In its upcoming May-June issue, Harvard Magazine is including an article based on an interview with Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Bartholet in which she encourages a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling. Though not published yet, the article was made available online last week.
Bartholet asserts that homeschooling “not only violates children’s right to a ‘meaningful education,’ and their right to be protected from potential child abuse, but may keep them from contributing positively to a democratic society.”
Devoid of concrete facts, the article suggests that the majority of parents who choose to educate their children at home are conservative Christians who “question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy.”
Melba Pearson, a Harvard graduate who was homeschooled for 12 years before attending the Ivy League school, expressed disappointment in her alma mater’s decision to publish the piece.
“In essence, this article is an attack on the fundamental rights and freedoms that make our country (and until recently, institutions such as Harvard) what they are,” she wrote on the online publishing platform Medium.com.
“It is fundamentally untrue that 90% of homeschooling families are conservative Christians (even if that were the case—why does that matter? Are we not a country committed to freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of religion? Are we not a two-party government wherein roughly 50% of the nation adheres to and promotes conservative or individualist thought?),” Person argued. “[Bartholet] presents no real evidence regarding statistics of abuse, mistreatment, mental health or success within the homeschooling community. In fact, there is strong evidence to the contrary—homeschooled students consistently test approximately 30% higher than the national public school average in all subjects tested. Homeschool students consistently demonstrate higher high school GPA’s, higher SAT/ACT scores and higher first year college GPA’s.”
At a time when many parents have been thrust into the role of teacher as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, wonders if liberal progressives are beginning to realize that their usual avenue for indoctrinating the younger generation is no longer an option amidst school closures.
“Homeschooling has always been a thorn in the liberals’ side. It takes away their access to kids and their natural recruiting grounds: the public classroom,” Perkins reasoned. “So now, as their competition gets a boost from the virus, Bartholet and company are trying to throw shade at anyone considering it by writing an out-of-touch diatribe about how ‘dangerous’ it is for parents to have ‘control’ over their children. And frankly, that should offend every mom and dad—whether they homeschool or not.”
“[Bartholet] argues the government has more of a right to educate, care for and control your children than you, their parents, do; and furthermore, they can do it better,” Pearson summarized. “The idea that a government, already so inefficient and inadequate in so many areas, can care for and educate every child better than its parent is wrong.”