California Charter Schools | First Liberty Institute

Protecting Families Who Choose a Religious Education


First Liberty is fighting for three families who want the best education for their kids. They all use the help of public charter schools that offer homeschool programs. But California won’t let them choose a religious curriculum.

Let Parents Choose What’s Best for Their Kids

The parents we represent—John and Breanna Woolard, Hector and Diana Gonzales, and Carrie Dodson—are all devout Christians who are raising school-age children and whose Christian faith is central to who they are.

Instilling that faith in their children, including through their education, is of the highest importance to them. Just like you, and countless families across the country, these parents believe they have an obligation to raise their children consistent with their faith.

Families should be able to choose the best education for their children. And if they choose a religious curriculum or school, that’s their decision. That seems like something we can all agree on, right?

California apparently has a serious problem with this. The state keeps discriminating against parents who want to participate in state programs to help pay for their kids’ education. All because parents choose a religious education.


California Charter Schools | First Liberty Insider

California Really Seems to Dislike Religious Education

California has several charter schools that offer homeschool programs. Families who choose this option receive an account with funds they can use for school materials and curriculum for the parents to use in teaching their children.

But the state is telling our clients they CAN’T use public funds to purchase curriculum, materials or classes that are religious—or even mention religion. Some schools even refused to accept or award credit for student work samples that reflect a child’s religious perspective. One of our clients was even expelled from a charter school because they selected a religious curriculum.

What the state is doing is illegal and unconstitutional. These families have a right to be treated fairly, which is why First Liberty filed a federal lawsuit against the California Department of Education. We’re taking this to court to make sure state officials follow the law and Supreme Court precedent.

It’s Time to Stand Tall and End the Discrimination

The Woolards, Gonzaleses and Dodsons need your support. Give today and help us put a stop to this religious discrimination. Families should be free to choose the education that’s best for them.

Join the Fight!

*If contributions exceed the immediate needs of a specific project or case, First Liberty may redirect funds at its discretion to provide support for other religious liberty matters.


Alaska Quote Marks

“These families love their charter schools and the opportunities those schools provide. Our clients simply want to choose curricula that fit their families’ needs without facing religious discrimination.”

– First Liberty Deputy General Counsel, Justin Butterfield

Justin Butterfield | First Liberty

Supreme Court New Cases | First Liberty Insider

Are States Defying the Supreme Court?

Multiple Supreme Court decisions make it abundantly clear that government cannot punish or single out families merely because they want to follow their faith.

That’s what the Court ruled in our “Treat Children Fairly” case, Carson v. Makin. It held that states can’t discriminate against parents who want to use state-provided funding to attend religious schools simply because those schools are religious. This was a huge win protecting religious education nationwide and ensuring equal treatment for all religious organizations and people of faith.

But anti-faith groups and hostile government officials apparently aren’t getting the memo. Or, they’re blatantly defying the Supreme Court’s direction. Religious discrimination like this is patently unconstitutional—and it needs to end. NOW.

Join the Fight. These Families Are Counting on Us.

The Woolard, Dodson, and Gonzalez families can’t do it alone. We’re asking you to join us—and them—in this fight.

These families are just like yours. Just like mine. They simply want what’s best for their kids—but the state keeps getting in their way and mistreating them.

Winning won’t just impact three families in California. It would be a win for millions of parents, students and religious families all across America. It would be a win for YOU and your family.

*If contributions exceed the immediate needs of a specific project or case, First Liberty may redirect funds at its discretion to provide support for other religious liberty matters.

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