WASHINGTON, D.C. — liberal authoritarians apparently think home schooling is horrible and should be banned because it gives parents, particularly conservative Christians, too much control over their children’s education. Read that again, slowly.
The “Child Advocacy Program,” a program hosted by the Harvard Law School or CAP, works on weakening “parent rights” and diminishing the idea of “family preservation,”. All in the name of fighting abuse, of course. But the latest crusade by Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet, CAP’s director, is basically to abolish home schooling, under the banner of “Children often need protection from abusive parents.”
Harvard Magazine’s headline “The Risks of Home schooling” is referring to an article about Bartholet’s latest law review article is titled “Home schooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection.” It was flagged on Twitter over the weekend by education scholar and home schooling advocate Corey DeAngelis.
“Many home-school 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 advocates “a presumptive ban on home schooling, with the burden on parents to demonstrate justification for permission to home-school.” as her law review article states that “child abuse and neglect characterize a significant subset of home schooling families. Many families choose home schooling precisely because it enables them to escape the attention of Child Protective Services.” How this accomplishes this does not appear to be clear.
She cites 2015 law review article that states “a substantial amount of anecdotal evidence showing that some abusive parents, who have no intention of educating their children, have taken advantage of lax home schooling laws to hide their children from mandatory reporters.”
So, based on this secondhand anecdotal evidence of some horrific cases, Bartholet tries to create a presumption that all home-schoolers are abusers. (I have personally witnessed some home schooling moms scraping the “My child is the BEST-EST student!” stickers off of their rearview windows)
The weight of evidence on this specific question, however, doesn’t exactly recommend public schools. As a product of one, I am certainly not an advocate. See Illinois’s practice of locking misbehaving children in solitary confinement, where at least one child ended up in a pool of urine, “crying for his mom.”
Or here’s a story about another lessor-known at school: “The Associated Press uncovered roughly 17,000 official reports of sex assaults by students over a four-year period, from fall 2011 to spring 2015.”
But the paranoid “what’s to stop x from y” reasoning can be used to justify EVERYTHING. She argues that under current state laws and enforcement, there are all sorts of bad things some parents could be doing. Murder, drug use, and returning library books overdue are currently frowned upon, and yet they still happen as well.
“We have an essentially unregulated regime in the area of home schooling,” Bartholet asserts. All 50 states have laws that make education compulsory, and state constitutions ensure a right to education, “but if you look at the legal regime governing home schooling, there are very few requirements that parents do anything.”
This doesn’t appear to be accurate, as the states typically have some pretty specific guidelines as to what material needs to be covered. I suspect that her real worry isn’t children getting no education. It’s children getting the “wrong” education. Too many choices is the antithesis toward any sort of potential indoctrination program.
Free speech can be thrown away; you had better NOT be discussing Psalm 23.
Read this paragraph from the Harvard Magazine piece, and pay attention to that “but” (emphasis mine):
“She notes that parents choose home schooling for an array of reasons. Some find local schools lacking or want to protect their child from bullying. Others do it to give their children the flexibility to pursue sports or other activities at a high level. But surveys of home-schoolers show that a majority of such families (by some estimates, up to 90 percent) are driven by conservative Christian beliefs, and seek to remove their children from mainstream culture.”
See, she grants there are legitimate reasons to pull your children from school. But she is really worried about parents who don’t like public schools teaching their children transgender ideology, moral relativism, or radical feminism. And, to be fair, many schools don’t appear to be teaching these things as much as they are forcing the students to conform.
Harvard Magazine had a picture illustrating the story, with public school children are all running around happy and laughing while the home-schooled child is locked in a literal prison made of books — including the Bible. Last time I looked, libraries were anything but confining as far as ideals and perspectives.
I take EXTREME satisfaction in noting that Harvard Magazine misspelled “arithmetic” in the original illustration. It has since been corrected.
This is Alice-in-Wonderland, truth-on-its-head stuff. The idea that home-schooled children run around outdoors less than public-schooled children is not likely-my cousins were home-schooled and generally were free after noonish. It should be also noted that they ALL blew the standardized testing out of the water, graduated 2 years early, and then spent the last years of their “high school” years in different countries. They all speak 2-3 languages, and two are married to foreign citizens that are fighting tooth-and-nail to become Americans.
The notion that public schools provide more meaningful education than the average home-schooler is simply insane. That home-schoolers are, de facto, not exposed to “community values, social values, democratic values” is also totally unfounded-unless by “social values,” she means only the “board approved” values of the secular Left.
Again, in public school I learned hatred, graft, favoritism, cliques, lazy teachers, unrewarded work, and cronyism. And how to eat a worm against my will. The biggest lie I ever heard was “Bullying will NOT be tolerated.” Go ask any high school kid if this is even remotely true.
To be fair, I ALSO had teachers that would have given a kidney to further my education-I am still friends with these guys even after 4 decades.
The Harvard Magazine article is scaring people because this is part of a movement in powerful circles and getting plenty of hate on Twitter.
Harvard hosted an anti-homeschooling conference last June with DeAngelis stating “The focus will be on problems of educational deprivation and child maltreatment that too often occur under the guise of home schooling.”
Bartholet spoke along with a handful of other anti-homeschool activist lawyers and professors, and if you live in a state with a Democratic legislature, you need to worry about these people. Last June was the first volley; they are crafting an agenda to make it illegal to home-school your children unless you can prove good reason. To them.
They appear to pursue this because they don’t want conservative Jewish, Muslim, and Christian parents passing down any value other than the leftist new inclusion politics. They apparently think these value can ONLY be installed during regular school hours.
And while these activists will lead by focusing on the rare and horrific abuses (the cry of “protect the children” is tried and true, as well as old and worn) they clearly believe that religion, choice and conservative values count as “maltreatment.”
“The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed. -Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf”
I’ve read Mein Kampf, and I don’t ever recall seeing this quote in there. But the message is clear-take what you want a little at a time. And there are very few things easier than to manipulate children under the guise of ‘protection’.
And those children will ultimately become voting adults.
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