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Record: Linda Wang, “Who Knows Best? The Appropriate Level of Judicial Scrutiny on Compulsory Education Laws Regarding Home Schooling” in Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development, 25 (Winter 2011); 413-448.

Summary: Wang, who earned her J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law, here seeks to make sense of the conflicting and hazy Constitutional principles at play in cases regarding homeschooling law and liberty.

There are two basic issues.  First is the 14th Amendment, which says that no state can deprive a person of life, liberty, or property without “due process of law.”  This is the due process clause, which has been used in the ensuing decades to do all sorts of things, from extending the bill of rights to the states to protecting rights that are not explicitly mentioned in the Amendment itself, most notably the “right to privacy.”  It is this right to privacy jurisprudence that is most important for homeschooling law.  Interestingly, it was the cases on birth control and abortion (both of which many homeschoolers renounce) that secured the right to privacy on which constitutional claims for homeschooling rights rests.  Cases like Meyer v. Nebraska, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, and Troxel v. Granville have made it clear that the right of a biological parent to direct the education of his or her child is fundamental, meaning that if a state is going to abridge that right it needs to have a compelling interest for doing so and must do so in the least invasive means possible.  This is called strict scrutiny, and it is the highest threshold possible for government infringement of individual rights.

The problem is that many, many lower court decisions have validated compulsory education laws, which infringe on parental homeschooling freedoms, at lower levels of scrutiny (often called “rational basis” or “intermediate scrutiny”).  Why?  Because the same Supreme Court that declared parenting a fundamental right has also declared on many occasions that public school laws are valid forms of “reasonable relation.”  The Supreme Court ITSELF has not applied strict scrutiny to compulsory school laws despite its own holding that parental rights are fundamental. Continue Reading »

Record: Bonnie W. Mackey, Kasha Reese, and Wade C.  Mackey, “Demographics of Home Schoolers: A Regional Analysis Within the National Parameters,” in Education 132, no. 1 (Fall 2011): 133-140. [Abstract Here]

Summary: Bonnie Mackey, a professor of education at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, Kasha Reese, a teacher in the Aldine Independent School District, and Wade Mackey, a professor of Criminal Justice at Jacksonville State University, here present the results of an online survey regarding the demographics and parental motivations of homeschoolers from a single support group in a Southwestern city.The authors begin not with a survey of the significant literature on demographics and parental motivation as one might expect but with a rather eccentric brief survey of the early history of homeschooling in the United States, focusing on the work of John Holt and Ivan Illich.  They then explain their study. Continue Reading »

Record: Yvona Kostelecká, “The Legal Status of Home Education in Post-Communist Countries of Central Europe” in International Review of Education 58, no. 4 (August 2012): 445-463.

Summary:  Kostelecká, on the faculty of education at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, and author of a fine 2010 piece on home education in the Czech Republic, here expands her scope to five post-communist states in Central Europe: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, and Hungary. Continue Reading »

Record: Marcia Clemmitt, “Home Schooling: Do Parents Give their Children A Good Education?” CQ Researcher 24, no. 10 (7 March 2014), pp. 217-240. [Available Here]

Summary:

The CQ Researcher has long been an influential publication, especially among politicians and others connected to the United States Congress.  Clemmitt is a veteran journalist who has provided in-depth analysis of several educational issues in the past.  She brings her wide experience and the publication’s resources together here on the topic of homeschooling. Continue Reading »

Record: Melissa Sherfinski, “Contextualizing the Tools of a Classical and Christian Homeschooling Mother-Teacher” in Curriculum Inquiry 4, no. 2 (March 2014): 169-203.

Summary: Sherfinski, a professor in West Virginia University’s College of Education and Human Services, has published widely on school reform issues ranging from class size reduction to universal pre-kindergarten programs.  This is her first published article on homeschooling, though she has been delivering conference papers about homeschooling mothers since 2010.

In this piece Sherfinski profiles a single homeschooling mother pseudonymously named April Greene.  Greene has two boys, ages 11 and 12, whom she has always homeschooled.  Due to the influence of an older sister and another respected friend she has decided to embrace the classical education model currently in fashion among many Christian homeschoolers.  Sherfinski calls her approach “Classical and Christian” throughout, which I’ll abbreviate as CC. Continue Reading »

Record: Albert Cheng, “Does Homeschooling or Private Schooling Promote Political Intolerance? Evidence from a Christian University” in Journal of School Choice 8, no. 1 (2014): 49-68. [Abstract Here]

Summary and Critique: Cheng, a doctoral student at the University of Arkansas, here reports the results of a quantitative study comparing college students who were homeschooled with those who attended public and private schools on a measure of political tolerance. Continue Reading »

Record: Roger Marples, “Parents’ Rights and Educational Provision” in Studies in the Philosophy and Education 33, no. 1 (January 2014): 23-39.

Summary:  Marples, a Principal Lecturer in Education at University of Roehampton in London, here makes a spirited argument against the legitimacy of non-government schooling in all but the most extreme circumstances.

Marples begins by asserting that the claims of parental “rights” go back to Lockean notions of property rights and to claims by philosophers like Robert Nozick and Charles Fried that the child is an “extension” of the parent.  Marples disagrees.  For him, “treating children as mere appendages to their parents is both to disrespect and undermine their moral status.” (p. 24) Continue Reading »

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