Victory – AB 713 Stopped!

JOINT LEGISLATIVE NEWSFLASH – September 3, 2015

From:  Roy Hanson–Family Protection Ministries and Mike Smith–HSLDA

Bill:  AB 713 (Weber) Mandatory Kindergarten

AB 713 has been stopped in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

We are thankful to God and for all who participated in winning this tremendous victory!

We have strongly opposed AB 713. Thank you for your important prayers and phone calls that played a key part in this victory!

The Senate Appropriations Committee did not vote to approve AB 713 by the deadline for passing bills out of committee this year. AB 713 cannot be acted on again until next year (2016).

AB 713 would mandate Kindergarten for all students before they can enter the first grade, adding another year of schooling before graduation.

AB 713 endangers children by both putting them in harms way of the negative effects of forced earlier entrance into formal education and by removing the current right of parents to protect their children from these dangers.

We at FPM and HSLDA invested a considerable amount of time, energy, and resources in stopping this bill. We worked to educate legislators and their staff on the dangers of AB 713. FPM’s Nathan Pierce led our “on the ground” opposition at the Capitol through meetings, testimony in committee hearings and distributing opposition letters. We appreciate the key role of CHEA and other organizations who worked to obtain this victory.

No further action is required on AB 713 this year.

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Permission given to forward this Newsflash unaltered to your friends, church, school, and group.

This Newsflash was sent out by

Roy Hanson and Nathan Pierce

Family Protection Ministries

PO Box 730

Lincoln, CA 95648

Filing the Private School Affidavit 2014-2015 School Year

October 1, 2014

The Private School Affidavit (PSA) is now available on the California Department of Education’s web site at www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/rq/affidavit.asp. Private schools, including single-family home-based schools (homeschoolers), can proceed to file their affidavits.

We have reviewed the affidavit in consultation with HSLDA and it appears to be essentially the same as last year. The only change was that the content of question #16 was completely changed from relating to school classification to a question about special education services. This question can just be left at the default answer “no”.

Do not contact any public school official about filing an affidavit. Also, while the California Department of Education (CDE) provides some information related to homeschooling on their website, any explanations or suggestions that are not explicitly in the law are only someone’s opinion and can be ignored.  For instance, the CDE has held the erroneous position that private schools are either businesses or non-profit organizations.

For legal questions, we at FPM urge you to refer to Home School Legal Defense Association’s website and if you have further questions, call them as a member at (540) 338-5600 (apply now to join or renew your membership).  For general information on private homeschooling in California see our (FPM’s) Legal Fact Sheet (www.pheofca.org) and CHEA’s An Introduction to Home Education (http://www.cheaofca.org).

We thank God that we still retain our freedom to educate our children at home privately under the private school exemption.  As of the writing of this newsletter, no laws have changed affecting the legality of private home education in California.  The information in our Legal Fact Sheet on our website is current and accurate.

 

Before You File

Parents who are withdrawing at least one child from a public school or a private campus school to begin homeschooling can help avoid unnecessary legal contacts by following the instructions in our article Withdrawing Your Child From School.

 

Age of Required School Entry

California’s compulsory attendance laws, as they apply to this 2014-2015 and following school years, require that children be enrolled in a school at the beginning of the school year in which they turn six on or before September 1st of the year in which the new school year begins (i.e., a child who turns six on or after September 2, 2014 does not need to be formally enrolled in school until the fall of 2015).  A new school year typically begins in either August or September.

 

Enrolling your compulsory-age child in a private school (whether home-based or campus-based) that has filed a current private school affidavit exempts your child from compulsory attendance at a public school, according to California Education Code Sections 48222 and 33190.

Even though the term “homeschool” is becoming more commonly used throughout our state, the nation, and the media, there is no legally-defined entity known as a “homeschool” in California law.  In order to be consistent with the law of our state, we do not use the term “homeschool” with public school officials.  California is one of twelve states in which homeschoolers operate as private schools.  Private schools can be legally established and operated in the home just as some private schools operate on a campus.

County offices of education and school districts do not have any legal authority to go beyond simply verifying the filing of the affidavit, such as during an investigation of alleged truancy.  Neither can they require private schools, regardless of whether they are campus-based or home-based, to furnish material that they are not legally required to furnish.  Any additional information requested (e.g., “proof” that the teachers are “capable of teaching,” their course of study, etc.) can only be required by court order.  Members of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) should follow HSLDA’s directions on all legal questions.

 

While no laws have changed and establishing a home-based private school remains legal, confusion about or opposition to private homeschooling in some counties and local school districts is expected to continue.  There is still the possibility that some local school districts could try to investigate homeschoolers.  Additionally, a few parents who are homeschoolers have been falsely reported in the past for alleged child abuse or neglect.  While the frequency of these reports is lower for homeschooled children than for children attending campus schools, it is still a threat for which every homeschooler should be prepared.

 

Membership in HSLDA is absolutely vital regardless of the size of the private home-based school in which your child is enrolled.  Please encourage every family who is already a member of HSLDA to keep their membership current!  We strongly recommend that you apply for (or renew) your membership with HSLDA as soon as possible and before you file your affidavit.  You can join HSLDA at any time but you must do so before you receive a legal contact.

 

Join the Home School Legal Defense Association for only $120/12 months.  HSLDA also has discounted rates, including those that are available to members of CHEA and other HSLDA discount groups.  Contact HSLDA, at P.O. Box 3000, Purcellville, VA 20134; Phone: (540) 338-5600; or www.hslda.org.

 

When To File

California Education Code (E.C.) Section 33190 requires that every private school file a private school affidavit with the Superintendent of Public Instruction (California Department of Education – CDE) between October 1 and 15 each year.  If anyone establishes a new private school at any time after October 15th, they can file an affidavit at that time.

 

Who Should File

If you have a child who is six years old or older by September 1, 2014 and not yet 18 years old, and you are establishing your own private school in your home, you will need to file a private school affidavit this year.  This must be done in order to be legally recognized as a private school in California and for your children to be exempt from having to attend a public school.

Families enrolled in any Out-of-State school or program are still required by state law to be enrolled in a California private school (single home-based or satellite program/PSP) with a California address for its physical location.  It is unnecessary and unwise to voluntarily mention enrollment in out-of-state schools/programs to public school officials.  It is not illegal in California to be enrolled in an out-of-state program.  These programs may serve as a source of curriculum or services but not as a means of legal compliance with the private school law.

If you are joining a California-based private school satellite program (PSP) or “umbrella” program for homeschool families, you should not file your own affidavit because the administrator of the PSP is responsible for filing an affidavit on behalf of all pupils enrolled in their private school.

On your Private School Affidavit, where you are asked to enter the “Range of students’ ages”, do not indicate enrollment of any children who are under 5 years of age.  The reason for this is that the California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division, rather than the Department of Education, has jurisdiction over the licensing of all private preschools and daycare centers for children younger than four years and nine months of age.  The California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Division 12, Chapter 21 contains the regulations for the licensing, evaluation, and employee qualifications for such private preschools and daycare centers.

Also, while you will notice that there is a space for the number of students enrolled in kindergarten, it is important to recognize that kindergarten is not mandatory in California this coming 2014-2015 school year.  Therefore, if you have a child who is younger than compulsory school age (is not age 6 by September 1, 2014 and whom you may consider being at a kindergarten or first grade level, you are not required to enroll him in your school or count him on your school’s affidavit.

The passage of AB 1444 will not affect any schools or students this 2014-2015 school year. Update: AB 1444 was vetoed by Governor Brown.

Schools in which kindergarteners are enrolled are routinely contacted by the Health Department to verify immunizations and school entry health exams.  Therefore, for this 2014-2015 school year, we recommend that homeschoolers avoid the extra paperwork by not enrolling their children formally into their schools until they reach the age of compulsory attendance.

As previously noted, California’s compulsory attendance laws currently only require that children be enrolled this current 2014-2015 school year if they turn six on or before September 1, 2014.  This means that a child who turns six on or after September 2, 2013 2014, does not need to be formally enrolled in school until the next year, when your 2015-2016 school year begins (usually in August or September).  You may, of course, teach your children who are under compulsory attendance age at home.  They simply are not formally a part of your private school and are not to be included in the number of enrolled students indicated on the affidavit form.

 

How To File An Affidavit

The Private School Affidavit form for the 2014-2015 school year is will be available online again this year at the CDE’s website (www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/rq) for filing during the regular October 1-15 filing period.

Rather than duplicating efforts, we are referring you to HSLDA’s excellent step-by-step instructions on filing the private school affidavit. For detailed instructions for filing the affidavit, go to the HSLDA website at http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/ca/affidavit/AffidavitInstructions.asp.

 

Legal Contacts

As mentioned above, parents who are withdrawing at least one child from a public school or a private campus school to begin homeschooling can avoid one unnecessary legal contact by following the instructions in our article Withdrawing Your Child From School.

If a public school official were to contact you to see if your child is enrolled and in regular attendance at a private school, your responses should be courteous and professional. If they already have the name of your child, you can confirm that the child is enrolled and is in regular attendance in your private school. Otherwise, parent teachers of home-based private schools, as well as administrators of private school satellite programs (PSPs), should keep the names of their students and families confidential.

HSLDA members should always follow the counsel of HSLDA and call them anytime they are contacted about their homeschooling by public officials.

 

Private schools with five or fewer students have not been listed in the California Private School Directory (which lists K-12 private schools in the state) since 1990. This is due entirely to budget restrictions on compiling information on small private schools and in no way affects the legal status of your small private school based in your home.

 

It is important to remember that the affidavit is not an application requiring approval, but is only a “notice of operation.” This affidavit, which serves as a notice of operation, does not require you to reveal the names of your children or the names of the students in your school.

 

This article was written in consultation with attorneys at HSLDA. For legal questions we encourage you to contact HSLDA as a member at (540) 338-5600.

This document is available at www.pheofca.org for your use personally or for distribution.

 

(Permission is given to duplicate unaltered and complete.)

HSLDA – The Homeschooler’s Preeminent Legal Resource

By Roy Hanson, Jr.
January 2010

Homeschooling has come a long way in the past quarter of a century.

In 1980, home schooling was illegal in 30 states. In 1983, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) was founded by attorneys Michael Farris and J. Michael Smith to help the growing number of homeschoolers who were facing legal challenges throughout the Nation.

In 1985, the Dejonges, a homeschooling family in Michigan, had truancy charges filed against them because they were not certified teachers, as was required at that time by Michigan law. HSLDA defended the Dejonge family all the way through the Michigan courts until HSLDA obtained a successful ruling from the state Supreme Court in 1993. That was when the Michigan Supreme Court finally overturned the last remaining state law that required parents to be certified teachers in order to home school their children. This was a tremendous success for the Dejonges and for every homeschooling family in Michigan and throughout America.

Because of HSLDA’s relentless work in this and other battles, homeschooling has been legal in all 50 states since 1993.

In 1994, an amendment to federal legislation (H.R. 6) would have required all homeschooling parents in America to be certified in order to teach their own children. As soon as HSLDA was warned by a Congressman of this dangerous amendment in Congress, HSLDA alerted all of their members throughout the country. As a result, the Capitol switchboards were completely shut down by telephone calls, and subsequently the teacher certification requirement was removed from the bill.

Members of HSLDA, and non-members alike, continue to benefit from HSLDA’s in-depth experience in working with and protecting private homeschoolers. For over a quarter of a century of work concentrated in the legal sphere of private home education, HSLDA has developed unequaled resources, and invaluable connections within and beyond the homeschooling community. These resources and lines of communication have helped to give HSLDA a long-term proven track record of successes in protecting private homeschooling freedoms and associated parental rights.

More recently, in 2008 here in California, private homeschooling came precariously close to being declared illegal by a California Appellate Court in Los Angeles. HSLDA had the experience, resources, knowledge, and expertise to immediately step up to the plate and successfully coordinate a complex legal strategy, which resulted in victory in the Jonathan L. court case. In August of 2008, after considering the written and oral arguments coordinated by HSLDA, this Appellate Court unanimously declared that California’s parents can homeschool legally as private schools.

God has blessed HSLDA with huge successes in California and across the Nation. No other organization comes close to providing the specialized and successful help for homeschoolers provided by HSLDA. They are the only legal defense association we can recommend to homeschooling parents desiring to protect their families and freedoms in homeschooling. We recommend them very highly.

You can contact HSLDA at (540) 338-5600 or http://www.hslda.org

Additional Resources:
Why Do We Need a Legal Defense Association? Published by CHEA of California.