The Home School Court Report
No. 6

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Good District Goes Bad

Massachusetts can be the best of states or the worst of states for homeschoolers. The settled law in Massachusetts states that parents have a fundamental right to direct the education of their own children, and that the government may not burden that right in a “coercive or compulsory” way. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled three times on the constitutional rights of homeschoolers—more than any other court in the country. In Massachusetts, when families “just say no” to local school districts, they win—if they&squo;re brave enough to risk a court battle.

After decades of courage and hard work, Bay State homeschoolers are doing well overall. Nearly one-third of all school districts use some variation of the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District policy, which was the best policy in the commonwealth when homeschool activist Sandra Lovelace helped her school district develop it in 1994. That district was the model for progressive homeschool policies throughout the state—but that changed this year when a new Groton-Dunstable superintendent took over homeschool approvals. A dozen years of peace and freedom were forgotten the minute one person changed jobs.

Homeschoolers have made great gains in Massachusetts7mdash;but the price of liberty is still eternal vigilance.

— by Scott W. Somerville