Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Federal Court Upholds Pennsylvania Home Schooling Regulation

In Combs v. Homer Center School District, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33871 (WD Pa., May 25, 2006), a Pennsylvania federal district court upheld Pennsylvania’s Act 169 that regulates home schooling of children. In several consolidated cases, parents challenged provisions that require them to document that their children have met requirements on days of attendance and hours of instruction in certain required subjects by submitting a portfolio containing sample work and an annual evaluation of the student’s progress prepared by a school psychologist or certified teacher. The parents argued broadly that according to their religious belief, the civil government lacks jurisdiction to approve or administratively supervise the education they provide. The court granted summary judgment to the school districts, rejecting challenges under Pennsylvania’s Religious Freedom Protection Act, and constitutional challenges based on the free exercise clause and the due process rights of parents to control the education of their children.