By Debbie Schwarzer, HSC Legal Team Co-Chair
To avoid another firestorm like we had with the HSLDA petition, I wanted to get this information in front of you, and HSC’s position on it, right away. I have discussed this with Leslie Buchanan, HSC’s President, and she agrees with this message. She and I would like you to forward this to any groups that might be helpful.
Assemblymember Joel Anderson, a conservative Republican whose children are taught at home, has introduced a concurrent resolution in the California Assembly. If it passes, it will go to the state Senate for their vote.
I’m not copying and pasting the entire resolution because I am not certain that what I was sent was the final version that he submitted to Legislative Counsel. His office tells me that you should be able to find it tonight by going to www.leginfo.ca.gov and doing one of two things. You can click on the blue button called “Bill Information” and then, on the next screen, select “Bill Number” and type in ACR 115. Alternatively, at that same page, you can click on “Author” and enter his name, Anderson.
The resolution basically states as follows: that homeschooled children perform well at college and in life, that there is a rich history of homeschooling, that an estimated 200,000 children in California and 2,000,000 children in the U.S. are taught at home, that the U.S. Constitution recognizes the fundamental right of parents to have their children educated outside of state schools, that the appellate decision is misguided, and that the Supreme Court should reverse the
The call for the Supreme Court to reverse is in the second to last paragraph of the version I have seen. Obviously, this goes against what I have been asking people to do the last week (leave the Supreme Court alone lest we make them mad). However, I believe this resolution is intended to serve much the same function as the HSLDA petition, which is to give a group (here the legislature) the opportunity to do something concrete before the Court completes its review. I believe many in the legislature understand that it is premature to try to introduce legislation until that review is complete and we know what the Court believes the law in California should be based on the statutes we currently have in place.
Given the purpose of the resolution, and that the Court will ignore anything the legislature says, I think the resolution serves one other very important purpose. It will help identify who in the Assembly and who in the Senate is our friend, and who isn’t. We all know that there are members of both houses who are beholden to the CTA and to unions, and we can expect them to vote against the resolution. But if there are members who support the resolution, especially Democrats, it is in our interest to know who they are, as we will need to work with them should legislation be unavoidable.
This is one case where I do encourage members of HSC and all other homeschoolers in the state to contact their representatives (currently, just the Assemblymembers, as it is not pending before the Senate and will just confuse your Senator’s office if you call now) and encourage them to vote in favor of ACR 115. You can find your Assemblymember and his or her contact information by going to www.leginfo.ca.gov, clicking on the blue box entitled “Your Legislature,” and entering your zip code.
Calls are fine, but letters faxed to the office are even better, as they then retain tangible evidence of their constituents’ positions. E-mails are often ignored, so please call or fax if possible. It is best to give your name, the city and/or Assembly District you live in and the name of the resolution (ACR 115), to state that you educate your children at home (or support those who do) and wish the right of California families to continue to have that option with minimal government intervention, and to state your desire that Assembly member ______ vote in favor of ACR 115 by Joel Anderson.
If you have any interesting discussions with staff about this resolution, either a strong indication of probable support or opposition, or any other feedback the legal and legislative folks
should know about, please tell me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.