From Albert Mohler:
Homeschooling in the Crosshairs—Harvard Magazine Says Homeschooling Families Are a Threat to Democracy
In a matter of just days, millions of American parents recently discovered that they are what they never planned to be—homeschoolers.
It is ironic, therefore, that Harvard Magazine decided to run an article in its May/June issue entitled, “The Risks of Homeschooling.” The author of the article is Erin O’Donnell, but the main figure behind the ideological thrust of the story is Elizabeth Bartholet, the Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Faculty Director of Harvard Law School’s Child Advocacy Program.
At first glance, the article would be expected to address “risks” involved in homeschooling. As it turns out, that is not really the aim of the story at all—instead, it launches a full broad side against homeschooling, basically calling for its abolition. It recommends a complete transformation of American law and morality, and the effective nullification of parental authority in the name of “children’s rights.” This chilling argument deserves our attention.
O’Donnell begins the article, “A rapidly increasing number of American families are opting out of sending their children to school, choosing instead to educate them at home.” To be clear, the generating force behind this increase is not the COVID-19 crisis. Instead, O’Donnell argues that, all things normal, there has been an increase in the number of children being homeschooled—an increase she views as a threat. She writes, “Homeschooled kids now account for roughly 3 to 4% of school aged children in the United States.” That number is equivalent, she tells us, to the number of children attending charter schools and larger than the number of children enrolled in parochial schools.
Then she introduces Professor Bartholet, who, “sees risks for children—and society—in homeschooling and recommends a presumptive ban on the practice.” O’Donnell, in summarizing Bartholet’s argument, stated: “Homeschooling not only violates children’s rights to a ‘meaningful education’ and the right to be protected from potential child abuse, but may keep them from contributing positively to a democratic society. We have an essentially unregulated regime in the area of homeschooling.” O’Donnell also commented, “All 50 states have laws that make education compulsory and state constitutions ensure a right to education”—but, according to Bartholet, “If you look at the legal regime governing homeschooling, there are very few requirements that parents do anything.”
Professor Bartholet argues for the importance of children to go to school so that, “mandated reporters, teachers in particular,” can observe their development. She states, “Teachers and other school personnel constitute the largest percentage of people who report to Child Protective Services.” The most important issue she cites, however, is ideological. As O’Donnell tells us, in a recent paper published in the Arizona Law Review, Professor Bartholet “notes that parents choose homeschooling for an array of reasons. Some find 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 homeschoolers show that a majority of such families (by some estimates up to 90%) are driven by conservative Christian beliefs and seek to remove their children from mainstream culture.” The next statement by the professor is key, as she argues that many homeschooling parents are, “extreme religious ideologues,” who apparently question science, promote female subservience, and also white supremacy.
O’Donnell summarizes, “She views the absence of regulations ensuring that homeschooled children receive a meaningful education equivalent to that required in public schools as a threat to U.S. democracy.” Professor Bartholet indicts homeschooling as a sector of American culture threatening the American experiment in democracy…