SBCHI Position Paper on Charter Schools and Public School Independent Study Programs

Mission Statement:  Santa Barbara Christian Homesteaders, Inc. (SBCHI) is a non-profit
corporation whose specific purpose is to support and encourage those who desire to privately
educate their children at home in accordance with Christian principles.

SBCHI was formed for the specific purpose of supporting and encouraging those who desire to privately educate their children at home in accordance with Christian principles.  SBCHI supports families who teach all of their homeschooled students privately.  SBCHI families may not participate in public homeschool education, i.e. charter schools and public school independent study programs.  We require that all SBCHI families be members of Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and we have aligned ourselves with HSLDA's position on charter schools and public school independent study programs as follows*:

The mission of Home School Legal Defense Association is to defend the constitutional right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children. Homeschooling through charter schools or public school independent study programs is actually a form of public education in which the public school directs the education. Thus, it is HSLDA’s longstanding policy not to accept as members families whose children are enrolled in such public school options.

We understand that the financial pressures faced by families today make publicly subsidized educational programs very attractive. While we believe that parents have the right to choose whatever form of education they wish for their children, defending parents who are educating their children via a charter school or public school independent study program does not fall within our mission.

Excerpts from the California Constitution and the California Education Code state the following:   

Article IX, Section 8 of the California Constitution:
No public money shall ever be appropriated for the support of any sectarian or denominational school or any school not under the exclusive control of the officers of the public schools nor shall any sectarian or denominational doctrine be taught or instruction thereon be permitted directly or indirectly in any of the common schools of the state.

California Education Code 47605 (d) (1):
In addition to any other requirement imposed under this part, a charter school shall be nonsectarian [bold added] in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations, shall not charge tuition, and shall not discriminate against any pupil on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, gender, or disability.

HSLDA affirms that children in either traditional charter schools or virtual charter schools (online counterparts providing online courses and access to computers and licensed teachers) “must follow all of the programs’ policies and procedures, which include restrictions such as exclusion of religious educational materials as part of the formal curriculum. Parents who choose these programs must realize that in accepting virtual public schools into their homes, they are also accepting the bureaucracy and government supervision that is linked to accepting tax dollars.”  

It is the hope of the SBCHI Board that our children and grandchildren will continue to enjoy the freedom and privileges of homeschooling in accordance with Christian principles, without government intervention and ultimately government control.  The SBCHI Board continues to refine our purpose within the scope of our Mission Statement in order to keep our group focused and strong.  Accordingly, participation in SBCHI activities is reserved for SCBHI parents and students who are privately homeschooled.  Siblings who are using an educational option other than private homeschooling may attend only SBCHI family-integrated events with their family, and are not eligible for participation apart from their family.  Certain field trips and activities that require a minimum number and are not filled with SBCHI participants may be opened up to other attendees, with first preference going to siblings within SBCHI families.   

*Material in italics taken from HSLDA website: Frequently Asked Questions (More about HSLDA membership, question #3) at http://www.hslda.org/docs/faqs/default.asp#q010; and http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/Issues/F/Federal_Charter_Schools.asp