At issue: Parental rights in educational matters

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

homeschooling teensHomeschoolers in the U.S. will be pleased to hear that a proposed constitutional amendment – even though it faces a long road before being approved – could further enshrine and protect their right to choose how to educate their children.

A resolution introduced last week by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) would add a "Parental Rights Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution, further establishing the fundamental right of parents to direct the lives of their children. S.J. Res. 48 is co-sponsored by four of Graham's fellow Senate Republicans: Roy Blunt (Missouri), Johnny Isakson (Georgia), James Risch (Idaho), and Chuck Grassley (Iowa).

"The rights of parents are under assault from bureaucrats who think they know what's best for someone else's child," the senator said in introducing the resolution. "Parental rights do not and should not end when the child leaves their home."

Will Estrada, director of federal relations for the Home School Legal Defense Association, says the resolution would solidify rights that have already been established by the Supreme Court.

Estrada

"It would take those Supreme Court cases and put them into the black-and-white text of our Constitution," he explains. "It would say that parental rights are a fundamental right enshrining this right of loving parents to make the decisions of how to raise, educate, nurture, and care for their children."

Senator Graham's office emphasizes that the legislation "empowers parents to make decisions over the type of education their child receives." Estrada piggybacks on that statement, telling OneNewsNow that homeschooling parents, too, will be assured they can direct their children's education, something many haven't enjoyed in the past.

"The interesting thing about homeschoolers is we know firsthand what it's like to not have that ability to educate our children as we see fit," he tells OneNewsNow. "Just a couple of decades ago homeschooling was illegal in many of the 50 states."

HSLDA reports that homeschooling is now legal throughout the U.S. – and that each state is free to create its own legal structure for home education. The most highly regulated states are located in the Northeast.

Estrada acknowledges the Graham resolution has a long way to go since any amendment to the Constitution requires two-thirds' approval by each house of Congress, as well as subsequent approval by three-fourths of the states.

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