Idaho Homeschool History, Part Fifteen



Idaho Homeschool History

Part Fifteen

The Golden Age of Homeschooling


In the years following 2009, Idaho Education Code 33-202 read:

33-202 SCHOOL ATTENDANCE COMPULSORY … a parent or guardian shall either cause the child to be privately instructed by, or at the direction of, his parent or guardian; or enrolled in a public school or public charter school, including an online or virtual charter school or private or parochial school…


The Idaho Education Code change in 2009 placed Idaho homeschools on a secure legal foundation, however, as Mark Twain once aptly noted, “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” It is imperative that future home educators remain connected and vigilant to ensure our continued freedom.


In 2015, the President of the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators helped to rewrite legislation to strengthen a parent’s right to direct the upbringing and education of their children.  The coordinated efforts of ICHE, CHOIS and HSLDA, produced one of the strongest Parental Rights Statutes in the nation.


Parental rights language appeared in some United States Supreme Court rulings as early as the 1920’s. The Justices ruled that liberties which cannot be deprived without due process of law include the freedom of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their minor children.


In another case, they declared that these rights were actually “fundamental” constitutional rights “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” and “deeply rooted in our nation’s history and tradition.”


Seventy-five years later, things began to change.


Starting in 2000, the courts began to use language from the unratified U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child when ruling on cases. By citing International Law, they began chipping away at what had long been held as a fundamental right.


Effort began both nationally and in various states to express parental rights language in state and national Constitutions. In 2015, Representative Janet Trujillo (R, Idaho Falls) introduced a short and simple bill that declared that parents have “a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, education and control of their children.” The bill passed the House State Affairs Committee by a substantial margin, but managed to pass the full house with only a 37-to-31 vote margin.


In the Senate State Affairs Committee, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis (R-Idaho Falls) asked to hold the bill in committee for four days so that he could work to make it an even better bill.


With some trepidation, the bill’s sponsors and supporters met with Senator Davis to discuss revisions to the bill. Our concerns quickly melted as it became evident that Senator Davis meant what he said. He really did want an even better bill. And after an extended meeting, the bill was redrafted in its entirety.


A new section was added declaring that the legislature recognizes parental rights as being among the unalienable rights that all people retain under the 9th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That insulated Idaho parental rights from any additional demotion of those rights by the Supreme Court under the 14th amendment.


That same section also rooted them in the “due process” liberties under the Idaho Constitution. Again, this declared that the foundation of these rights was the Idaho Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution which the Supreme Court has the annoying habit of reinterpreting at its whim.


The amended statute still retains references to the “fundamental” right of parents to direct the care, custody, control, and education of a minor child. But now it explicitly states the two-part Strict Scrutiny Test that must be passed before an intrusion upon those rights will be tolerated. This precluded any court from failing to apply this test when considering a case jeopardizing parental rights.


With these amendments in place and with the leadership of Senator Sheryl Nuxoll (R-Cottonwood) as the bill’s senate sponsor, the bill was rapidly passed by the Senate with a party-line vote of 27-to-7. The bill then returned to the House that had passed the original bill by a tepid 37-to-31 vote. This time, the amended and improved bill was passed by a solid 56-to-12 vote. A few days later, the bill was approved by Governor Otter.


We are grateful to the Idaho Legislature for acting to strengthen Parental Rights, but this is only the first step. It is imperative that these rights be secured by the passage of an Amendment to the United States Constitution.


Young homeschool families… this is YOUR battle to fight. Get involved! Visit and help us achieve the goal of amending the US Constitution. In years to come, hopefully you will look back with pride, knowing that you accomplished this much needed goal, thereby securing the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children for generations to come.


Click here to access the full series on Idaho Homeschool History.

Committed to helping parents fulfill their God-given right and responsibility to educate their own children.