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Public Charter Schools and ISPs

Page history last edited by Jane Bozarth 9 years, 1 month ago


Association of Christian Home Educators of Ventura County


Public Charter Schools and Independent Study Programs


ACHEV supports families who teach one or more of their homeschooled students privately. We have aligned ourselves with HSLDA's position on charter schools and public school independent study programs as follows*:

The mission of Home School Legal Defense Association has always been to defend the rights of families who desire to privately homeschool their children. Homeschooling through charter schools or public school independent study programs is actually a form of public education, and thus falls outside of HSLDA's mission. It is our longstanding policy not to accept as HSLDA members families whose children are enrolled in such a public school option.

Parents have the right to choose whatever form of education they wish for their children. However, we urge those considering charter schools or public school independent study programs to count the cost, making sure they are fully informed.

To date, most charter school programs and all public school independent study programs have been enacted with restrictions regarding religious education. This means that it is unethical and possibly illegal for any religious education to occur during the process of teaching any academic subject through these programs. For example, religious content in a history or English class covered by the official program would be a statutory violation. (This would not be a constitutional violation by the parents—only the government can violate the Constitution. The Constitution has been interpreted to permit but not require states to fund religious education as a component of a broad general program. This means that whatever the state statutes say is binding. If the statutes ban religious instruction in programs funded by the government, then program participants—including homeschooling parents—who teach religious content are violating the law.)

Keep in mind that programs receiving government funding can be directly regulated by governmental standards. For example, teaching homosexuality as an acceptable alternate lifestyle may well soon become a universal requirement for public schools—including charter schools and public school independent study programs.

We understand that the financial pressures faced by families today make publicly subsidized educational programs very attractive. But if accepting government subsidies forfeits your right to teach your children in the way you desire, that price is very high indeed.

HSLDA supports tax deductions for all educational expenses, similar to deductions for charitable giving or educational tax credits. But even tax deductions would be unacceptable if the mechanisms adopted allow any governmental interference or regulation of content in homeschool programs. Both HSLDA's experience and the combined history of our nation and western civilization continually demonstrate that with government funding comes government regulation. The price is too high.

Excerpts from the California Constitution and the California Education Code state the following:
Article IX, Section 8 of the California Constitution:
No public money shall ever be appropriated for the support of any sectarian or denominational school or any school not under the exclusive control of the officers of the public schools nor shall any sectarian or denominational doctrine be taught or instruction thereon be permitted directly or indirectly in any of the common schools of the state.

California Education Code 47605 (d) (1):
In addition to any other requirement imposed under this part, a charter school shall be nonsectarian [bold added] in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations, shall not charge tuition, and shall not discriminate against any pupil on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, gender, or disability.

Participation in all ACHEV activities is open to ACHEV parents and their students who are privately homeschooled. Siblings who are using an educational option other than private homeschooling may attend ACHEV family-integrated events with their family, though are not eligible for participation apart from their family.

The ACHEV Board continues to refine our purpose within the scope of our Mission Statement in order to keep our group focused and strong. It is our hope that our children and grandchildren will also enjoy the privileges and the right to privately homeschool their children in accordance with Christian principles, without government intervention and ultimately government control.

*Material in italics taken from HSLDA website, Frequently Asked Question #11 at http://www.hslda.org/docs/faqs/default.asp#q010.

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