January 29, 2013

School Choice Week 2013: Enabling the choice to home school

By Anthony L. Francois Senior Attorney

Last week my colleague Joshua Thompson posted on New Hampshire’s recently enacted school choice law, passed by the legislature over the governor’s veto.  Using the constitutionally validated means of providing tax credits for donations to school tuition organizations, Section 77-G:2 I(a) of the law allows tuition organizations to provide scholarships to students to attend private schools, and allows a home educated student to “receive a scholarship to cover educational expenses.”

Home schooling is the ultimate choice in education, in which parents of all walks of life are taking personal responsibility for their children’s education.  State laws relating to home schooling vary widely, and many require that home schooling parents register with the state or the local school district.

Organizations like the Home School Legal Defense Association field numerous inquiries from members.  The most common concern appears to be local school districts illegally demanding documentation or information that state law does not require, or imposing illegal conditions on parents’ right to home school.  However, in some cases government agencies have sought to remove children from their own homes because they are home schooled.  Outrages like this highlight a question of basic principle: are parents the presumptive custodians of their children, or are government schools?

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