Archive for the ‘Homeschool Jurisprudence’ Category

This post reviews Robin L. West, “The Harms of Homeschooling” in Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly 29, no. 3/4 (Summer/Fall 2009): 7-11 [Available here]

West, a professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, here provides perhaps the most blistering attack on homeschooling to be published in a reputable source in many years. (more…)

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Back on July 14,  New Hampshire family-court judge Lucinda Sadler ruled that the daughter of a divorced couple who had been homeschooled by her mother (Voydatch) must be sent to public school.  This was in accordance with the father’s (Kurowski) wishes, though the girl had resided with the mother since the divorce in 1999, when the child was an infant.  Judge Sadler’s decision was based partly on the socialization issue (which was the father’s main concern) but also at least in part on her opinion that the girl’s Christian homeschooling was too rigid, that she would be better served in life by being exposed a wider range of views than what her mother provided.  [You can read the entire court document here]

Since this case is a custody-related case, it, like the In re Rachel L. case in California, was at first not on the radar screen of the leading homeschooling watchdog groups.  It is now.  (more…)

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This post reviews Robert Kunzman, “Understanding Homeschooling: A Better Approach to Regulation” in Theory and Research in Education 7, no. 3 (November 2009): 311-330

Kunzman, well known on this blog as the author of the excellent study Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling, here engages explicitly the aspect of his work that has caused the most controversy.  Kunzman’s book is an in-depth profile of several Christian homeschooling families.  He only briefly mentions government regulation in it, but that small part of the book has been the near exclusive focus of homeschoolers, many of whom now see him as just another critical academic who wants to take away their freedoms.  In this article Kunzman offers a more complete presentation of his position on homeschool regulation.  Here’s what he says:  (more…)

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Yesterday homeschooling activist lawyer Chris Klicka died after a 15 year battle with multiple sclerosis.  Klicka was hired by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) in 1985 before it had really gotten off of the ground, and he helped grow it into the powerhouse advocacy organization that it is today.  In my book on homeschooling history Klicka gets extensive treatment because of his central role at HSLDA.

Klicka also wrote one of the first histories of the homeschooling movement, Home School Heroes: The Struggle & Triumph of Home Schooling in America.  Though it has its flaws, it contains some great first-person accounts of pivotal moments in the legal history of homeschooling and some revealing insider information about HSLDA.

As you can see from the in memoriam page posted by HSLDA, Klicka was a pious Christian and a devoted family man.  He leaves behind his wife Tracy (read her journal describing Chris’ last days here) and their seven children, all of whom were homeschooled.  Though many people with whom I spoke in the course of my research do not share all of Klicka’s political or theological opinions, he was universally regarded as a generous and compassionate human being.

Klicka’s death is a real loss for the movement and a milestone in the history of homeschooling.  I tend to interpret the history of the homeschooling movement thus far as having had three phases.  Phase one was the era of Holt and the Moores.  Phase three is the recent trend toward a more mainstream and hybridized movement.  It would not be an overstatement to call phase two, when HSLDA was the dominant force in American homeschooling, the era of Chris Klicka.

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This post reviews Chad Olsen, “Constitutionality of Home Education: How the Supreme Court and American History Endorse Parental Choice” in Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal 2 (2009): 399-423

Olsen, a law student at BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, here provides a fascinatingly detailed, though flawed, analysis of the famous In re Rachel L. case, the 2008 California Court of Appeals decision that unleashed a national outcry by finding that California law did not permit homeschooling.    (more…)

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This post briefly reviews Belinda M. Cambre, “Tearing Down the Walls: Cyber Charter Schools and the Public Endorsement of Religion” in Tech Trends 53, no. 4 (July/August 2009): 61-64 [Available fulltext here]

Cambre, an education professor at the University of New Orleans, here summarizes the legal background of the public education and religion issue and then offers a brief speculative discussion of legal issues that might arise with cyber charters.  This article is part of a special issue of Tech Trends devoted to cyber charters.  (more…)

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This post briefly reviews Brian D. Schwartz, The Law of Homeschooling (Dayton: Education Law Assn., 2008) [ordering info here]

Let me begin by saying that I have not read this book.  When I was writing the legal chapter in my own book on homeschooling I looked at the older edition of this text (published in 1994) and wasn’t very impressed.  Back then the best book on homeschool law was far and away Rutherford Institute founder John W. Whitehead’s Home Education: Rights and Reasons

This new edition is only 74 pages and costs $35.  I didn’t want to spend that, so I’m relying here on a good review of the book by Theresa Willingham, published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of School Choice.  [unfortunately unavailable online]  (more…)

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This blog is usually not really bloggy, in the sense that I don’t normally comment on other blogs posting about this or that passing tidbit.  But today I’ll break from my normal modus operandi for a truly remarkable tidbit.

Yesterday I read on Rod Dreher’s “Crunchycon” blog that Howard Ahmanson, the famous Orange County Billionaire whose funding has long been of vital importance to conservative Christian causes, had become a Democrat.  From the perspective of homeschooling history, this is amazing.  (more…)

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This post reviews Bruce S. Cooper and John Sureau, “The Politics of Homeschooling: New Developments, New Challenges” in Educational Policy 21, no. 1 (Jan and Mar 2007): 110-131 (available online here)

Cooper, editor of the recent anthology Homeschooling In Full View, and his collaborator Sureau here summarize legal, legislative, and public-image developments in the homeschooling movement.  (more…)

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This post reviews Donya Khalili and Arthur Caplan, “Off the Grid: Vaccinations Among Homeschooled Children” in Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 35, no. 3 (Fall 2007): 471-477.

Khalili, a University of Pennsylvania law student, and Caplan, director of Penn’s Center for Bioethics, argue here that the large number of unvaccinated homeschooled children in the United States poses a public health threat that must be met.  (more…)

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