Lagos, Julio Alberto. (2011). Parental education rights in the United States and Canada: Homeschooling and its legal protection. Doctoral Thesis in Canon Law at the Pontificia Universitas Sanctæ Crucis Facultas Iuris Canonici. (Focuses on the United States and Canada. “This study will address the fundamental issue of what rights parents have and what are the limits to mandatory public schooling. We will see that home education involves disparate interests: the best interests of the child, compulsory state education, and the parental right to educate their children according to one’s beliefs and convictions. The specific object of this thesis is to investigate the legal aspects of homeschooling in English- and French-speaking North America and draw conclusions as to the parental right to homeschooling and the proper limits to state authority. We will review the laws and policies that currently regulate home education in the United States and Canada. In addition, the study will analyze judicial decisions in those countries that consider the interplay of legal rights related to homeschooling. Where does the parental interest give way to state intervention? Or, to put it another way, where does the family yield to the wider community? (p. 7). Includes a focus on Roman Catholic magisterial documents and the Code of Canon Law of 1983 regarding parental rights in education. Presupposes, philosophically, that the State has some fundamental or a priori right and duty to make sure and/or control whether children are receiving the education the State deems right, appropriate, or correct. Author is, in a sense, a statist. “Our study indicates that states have the obligation to permit structures or methods outside the public school system such as private schools and homeschooling, although they retain the right to regulate such schooling. After all, without some type of monitoring for basic literacy and scientific achievement, how will parents and schools be cognizant of the quality or shortcomings of the child’s academic achievement? (p. 261). “This leads necessarily to the conclusion that teacher certification has no correlation to homeschooled student outcomes and would be an unreasonable burden on parents who choose homeschooling and deter the state’s interest in education. Periodic formal assessment of homeschooled children, whether the standardized tests taken every year as the public school students in that state, testing in a form mutually acceptable to both parent and the state, or qualitative evaluations, may be the most suitable compromise between state and parents. Periodic testing of homeschoolers favours a successful educational outcome by assuring a good education for children while also respecting a parent’s right to oversee their education and upbringing. If the real issue underlying homeschooling statutes and regulation is the education of children and not the manner in which that education is given, then these recommendations will ensure that children receives an education without undue state interference. ….. This thesis supports a relatively laissez-faire approach to regulating homeschooling, in so far as most evidence indicates that parents are resourceful and sufficiently organized to provide a quality education.” (p. 268-269).) (Keywords: homeschooling, parental rights, state rights, children’s rights, state, regulation, control, policy, academic achievement, Roman Catholicism)
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