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California Homeschool
Legal Challenge

Is Homeschooling Still Legal in California?

CA State Homeschool Organizations Retain Legal Counsel

The non-sectarian state homeschool organizations, California Homeschool Network (CHN) and HomeSchool Association of California (HSC), announced that they have retained legal counsel. The law firms will help represent and defend homeschoolers in light of the 2nd Appellate Court ruling that rendered the opinion that independent homeschooling is illegal except through the credentialed teacher/tutor exemption.

The announcement was made by Debbie Schwarzer, Co-Chair of the HSC Legal Team:

"I am thrilled to announce that we have been offered help by two of the best law firms in the state (and country). The firms will be helping us on a pro bono basis. That means they will donate (very expensive) attorney time to help us figure out the best strategies for dealing with the court issues, and they will help us prepare and file the letters and briefs that we need.

Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, which is headquartered in Palo Alto, will be representing HSC. They had helped HSC back in some of the dark days of Delaine Eastin's time, and their thorough research helped us feel more comfortable that the advice we were giving the world about private homeschooling was correct. In the spirit of full disclosure, you should know that I worked there for many years, but they made the decision to go forward because they think the case presents interesting legal issues and they'd like to be on our side.

They will be working very closely with another firm, Baker & McKenzie, which has 150 offices around the world and, conveniently, one across the street from WSGR in Palo Alto. Jerry Salcido, who has been a member of the HSC legal team for several years, is an attorney at that office, and his firm has graciously agreed to donate their services as well. Because we couldn't have two firms working for HSC, Baker and McKenzie have agreed that CHN will be their named client.

We believe that HSC and CHN's interests in this case are very similar. We have similar membership profiles, we want the same results, we both think that help from professionals in dealing with the Supreme Court will be invaluable. The firms will consult with each other to make sure they are not duplicating efforts, but that they also aren't leaving any important arguments out. They will also try to coordinate their efforts with the other groups with which HSC and CHN have been working, HSLDA, CHEA and Family Protection Ministries."

Karen Taylor of the California Homeschool Network Legal Team released a statement that concurred and included this note:

"I met with Jerry Salcido and Debbie by phone yesterday. In addition to being an attorney, Jerry is a homeschooling dad with young children, so you can bet his heart is in this case!

...For those of you who are members of HSLDA, FPM, or CHEA, you'll be pleased to know that HSC and CHN are remaining in contact with these organizations as well, and they are in agreement that having several law firms representing the various groups will strengthen the fight, so everyone remains willing to work together for the good of all. I can't tell you how pleased I am. This case is too big to be won by any one group, and the cooperation is what homeschoolers want. Naturally, each group is looking out for the interests of their members, but it's possible to do that and also work in conjunction with others, and that's what we're doing."

This is good news for all!

Homefires will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates. For a complete chronological list of updates to this case click here.

Diane Flynn Keith,

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