Harvard Law Professor Calls for “Presumptive Ban” on Homeschooling
Written by Luis Miguel
Curiously, at a time when virtually every household with school-age children in America is effectively homeschooling due to school closures amid the coronavirus pandemic, one Harvard professor is calling for a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling because of dangers it allegedly poses to society.
Harvard Magazine recently published an interview with Elizabeth Bartholet, a public-interest law professor at Harvard Law School and opponent of homeschooling.
According to Bartholet, the freedom from government oversight that homeschooling allows families enables child abusers to hide their actions from authorities and prevents children from engaging positively in society.
As noted by Harvard Magazine’s Erin O’Donnell, Bartholet extensively attacked the institution of homeschooling in an Arizona Law Review paper titled “Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection.”
In her paper, Bartholet complains that under homeschooling, “parents can now keep their children at home in the name of homeschooling free from any real scrutiny as to whether or how they are educating their children.”
In the Harvard professor’s view, the real reason parents choose to homeschooling is because “they want to isolate their children from ideas and values central to our democracy, determined to keep their children from exposure to views that might enable autonomous choice about their future lives.”
She goes on to argue:
Many promote racial segregation and female subservience. Many question science. Abusive parents can keep their children at home free from the risk that teachers will report them to child protection services. Some homeschool precisely for this reason. This Article calls for a radical transformation in the homeschooling regime and a related rethinking of child rights. It recommends a presumptive ban on homeschooling, with the burden on parents to demonstrate justification for permission to homeschool.
In the Harvard Magazine piece, titled “The Risks of Homeschooling,” an illustration at the top depicts a homeschooled child behind bars in a house while other kids play happily outside. One of the house’s walls is made of a stack of books with the labels “Reading,” “Writing,” “Arithmetic,” and “Bible.”
Indeed, part of Bartholet’s issue with homeschooling appears to be her association of the practice with Christianity, writing that faith-based groups are largely behind the push to keep government regulation out of homeschool households.
As the magazine reports:
In the United States, Bartholet says, state legislators have been hesitant to restrict the practice because of the Home Schooling [sic] Legal Defense Association, a conservative Christian homeschool advocacy group, which she describes as small, well-organized, and “overwhelmingly powerful politically.” During the last 30 years, activists have worked to dismantle many states’ homeschooling restrictions and have opposed new regulatory efforts. “There’s really no organized political opposition, so they basically get their way,” Bartholet says.
For Bartholet, one of the chief functions of schools is to report child abuse to authorities — something she sees as lacking in the case of homeschooling.,
Ultimately, the Harvard academic believes homeschooled children will become “a threat to U.S. democracy.”
The issue is, do we think that parents should have 24/7, essentially authoritarian control over their children from ages zero to 18? I think that’s dangerous. I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.
Of course, Bartholet bemoans the “authoritarian control” of parents, but, like so many homeschooling opponents, she apparently has no qualms with the authoritarian rule of unelected educational administrators who have complete power to bypass the will of parents on all matters — from faith and religious values to diet and health to sexual education — and who hold students’ professional future hostage if they don’t conform to the school’s political ideology.
Bartholet’s rhetoric is simply another variation of the “it takes a village to raise a child” phrase parroted by leftists such as Hillary Clinton, which, while sounding innocent enough, carries the sinister connotation that children aren’t their parents’ kids, but belong to all the community — or more specifically, the government.
Kerry McDonald, senior education fellow at Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), wrote that Bartholet’s piece is “filled with misinformation and incorrect data.”
She observed, “most peer-reviewed studies on homeschooling outcomes find that homeschoolers generally outperform their schooled peers academically, and have positive life experiences.”
McDonald also dispelled Bartholet’s argument that homeschoolers are a “danger to democracy” (a statement that reveals Bartholet’s own ignorance of American government, as the United States is a republic, not a democracy), pointing to the 2015 results of the Nation’s Report Card, which showed that only 18 percent of American eighth graders in public schools are at or above the proficiency level in U.S. History, with only 23 percent at or above proficiency in civics.
On the subject of abuse, McDonald wrote that one of the reasons parents choose to homeschool is precisely to protect their children from the rampant bullying, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse from both peers and teachers that run rampant in government schools — not to mention the threat of school shootings.
McDonald concluded, “I agree with Bartholet when she says in the article: ‘I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.’ She is concerned with families having this power, while I worry about giving that power to government.”
Read TNA’s Special Report “Rescuing Our Children” to learn more about the indoctrination taking place in public schools and what parents can do about it.
Luis Miguel is a marketer and writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.
Courtesy of The New American