Wisconsin v. Yoder - American Education
A 1972 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that gave the Amish religious sect a rare exemption from state compulsory education laws. The Court held that 300 years of unswerving dedication to their simple way of life entitled the Amish to be exempt from Wisconsin’s (and, by extension, from every other state’s) law requiring children to attend school until they were 16. The Amish traditionally withdraw their children from school after the eighth grade. The Court said that compulsory education laws violated their constitutional rights to free exercise of religion. The Amish believe that secondary schools teach children worldly values that are in conflict with their way of life.
The decision represented the first exemption of a religious group from compulsory education, and the Court warned that the ruling did not and would not apply to any other group that opposed formal education for whatever reason. “It cannot be overemphasized that we are not dealing with a way of life and mode of education by a group claiming to have recently discovered some ‘progressive’ or more enlightened process for rearing children in modern life.”