Is Compulsory Schooling Unconstitutional?

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  1. BizGenGirl profile image85
    BizGenGirlposted 13 years ago

    I personally feel that to require children to go to school against their wishes or the wishes of their parents, under penalty of going to jail or losing their children, is involuntary servitude, which is prohibited by the constitution. As it stands, even parents who chose to home school are required to structure their teaching around the schools education system, which is often why parents choose to home school in the first place.

    Do you feel that compulsory schooling is unconstitutional? Why or why not?

    1. Jeff Berndt profile image72
      Jeff Berndtposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I think that making the kid go to a particular kind of school is unconstitutional, but if you're talking about the US, you're conjuring a chimaera. In the US, we have compulsory education, not compulsory schooling. There's a difference. All that is required is that the kids be educated. There are no stipulations as to where, or by whom. There are public schools available for those that want to use them. For those that don't, there are many private schools, both secular and religious. There is also the home-school option.

      Many hubbers have written excellent articles on home schooling, and while it's important to remember that home schooling is neither easy nor convenient (and IMO, not a good idea for most people), it's your right to educate your kids at home if you wish, and for some people it works out great.

      1. dutchman1951 profile image61
        dutchman1951posted 13 years agoin reply to this

        The confusion comes from not compulsary education, but the regulations placed on education, that part forces a Parent to make a Gauranteed decision. Say if you personaly are not trained as an educator, will you state let you home school?  Those kind of rules is what I think she means, possibly.

        1. Jeff Berndt profile image72
          Jeff Berndtposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          "Say if you personaly are not trained as an educator, will you state let you home school?"
          Yes, any parent can teach their kids at home, even if the parents never graduated from high school themselves. It's a bad idea, but it's allowed.

  2. profile image0
    thegeckoposted 13 years ago

    I don't know if it's unconstitutional. After all, minors do not enjoy the same breadth of rights as adults and until 18, parents by law do get to make many of the minor's decisions.

    That being said, at a certain age, most minors do decide whether they will continue to strive in school or not. The ones who do not wish to continue education merely suffer and waste their time. They spend many nonproductive years in school at the cost of the tax payer. Their negative attitudes toward the institution usually cause disruptions in the classroom, derail instruction, and also become a huge point of conflict and strife at home.

    I think after 8th grade, there should be more options for youth outside the traditional education system which serves now as a stepping ladder to college. Truth be told, only about 20-30% of students will make it that far, so what happens to the overwhelming majority of kids?

    What happened to democracy being a system of options? Apprenticeships, trade schools, workforce readiness programs, family business... there could be so many other more useful avenues for such kids to take.

    It should not be criminal for kids not to attend school and there should be more options out there for them to advance in life.

    1. Chaotic Chica profile image61
      Chaotic Chicaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with you 100% but the reality of today is that it is incredibly difficutl to find apprenticeships anymore and with the economy making it difficult for many parents to find work there isn't much left for the teenagers.  Some areas, like the one I'm in now, do not have vocational schools and the workforce in this area really reflects the reality of the situation that has caused.  There is a high drop out rate, high teen pregnancy rate, low work eithic and morale and a huge gap in the difference between able and/or educated workers and employers willing to invest in the community.

      This is a huge problem all across the country.  A good friend of mine was not doing well in tradtional public school so he opted for votec training and now he owns his own electrician business.  He had the luxury of that training plus an apprenticeship which he has tried to give to someone else but young kids today don't want to work for the value of learning a trade, they only want the money.

  3. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 13 years ago

    Parents do not have absolute rights over their children; they cannot maim their bodies or their intellects.  They can choose to educate them at home or through alternative/private schools so long as this equips the child to pass basic tests of literacy, numeracy and other skills.

  4. aware profile image67
    awareposted 13 years ago

    childhood is involuntary servitude.   somewhat. kinda .   whatever.  For me  the constitutional  isn't relevant. its unconscionable not to  present our youth with every bit of knowledge  at hand. I know  whose hands our future lie in. We should help not hinder them when choosing for them as parents.

  5. tdehart profile image54
    tdehartposted 13 years ago

    The source of education is best chosen by the parents who know them the best!! Alternatives to the brick and morter programs are on the rise for the top choices for the parent who want their children to learn more than just what the state has to offer. If a child does not fit in the box...they are left to dangle on the outside! In todays economy, children that learn a little more than just what the books say is a good thing.

  6. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 13 years ago

    Sometimes the choice is not best made by the parents, because some parents are frankly idiots and wouldn't bother to educate their kids at all.  That is why the state school system exists as a backstop.

  7. Uninvited Writer profile image78
    Uninvited Writerposted 13 years ago

    And yet, kids in countries where it is not mandatory nor free  dream of getting an education and going to school to escape the drudgery of their work.

  8. Chaotic Chica profile image61
    Chaotic Chicaposted 13 years ago

    I do not know about constitutional.  I understand why it became a law but the truth of the matter is that every family and every child and their respective needs are different. 

    Personally, I am abhorred at the lack of quality in the public education system in my area and we are going to move because of it.  Their education is second only to their health and safety and it is the one thing that nobody can ever take from them. 

    I took my son up to Virginia recently and we hit the war museum and though he knew that WWI  amd WWII happened, he didn't know why.  We spent a good deal of time having a history lesson there and we had more during the remainder of our trip.  I trusted the school system to teach my children what it taught me but I found it lacking.  I taught him more about history in one week than he had learned in five years.  And he loved it!

    If we cannot make it to a better school district before fall, I will homeschool the kids and I have to say I am not really happy about how my state runs their homeschool program either.

  9. profile image0
    Onusonusposted 13 years ago

    Not giving your child the education they need and deserve in this country is borderline child abuse. They need to go, to get structure, to develop socially as well as academically, to have a chance in this competitive world to succeed.

    1. Jeff Berndt profile image72
      Jeff Berndtposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      "Not giving your child the education they need and deserve in this country is borderline child abuse."
      This bit I agree with.
      "They need to go, to get structure, to develop socially as well as academically, to have a chance in this competitive world to succeed."
      This bit I don't. Kids can get structure and socialization from other sources besides a traditional brick-and-mortar school. Successful home-school parents are usually highly organized and structured people to begin with, so they can impart the structure thing on their kids. Also, there are many home-school cooperatives where kids get together and socialize. Plus there's municipal sports leagues, church youth groups, 4-H, stuff like that. 

      I think our public education system is a good thing, and it needs to be supported, but people do (and ought to) have the right to educate their kids at home if they so choose.

      I do, however, wish there were an efficient and useful way to ensure that the kids are learning; for every successful homeschooling family, there are those who bollix it up, and their kids usually end up in a public school playing catch-up (and pulling the average down).

  10. MelissaBarrett profile image59
    MelissaBarrettposted 13 years ago

    I home schooled three of mine and I'm planning on home schooling the fourth.  We lost my third child, but my oldest two went to public school when they decided it was right for them.  I had no problem with the school system looking in to make sure I'm wasn't just letting them watch T.V. all day.

    My youngest, however, is autistic so I expect some really big problems with the school boards testing policies and their applications to special needs children who are being home schooled.
    In short, they are going to lose the extra funding that would have been granted to them for having her in public school (The totals would have been around 90k over her school years)

    I chose to home school for many reasons, but the main secular reason is because I live in rural west Virginia.  The schools suck and the teachers are of equal quality to their pay scale.

    As far as socialization, I repeat... I live in rural West Virginia.  It was general socialization that I was hoping to avoid.  Structure can much more easily be obtained within a private home than in an overcrowded classroom filled with undisciplined children from largely ignorant parents ran by a burnt-out teacher. Socialization can still occur as well, often in groups that are not necessarily grouped in unnatural ways (how often outside of school are you surrounded by 20 people that are your exact age?) and with individuals who are unlikely to be raised by racist, drug addicted and alcoholic parents.

  11. BizGenGirl profile image85
    BizGenGirlposted 13 years ago

    I agree that there are many ways in which to educate a child, and that it is in their benefit to be educated. My concern is the federal governments control over what and how a child learns. I feel that most children don't fit the mold of traditional schooling, whether that be public, private, home school or even unschooling. Some will learn things later, that are currently required for them to learn at certain ages.

    Yet the department of education makes sure that there unless you choose a religious exemption (and sometimes not even then), you are required to teach your child certain things in order of their age, and not their level of competence or interest. Even for many home schoolers and unschoolers there are tests and "requirements", which negates the idea that a parent has the right to teach their child what and how they see fit. So basically, children are forced into the system, one way or another, against their will and often against the wishes of their parents as well.

    On top of all this, I don't feel it's right to legislate for the minority. The parents in our country that would choose not to educate their kids, or whom would neglect them in that way, are in the minority. Why make the majority of kids and their parents suffer because a few would choose to not to go in a positive direction?

    "In order for one to be free, all must be free"

    1. Jeff Berndt profile image72
      Jeff Berndtposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      "Even for many home schoolers and unschoolers there are tests and "requirements", which negates the idea that a parent has the right to teach their child what and how they see fit. "

      Well, yeah. I mean, if not for this rule, you might get kids who think current scientific theory states that the Earth is an egg laid by the Great Celestial Goose, or something like that.

      Regardless of the religious persuasion of the parents, the kids have the right to know what is current in the scientific community. Sure, teach about the Celestial Goose and all that, but if the kid doesn't also know that geologists agree that the center of the earth is not a developing megagosling but rather a lump of molten iron and nickel, he's going to run into trouble later in life.


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