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AB2756: Bear Flag Legislator Meets Mama Bear

May 10, 2018

When looking at the crowds of homeschoolers who showed up for the hearing of AB 2756 at the Capitol building on April 25th, it was suggested, "This is what happens when you wake a sleeping giant." Did Assembly Member Jose Medina wake a sleeping giant? I'd say he provoked the proverbial mama bear!

Homeschoolers are freedom-loving people. Quiet, law-abiding, peace-loving folks who are happy to be left alone to raise and educate their children as their conscience dictates. California legislators have learned that if you act to compromise the liberty, safety, and privacy of their homeschools, you will find yourself face to face with a mama bear protecting her cubs. Surprising to some, she's not inclined to give an inch. And well she shouldn't. One small change in the law can lead to another small change, which can lead to the whole smelly camel living inside the tent!

As Mike Smith, President of Home School Legal Defense Association has noted, “Homeschooling has faced at times legislation that did not appear to change much, but did impact the freedom to homeschool. The argument that is advanced to capitulate and not fight is ‘It’s really not a big deal to (whatever the regulation that’s being added) comply.’ The problem is twofold. We don’t want to ever give any ground because it gives bravado to those seeking to regulate homeschooling to continue. And, two, incrementalism, a legislative strategy for reaching a long term goal, has seen great success recently. We saw this at work in our recent battle over regulation of homeschool in Sacramento. By the time the final version of the legislation reached the education committee, it had been significantly watered down, but still sought identifying information of homeschoolers. This information could have been used later to formulate further legislation to tighten up on homeschooling freedom. We heard some in the homeschool movement suggest that we really need not fight this minimal regulation. Fortunately, that sentiment did not control. Homeschoolers by the droves went to Sacramento to save the day. We must resist all and any effort to further reduce the freedom we have in California to educate our children."

We so appreciate the efforts of our partner organizations. Family Protection Ministries, our legislative consultants who worked tirelessly on our behalf--to the point of exhaustion--talking to the legislature in the state Capitol. Homeschool Legal Defense Association, whose vast experience in homeschool legislative battles across this nation is invaluable, provided much needed guidance and wisdom along the way. California homeschoolers owe both of these organizations a great debt of gratitude. If you don't support them financially, you should.

The other state organizations that banded together, California Homeschool Network and Homeschool Association of California were instrumental in spreading the rally cry. Their great legal teams provided much needed input in interpreting the potential pitfalls and dangers represented in the proposed legislation.

We really should take our hats off to Parents United 4 Kids, a political action committee focused solely on parental rights issues, for their concerted and coordinated efforts to rally the troops.

CHEA wishes to thank all of you for your efforts in opposition to AB 2756; for your prayers, making phone calls, sending emails, writing letters, visiting district offices. These efforts that took place before the bill was heard in committee were instrumental in our victory. And thanks for going to the effort and expense to get to Sacramento.

Because you spoke up, homeschool freedom in California has been preserved. Because you showed up homeschools remain "private schools," and nothing has been added to the education code to single us out. Because you as a body stood up, you have left a legacy of freedom; a practical example for your children and future generations of home educators to follow. Because you bowed down before our Heavenly Father, He rose up in a mighty way granting us favor and protection. We owe our greatest debt of gratitude to Him.

Public Statement Concerning AB 2756

Updated April 18, 2018

Christian Home Educators Association of California (CHEA) is opposed to AB 2756 as amended on April 2, 2018 by Assembly members Medina, Eggman, and Gonzales Fletcher. We view the bill as an unnecessary piece of legislation that would negatively impact private homeschoolers in California.

We understand the purpose of this bill is to ensure that each private school student has a safe learning environment. However, the bill was initiated based upon the criminal actions of one couple, the Turpins, who were recently arrested in Perris, California for abusing their children. Like the rest of the country, we were horrified by the news of the Turpin family. However, the Turpins do not represent the greater homeschool community.

There is no evidence to suggest that private homeschool students are at greater risk for abuse than other children. To the contrary, studies done by the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities [1] and Dr. Brian Ray of National Home Education Research Institute [2] there is no indication that the place or mode of education has any bearing on whether or not a child is at risk for abuse. Thus we believe this bill is an overreaction to the Turpin case.

The current amendments to the original bill have changed from inspection of the homes of those who homeschool their children, to gathering information. However, the additional information sought is not required by, nor necessary for the state to administer private school statutes. Private home educators have been operating successfully under the current private school statutes for more than 35 years. We see no justification for gathering any additional information.

Homeschooled students, on average, outperform public school students on standardized tests, graduate from high school and attend college, and grow into responsible, community-minded adults. We see no justification for the state to require disclosure of additional information.

Furthermore, the proposed requirement that homeschools disclose additional infor-mation infringes on the privacy of law-abiding citizens. This compromises student privacy. It also subjects innocent families to potential abuse of this information by others. Private schools with five or fewer students are not currently listed on the CDE's website. AB 2756 proposes to include all disclosed information about these small schools, most of which are homeschools, on the public website.

While the authors may have good intentions, the bill would infringe on the rights and privacy of law-abiding citizens. For that reason, we oppose AB 2756.

The Christian Home Educators Association (CHEA) of California is a non-profit ministry established in 1982 to provide information, support, and training to the home education community throughout the state.

View Family Protection Ministry's alert on AB2756 here.

[1] Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (Final Report 2016) Within Our Reach: A National Strategy to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cecanf_final_report.pdf [2] Ray, Dr. Brian (January 23, 2018) Child Abuse of Public School, Private School, and Homeschool Students: Evidence, Philosophy, and Reason https://www.nheri.org/child-abuse-of-public-school-private-school-and-homeschool-students-evidence-philosophy-and-reason/

Public Statement Concerning AB 2756

Introduced February 16, 2018

Christian Home Educators Association of California (CHEA) views AB 2756 (introduced February 16, 2018, by Assembly members Medina, Eggman, and Gonzales Fletcher) as a dangerous piece of legislation that would negatively impact private homeschoolers in California.

We understand the purpose of this bill is to ensure that each private school student has a safe learning environment. We hold the opinion that rather than protect children from abuse as its author hopes, it will only serve to violate innocent families’ Fourth Amendment rights.

There is no evidence to suggest that private homeschool students are at greater risk for abuse than the rest of the state’s school-aged children. According to studies done by the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities [1] and Dr. Brian Ray of National Home Education Research Institute [2] there’s no indication that the place or mode of education has any bearing on whether or not a child is at risk for abuse.

Rather than protect children from abuse, this gives government authorities the power to enter law-abiding citizens’ homes without a warrant, reasonable cause, or consent just to “verify” that no crime is being committed. What community of Californians should be subject to this type of invasion? What other members of American society would find this acceptable?

This bill is an overreaction to the recent Turpin child abuse arrests in Perris, CA. Like the rest of the country, we were horrified by the news; our hearts are broken for the 13 siblings. We are thankful they have been rescued and brought to safe haven. We pray fervently for their healing. We, too, never want to see this happen again. However, we must seek answers that do not infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens.

CHEA will continue to inform, support, and encourage our members directly and through the Support Network regarding this issue. We will work in cooperation with Family Protection Ministries, Home School Legal Defense Association, and other state organizations in regard to any bills that may serve to compromise homeschool freedom.

[1] Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (Final Report 2016) Within Our Reach: A National Strategy to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cecanf_final_report.pdf [2] Ray, Dr. Brian (January 23, 2018) Child Abuse of Public School, Private School, and Homeschool Students: Evidence, Philosophy, and Reason https://www.nheri.org/child-abuse-of-public-school-private-school-and-homeschool-students-evidence-philosophy-and-reason/

Compulsory School Age Cutoff Law

Compulsory School Age Cutoff

In California, compulsory school attendance is required for all children ages 6-18. The school year in which a six year old must start school depends upon his or her birthday. For the current school year, 2017 and after, a child is required to be enrolled in school if he or she turns six years old on or before September 1. Read background and original news item.

Vaccination Guidelines for Homeschoolers

HSLDA Recommendations November 2016

View and download HSLDA's five-page PDF on health and vaccination records here.

Why Do We Need A Legal Defense Association?

With the number of legal contacts and cases in the early years of the modern homeschool movement, it became obvious that the formation of a legal defense association was necessary to spread the cost of legal defense among homeschoolers and make legal representation affordable for every home educator.

The legal arguments involved in an issue such as home education are so complicated that it would be impossible for a family to go into court not represented by an attorney. Good lawyers can cost hundreds of dollars per hour to retain. And, however good those attorneys might be, they may not be familiar with the issues surrounding home education. Read more

Required Records

In the past couple of years, the state legislature has made changes in the required health records and how to claim a personal exemption. Read about all the records required for a private school in your home, Recordkeeping - Required Records.

Work Permits

Process for Obtaining Work Permits Changed on January 1, 2010

A new law regarding work permits went into effect on January 1, 2010. The information included here may change for the 2010-2011 school year because the California Department of Education is still in the process of updating its forms and manual. Read more

Court Cases

Key Court Cases

During the 20th century a number of case that affect homeschooling, directly and indirectly, were decided. Read about some of the key cases.

In re Rachel L. Case Summary

The headlines were reading “Homeschooling Outlawed in California.” Within hours, homeschoolers were asking, “What do I do now?” All this the result of a ruling by the California Second Court of Appeal that said a family in Southern California could not homeschool unless a parent was a credentialed tutor. Read more

Public School Programs

Q & A Regarding CHEA’s Position on Public School Programs

CHEA’s mission is to promote private Christian home education. Read what CHEA’s position on public school programs is and how it affects you. Answers Here

Child Abuse Awareness

As homeschool parents we have a desire to protect and nurture all children. It is our nature to protect all children. Child endangerment can take on many aspects including bullying, cyberstalking, sexual abuse, as well as physical abuse.

CHEA is providing this information so homeschool groups and parents can be more aware of the abuse in our communities, what parents can do to protect their children and other children, and how to report incidents of abuse.

A number of resources have been gathered for you to use with your group and your family.

If you are in immediate danger or suspect someone else is, please call 911. Read more

 

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