History of Alternative Education in the United States
Alternative education in the United States has a long and complex history. Events across the country and around the world converged to produce the educational choice and parental liberty enjoyed by many Americans and sought by people around the globe.

I. United States Education 1776 - 1838

Until the 1830's, America and its Framers relied upon an educational tradition of home education, religious schooling, private schooling, apprenticeship, and parent-directed local schools. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and the Northwest Ordinance are often discussed in connection with American educational history. With the exception of African slaves, who had family members sold apart in auctions, and victims of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who were sometimes deprived of family autonomy, parental rights were strongly protected and families enjoyed complete educational choice.

A change in approach began under President Andrew Jackson. From 1830 onward, Native Americans suffered under the Jacksonian Paradigm. In the United States, a supposed lack of "civilization" had always been used to justify subjugation of African-American families. The Jacksonian Paradigm extended the same rationale to Native Americans, maintaining that they should be "civilized" with compulsory federal socio-economic and educational programs. Jacksonian-style social engineering soon applied to other demographic minorities. Mormons, Catholics, Japanese-Americans, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mennonites, in roughly that order of court litigation, each became a subsequent target. Like the Cherokee, each of these minority groups took at least one "education" case to the United States Supreme Court.

Originally the Cherokee Tribe resided in Georgia, where their presence interfered with the economic ambitions of other demographic groups. The federal Indian Removal Act of 1830 was enacted. Then, under cover of the 1835 Treaty of New Echota, the Cherokee were forcibly collected into military forts and then removed from Georgia to Oklahoma. The Cherokee's 1838 trek was known as the "Trail of Tears." Members of other tribes, including the Creek, were marched along the same route in double columns, chained and handcuffed. To their long-term credit, and contemporary political detriment, Davy Crockett, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay spoke out against the Andrew Jackson in a fruitless attempt to stop the expulsions.

The Cherokee had a sophisticated, independent socio-economic system. The federal treaties, however, were designed to force Native Americans to depend upon federal funds and education schemes. Gradually the Cherokee were coerced into abandoning their tribal school system and land use patterns. Especially from the 1850's to the 1960's, Native Americans of various tribal backgrounds were compelled to attend military-style boarding schools, on the theory that the children would assimilate a work ethic and the habits of "civilization." Native American students received punishment when they spoke in an Indian language, groomed themselves in a native style, or exhibited non-European forms of behavior. Forms of punishment included social ridicule, cleansing of the mouth with soap, physical punishment, and detention. Photos of Boarding Schools 1 2 3 4.

II. Entrenchment of the Jacksonian Paradigm 1838 - 1852

The Mormons, a religious group with many European immigrants, afforded an opportunity to extend the Jacksonian Paradigm from racial minority groups to religious minority groups. Mormons tended to gather in large, autonomous communities. Over time, Mormons gradually moved en mass from New England towards the western frontier.

After an ill-fated incursion into tumultuous pre-Civil-War Missouri, a region torn by the bitter political power-struggle over slavery, Mormons confronted an 1838 extermination order issued by Missouri Governor Lilburn W. Boggs. The order, which was repealed in 1975 by Governor Kit Bond, authorized residents to kill on sight any Mormon found within Missouri. Mormons departed from Missouri the same year that the Cherokee left Georgia. The Mormons eventually trekked thousands of miles westward, leaving the United States and settling in Mexican territory.

Utah, the current name of the land where most Mormon pioneers settled, subsequently became part of the United States at the end of the United States - Mexican War. Mormons enlisted on the side of the United States during the war. A defeated Mexico ceded territory to the United States under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Shortly thereafter, in 1857, the United States sent an army to occupy Utah. Federal forces and Utah residents exchanged unpleasantries for several decades.

During the same historical period, growing communities of Catholic immigrants and freed African slaves also came into socio-economic conflict with the majority white Protestant population. During the latter-half of 1800's, ethnic, racial, and religious tensions came to a boil all across the country. To many, the increased variation in the population necessitated a further refinement of the Jacksonian Paradigm.

In response, Prussian intellectuals, precursor elements of the Ku Klux Klan, and certain monopolistic tycoons of the Industrial Revolution devised a scheme of government-funded, compulsory common-schools. Compulsory education (and compulsory attendance) was first implemented in 1852 Massachusetts by the "Know-Nothing" Party movement, despite armed resistance.

"Know-Nothings" received their name because of their secret agreements, which were designed to keep "non-Christians" and immigrants out of important political and economic posts. When queried, the nativists claimed to "know nothing" about covert plans. Know-Nothings felt that Catholics were intellectually inferior, non-Christian, and the oppressors of Europe. Know-Nothings feared that hordes of Irish and Italian immigrants would help the Pope to obtain control over American politics.

Massachusett's involvement in compulsory education was an extension of its dark past. Horace Mann was appointed in 1837 to be the first Massachusetts Secretary of Education. Mann aggressively promoted tax-supported education and “Normal” schools, which were designed to standardize curriculum by controlling teacher training. During the 1860's, John Dewey enunciated the paternalistic notion that public schools would give students “an opportunity to escape from the limitations of the social group in which [they were] born, and to come into living contact with a broader environment[.]” Gerald E. Frug, City Services, 73 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 23, 45-46 (1998).

Industrial tycoons, including Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan, were also a major force behind the compulsory-attendance education movement. The industrialists' purpose was to seize physical control of natural resources (particularly land and minerals found in territories controlled by demographic minorities) and to obtain social control over the laborers (employee conformity and submission to authority was critical for repetitive, assembly-line work). The industrialists successfully harnessed the electorate's political animosity towards demographic minorities, and channelled the movement in a direction that satisfied private economic agendas.

The publicly-avowed intent of compulsory education, and the Blaine Amendments inserted into numerous state constitutions to promote it, was to "civilize" demographic minorities by forcibly inculcating Protestant Christianity and the economic patterns associated with industrialization. Non-Catholic demographic minorities were also encompassed in the scheme.

III. Purge of Demographic Minority Education 1853 - 1923

Catholic, Mormon, and Cherokee educational systems resisted government compulsory education. Beginning in 1847, home-educated Brigham Young planned Utah's basic social economy and educational system. Young established native religious schools for elementary and high school instruction. He also instigated both of Utah's largest universities--the University of Utah and Brigham Young University. Both universities are known for having some of the most longstanding, hospitable, accessible policies towards home educators found anywhere in higher education. That accessibility includes long-established, innovative programs for independent-study high-school and college degrees.

Eventually compulsory education and the infrastructure of the Industrial Revolution spread geographically into a direct conflict with the cultural and economic system of western Mormons. Completion of the 1869 Transcontinental Railroad, in Golden Spike, Utah, was a notable turning point. As friction intensified, the Mormon lifestyle was criticized as being "odious among the northern and western nations of Europe," because Mormon practice was akin "almost exclusively . . . [to] the life of Asiatic and of African people." Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1878). Public schools were seen as a means for turning Mormons into "real" Christian Americans, just as was being done at the time for the African-Americans, Native Americans, Catholics and Jews.

Brigham Young responded by leading a public campaign strongly condemning free, compulsory, government education. On one occasion he stated, “I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking away property from one man and giving it to another,” Discourse by President Brigham Young (Apr. 6, 1877), in 18 Journal of Discourses 353, 357 (1967); in another speech he remarked that he was “opposed to free schools, and to all legislation in favor of free schools,” A Mormon Tramp, Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 23, 1877, at 2. See also Young in 16 Journal of Discourses 19-20 (1967). Brigham Young's 1867 remarks were offered the same year that the House of Representatives established an Education and Labor Committee and then created the United States Office of Education.

The Mormons' forty-year public battle against compulsory government education continued until at least 1915, when one of Young’s successors, Joseph F. Smith, made the following official remarks before the entire Mormon Church:

I hope that I may be pardoned for giving expression to my real conviction with reference to the question of education in the State of Utah. The government of the State has provided for the common schools up to the eighth grade . . . . In addition to these, we are having forced upon the people high schools throughout every part of the land. I believe that we are running education mad. . . . [B]urdens are placed upon the tax payers of the state to teach the learning or education of this world. God is not in it. . . . I know that I shall be criticized by professional “lovers of education” in relation to this matter.

Discourse by President Joseph F. Smith (Oct. 3, 1915), in 86th Semi-Annual Conference Report 1, 4.

The collision between Mormons and the federal government sparked the first major case of the alternative-education movement to be heard by the United States Supreme Court. In Mormon Church v. United States, 136 U.S. 1 (1890), the Court ruled that private property owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, including the Church's tithe-funded system of religious school assets, could be forcibly "seized" by the federal government in its capacity of "parens patriae" (father of the nation), and appropriated "for the use and benefit of [government] common schools."

The United States Supreme Court cited the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo as the legal grant of sovereign authority: "the territories west of the Rocky mountains, when acquired from Mexico, became the absolute property and domain of the United States, subject to such conditions as the government . . . had seen fit to accept relating to the rights of the people then inhabiting those territories." Since Utah was a territory, not a state, local voter sentiment was considered irrelevant. Indeed, Congress subsequently passed laws purporting to retain control over the Utah Territory, while abrogating the citizenship, voting rights, and jury participation of Utah's Mormon inhabitants. See Mormon Church, 136 U.S. at 45, 49, 57-58, 64-65.

Six years after Mormon Church, federal public-education proponents imposed a Utah State Enabling Act which required that the Utah Constitution (Article 10) give over 3.7 million acres of state property for a system of school trust lands. The trust land system, which bore some similarities to the land management imposed upon Indian Reservations, was government-controlled and designed to fund only the public-school students. A modified Blaine Amendment was also drafted for prerequisite inclusion in any Utah Constitution (it was included in Article 10).

Western Mormons knew that the federal government had declined to permit them quarter inside the settled portions of the United States, and it would not allow them to constitute an independent sovereign entity outside of the United States. If Mormons continued to reside within a militarily-occupied federal territory, however, they would experience an ever-accelerating denial of voting franchise, civil liberties, and property rights. Most Utah Mormons chose statehood as the best of the available options, and reluctantly accepted the pre-condition that Utah forfeit traditional state control over education, family law, and about ninety percent of Utah lands.

After these developments, private-school education gradually became unavailable for most Mormon students of modest means. Many Utahns decided to home-educate. For Utah as a whole, educational assimilation followed a similar trajectory to that experienced by the Cherokee.

Other minority groups fared little better than the Mormons during this historical period. The Mormon Church decision (and Reynolds, which provided the doctrinal basis for Mormon Church and subsequent decisions adverse to alternative education) sent an unmistakable message across the country, leaving no doubt about the federal government's determination to use its "parens patriae" mandate to engineer social norms through compulsory education. Furthermore, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo eventually served as direct legal authority for subjecting Hispanics and Native Americans to compulsory education in Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and California. The Jacksonian Paradigm was firmly established beyond the confines of Indian Reservations, and Blaine Amendments were spread to newly-admitted states throughout the west.

Just a few years after Mormon Church, the Supreme Court upheld racial segregation for African-Americans in a Louisiana case called Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896). Although not an alternative-education decision per se, Plessy nonetheless exerted a profound practical impact upon the history of all education in the United States. Plessy helped transform education into a permanent political battleground. Public schools gradually became mired in tense conflicts defined along protracted racial, ethnic, and religious divisions. State governments and the federal government engaged in strident experiments designed to socially engineer their students. Young minority children languished across the United States.

Meanwhile, the innovations in compulsory education and cultural assimilation gained considerable momentum through the efforts of Richard Henry Pratt. Pratt, an army officer who fought in various conflicts against Native American tribes, was put in charge of Native American prisoners of war. Pratt developed techniques for incarcerating and managing the prisoners. He eventually started to use the same techniques to forcibly assimilate Native American children in boarding schools designed like military prisons. Pratt founded Carlisle Indian School, which was to serve as the template for Native American education and assimilation all across the United States.

Pratt also arranged for Puerto Ricans to be sent to Carlisle in connection with the Spanish-American War. Sonia M. Rosa, "The Puerto Ricans at Carlisle Indian School," KACIKE: The Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology, http://www.kacike.org/SoniaRosa.html (2003). From the very beginning, Pratt's initiative was understood to pioneer techniques of mass control that could be used against any demographic minority group.

Fortunately, remnants of home education and educational independence survived. Expatriates remained largely unscathed by the 1852 - 1972 effort to eradicate alternative education within the United States. Many residents in the United States did not enjoy as much liberty as contemporaries living abroad, including missionaries, military service personnel, international employees, foreign service officials, international researchers, sailors, traveling entertainers, specialized athletes, and white families in remote areas (Alaska, Indian Reservations, outposts, territories). A similar dynamic developed in the British Commonwealth. In 1905, Virgil M. Hillyer (1875 - 1931), a Harvard-trained Head Master of the respected Calvert Day School in Baltimore, Maryland, decided to make educational opportunities available to families who could not send their children to Calvert. He packaged the non-sectarian Calvert curriculum so that it could be shipped anywhere in the world in a box, complete with a structured syllabus and all necessary supplies.

Calvert School became a staple of many expatriates, who used Calvert materials and imitated Calvert's pedagogical approach. Expatriates provided an important repository for the alternative education culture during the dark years of the movement. In the 1960's, expatriates such as Dr. Raymond Moore returned to the United States and breathed new life into alternative education. (Daniel E. Witte, who was home-educated on a Navajo Reservation with some assistance from Calvert School, was a late product of this era.) Hillyer extolled the virtues of home education, invented the concept of the modern home-education curriculum, and preserved a flickering flame of independent academic thought during alternative education's long season of adversity in America.

In 1918, the State of Mississippi enacted compulsory attendence laws. The movement started in 1852 Massachusetts had finally penetrated every state in the Union.

IV. Alternative Education Declines 1923 - 1960

Forty-three years after Mormon Church, the Court heard its next major case of significance to alternative-educators, Meyer v. State of Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923). In Meyer, the justices signaled a slow but steady change in jurisprudential direction that has persisted to the present day.

A short time later, Justice George Sutherland, a Utahn nominated by President Warren Harding to the Supreme Court, voted in support of a landmark parental-rights holding in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925). In Pierce, the Court struck down an Oregon statute perpetuated by the Ku Klux Klan, which mandated that Oregon children attend only Oregon public schools. The law was designed to eliminate Catholic schools, which conflicted with the Protestant worldview being promoted at the time by the Oregon public education system.

But in the seventy years that passed prior to the Meyer decision, compulsory education had acquired a crushing political and economic momentum. From the 1920's through the 1960's, home education ebbed throughout the United States as hundreds of prosecutions were brought against alternative educators. Parental rights doctrines and alternative education fell under a renewed, intense attack from politicians, public educators, and social workers, who used cases like State v. Hoyt, 146 A. 170 (N.H. 1929), to thwart implementation of Meyer and Pierce. Convictions and custody terminations were obtained for facial violation of state compulsory-education statutes, without submission of any proof of specific adverse harm to the wellbeing of the children in question (home-educated children consistently outperform public-school students in research studies). The purge was pronounced and widespread, but demographic minorities incurred some of the heaviest damage.

On February 19, 1942, at the aggressive behest of California Attorney General Earl Warren (who felt Japanese were "too smart"), President Franklin D. Roosevelt promulgated Executive Order No. 9066. The measure initiated forcible confinement and curfews for 110,000 Japanese-Americans, destroying many of their existing economic and social structures. Properties were effectively expropriated at less than fair market value.

Roosevelt's Order was strongly opposed by F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover, who repeatedly and publicly stated that internment was not necessary for national security. Senator Robert Taft of Ohio also argued against the Order, criticizing it as unconstitutional. The Roosevelt Administration withheld certain evidence from the Supreme Court when a challenge to the Order was considered in Hirabayashi v. United States, 320 U.S. 81 (1943).

The Hirabayashi Court upheld the internment, noting with approval that the internment scheme was designed to dismantle the Japanese-Americans' system of private "Japanese language schools." The Court characterized the schools as a "source[] of irritation and . . . isolation" that prevented the "social intercourse" of Japanese-Americans and "prevented their assimilation as an integral part of the white population."

With the Court's endorsement, Japanese-American families were removed from the West Coast, confined in Utah's Camp Topaz (and other camps spanning from Arkansas to California) for several years, and subjected to an imposed regimen of federal schooling and military inspection. Photos 1, 2. Shinto practices were forbidden and Buddhism was severely curtailed. Buddhist clergy were interned separately, and the imprisoned minors were encouraged by government officials to adopt Christianity. Educational literature in Japanese was prohibited, and military officials conducted regular warrantless searches of the family shelters.

Franklin Roosevelt and Earl Warren used Hirabayashi to side-step Farrington v. Tokushige, 273 U.S. 284 (1927), an opinion which protected private schools for ethnic Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. They evaded the Third Amendment by quartering private homes amongst the troops, rather than quartering the troops in the private homes. Congress later apologized for the internment.

Native Americans felt the continual heavy hand of the federal government's "parens patriae" interference. The elimination of private education continued along with the complementary seizure of tribal land and economic resources.

In Utah, and on Indian reservations located across the rest of the country, the Bureau of Indian Affairs sanctioned the abductions of thousands of Native American children. Many of the remaining tribal children continued to be forced to attend remote boarding schools, which were explicitly designed to "civilize" the children by eliminating Indian culture and language. On occasion, Indian children died while suffering neglect or attempting to escape. These abuses, along with many incidents of overt physical and sexual abuse, lasted for many decades. After social workers intensified various abuses during the 1960's, Congress responded by enacting the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

Similar problems occurred in Canada, Australia, and South Africa during the same historical era. Thousands of families of tribal or Aboriginal heritage suffered under a regimen of compulsory education, forced cultural assimilation, social-worker interference, and government-sanctioned child abduction. The prevailing notion was to adopt variants of the theme utilized by American educators, "Kill the Indian, Save the Child."

Alternative education had truly hit a cultural and political nadir. Nonetheless, home education and alternative education did persist in the face of the onslaught, especially among Catholics, Mormons, Mennonites, Native-Americans, expatriates, and (especially during the 1940's and 1950's onward) an assortment of theologically-conservative Baptists and Protestants.

V. Alternative-Education Renaissance 1960 - 1982

The tide began to turn in the early 1960's. Dr. Milton Friedman, who became a 1976 Nobel Laureate, began to popularize the concept of "education vouchers" with his 1962 book, Capitalism and Freedom. Paul Goodman wrote Compulsory Miseducation and Growing Up Absurd. John Holt emerged as a voice, beginning a string of books with his 1964 work How Children Fail. Dr. Raymond Moore began a long study of early-childhood education in the late 1960's, and authored several landmark articles in publications such as Reader's Digest. The trend continued through the 1970's, with such efforts as Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society in 1971.

At about the same time, many Evangelical Christians became concerned about the de-Protestantization of the public schools. The secular trend was powerfully signaled by Supreme Court cases such as the Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962), a decision which banned school prayer. As militant secularists gained control, the compulsory education concept began to yield unintended consequences. Beginning in 1969, Dr. Paul Lindstrom of the Christian Liberty Academy Satellite Schools (CLASS) played an important role in drawing Evangelical Christians into alternative education.

Up through the mid-1970's, the Amish and Mennonites of the upper Midwest suffered from systematic government attacks upon their parental liberties and economic systems. These indignities bore many similarities to the difficulties experienced by Native Americans and Mormons, including imprisonment of recalcitrant parents, termination of custody, involuntary boarding-school detention, and forced alteration of appearance. When the Mennonites finally triumphed in a landmark court decision, Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), the "modern" age of home education took firm hold in Utah.

Dr. Larry Arnoldsen and Dr. Reed A. Benson, both of whom were home educators and professors at Brigham Young University, networked with such early alternative-education luminaries as John Holt and Dr. Raymond Moore. Dr. Benson wrote the nation's first dissertation about home education. Utah became a venue where diverse home-educators of many demographic and geographic origins could convene to share ideas, present their views, and be treated in a cordial manner by other alternative educators. In many respects, Utah was the first place to implement the ideas of John Holt, Raymond Moore, and other theorists at a practical, community-wide level.

But great challenges loomed. Particularly during the 1970's and early 1980's, public school officials in many parts of the United States were aggressively pushing for imprisonment of home educators, as well as the custodial removal and institutionalization of home-educated children. Social workers encouraged neighbors to spy upon home educators and submit anonymous allegations of abuse and educational neglect. Law enforcement officers utilized uncorroborated, anonymous tips to arrest home educators, seize children, and search homes. Government officials incorrectly told the public, without supporting empirical data, that home-educated children would become academic failures and lack the social skills needed for civilized behavior.

In Utah, the crackdown encountered violent resistance. Dr. Benson dealt with a difficult nation-wide media uproar when, in 1978, a controversial Utah home-educator became involved in an armed standoff with state law-enforcement officers. The man, John Singer, was a German immigrant from Dresden who had been forced to participate in the Hitler Youth during World War II. He was enrolled in a school run by the Schutz Staffeln (SS), but refused to cooperate and was ultimately expelled. He developed a resultant hatred for authoritarianism, as well as a fervent and unusual set of religious views. He compared Utah officials to Nazis, refused to cooperate with public educators, and came into conflict with the Mormon Church and his Mormon neighbors.

According to Utah Judge Charles E. Bradford, who presided over the relevant case, court documents demonstrated that public educators had successfully lobbied for the State of Utah to bring the action terminating the home-educators' child custody. Contemporaneous correspondence written by public educators also allegedly expressed a fear that other families would emulate any uncurtailed publicized example of home-education, resulting in a reduction in the tax revenues for government schools. After the parents persisted in refusing to enroll their children in the public schools, law-enforcement officers surrounded the man's 2.5-acre rural farm.

But this home education standoff became especially unique when the entire family, which included eleven children, reacted by cloistering themselves in their home with firearms and supplies. A protracted siege ensued, which was not unlike the famous 1990s incidents in Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge, Idaho. When John Singer went out on his property for a chore one day in early 1979, he was ambushed by at least ten law-enforcement officers. Details about what happened next are hotly disputed, but it is generally agreed that the police shot the man at least six times in the back. The rest of the family was subsequently incarcerated in various prisons and shelter homes. Famous Wyoming attorney Gerry Spence filed a multi-million-dollar civil suit on behalf of the family, but a federal judge prevented him from taking the case before a jury. For contrasting accounts of the standoff, compare Singer v. Wadman, 595 F.Supp. 188 (D. Utah 1982), aff'd, 745 F.2d 606 (10th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1028 (1985), and David Fleisher, Death of an American: the Killing of John Singer (1983).

Utahns recoiled from the death, which sparked public scrutiny of then-existing policies and enforcement tactics. As other families affirmed their unwavering commitment to home education, even to death, further loss of life from additional incidents seemed quite possible. During this tense period, Utah home educators banded together in one of the first "modern" efforts to share information about home education with the public in a concerted manner. Efforts were made to reach out to public officials and preempt additional state regulations or enforcement efforts against home educators. The tactics developed during that time have persisted and spread throughout the alternative-education community.

Using his academic connections, Dr. Benson helped open doors for Dr. Moore to publish a 1979 Brigham Young University Press book entitled School Can Wait. This work was one of the first classic books of the alternative-education movement to be written in the "modern" home-education era. As an author, Dr. Moore was able to draw upon previous articles he had written in 1972 for Harper's Magazine and Reader's Digest.

Dr. Arnoldsen and Dr. Benson helped organize the Utah Home Education Association, and in 1981 the first formal UHEA Convention was held. The UHEA and its UHEA Convention is now one of the largest and oldest home-education institutions in the United States. Many current features of the modern home-education movement originated with the UHEA. When John Holt released his 1981 landmark book, Teach Your Own, he listed Dr. Arnoldsen as a resource and professional ally of home education.

Utah became the first state to aggressively embrace the modern jurisprudential return to the protection of parental liberty as a "fundamental" constitutional right. Justice Dallin H. Oaks, writing the widely-cited Utah Supreme Court case In re J.P., 648 P.2d 1364 (Utah 1982), analyzed United States Supreme Court precedent, English common law, and various 1960's-era social policy arguments against parental liberty. Justice Oaks concluded that parental control over the upbringing of a child was a "fundamental," "natural," "intrinsic," constitutional right which included issues of lifestyle management and education.

Justice Oak's landmark ruling played an important role in improving the political tone, especially in Utah. It also provided a blueprint for subsequent litigation instigated to defend parental liberty.

VI. Alternative Education Gains Mainstream Political Acceptance 1982 - 2000

On June 29, 1982, John Whitehead started the Rutherford Institute, an innovative Virginia civil rights and legal aid organization. Whitehead began his involvement in home-education litigation during the late 1970s and was an intellectual contemporary of John Holt, Dr. Raymond Moore, Dr. Reed Benson, Dr. Larry Arnoldsen, and other early pioneers of alternative education. The Rutherford Institute began to aggressively litigate religious freedom and parental rights cases, including many disputes involving home educators. Members of the Utah Bar began to cooperate with the Institute to provide crucial pro-bono assistance to the Utah alternative-education community, and to build on the Yoder and In re J.P. precedent.

Another fateful relationship was forged during the spring of 1982, when Dr. Moore met Michael P. Farris during the taping of a program in Utah. Both men were guests of the program, and Dr. Moore was attending in order to discuss home education. Dr. Moore convinced Farris to home educate.

Subsequently, in March 1983, Michael Farris founded the Home School Legal Defense Association. The HSLDA has aggressively litigated numerous home-education cases against a public school system that has, since the late 1950's, inculcated secular humanism instead of Protestantism. The HSLDA also played a particularly-pronounced role in popularizing home education in the southeastern United States and among Evangelical Christians. Because Evangelical Christians are a pivotal political constituency, their support for home education forced the movement onto the agendas of national political leaders.

Dr. Arnoldsen taught numerous college students about home education. Throughout the 1980's and 1990's he conducted research and taught lectures to document the pronounced academic and social success of early home-educated students, culminating in the nation's first university-level class on home education, from 1995 to 1998. Arnoldsen met Daniel E. Witte during the mid-1980's, and invited Dan to be a periodic guest for fifteen-years worth of Arnoldsen's college classes.

Over the course of the 1980's and early 1990's, courts in many parts of the United States persisted in sanctioning or ignoring violations of constitutional rights committed by state officials against alternative educators. As reports of home-educated success continued to accumulate, however, public support for the movement grew. Legislatures in most states eventually enacted laws which affirmatively condoned home education. Although some states imposed burdensome and unjustified regulations, severe incidents of cultural genocide against alternative educators generally abated within the United States. On the international front, many nations remain decades behind the United States in terms of academic freedom.

During the late 1990's the alternative-education movement grew enormously, both in terms of numerical quantity and demographic diversity. New organizations emerged, such as the National Home Education Research Institute in 1990 and the National Home Education Network in 1999. New technologies, including the internet, satellite networks, and compact discs, made alternative education even more convenient. Alternative educators began to grapple with new challenges. One key challenge was coping with the increasing diversity within the alternative-education community. Another key challenge was gaining equal access to taxpayer-funded resources and institutions.

In 2000, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark case, Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), which established that the parental right to direct the upbringing of a child is "fundamental." An improbable majority, including Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices O'Connor, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Breyer, narrowly fended off a four-justice minority's effort to effectively overturn Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925), and thereby eliminate parental liberty. Like Mormon Church, Meyer, and Yoder, Troxel appeared to be a major new Supreme-Court milestone in the history of American alternative education.

Legal victories, combined with positive results produced by home-education students, resulted in widespread cultural acceptance. Dan approached Arnoldsen with a scholarship concept in the mid-1990's which was designed to address the emerging challenges and opportunities of alternative educators. Dr. Arnoldsen agreed to participate in one more groundbreaking effort -- the Quaqua Society.

VII. Conclusion

The Quaqua Society was, after a great deal of hard work and consultation with home educators around the world, incorporated under Utah law. Quaqua serves and includes alternative educators from around the world, and is not a "Utah" organization per se. However, Utah's tradition of alternative education does afford an attractive legal, historical, and cultural environment for the site of Quaqua's incorporation.

The Society's inherent design draws upon many lessons of history, including those vividly learned in Utah and across the United States. The tactics used to eliminate educational choice and parental rights are consistent and well-established, having been used against African Americans, Native Americans, Japanese Americans, American Catholics, Mennonites, Mormons, Evangelical Christians, and many others.

We have learned that we are mutually demeaned when civil liberties are suppressed. No demographic group is a majority in all places or at all times. Therefore, an unjustified attack against one alternative educator is really an attack against all alternative educators. Conversely, the success of one family ultimately enhances the liberty and prosperity of all.

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