By Jenna Murphy

LOS ANGELES, June 25, 2008 ( – This week, a California appeals court revisited its own February ruling that effectively made it illegal to homeschool one’s own children without holding the appropriate teaching credentials.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal made its controversial ruling in a case involving a young boy who reported being ‘mistreated emotionally and physically’ by his father. The family in question was discovered to have been homeschooling their eight children.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Attorney General Jerry Brown and state schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell have joined the California Homeschool Association and other various conservative groups requesting to have the appeals court reverse its earlier decision. The California Teachers Association, on the other hand, is arguing in favor of the court’s previous decision, having told the court that allowing parents to educate their own children would lead to “educational anarchy”.

The court is expected to rule in 90 days, just in time for the beginning of the new school year.

The court ruled on February 29 of this year states that all children between the ages of 6-18 years old must attend full-time public or private school, or that they must be “instructed by a tutor who holds a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught”.

There are approximately 160,000 homeschooled students in California, most of whose parents are without teaching credentials.

California is the only state to date that has enacted requirements barring the homeschooling of children by parents who are not licensed teachers.
“Parents who fail to [comply with school enrollment laws] may be subject to a criminal complaint against them, found guilty of an infraction and subject to imposition of fines or an order to complete a parent education and counseling program,” Justice H. Walt Croskey wrote in the majority opinion.

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