Shop Talk: December 2021

California Repeals Law Following a 4-Year Legal Battle with Horseshoeing School

Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School scored a legal victory after the California Legislature repealed a 2009 law that requires students without high school diploma or an equivalent to complete an examination before enrolling in a private school. It also repeals Education Code section 94811, which defined these students as “ability-to-benefit.”

“These changes will permit students without a high school diploma or the equivalent to enroll in private post-secondary institutions without having to complete the admissions prerequisite of passing an alternate entrance examination,” according to the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). “As a result of the changes, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, a student who is otherwise qualified and has a reasonable prospect of completing an instructional program, but lacks a high school diploma or the equivalent, will no longer have to pass an ‘ability-to-benefit’ examination in order to enroll in the program.”

The repeal was triggered after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that California likely violated Bob Smith’s constitutional rights by prohibiting him from teaching students how to shoe horses at Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School regardless of their academic status. Smith filed a federal lawsuit against the state of California in 2017.

“I was elated by the Ninth Circuit Court’s findings that teaching is not only covered by the First Amendment, but restrictions on that speech must meet the highest standards of strict scrutiny,” says Smith, a member of the International…

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