Howard, J. Paul R. (2001). Cross-border reflections: Parents’ rights to direct their children’s education under the U.S. and Canadian constitutions. Education Canada, 41(2), 36-37. ERIC Document No. EJ643756. (Author does not indicate how he thinks the Supreme Court of Canada should rule regarding parents’ rights regarding directing a child’s education and upbringing. “What is most disappointing, however, is that in the only case [in Canada] where the issue of whether a parent has a liberty right under s. 7 to educate his child as he thinks fit was squarely placed before the Supreme Court of Canada for consideration, a majority of that Court avoided the thorny question altogether. In Jones v. The Queen, the accused, a pastor of a fundamentalist Christian church, who educated his own and other children in his church’s basement, was accused of violating Alberta’s compulsory education provisions because he had not obtained from the local school board or the provincial Department of Education the proper exemption available for instruction in the home setting or private schools. ….. The notion that parents should have a constitutionally protected right to direct their children’s education has many intriguing consequences, such as, if the state cannot prohibit a parent from sending a child to a private, parochial or alternative school does that also necessarily mean that the state must fund those placements; the implications of the Pierce line of reasoning for the school voucher debate; and, more fundamentally, whose right is this anyway – the parent’s or the child’s? But none of these or other contentious issues will ever be addressed if our courts adopt a “decide-only-if necessary-and-duck-if-possible” demeanour” (p. 37). “Abstract: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a state law compelling a child’s attendance at a public school constitutes a violation of the parent’s liberty interest under the 14th amendment. In Canada, however, courts have held that their equivalent to the 14th amendment does not encompass the liberty of parents to choose how to educate their children” (retrieved 7/16/13 from http://www.eric.ed.gov). (Keywords: compulsory education; constitutional law; court litigation; elementary secondary education; foreign countries; homeschooling, home schooling; parent rights; parochial schools; public education; united states history)
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