It seems that miracles still do occur. I have heard of courts reversing their decisions before, but it has always been new judges reversing their predecessors’ decisions. In California, we have now witnessed the same judges reversing their own decision from just this past February.
On February 28, 2008, (I blogged on this, “Parental Rights and Governmental Requirements” on March 20th.) the California Second District Court of Appeals ruled that parents in that state who did not possess a “teaching certificate” could no longer teach their children at home.
On August 8th, the same three judges who ruled against homeschoolers (currently 166,000 children in the state of California) reversed themselves, rescinded their previous ruling and declared they were acquiescing to the California Legislature’s right to rule that “home schools are permissible in California when conducted as private schools.”
The original February decision had provoked a tremendous outcry of protest from across the country, as well as within California (including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger). The California State Schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell also had objected to the decision and supported the homeschoolers’ rights to educate their children at home.
This was never an educational issue. Studies have repeatedly shown that homeschooled children do at least as well on standardized tests and in college as do children educated in public schools.
As important as this decision was educationally, it was perhaps even more important in terms of judicial philosophy. Sometime between February 28 and August 8 the three California judges discovered judicial restraint. In reversing their previous decision, the judges concluded: “It is important to recognize that it is not for us to consider, as a matter of policy, whether homeschooling should be permitted in California. That job is for the Legislature. It is not the duty of the courts to make law; we endeavor to interpret it.”
Wow! Whatever they have been putting in those judges’ coffee, I recommend a regular dose for every judge in America.