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Public School Versus Home School Essay

1750 words - 7 pages

Public School versus Home School

Before the beginning of American public schools in the mid-19th century, home schooling was the norm. Founding father John Adams encouraged his spouse to educate their children while he was on diplomatic missions (Clark, 1994). By the 1840's instruction books for the home were becoming popular in the United States and Britain. The difficulty of traveling to the system of community schools was provoking detractors. At this time, most of the country began moving toward public schools (Clark, 1994). One of the first things early pioneers did was set aside a plot of land to build a school house and try to recruit the most educated resident to be the ...view middle of the document...

Twenty years ago, many states did not allow home schooling. Constitutional protection has always been uncertain. The U.S. Supreme Court has never explicitly ruled on home schooling. Although in 1972, in Wisconsin v. Yoder, the Court did restrict compulsory school requirements in a limited ruling involving the right of Amish students not to attend high school (Lines, 1996). In Wisconsin v. Yoder, the Amish parents claimed that high school attendance was destructive to their children's religious beliefs and would interfere with their pursuit of the Amish way of life (Fisher, Schimmel, and Kelley, 1995). Since this ruling there have been many court cases dealing with the issue of home schooling. All 50 states allow home schooling ad 34 states have enacted specific home schooling statutes or regulations (Clark, 1994). What drives many home-schoolers are the well-documented social troubles and the declining test scores in the public schools. In 1991, the total number of children being home schooled was between 248,500 and 353,500. Many public educators feel that children who are home schooled are missing out on key learning situations that come from the public school. For instance the sciene experiments, these would be very costly to duplicate at home. Also they argue that home school children miss out on the social aspect of school. Very often they are not around many children their age and socialization does not take place. As the home schooling movement has become more widespread, state and local officials have responded with more vigorous enforcement of their compulsory education laws. As a result of this there is more litigation and new regulations. As both parents and school official's evidence increasing inflexibility, the statues play a central role in the battle over the education of the child. A secondary role is played by the courts which, in resolving the disputes between parents and the schools, must interpret and test the statutes (Chiusano 1996). Parents who are being prosecuted for instructing their children at home are attacking compulsory school attendance statues on constitutional grounds. Although no case dealing specifically with home instruction has yet reached the Supreme Court, the increased activism of the home school movement may produce a ruling in the near future (Lines, 1996). Constitutional challenges have been based on the First or Fourteenth Amendment. In many of the home instruction cases' parents have removed their children from school for religious reasons. These parents argue that they have a highly protected First Amendment freedom to educate their children according to their religious percepts and values. The most recent court decisions provide consistent continued confirmation of the Yoder decision. In Howell v. State (1986), Texas' intermediate appellate court rejected Yoder protection for parents who argued that their religious conviction was to educate their children at home (Richardson, Zirkel, 1991). In...

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