Five Christian parents in California have filed a lawsuit against the state for discriminating against families who want to use faith-based homeschool curricula.
California permits charter schools to offer tuition-free “independent study” homeschool programs; families can use state funds to purchase curriculum and materials, and to pay for extracurricular activities.
However, several charter schools – citing state law – refuse to allow parents enrolled in their homeschool programs to purchase any faith-based curriculum or materials.
For several devout Christian parents – John and Breanna Woolard, Hector and Diana Gonzales, and Carrie Dodson – that won’t fly.
The parents have filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California with the help of First Liberty Institute.
According to First Liberty, each family “faced religious discrimination, including being denied the right to use high-quality curricula that comport with California state standards, simply because they reflect a faith-based worldview.”
“As the Supreme Court made clear last year in Carson v. Makin, when the government provides a benefit, like parent-directed educational funding, it cannot exclude families just because they choose to use that benefit for a religious education,” said Ethan Davis, Partner at King & Spalding. “Religious families are entitled to the same educational benefits as everyone else.”
Justin Butterfield, Deputy General Counsel for First Liberty, said,
These families love their charter schools and the opportunities those schools provide for families to educate their children in a way that fits the families’ needs. Our clients simply want to be able to choose curricula that fits their families’ needs without facing religious discrimination.
Educational freedom is one of the most important issues facing families today.
With racial and sexual indoctrination occurring in many of our nation’s schools, it is critical that parents have access to wholesome and instructional education options, including homeschooling and faith-based curricula.
Indeed, it’s a great (and tragic) irony that California charter schools will not permit parents to use faith-based homeschool curricula, while the state also mandates the teaching of the “contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans … to the economic, political, and social development of California and the United States of America” in grades K-12.
Let’s hope and pray that justice will be done, and that the families – and families throughout the nation – will be able to choose the education option that is best for their children.
The case is John and Breanna Woolard v. Tony Thurmond.
To help parents navigate their child’s public school, Focus on the Family has created a free resource, Back to School for Parents: A busy parent’s guide to what’s happening in your children’s classrooms and practical steps you can take to protect them.
The resource can help you stay informed with happenings in your child’s school. It also makes suggestions on how to respectfully advocate on behalf of your child and gives guidance on how to discuss difficult topics with them.
You can download a free copy of this resource by clicking here.
Related articles and resources:
Back to School for Parents: A busy parent’s guide to what’s happening in your children’s classrooms and practical steps you can take to protect them.
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