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Note: The Constitutionality of Teacher Certification Requirements for Home-schooling Parents: Why the Original Rachel L. Decision was Valid


In March 2008, the California Court of Appeal decided In re Rachel L., in which California's compulsory education statute was interpreted to effectively prohibit parents from home schooling their children unless they possessed state teaching certifications. Although this case concerned a troubled family with a history suggesting that compulsory public schooling might be preferable in their case, the impact of the court's decision was far greater. Over 200,000 children were then being home schooled in California, many by parents with no teaching certification. The Rachel L. decision made this method of home schooling illegal. Amidst great public backlash, the Court of Appeal reheard the case in August 2008. The court reinterpreted the statute, holding that it implicitly allowed uncertified parents to teach their children at home.