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Swanson vs Guthrie

Swanson vs Guthrie

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School Law, Dr. W.A. Kritsonis
School Law, Dr. W.A. Kritsonis

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: William Allan Kritsonis on Nov 16, 2009
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11/15/2009

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Bechtold, Bickham, & Singh
William Allan Kritsonis, PhDProfessor
HYBRID LEARNINGHYBRID LEARNINGINTRODUCTIONThe term
hybrid learning 
has evolved in recent time to incorporate many differentdefinitions. It is currently most often used to refer to a mixed teaching environment where a portion of the class is taught traditionally, with face to face instruction, and a second portion istaught electronically, via online chat rooms and discussions. In the home school setting, hybridlearning refers to teaching the student in the home school setting and also teaching them in thetraditional public school setting for a limited number, of often specialized, courses. It can alsorefer to the religious education given at home and the athletic or elective, secular, educationgiven at school. The aim of many religious based home schooling parents is to limit the contactof their students with negative, secular influences which may interfere with their eternalsalvation.For the purpose of this report, we will focus on hybrid learning in the home schoolsetting. Quite often, parents choose to home school their children for a variety of reasons. Oncechildren reach a certain age, especially those looking forward to attending college, parents oftenfeel that some courses (choir, band, foreign languages, and laboratory science courses to name afew) are better taught in the public school setting utilizing available resources. This places schooldistricts in a financial predicament; if the student only attends classes for one or two class periods then the school district is providing services without receiving funding for the studentdue to attendance and constitutional accountability rules and expectations. School districts alsooften look to retain students full time due to state constitutional obligations. This report willexplore the obligation of the school district to provide educational services.Case OneUnited States Court of Appeals,United States Supreme CourtState of Wisconsinv.Jonas Yoder, Wallace Miller, and Adin Yutzy
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Bechtold, Bickham, & Singh
Docket No. 70-110Opinion: 406 U.S. 205 (1972)LITIGANTSPlaintiff – Appelant: State of Wisconsin, et. alDefendant – Appellee: Jonas Yoder, Wallace Miller, and Adin YutzyBACKGROUNDJames Yoder and William Miller ,who were members of the Old Order Amish religion,and respondent Adin Yutzy, a member of the Conservative Amish Mennonite Church, wereaccused of violating Wisconsin’s compulsory school attendance law which required them to sendtheir children to school until the age of sixteen. All three families resided in Green County,Wisconsin. The respondents refused to send their children to school beyond the eighth gradefearing for the eternal salvation of their children and themselves. The school district ticketed andfined the families because they had not enrolled their children in school for their ninth gradeyear. The families were charged, tried, and convicted for violating compulsory schoolattendance and received a fine of five dollars each. The families refuted the charges saying their first and fourteenth Amendment rights were violated. The Wisconsin v Yoder case is repeatedlyreferenced in home school legal arguments as the only case decided in favor of home schooleducation.FACTSRespondents, members of the Old Order Amish religion and the Conservative AmishMennonite Church, were convicted of violating Wisconsin's compulsory school attendance law(which requires a child's school attendance until age 16) by declining to send their children to public or private school after they had graduated from the eighth grade. The evidence showedthat the Amish provide continuing informal vocational education to their children designed to prepare them for life in the rural Amish community. The evidence also showed that respondentssincerely believed that high school attendance was contrary to the Amish religion and way of life, and that they would endanger their own salvation and that of their children by complyingwith the law. The State Supreme Court sustained respondents' claim that application of thecompulsory school attendance law to them violated their rights under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment.DECISIONThere is no doubt as to the power of a State, having a high responsibility for education of its citizens, to impose reasonable regulations for the control and duration of basic education.Providing public schools ranks at the very apex of the function of a State. Yet even this paramount responsibility was, in
 Pierce
, made to yield to the right of parents to provide anequivalent education in a privately operated system. There the Court held that Oregon's statutecompelling attendance in a public school from age eight to age 16 unreasonably interfered withthe interest of parents in directing the rearing of their offspring, including their education inchurch-operated schools. As that case suggests, the values of parental direction of the religious
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Bechtold, Bickham, & Singh
upbringing and education of their children in their early and formative years have a high place inour society. Thus, a State's interest in universal education, however highly we rank it, is nottotally free from a balancing process when it impinges on fundamental rights and interests, suchas those specifically protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, and thetraditional interest of parents with respect to the religious upbringing of their children so long asthey "prepare [them] for additional obligations."It follows that in order for Wisconsin to compel school attendance beyond the eighthgrade against a claim that such attendance interferes with the practice of a legitimate religious belief, it must appear either that the State does not deny the free exercise of religious belief by itsrequirement, or that there is a state interest of sufficient magnitude to override the interestclaiming protection under the Free Exercise Clause.... The essence of all that has been said andwritten on the subject is that only those interests of the highest order and those not otherwiseserved can overbalance legitimate claims to the free exercise of religion. We can accept it assettled, therefore, that, however strong the State's interest in universal compulsory education, it is by no means absolute to the exclusion or subordination of all other interests.DICTAContrary to the suggestion of the dissenting opinion of MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, our holding today in no degree depends on the assertion of the religious interest of the child ascontrasted with that of the parents. It is the parents who are subject to prosecution here for failingto cause their children to attend school, and it is their right of free exercise, not that of their children, that must determine Wisconsin's power to impose criminal penalties on the parent. Thedissent argues that a child who expresses a desire to attend public high school in conflict with thewishes of his parents should not be prevented from doing so. There is no reason for the Court toconsider that point since it is not an issue in the case. The children are not parties to thislitigation. The State has at no point tried this case on the theory that respondents were preventingtheir children from attending school against their expressed desires, and indeed the record is tothe contrary. The State's position from the outset has been that it is empowered to apply itscompulsory-attendance law to Amish parents in the same manner as to other parents - that is,without regard to the wishes of the child. That is the claim we reject today.For the reasons stated we hold, with the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, that the First andFourteenth Amendments prevent the State from compelling respondents to cause their children toattend formal high school to age 16. Affirmed.MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, dissenting in part.I agree with the Court that the religious scruples of the Amish are opposed to theeducation of their children beyond the grade schools, yet I disagree with the Court's conclusionthat the matter is within the dispensation of parents alone. The Court's analysis assumes that theonly interests at stake in the case are those of the Amish parents on the one hand, and those of the State on the other. The difficulty with this approach is that, despite the Court's claim, the parents are seeking to vindicate not only their own free exercise claims, but also those of their high-school-age children. It is the future of the student, not the future of the parents, that isimperiled by today's decision. If a parent keeps his child out of school beyond the grade school,then the child will be forever barred from entry into the new and amazing world of diversity that
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