Posts Tagged ‘Department of Education’

Well, it has been a long 6 months but the battle for homeschool freedom in the state of California has ended for now…with success!! After following this case closely since not long after beginning this blog, it is nice to see such a positive culmination of events in this important matter. Below you can read more about this victory for parental rights. Praise the Lord for His obvious hand in this fight!

The following case report can be found at this location:


Here is the text:

A Great Victory for California Homeschoolers

In a unanimous decision, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District today ruled that California statutes permit home schooling as a species of private school education.

Today’s decision stands in stark contrast to the opinion this same three-judge panel issued in February, which would have made California the only state in the union to outlaw home education had it remained in effect.

It is unusual for an appellate court to grant a petition for rehearing as this court did in March,said HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris,but it is truly remarkable for a court to completely reverse its own earlier opinion. We thank you for your prayers and give God the glory for this great victory.

When the court vacated its earlier decision on March 25, 2008, it invited interested organizations to file friend-of-the-court briefs.I have never seen such an impressive array of people and organizations coming to the defense of homeschooling, said Farris, who was one of the attorneys who argued the case on rehearing along with Alliance Defense Fund attorney, Jeff Shafer who represented the father. The father was also represented by Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation.

California’s three largest homeschool organizations, California Homeschool Network, Homeschool Association of California and Christian Home Education Association joined together in one brief to defend the right of all parents to homeschool. HSLDA, Family Protection Ministries and Focus on the Family also joined in a separate brief. Numerous other private organizations came to the defense of home education as did California’s governor, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction.

We are extremely grateful to all of the organizations who worked tirelessly to protect and preserve homeschooling freedom in California. We are also thankful for you, our members, for your prayers and support during this trying season.

The freedom to homeschool is a precious gift from God. But keeping it free requires vigilance and perseverance. We must continue to work together diligently to preserve this precious freedom in California and elsewhere.

Below are excerpts from the opinion:

We will conclude that: (1) California statutes permit home schooling as a species of private school education; and (2) the statutory permission to home school may constitutionally be overridden in order to protect the safety of a child who has been declared dependent. [FN1: We use the terms home school and home schooling to refer to full-time education in the home by a parent or guardian who does not necessarily possess a teaching credential.]

Although the Legislature did not amend the statutory scheme so as to expressly permit home schooling, more recent enactments demonstrate an apparent acceptance by the Legislature of the proposition that home schooling is taking place in California, with home schools allowed as private schools. Recent statutes indicate that the Legislature is aware that some parents in California home school their children by declaring their homes to be private schools. Moreover, several statutory enactments indicate a legislative approval of home schooling, by exempting home schools from requirements otherwise applicable to private schools.

While the Legislature has never acted to expressly supersede Turner and Shinn, it has acted as though home schooling is, in fact, permitted in California.

While the legislative history of Education Code section 44237 is somewhat complicated, it confirms this interpretation, and also reflects the Legislature’s apparent intent to accommodate home schooling parents.

The most logical interpretation of subsequent legislative enactments and regulatory provisions supports the conclusion that a home school can, in fact, fall within the private school exception to the general compulsory education law.

We therefore conclude that home schools may constitute private schools.

While the interpretation of the private school exemption is ultimately an issue for the courts, we find it significant that education and enforcement officials at both the state and local levels agree that home schools may constitute private schools.

In short, the rule of Turner and Shinn has been discounted as a doctrinal anachronism, and clinging to such precedent would undermine a practice that has been, if not actively encouraged, at least acknowledged and accepted by officials and the public for many years.

Another news story regarding this issue can be found here:


The article follows:

Parents may home-school children without teaching credential, California court says

Gov. Schwarzenegger praises the reversal by the 2nd District Court of Appeal as a victory for students and parental rights.

By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 9, 2008

Parents may legally home-school their children in California even if they lack a teaching credential, a state appellate court ruled Friday. The decision is a reversal of the court’s earlier position, which effectively prohibited most home schooling and sparked fear throughout the state’s estimated 166,000 home-schoolers.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had vowed to allow home schooling through legislation if the court did not act, praised the ruling. 
“This is a victory for California’s students, parents and education community. This decision confirms the right every California child has to a quality education and the right parents have to decide what is best for their children,” he said. “I hope the ruling settles this matter for parents and home-schooled children once and for all in California, but assure them that we, as elected officials, will continue to defend parents’ rights.”

In February, the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled in a child protection hearing that parents must have a teaching credential to home-school their children. The decision caused a nationwide uproar among home-schoolers, religious activists and others, and the court agreed to reconsider its decision, a move described as unusual but not unprecedented.

The issue arose in part because California’s laws do not specifically address home schooling, unlike those of at least 30 other states.
Friday’s ruling essentially upheld the position of the state Department of Education and state Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, who have traditionally allowed home schooling as long as parents file paperwork with the state establishing themselves as private schools, hire credentialed tutors or enroll their children in independent study programs run by charter or private schools or public school districts.

“As head of California’s public school system, it would be my wish that all children attend public school, but I understand that a traditional public school environment may not be the right setting for each and every child,” he said. “I recognize and understand the consternation that the earlier court ruling caused for many parents and associations involved in home schooling. It is my hope that today’s ruling will allay many of those fears and resolve much of the confusion.”

The court also said that the right of parents to home-school their children can be overridden if a child is in danger.

Home-schooling families celebrated the ruling.

“We’re ecstatic, happy and thrilled,” said Loren Gould of Westchester, who teaches her son, Logan, 7, at home. “He gets to keep his love of learning alive. . . . The world is his classroom.”

The case stemmed from the Long family of Lynwood, who were accused of mistreating some of their eight children. All of the children are or had been enrolled at Sunland Christian School, where they would occasionally take tests, but they were taught in their home by their mother.

Lawyers appointed to represent the two youngest children had asked the court to require them to attend a public or private school full time so adults could monitor their well-being. The family court declined, but the children’s lawyers appealed.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled in February that Sunland officials’ occasional monitoring of the Longs’ methods of teaching were insufficient to qualify as being enrolled in a private school. Because Mary Long does not have a teaching credential, the family violated state laws, the ruling said.

The Longs, the Sunland school and others appealed, and the appellate panel agreed to revisit the ruling. That panel heard arguments in June at a freewheeling hearing attended by at least 45 attorneys representing disparate groups. Democratic and Republican politicians, religious and secular home-schoolers, and liberal and conservative legal scholars all weighed in, saying the court had erred.

Phillip Long, who has said the family chose to home-school the children because of their strong Christian beliefs, said Friday that he doesn’t believe the court was swayed by the legal arguments.

“Only one thing swayed this court — politics,” he said. “This court was under pressure. . . . They did it to protect themselves and their reputation. Those judges want to be Supreme Court judges, they want to move up. They’re not going to do anything to upset their careers.”

Though the appellate court upheld the right of parents to home-school, it did direct the family court to revisit whether the Longs should be allowed to continue to home-school their children.

It’s unclear what will happen, because in July the family court terminated its jurisdiction over the family’s children, though the children’s lawyers are appealing that decision. Long is confident he will prevail.

“Educating your children in your own home preexisted these buffoons that sit on the 2nd Circuit,” he said. “It preexisted this state. It preexisted us. Parents have been teaching their own children since the beginning.”

California does little to enforce the education department’s provisions and insists that doing so is the local school districts’ responsibility.

In addition, state education officials say some parents home-school their children without the knowledge of any entity, making them virtually impossible to locate.

Home-schoolers and government officials have largely accepted this murky arrangement, but the court faulted the Legislature for failing to clarify the rules.

“It is important to recognize that it is not for us to consider, as a matter of policy, whether home schooling should be permitted in California. That job is for the Legislature. It is not the duty of the courts to make the law; we endeavor to interpret it,” Justice H. Walter Croskey wrote in a ruling signed by the two other members of the panel. “Our first task, interpreting the law of California, is made more difficult in this case by legislative inaction.”

To that end, the court said additional requirements for home-schoolers in other states such as standardized testing or home visits should be considered by the California Legislature.

“Given the state’s compelling interest in educating all of its children . . . and the absence of an express statutory and regulatory framework for home schooling in California, additional clarity in this area of the law would be helpful,” according to the ruling.

Statements such as those irked some home-school organizations that are weary of regulation, but were supported by constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of UC Irvine’s law school, who urged the court to overturn its initial ruling that banned most home schooling.

“I believe it’s the right of parents, if they chose, to be able to home-school their children. That’s absolutely their right,” he said. But “the state has an important interest [in] making sure all children are adequately educated.”



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What is it going to take to wake people up that traditional schools are turning into nothing more than a breeding ground for violence and evil? What is it going to take to get parent’s to pull their children out of these dangerous cesspools, where the primary thing they are learning is either to beat others up or to be the ones who are beaten?

Over and over people tell me that “these are isolated cases, and most schools are not like this.” WHATEVER. Practically every day I run across a story just like this one or worse, from schools located in big cities, small towns, out in the country, everywhere! Add to that all of the abuse that happens to these children that doesn’t even make it into mainstream media and you have an epidemic.

This incident involves a 1st grader. In fact, the attacks he has suffered began when he was just in Kindergarten. Come on people, children that little are still practically babies. Nobody should be subjected to such treatment, but to allow it to happen to a 7 year old? This whole system has gotten completely out of hand. Something needs to be done to stop this NOW. Please bring or keep your children at home. They deserve to live a life free from violence, either experienced or witnessed. Situations like this do not make children stronger like some people claim. Situations like these ruin lives.

The source for this news story can be found here:


The article follows:

Oakland: When school bullies get out of hand

Nanette Asimov, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, April 24, 2008

  (04-23) 22:51 PDT Oakland — Anthony Cataldo of Oakland first raised concerns about aggressive bullying at his son’s elementary school last year after Zachary lost four teeth on the playground – but he said he received only a verbal assurance that things would change.

Cataldo said he complained again when some boys at school kicked 7-year-old Zachary in the stomach three months ago but got no response.

Now – two days after an older student slammed Zachary against a tree, fracturing his skull and sending the first-grader to intensive care – Cataldo is hiring a lawyer, and school officials are paying attention.

“This is the only way they’ll listen,” Cataldo said. “I’m scared for my son.”

State records show that Piedmont Avenue Elementary is Oakland’s second-most-violent elementary school, recording 97 suspensions last year for violence – including nine involving a weapon.

That level of danger is higher than at most middle and high schools in the district as well.

“It’s a major concern,” said Denise Saddler, an Oakland Unified School District administrator in charge of elementary schools in North and West Oakland.

Saddler said she will address Monday’s violence at Piedmont Avenue, but she called it a personnel matter and declined to discuss details.

She said that an investigation of the incident that sent Zachary to Children’s Hospital is under way and that no student will be punished until the facts have been gathered.

Principal Angela Haick declined to comment on Cataldo’s assertions that his complaints fell on deaf ears or to discuss Monday’s incident.

It happened after school as Zachary waited for a ride. As he tells it, “a fifth-grader picked me up, and he body-slammed me into a tree.”

Moments later, Zachary’s after-school caregiver, Arhonda Morris, drove up and saw him. She also saw an older boy running for a bus, said Cataldo, a single father who works as a receiver for Safeway in Oakland.

A girl who witnessed the attack said it was unprovoked, Cataldo said.

Unaware of how badly Zachary was hurt, Morris drove him to her home and called the school to report what had happened, Cataldo said.

“While she was doing that, she noticed that Zachary was sitting on the floor passing out – that’s when she called me,” he said.

Zachary was clammy and lethargic. Morris put him in her truck and picked up Cataldo. At the hospital, Zachary began vomiting. A CT scan revealed a skull fracture, so doctors whisked him into intensive care, hoping to avoid surgery.

It wasn’t the first time the boy had been hurt at Piedmont Elementary.

His father said that in kindergarten last year, Zachary was on the playground when some fifth-graders who had been sent out of class for disciplinary reasons approached him and lifted him up.

“One was spinning Zachary around,” Cataldo said. Then he let go.

Zachary lost four teeth.

“I got reassurance from his principal that nothing like this would happen again,” Cataldo said. But three months ago, “he was kicked in the stomach by an older kid.

“That raised my concerns again,” Cataldo said. “This has been an ongoing problem. Once school lets out, there is absolutely no supervision while the kids are waiting to be picked up. This is when these (older) kids are preying on them.”

He said he has also seen unsupervised youngsters running around wildly in the morning before school when he has dropped off Zachary a few minutes early.

Saddler confirmed that elementary students across the district are often unsupervised unless they are enrolled in before- or after-school programs.

“We don’t have the finances to cover parents before the hours that school starts,” Saddler said. “And after school, we do not have supervision for students who are not enrolled in after-school programs. We are very, very clear with parents that they need to make arrangements for their children.”

She acknowledged that for many parents, such arrangements are not always possible to make.

Cataldo, meanwhile, said he was stunned to learn that Piedmont Avenue’s suspensions for violence last year were among the highest of the district’s 59 elementary schools. Only Preparatory Literary Academy in West Oakland, with 106, had more.

“I just find that astounding, because we’re talking about elementary kids up to the age of 11,” he said. “It’s scary, is what it is.”

Doctors released Zachary on Wednesday, his headache gone and his appetite restored.

His aunt, Janine Cataldo, said she has tried to get Zachary enrolled in the school where her children go but was told there was no room. That school, Chabot Elementary, reported no violent suspensions last year.

Under the circumstances, Saddler said, moving Zachary out of Piedmont Avenue is a conversation she’s ready to have.
Danger zones
Piedmont Avenue Elementary, with an enrollment of 344 students last year, had the second-highest number of violence-related suspensions among Oakland’s 59 public elementary schools (kindergarten to fifth grade).
The top five are:

— Preparatory Literary Academy – 106 suspensions.

— Piedmont Avenue Elementary – 97 suspensions.

— Webster Academy – 77 suspensions.

— Lockwood Elementary – 52 suspensions.

— New Highland Academy – 42 suspensions.

Source: California Department of Education

E-mail Nanette Asimov at nasimov@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page A – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

I feel the need to add a note to this entry. I for one, hold the parents of this child responsible as well. To allow your little son to be repeatedly attacked and leave them at the mercy of a situation like this is inexcusable. This was not the first incident of violence against this child. He had already had 4 teeth knocked out, and been kicked in the stomach prior to this current attack.

Now, we will see if a fractured skull and a trip to intensive care is enough to result in some action. I feel deep sorrow for this poor child and his family and for what they must be going through. But I cannot help but believe that this was a preventable tragedy. It is time for the children to come back home. I pray that people’s eyes will be opened wide to the truth. Our children are worth any perceived inconvenience. NO MORE EXCUSES!



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We have heard it all before, right? We cannot have religious beliefs supported in the public schools. The supposed separation of “Church and State”. Can we pray in school? No, sorry, that is not allowed. Can we wear shirts with images of the Cross on them, or that say John 3:16?  No, no…that might offend someone’s sensibilities. We even have some who would like to have the line “One nation under God” , removed from the Pledge of Allegience to the American Flag.

How many times have we been told, to receive government funding, we cannot allow religious practices or displays on public school campuses. Really? I think maybe what they mean is, no CHRISTIAN religious displays or practices. Nothing done in the name of our one true Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. If you read the article below, you will see that the exclusion of religion in public schools is not what you may think it is. Do you want to continue sending your children to a broken establishment that lies? I for one am glad that I have my children at home to learn in a safe and honest environment under the leadership of God, my husband, and myself. Not the government and whatever officials cycle in and out over time, each with their own drive and motives.

This news story can be found here:


The article follows:

Teacher spills beans about Islamic classes
‘The kids were corralled by adults and required to go to assembly for prayer’

Posted: April 09, 2008
3:28 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

A Minnesota teacher who substituted for two fifth-grade classes at a publicly funded school located in the same building as an Islamic mosque says religion appears to be a significant focus of the education.

 Amanda Getz of Bloomington, Minn., told a columnist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune her duties at Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in Inver Grove Heights included taking students to the bathroom, four at a time, to perform “their ritual washing.”

Then, the teacher told columnist Katherine Kersten, “teachers led the kids into the gym, where a man dressed in white with a white cap, who had been at the school all day,” was preparing to lead prayer.

Beside him, another man “was prostrating himself in prayer on a carpet as the students entered,” the teacher said.

The Star-Tribune previously documented that the charter high school for kindergarten through eighth-grade students is named after a Muslim warlord, shares the address of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, is led by two imams, is composed almost exclusively (99 percent) of blacks and has as its top goal to preserve “our values.”

And it’s all funded by the taxpayers of Minnesota.

Kersten wrote she had asked for permission to visit the school and was denied. The school also declined to return a WND telephone request for an interview.

The institution has drawn objections from a number of people, including Robert Spencer, the expert who monitors such developments at Jihad Watch.

“Can you imagine a public school founded by two Christian ministers, and housed in the same building as a church? Add to that – in the same building – a prominent chapel. And let’s say the students are required to fast during Lent, and attend Bible studies right after school. All with your tax dollars,” he wrote. “Inconceivable? Sure.”

If such a place existed, Spencer said, “the ACLU lawyers would descend on it like locusts. It would be shut down before you could say ‘separation of church and state,’ to the accompaniment of New York Times and Washington Post editorials full of indignant foreboding, warning darkly about the growing influence of the Religious Right in America.”

Kersten’s latest report documents the teacher’s observations at the school.

Getz told Kersten that the orders when she arrived were to prepare for the “assembly” at the school by having the children do their ritual washing and take them to the gymnasium.

“The prayer I saw was not voluntary,” Getz told the columnist. “The kids were corralled by adults and required to go to the assembly where prayer occurred.”

She said, “When I arrived, I was told ‘after school we have Islamic Studies,’ and I might have to stay for hall duty. The teachers had written assignments on the blackboard for classes like math and social studies. Islamic Studies was the last one – the board said the kids were studying the Quran. The students were told to copy it into their planner, along with everything else. That gave me the impression that Islamic Studies was a subject like any other.”

She also reported the fifth-graders stayed in the classroom after the end of the school day, and the “man in white” who led prayers during the assembly came in to teach Islam.

“TIZA has, in effect, extended the school day – buses leave only after Islamic Studies are over,” noted the columnist. “Getz did not see evidence of other extra-curricular activity, except for a group of small children playing outside.”

Kersten continued, “Significantly, 77 percent of TIZA parents say their ‘main reason for choosing TIZA … was because of after-school programs conducted by various non-profit organizations at the end of the school period in the school building,’ according to a TIZA report.”

Kersten noted earlier that the school shares the same building as the headquarters of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose mission is “establishing Islam in Minnesota.” There also is a mosque in the building, and TIZA’s executive director, Asad Zaman, is a Muslim imam, and its sponsor is a group called Islamic Relief.

“Why does the Minnesota Department of Education allow this sort of religious activity at a public school?” Kersten questioned.

She noted the ACLU of Minnesota is looking into the situation, and “the Minnesota Department of Education has also begun a review” now.

“TIZA’s operation as a public, taxpayer-funded school is troubling on several fronts. TIZA is skirting the law by operating what is essentially an Islamic school at taxpayer expense,” Kersten wrote. “The Department of Education has failed to provide the oversight necessary to catch these illegalities, and appears to lack the tools to do so. In addition, there’s a double standard at work here – if TIZA were a Christian school, it would likely be gone in a heartbeat.”

Kersten previously revealed other links between the school and Islam, including a carpeted space for prayer, halal food in the cafeteria and fasting for students during Ramadan.

Just last year, the program for the 2007 MAS-Minnesota convention, under the motto “Establishing Islam in Minnesota” asked the question, “Did you know that MAS-MN … houses a full-time elementary school?”

On the adjacent page was an ad for Tarek ibn Ziyad.

The Minnesota Department of Education confirmed the academy pocketed more than $65,000 in state money for the 2006-2007 year under one program alone.

WND previously reported in Idaho the five pillars of Islam were taught under the guise of history, “religion guidelines’ used in public schools were assembled with help from a terror suspect and U.S. courts upheld mandatory Islamic training in schools.

The Minnesota school’s own website explains it tries to provide students a “learning environment that recognizes and appreciates the traditions, histories, civilizations and accomplishments of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.”

It boasts of a “rigorous Arabic language program” as well as “an environment that fosters your cultural values and heritage.”

The school says it is named after Tarek ibn Ziyad, the “Ummayad administrator of medieval Spain. Thirteen hundred years ago, serving in the multifaceted roles of activist, leader, explorer, teacher, administrator and peacemaker, he inspired his fellow citizens to the same striving for human greatness that we hope to instill in our students today.”

Even Islamic websites, however, explain that Tarek ibn Ziyad invaded Spain from Africa in a bloody battle after ordering the boats that had carried his soldiers burned so they could not retreat.

“This marked the beginning of the Muslim conquest of Spain. Muslims ruled the country for hundreds of years so gloriously and well that Spain became afterwards the fountain-head of culture and civilization for the whole continent of Europe,” the Islamists boast.


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