We at Family Protection Ministries (FPM) and Christian Home Educators Association (CHEA) are aware that PEAs (Private Education Associations) and Private Membership Organizations/Associations have been advertised as a legal education option for people wanting to homeschool their children in California. Some require families to comply with private school laws. However, some PEAs have been advertised as an option outside of both private school and public school education laws. After much research, we see that this latter option, one that does not follow education laws for either public school or private school, is indefensible in California as a way to “get around” current education laws. HSLDA has also discouraged people from trying the PEA route, even going so far as to say “we couldn’t defend it.”
In short, PEAs that do not follow California education laws are not a way to be legally compliant with compulsory education in this state. California law dictates that all children of eligible age must be enrolled in either public school or be exempted from public school by being enrolled in a private school or receiving private tutoring. These PEAs are indefensible since they are neither a public school, private school, nor tutoring option – in fact, they are not schools at all, but are “associations.” Though PEAs may operate well in other states, California has a different set of education laws we must abide by.
These kinds of PEAs working outside of education laws are not needed in California since we already have a good and legal way of conducting private schools, which includes private schools in the home. We do not want to promote getting around current private education laws. Rather, we promote operating legally, as upstanding citizens within the law. Private home education has a long and rich history in California and has been settled as a legal option as a species of private school. Let’s promote and protect that together so that it can be around for future generations.
Participating in a PEA as an alternative to complying with compulsory education law in California is dangerous not only for the family and student involved but also for the homeschool movement as a whole. These associations undermine the current legal standing of private homeschooling by arguing that there is a loophole to get around the current laws that apply to private education. They also undermine the families following the proper legal channels to privately homeschool in California. We not only discourage people from doing this for their own sakes, but also for all the families who operate private schools in their homes.
Please read FPM’s Legal Fact Sheet to see the legal avenues of exempting your child from public school. In whichever option you choose, please do your research to ensure that the option you choose is abiding by current California laws.
This is not intended to be nor does it constitute the giving of legal advice.