n re Rachel L. (2008) , Cal.App.4th

On February 28, 2008 the Second Appellate District granted a petition for extraordinary writ which reversed the lower court’s decision refusing to order parents to enroll their children to attend public or private school. The lower court found that parents have a constitutional right to homeschool their children, while the Second Appellate District reversal stated:

It is clear to us that enrollment and attendance in a public full-time day school is required by California law for minor children unless (1) the child is enrolled in a private full-time day school and actually attends that private school, (2) the child is tutored by a person holding a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught, or (3) one of the other few statutory exemptions to compulsory public school attendance (Ed. Code, § 48220 et seq.) applies to the child. In re Rachel L. (Full text of 02/28/08 disposition)

The decision received mainstream media attention. The Los Angeles Times reported apprehension among current homeschooling families fearing prosecution under the new ruling and the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Governor Schwarzenegger’s pledge to intervene if the rights of parents to homeschool their children were challenged.

On March 25, 2008 the Second Appellate District granted the petition for rehearing filed by the parents In re Rachel L. and allowed for submission of an amicus curie brief by the school through which the parents had operated their homeschooling program. The brief shall address whether parents have the right to homeschool their children and whether California law permits homeschooling by non-credentialed parents. The court further announced its intention to hear the matter on its June, 2008 calendar and to solicit amicus briefs on the issues from the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, California State Board of Education, California Federation of Teachers, California Teachers Association, and United Teachers Los Angeles. The court will also consider timely applications for amicus briefs from other interested parties.

According to the Los Angeles Times, as many as 166,000 homeschooled children will be affected by the court’s eventual decision on this matter.