Monday, July 07, 2008

more from Debbie Schwarzer

I think many of you, in the coming months, may field questions from family, friends, even reporters about what you will do if the appellate court comes out (again) with a ruling that tries to limit the right to teach children at home. Some of those people, particularly from the media, will be hoping to get a frightened answer from you. They like the image of the cowering mom oppressed by the government, about stories of frantic scrambling to get kids enrolled in school or even move out of state.

I hope I can give you the confidence to deny them the pleasure.

If people ask me what I think will happen if the court rules against homeschooling, I will say what I've been saying for months. Nothing will change immediately. Our attorneys will attempt to stay the ruling until the appellate process runs out. I think the likelihood that the number of Californians who homeschool will be drastically reduced due to some court action is very, very small.

The court could rule similarly to how it did before, in which case we will try to enjoin enforcement while we go to the Supreme Court. There, we will continue to press our message that this interpretation violates the Constitution, which makes it unenforceable against us (and not, as some of the amicus briefs suggested, our problem to take to the legislature to fix -- if it's not constitutional, that is THEIR problem, not ours). It could rule that our interpretation is acceptable, in which case we start breathing again and wait for some crackpot to introduce legislation against us. It could rule that it can't interpret the law and needs the legislature to do something, in which case we take our tents
and trailers to Sacramento and kill ourselves working to make sure that we don't end up with a law like North Dakota's. If the legislature wants to see fury as it hasn't seen it before, try to take this right away from us or burden it with micromanaging regulations!

But I am willing to bet very large sums of money that in one, three, five years' time, people will still be homeschooling in California in relative freedom. There may be some additional restrictions in the law that either prevent some
people from doing it easily or make it unattractive, we might still have the statutory structure we have now and worry that it will all happen again, I don't know. But no one is stuffing this genie back in the bottle.

I would recommend that we not give doomsday scenarios to the media. I think we need to portray strength and confidence. I am bothered, and I fear for the continued impact of this on my personal life, but I am not afraid. Homeschooling isn't going away, and I have utterly no problem with our giving a confident message to the world. We WILL win in the end, because we are doing the right thing.

Please feel free to forward this to anyone you know who needs some reassurance that it might turn out OK.


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