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Education Law
University of Dayton School of Law
Russo, Charles J.

Law and Education – Russo
I. Decision-makers in Education Policy and The Law
A. Schooling and the State
                I. Pierce Compromise and Compulsory Education
Three Options of Education Control:
1. State Monopoly over Education-socialization, ensure all students get good education, equal education opportunity
2. Abolish Compulsory Education-too standardized, family should be able to make the decision
3. Compulsory but Choice (“Pierce Compromise”)-parents choice may be unfair to child, government wants educated citizenry
Pierce v. Society of Sisters- US Supreme Court, 1925
-Compulsory Education Act in Oregon was challenged (required every parent to send children between 8-16 yrs to a public school) by Society of Sisters (private school/corporation) and military academy
-Primary and high schools and junior colleges, religious instruction of Roman Catholic
-Claims: 1. Rights of Parents to choose schools to get appropriate religious training
                 2. Rights of Schools and Teachers to engage in useful business or profession
                 3. Repugnant to Constitution
4. 14th Amendment Corporations rights-irreparable injury will result (deprivation of property without due process of law
-State has power to regulate all schools, inspect, supervise, etc.
-BUT the Act unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents to direct upbringing and education of children
-COMPROMISE: State may compel attendance at some school, but parents get to choose between public and private (balances state, family, and private schools—balancing)
Private Schools have a property interest, Parents have a liberty interest in education of the child in other than public schools
Farrington v. Tokushige-US Supreme Court, 1927
-Hawaii Act made no foreign language schools allowed unless under written permit, pay fee, etc.
-Claims: 1. Deprivation of liberty and property without due process of law (5th Amendment) (members of various associations conducting the foreign language schools)-No public funds, many students also attend public or private high school sin addition to foreign language schools
-Court held that school act goes beyond regulation of private schools, give affirmative direction
-Rights of owners, parents, and children in respect of attendance upon schools by the Fourteenth Amendment
Questions: Why does the court find there are no adequate reasons for the law?
Meyer v. Nebraska-US Supreme Court, 1923
-struck down Nebraska statute imposed criminal penalties on teachers who taught in language other than English or who taught language other than English to students below high school
-Legislation interfered with teachers right to engage in his profession and parent’s rights to encourage such instruction
Questions Raised: If you’re required to go to school, does the state have duty to be sure time is well spent? Does It mean students may opt out of certain activities? What about equal educational opportunity? Should state make private schools harder and more regulated (Farrington)? Easier (vouchers, etc)?
II. Compulsory Schooling, Public Policy, and the Constitution
Wisconsin v. Yoder, US Supreme Court, 1972
-Yoder and Miller-Amish children, aged 14 and 15, parents wouldn’t send to school even though law required school until 16, no private school either, charged of violating the compulsory education law
-Claim: law violated their rights under 1st and 14th Amendments Free Exercise Clause-(WIS. SC-State failed to make adequate showing that its interest in establishing and maintaining and education system overrides the defendant’s right to free exercise of their religion)
-Believed attendance was contrary to Amish religion and way of life, would be exposed to dangerous community, danger their salvation, experts about the Amish belief, etc.
-Court discusses Amish religion, way of life, firmly grounded in “central religious concepts”
-SC-State can impose reasonable regulations for control of basic education, but it must also yield to rights of parents to provide equivalent education in privately operated system (BALANCING PROCESS when it impinges on fundamental rights, such as free exercise)
-Test/Free exercise- 1. doesn’t interfere with free exercise of religious belief or 2. there is a state interest of sufficient magnitude to override free exercise interest (compelling interest)
-impact on Amish religion is sever and inescapable because the statute compels them to act at odds with fundamental tenants of their religious belief, threat of undermining Amish community as it exists today
-states reasons for compulsory-need education to prepare citizens to participate effectively and intelligently in order to preserve freedom and independence and they need to be self-reliant and self-sufficient
court’s response-one or two years won’t serve these interests for Amish, separate community is keystone of Amish faith, Amish have been highly successful, they are productive members of society, even Amish children that decide to leave would not really be burdens on society because

, religious, etc.)
-Not generally considered to meet compulsory school attendance, authority to exempt home school must be given statutorily expressed
-States refusal to allow home instruction as valid exemption from compulsory school is not violation of equal protection of 14th amendment (rational relationship test) but still must be clear so as not void for vagueness
-conflicting authority on whether home school instructors must be certified, but majority says yes so long as standards don’t encroach too much on religious beliefs
Care and Protection of Charles, Mass. S.C., 1987
-Children home schooled children but charged with truancy because the children were without necessary care and discipline and parents unable or unwilling to give such care
-question of accommodating parents rights with the governmental interest in education
-denied ability to home school because parents not competent to teach, children would spend less time on formal instruction and didn’t want school to monitor or test children to see if they were making progress
-parents claim: statute void for vagueness because doesn’t’ provide standards and as unlawful delegation of legislative power to superintendent and school-also claim violation of RIGHT TO EDUCATE OWN CHILDREN by 14th Amendment (requiring school approval infringes on their right to control upbringing of children)
test-is the statute so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application?
-court says no, purpose is to ensure that all children should be educated, still protected from withholding approval for religious reasons, legislature may delegate to a board or officer the working out of policy details
-liberty interests protected by 14th Amendment extends to activities related to child rearing and education (Pierce)
                but this right is not absolute and must be balanced with state interest
-in order to ensure all children properly executed, the approval process is necessary
-still insists on procedural safeguards