California Homeschool Network offers these responses to help homeschoolers dealing with bureaucrats on the telephone who are either misinformed or do not have a complete understanding of the law. To develop this idea further with like minded people, please consider joining CHN’s Discussion Email List.
Bureaucrat: Simply filing an affidavit does not create a private school.
Homeschooler: I agree that filing the affidavit does not create a private school, but it attests that a private school exists.
Bureaucrat: Public school authorities have the right to verify that you are running a “good” private school.
Homeschooler: The education code allows for “Verification of the affidavit,” which literally means that you can verify that the private school has filed an affidavit.
Bureaucrat: The Truancy Officer has a right to see attendance records.
Homeschooler: The school district has the right to investigate truancy if a complaint has been filed. The Attendance Supervisor can verify the attendance of any student whose full name they already have. They cannot call a private school and ask for the names of all the children registered.
Bureaucrat: The County Superintendent of Schools can revoke a private school affidavit.
Homeschooler: No official in the public school system has any authority over a private school. There is no statutory legal provision for approving a private school or for revoking a private school affidavit.
Bureaucrat: The District School Board has the right to verify that you are using the state-mandated curriculum.
Homeschooler: No, neither the school board nor any public school officials have any authority over a private school.
Bureaucrat: Homeschools are different from other private schools.
Homeschooler: I’m not sure what you mean by different. Under the law we are the same. The terms “homeschooling” and “home education” do not appear in the Education Code. We are not asking to be recognized as “homeschools.” In legal terms we operate a private school which just happens to be based in our home. The Education Code does not require a particular kind of campus or a minimum number of students for a private school.
Bureaucrat: Opinions differ over whether or not homeschooling is legal.
Homeschooler: While we respect the right for anyone to hold an opinion, we are not concerned with opinions. We are concerned with the requirements as set forth in the California Education Code. Even an Attorney General’s opinion is still an opinion and does not have the force of law.
Bureaucrat: Homeschooling is not authorized.
Homeschooler: Well, I’m not sure what you mean by authorized, but I do know that it is not illegal.
Bureaucrat: Homeschooling is illegal.
Homeschooler: I have a copy of the relevant education code in front of me. Please give me the section number that outlaws homeschooling so that I can verify what you said.
Bureaucrat: It says right on the back of the private school affidavit that we have the right to inspect any private school.
Homeschooler: I have a copy of the private school affidavit in front of me and I can’t find that statement. Where do you find it?