The best American states for homeschooling

In an older post of mine, I said that if I moved to America, perhaps Texas was a good state to move to. But now I could add a few more states to the list:

Jim, of course, homeschooling laws vary considerably from state to state. Today, which are the states that are the easiest for homeschoolers to deal with?

Mike, I like to think of this as: which states are the most free?

The states that are the most free today are:

  • Oklahoma—which has an actual constitutional provision that guarantees the right to homeschooling
  • Indiana, Texas, and Illinois are all private school states in which parents don’t really have to have any contact with the state official.
  • New Jersey has always had a statute that allows parents to homeschool their kids and provide equivalent instruction to what they would get in the public school.
  • And Idaho has just an amazing law that has been crafted over many years of legislative improvement to where it’s virtually completely free in Idaho.
  • Jim, I know that Montana has a really good law.
  • Also, Virginia’s religious exemption, where it’s working properly, is a terrifically good law.

About a third of the states, I would say, are basically in the sector that you’ve just described.

Quote source

Farris, M. (2016). Where Are We Now? The State of Homeschool Laws [podcast]. Home School Legal Defense Association. Available https://www.hslda.org/docs/hshb/126/hshbwk5.asp. Last accessed 1st May 2017

Continued respect for the crucifix by Italy’s government

The custom of displaying a crucifix in classrooms is an age-old tradition in Italy. The present civil obligation allegedly dates back to royal decree no. 4336 of 15 September 1860 of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, which provided: “Each school must without fail be equipped with … a crucifix”.

This obligation was maintained under subsequent regimes.  Confirmed by a series of regulations in the 1920s, it was not abolished by the 1984 revision of the Lateran Pacts which put an end to the State religion; further, it was expressly confirmed on 3 October 2002 in an instruction by the Minister of Education.

Quote source

Puppinck, G. (2011). The case of Lautsi v. Italy: a synthesis [Article presented at the Eighteenth Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, “Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Age: Trends, Challenges, and Practices,” 2-4 October 2011]. Available https://www.strasbourgconsortium.org/content/blurb/files/ARTICLE_LAUTSI_PUPPINCK_English_BYU_Law_Review.pdf. Last accessed 1st May 2017

No clear boundary between religion and politics (as it should be)

This campaign [to allow Biblical instruction in government schools of Queensland in 1910] stemmed from religious belief and was expressed in both a religious and a political way. By being sensitive to the influence of personal belief on political actions, we can see that the Bible in state schools campaign was not merely a cynical political exercise where a church or churches sought more power. It was part of the mission of the Protestant churches to create God’s Kingdom on earth.

The Bible in State Schools issue demonstrates how Queensland’s politics of the time were intertwined with religious concerns and how Queensland’s churches were actively engaged in the politics of the State. This supports the assertions of Melissa Bellanta and Frank Borgiorno, both of whom argue that there was no clear boundary between religion and politics.

Quote source

Perkins, Y, (2010). Queensland’s Bible in State Schools Referendum 1910: A Case Study of Democracy. [BA thesis, University of Sydney], pp. 94-95

Crucifying secularism with the crucifix

​The [European court] case of Lautsi v. Italy, better known as the Crucifix Case, is particularly significant… Never before in the history of the Court and the Council of Europe has a case raised so much public attention and debate. The debate regarding the legitimacy of the symbol of Christ’s presence in Italian schools is emblematic of the cultural crisis in Western Europe regarding religion.

Twenty-one State parties to the European Convention on Human Rights, in an unprecedented move, joined Italy to reassert the legitimacy of Christian symbols in European society. The Court finally recognised, in substance, that in countries of Christian tradition, Christianity enjoys a specific social legitimacy which distinguishes it from other philosophical and religious beliefs. Because Italy is a country of Christian tradition, Christian symbols may legitimately hold greater visibility in society…

By this final judgment overturning a unanimous judgment rendered on 3 November 2009 by the Second Section of the Strasbourg Court, the Grand Chamber Judges decided, by fifteen votes to two, that the compulsory display of crucifixes in Italian State-school classrooms did not breach Article 2 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 2 of the first Protocol protects the right of parents to ensure the education and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious and philosophical convictions…

Quote source

Puppinck, G. (2011). The case of Lautsi v. Italy: a synthesis [Article presented at the Eighteenth Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, “Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Age: Trends, Challenges, and Practices,” 2-4 October 2011]. Available https://www.strasbourgconsortium.org/content/blurb/files/ARTICLE_LAUTSI_PUPPINCK_English_BYU_Law_Review.pdf. Last accessed 1st May 2017

A case study in church-supported activism

The [Bible in State Schools] League …[launched] their campaign in churches on Sunday 30 January 1910. This was advertised in The Brisbane Courier [newspaper] as a ‘day of prayer for divine guidance for this movement’. Over three hundred and sixty clergymen were named in the advertisement as supporters of the day.

In a flyer printed by the League, the Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and German Lutheran churches were listed as supporters of what was known as ‘Bible in State Schools Sunday’. Regarding this day, the religious newspaper, The Australian Christian World, stated, ‘[t]his will perhaps convince those who have regarded the movement as a political one that it is a religious movement, based on the highest principles’.

The Bible in State Schools Sunday featured two other elements of the League’s campaign: the use of sermons to promote their cause and prayer…

Rev. [D.J] Garland and the Bible in State Schools League achieved a remarkable result in their campaign for religious instruction and Bible reading in state schools by persuading a majority of voters to pass the Referendum.

Quote source

Perkins, Y, (2010). Queensland’s Bible in State Schools Referendum 1910: A Case Study of Democracy. [BA thesis, University of Sydney], pp. 25-26, 98

A new triumph over abortion (and Obama’s legacy)

President Donald Trump privately signed a bill on Thursday that allows states to withhold federal money from organizations that provide abortion services, including Planned Parenthood…

The bill, which the usually camera-friendly President signed without any media present, reverses an Obama-era regulation that prohibited states from withholding money from facilities that perform abortions, arguing that many of these facilities also provide other family planning and medical services…

The signing comes weeks after Vice President Mike Pence, a social conservative…cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate after two Republicans opposed the measure…

House Speaker Paul Ryan called the signing a “a major pro-life victory.”

Quote source

Merida,  D. (2017). Trump privately signs anti-Planned Parenthood law. CNN Politics.  Available http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/13/politics/donald-trump-planned-parenthood-money/index.html.  Last accessed 28th Apr 2017.

The people favoured religious instruction above all else

Another means by which Queenslanders participated in deciding whether religious instruction should be reintroduced in the state’s schools [back in 1910] was through letters to newspaper editors. Both the labour newspaper, The Worker, and The Brisbane Courier hosted lively debates about the subject on their letters pages.

In the month leading up to the Referendum The Brisbane Courier published over forty letters from readers on the subject. In the same period approximately twenty two letters were published on federal issues.

While The Brisbane Courier was in favour of the Bible in State Schools Referendum passing, it is clear that the editor believed that federal matters were of greater importance. The newspaper published far more articles on federal political matters than the religious instruction issue.

It published an eight page section called the ‘Federal Election Special’ five times during the month prior to the election. However, those readers who were inclined to write to the editor were clearly more concerned about the state referendum [concerning religious instruction].

[The referendum was won, and Biblical instruction went ahead]

Quote source

Perkins, Y, (2010). Queensland’s Bible in State Schools Referendum 1910: A Case Study of Democracy. [BA thesis, University of Sydney], pp. 32-33