the ranks of other radical feminist leaders earlier this year to endorse Obama, saying Obama, not Clinton, would better use the bully pulpit of the presidency to accomplish their aims and end the culture wars over abortion.

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Yesterday, I posted an entry about the ramifications that have come about in China, after the earthquake, with regard to their “one-child only” policy.  This country’s misguided attempt to avoid an IMAGINED over-population crisis, has left so many families heartbroken. Flying in the face of God’s design will NEVER net you good. It is my prayer that this will become a wake-up call around the globe, and that more people will begin to embrace life instead of blindly snuffing it out.

Here is an article written by Doug Phillips of Vision Forum ministries regarding the value of children and the falsehoods of the over-population myth. Vision Forum has been a wonderful resource to our family and I highly recommend their products and resources. For more information visit http://www.visionforum.com .

This article can be found here:
http://www.visionforum.com/hottopics/blogs/dwp/2008/06/3845.aspx

The article follows:

When You Look At The Shocking New Trends in Birthrate Demographics, You Begin to Understand the Wisdom of God’s Pro-Baby Mandate and the Folly of the Baby Banning Worldview

At Vision Forum, we are passionate about life. That means being passionate about babies. We believe that the Bible should be taken seriously when it reminds us that children are a “reward” from God. We reject as unbiblical the spirit of selfishness which has contributed to government-subsidized, legalized abortion, and the contraceptive mentality, which often leads to non-clinical abortions from abortifacient contraceptives like the Pill. And to the extent that the Church has participated in either, we must acknowledge that we have blood on our hands. The consequences are far reaching.

One such consequence is our population crisis. And yes there is a big one. But its not an overpopulation crisis we are facing, but precisely the opposite. A growing number of think tanks are beginning to present the data of the demographic nightmare we are bequeathing to our children. Hoover is one such think tank. The February/March 2005 edition of their publication Policy Review, reveals the following:

Global fertility rates have fallen by half since 1972. For a modern nation to replace its population, experts explain, the average woman needs to have 2.1 children over the course of her lifetime. Not a single industrialized nation today has a fertility rate of 2.1, and most are well below replacement level.

In Ben Franklin’s day, by contrast, America averaged eight births per woman. American birth rates today are the highest in the industrialized world — yet even those are nonetheless just below the replacement level of 2.1. Moreover, that figure is relatively high only because of America’s substantial immigrant population. Fertility rates among native born American women are now far below what they were even in the 1930s, when the Great Depression forced a sharp reduction in family size.

Population decline is by no means restricted to the industrial world. Remarkably, the sharp rise in American fertility rates at the height of the baby boom — 3.8 children per woman — was substantially above Third World fertility rates today. From East Asia to the Middle East to Mexico, countries once fabled for their high fertility rates are now falling swiftly toward or below replacement levels. In 1970, a typical woman in the developing world bore six children. Today, that figure is about 2.7. In scale and rapidity, that sort of fertility decline is historically unprecedented. By 2002, fertility rates in 20 developing countries had fallen below replacement levels. 2002 also witnessed a dramatic reversal by demographic experts at the United Nations, who for the first time said that world population was ultimately headed down, not up. These decreases in human fertility cover nearly every region of the world, crossing all cultures, religions, and forms of government.

Declining birth rates mean that societies everywhere will soon be aging to an unprecedented degree. Increasing life expectancy is also contributing to the aging of the world’s population. In 1900, American life expectancy at birth was 47 years. Today it is 76. By 2050, one out of five Americans will be over age 65, making the U.S. population as a whole markedly older than Florida’s population today. Striking as that demographic graying may be, it pales before projections for countries like Italy and Japan. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, 42 percent of all people in Italy and Japan will be aged 60 or older.

In short, the West is beginning to experience significant demographic changes, with substantial cultural consequences. Historically, the aged have made up only a small portion of society, and the rearing of children has been the chief concern. Now children will become a small minority, and society’s central problem will be caring for the elderly. Yet even this assumes that societies consisting of elderly citizens at levels of 20, 30, even 40 or more percent can sustain themselves at all. That is not obvious.

Population decline is also set to ramify geometrically. As population falls, the pool of potential mothers in each succeeding generation shrinks. So even if, well into the process, there comes a generation of women with a higher fertility rate than their mothers’, the momentum of population decline could still be locked in. Population decline may also be cemented into place by economics. To support the ever-growing numbers of elderly, governments may raise taxes on younger workers. That would make children even less affordable than they are today, decreasing the size of future generations still further.

If worldwide fertility rates reach levels now common in the developing world (and that is where they seem headed), within a few centuries, the world’s population could shrink below the level of America’s today. Of course, it’s unlikely that mankind will simply cease to exist for failure to reproduce. But the critical point is that we cannot reverse that course unless something happens to substantially increase fertility rates. And whatever might raise fertility rates above replacement level will almost certainly require fundamental cultural change.

Why does modern social life translate into the lower birth rates that spark all those wider implications? Urbanization is one major factor. In a traditional agricultural society, children are put to work early. They also inherit family land, using its fruits to care for aging parents. In a modern urban economy, on the other hand, children represent a tremendous expense, and one increasingly unlikely to be returned to parents in the form of wealth or care. With the growth of a consumer economy, potential parents are increasingly presented with a zero-sum choice between children and more consumer goods and services for themselves.

Posted by Doug Phillips on June 12, 2008

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I usually tend to limit my entries to national matters when I speak about current events, but I felt the need to address a global one in this case.

Here is an example of what happens when government policy goes completely against the natural order of things. Things like…life. I for one am sickened by this situation, despite the fact that the Chinese government probably thinks that this is a generous and compassionate response.

The very idea of a “one-child only policy” is heinous enough, but now that this tragedy has occured, parents must apply for “permission” to have another child? They are dividing the children lost into categories of legal children versus illegal children? Give me a break! Families have been devastated and they cannot see the error of the original plan?

God’s plan is for a man and a woman to marry, and together to produce offspring. God’s plan is normative, and makes up the very framework and fabric of a healthy and productive society. It saddens me that in the face of such loss, that so many can still be blinded to the truth. The Lord tells us to be fruitful and multiply. Nowhere does God’s Word give anyone the power to dictate how many children a family may or may not have.

The sadness that I feel is not only for the children who were lost during this earthquake, but also for the ones never given the chance to live because of the “one-child only” mandate. You can read the story below:

This news article can be found at the following location:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/05/27/asia/27child.php

The story follows:

China’s one-child policy has exemptions for quake victims’ parents
By Andrew Jacobs Published: May 27, 2008

 

CHENGDU, China: In response to inquiries from grieving relatives, local officials announced Monday that parents whose only child was killed or grievously injured in the May 12 earthquake would be exempt from the country’s one-child policy.

The exception, issued by the Chengdu Population and Family Planning Committee in Sichuan Province, said qualified parents could apply for legal permission to have another child, according to The Associated Press.

Thousands of parents have openly challenged the government over why so many schools collapsed during the earthquake. An estimated 10,000 students are believed to have died.

The anguish of parents and grandparents has been compounded by the one-child policy, which was introduced in 1979 to control population growth. Provincial officials, especially those in rural areas or in regions with large minority populations, are sometimes given latitude in the application of the regulations. In some places, for example, families are permitted to have more than one child if the first is a girl.

According to the policy, local governments can levy steep fines on couples who have more than one child; the children of those who defy the rules are sometimes denied government benefits, including access to a free education.

 The committee announced Monday that if a couple’s legally born child was killed in the earthquake, an illegal child under 18 years could be registered as a legal replacement. If the dead child was illegal, it said the family would no longer be responsible for outstanding fines, although parents would not be reimbursed for penalties already paid.

The changes, however, may come as little solace to parents who have only a photo, a backpack or the ashes of their dead son or daughter. Zhongxin Sun, a sociology professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, said some mothers may be too old to conceive; others may have undergone sterilization. “To lose a child is to lose everything for Chinese parents,” said Professor Sun, who is a visiting scholar at Yale University Law School. “A child is their only hope.”

 

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