TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — A California school district recently sent a letter to homeschooling parents implying that they must use the controversial Common Core curriculum in order to comply with state law.
The letter originated from the Morongo Unified School District’s child welfare and attendance coordinator.
“This is to inform you,” the letter said, “ … Education Code § 48290 directs us to make an investigation of compliance with California private school education requirements should we receive a complaint ….”
It added: “In California, the State Board of Education decides on the standards for all students …. These standards are called the Common Core State Standards.”
The letter was made public by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). It suggested that parents enroll their children in independent study programs and online instruction “available through state charter and private schools.”
HSLDA President Mike Smith wrote a letter to the school district, saying it had mangled state law.
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“This school district is implying: ‘We determine whether your teachers are qualified, whether your attendance records are adequate, and whether you’re teaching the correct subjects,’” Smith wrote. “But they don’t have the authority to evaluate private school programs.”
According to HSLDA, the California Board of Education “does not set education standards for students in home-based private schools or campus-based private schools.”
“State law restricts the authority of public school districts to oversee private schools—including those conducted by parents teaching at home. Once parents properly set up the private school in their home, the district’s authority ends,” according to HSLDA.
While it is true that school districts have the authority to investigate reports of truancy, “their investigation is limited to confirming enrollment and verifying that a private school affidavit was filed with the California Department of Education,” HSLSA said.
The Morongo Unified School District is located in San Bernardino County. east of Los Angeles. It is based in the town of 29 Palms in the Yucca Valley, just north of Palm Springs.
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