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School Choice: Picking the right school

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Adjunct Professor, Education
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  1. Introduction
  2. Education is not a constitutional right
  3. All children must attend school
    1. The case of Wisconsin v. Yoder
  4. The school choice menu
    1. State laws that mandate compulsory school attendance
    2. The case of Pierce v. Society of Sisters
  5. Curriculum, evolution, and religion
    1. The Scopes trial
    2. The Scopes trial and the case of Epperson v. State
  6. State regulation of private schools
    1. The most common justification for mandating approval or accreditation of private schools
  7. Conclusion

School choice is a hot topic in current events today. After the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, charter schools and school voucher programs have been heated topics. Both charter schools and voucher programs have to do with giving students' and their parents the right and / or the opportunity to attend the school of their choice. This idea of school choice brings many questions to the forefront.

Some of the questions are the following; (1) Is secondary school a constitutional right? (2) Must all children attend school? (3) If school is mandatory, do students have a choice in what school they attend? (4) How do private schools fit in the system and should everyone be allowed to attend them? (5) Are charter schools the answer to the school choice dilemma for those without funds to attend private schools?, and (6) How much control over curriculum, etc. does the state government have over private schools and charter schools?

[...] The nature and degree of regulation by government agencies is every bit as important in determining the degree of school choice actually exercised by families as is the number of students attending nonpublic schools. The most common justification for mandating approval or accreditation of private schools is to give the state the means to ensure compliance with its educational standards.(BYU p. The Supreme Court has never held unconstitutional a requirement for state approval or accreditation of private schools. The state courts have considered the issue and have held that mandatory accreditation is constitutional provided that the state standards are not overly burdensome. [...]


[...] School officials may excuse lawful absences for things such as death in the family, student illness, religious holiday, and court summons.[iii] All Children Must Attend School As noted earlier, each state has its own particular compulsory education laws. Depending on the state, children must attend school during the designated age group as per law. Even though parents may have strong objections to their child's attendance at school, the courts have ruled that parents cannot avoid sending their children to school. [...]

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