In Harvard Magazine, Eric O’Donnell wrote a piece detailing the opinion of a Harvard Law professor, Elizabeth Bartholet, on the issue of homeschooling. Bartholet believes homeschooling should be banned (with rare exception).
O’Donnell begins the article, saying,
Homeschooling, [Bartholet] says, 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.
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,” Bartholet says. “I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge ofthe powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.”
She elaborates on her point about child abuse, saying,
[Bartholet] argues that one benefit of sending children to school at age four or five is that teachers are “mandated reporters,” required to alert authorities to evidence of child abuse or neglect. “Teachers and other school personnel constitute the largest percentage of people who report to Child Protective Services,” she explains, whereas not one of the 50 states requires that homeschooling parents be checked for prior reports of child abuse. Even those convicted of child abuse, she adds, could “still just decide, I’m going to take my kids out of school and keep them at home.”
The idea that the we should force parents to send their kids to be raised by government employees for eight hours a day because teachers might catch them abusing their children is obviously absurd.
Insisting kids need to sit in a classroom with an adult stranger because government employees (or some certified professional) needs to do abuse checks is one of the most Orwellian ideas ever to be uttered. Also, the Orwellian nature of this abuse narrative makes her point about the supposed authoritarian nature of homeschooling to be especially ironic.
The fact that stopping abuse is such a moronic reason to want to ban home schooling makes it clear that Bartholet has a different motive. This motive was made clear a few paragraphs later, when O’Donnell states,
But surveys of homeschoolers show that a majority of such families (…up to 90 percent) are driven by conservative Christian beliefs, and seek to remove their children from mainstream culture. Bartholet notes that some ofthese parents are “extreme religious ideologues” who question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy.
She views the absence of regulations…as a threat to U.S. democracy. “From the beginning of compulsory education in this country, we have thought of the government as having some right to educate children so that they become active, productive participants in the larger society…. it’s also important that children grow up exposed to community values, social values, democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints,” she says, noting that European countries such as Germany ban homeschooling entirely and that countries such as France require home visits and annual tests.
Now, we see the real reason for the want to ban homeschooling: stopping the teaching of fundamental Christian values and beliefs.
Bartholet thinks too many of those fundamentalist Christians aren’t spreading values consistent with her Leftist worldview. She understands that having a child sit in a government run classroom for hours on end, day after day, week after week, year after year, will shape that child’s worldview to more closely align with secular, Leftist ideas.
The reality is that homeschooling does not encourage white supremacy, female subservience, or abuse, and it doesn’t result in lower quality education.
Homeschoolers actually see higher rates of college attendance, better scoring on tests, and are generally more successful and productive citizens than public school students. And, it would be plainly ignorant to assume those supoosed backwards, evil Christian values don’t have anything to do with said success.