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Justices on a California state Court of Appeal, who kicked up a national controversy last month by holding that parents who home-school their children must have a teaching credential, has agreed to reconsider. The Los Angeles 2nd District Court of Appeal, in effect, voided their 3-0 decision and set new arguments for June. Although it is not unusual for the appeals courts to grant rehearings, the new decisions nearly always relate to minor revisions but rarely change the final conclusion. But the home-schooling cases appear to be an exception. This time the court has asked to have written arguments from state and local officials and teachers unions, suggesting a complete re-examination of the case, Jonathan L. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, B192878. The decision created a storm of criticism from home-schooling advocates who say 166,000 children in California are taught at home, most by parents who lack teaching credentials. It could put many of them at risk for violation of the state’s compulsory-education law. The ruling drew criticism from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell who said he favors parental choice in education. The original decision said that a 1953 state law made clear that children between 6 and 18 are required to attend a full-time day school, whether public or private, and must be taught by a tutor with a state credential. It arose after the family of Philip and Mary Long of Linwood, who home-school their eight children through the Sunland Christian School in Sylmar, came under suspicion of being physically abusive.

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