The Move to Abolish Homeschooling
Paul DeanDr. Paul J. Dean's Weblog
- 2020 Apr 24
Harvard Magazine is out with a stunning piece calling for the outlawing of homeschooling. “Elizabeth Bartholet, Wasserstein public interest professor of law and faculty director of the Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, sees risks for children—and society—in homeschooling, and recommends a presumptive ban on the practice. Homeschooling, she 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.”
Part of Bartholet’s concern is that homeschoolers don’t receive meaningful education, despite the fact that most homeschoolers score higher than public schoolers in all testing metrics. But what she means is that homeschoolers don’t get the kind of education she deems meaningful. They’re not able to be indoctrinated in the academy’s worldview.
She likens this lack of meaningful education to child abuse. She’s redefining child abuse and equating it with the teaching of a Christian worldview. But more than that, she implies that physical child abuse goes unchecked in homeschooling families, and we need teachers to play watchdog. Since when does the State play watchdog with no evidence of wrongdoing? Since when are we allowed to throw out baseless accusations in order to demonize an entire group with whom we disagree religiously or politically?
Of course, that’s why she says homeschoolers won’t be able to contribute positively to a democratic society. What she means is they won’t vote the way she deems appropriate because they won’t embrace progressivism.
A Multi-Front Attack
And here’s the reveal from the piece: “But surveys of homeschoolers 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. Bartholet notes that some of these parents are ‘extreme religious ideologues who question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy.”
Bartholet is a true ideologue herself in that she wants to remove the natural, constitutional rights that all persons have to educate their children as they see fit. She declares herself and others like her to know better than the parents to whom God has entrusted children. This declaration is the heart of technocracy – the notion that certain persons in society know better than the masses and therefore have the right and responsibility to dictate public policy for all.
The means she uses to make her case are just as nefarious as her ideas. Not only does she redefine terms in an effort to alarm her readers and shape public opinion, she says that “if you look at the legal regime governing homeschooling, there are very few requirements that parents do anything.” Such is certainly not the case. While regulations differ from state to state, many are quite strenuous, and all homeschoolers must pass standardized tests to gain entry into college. The fact is that the vast majority of homeschoolers score high on those tests and excel at the college and graduate levels. They are well socialized and make tremendous contributions to society. But Bartholet takes a shot at homeschooling parents: “That means, effectively, that people can homeschool who’ve never gone to school themselves, who don’t read or write themselves.” She goes on to say that parents in some states can simply keep their kids at home without providing education at all. Yet, the reality is that most homeschooling parents teach their kids at home because they are very interested in their education. These parents are typically above average parents who care very deeply about the educational, and yes spiritual well-being of their children. We’re not talking about absentee dads and welfare moms when we talk about homeschool parents.
In addition to the baseless fearmongering in which she engages, the Harvard Professor cloaks her arguments in the garb of children’s rights. She asserts that children have the right to be exposed to “community values, social values, democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints.” Of course, they are. It goes without saying that Christians champion these things, while a new paradigm of intolerance rooted in woke culture seeks to redefine these values, such that they come to be used in completely different ways than what they actually mean.
A Totalitarian Move
Bartholet goes further. She tips her hat to the rights of parents to raise their children with the religious beliefs they hold, but than adds this: “But requiring children to attend schools outside the home for six or seven hours a day, she argues, does not unduly limit parents’ influence on a child’s views and ideas. ‘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 of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.’” Those comments are chilling. Further, their ironic nature is only surpassed by their hypocritical nature. She’s calling for authoritarian control over the nation’s children: your children. As she says, that’s dangerous, to say the least. We all know if you win the hearts of the children, you win the culture. That’s her goal with her “six or seven hours a day.” There’s little chance for parents to combat that level of indoctrination, and she knows that.
We’re at War
Bartholet is not alone. And make no mistake, she, if not Harvard as well, has launched a Pearl Harbor attack on homeschooling, Christianity, parental rights. She’s broadsided the Constitution as well. Her article is not an isolated opinion piece. She’s launched a very real war. Sound the alarm – it’s time to enlist.
Sign up free for "True Worldview News," a weekly e-mail newsletter highlighting relevant news stories affecting Christians. Dr. Dean’s comments on selected stories along with editorials are included. The newsletter also features True Worldview, a twice-weekly podcast hosted by Dr. Dean and his daughter, Christi Johnson.