The Real Reason Why a Harvard Professor Thinks Homeschooling Should Be Banned

by Daisy Luther

A Harvard University law professor believes that homeschooling is dangerous and should be banned.

Elizabeth Bartholet, Wasserstein public interest professor of law and faculty director of the Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, wrote a paper recommending a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling children in the United States. Yeah, that United States. The land of the free, home of the brave United States.

According to Bartholet, homeschooling can prevent children from receiving a meaningful education, leave them open to child abuse, and can socially isolate them. She argues that anybody can homeschool, even parents who are illiterate. She suggests that as many as 90% of homeschool parents educate their kids at home because of conservative Christian beliefs, inculcating them with the beliefs that women are subservient, science isn’t real, and white people are the supreme race.

These parents are committed to homeschooling largely because they reject mainstream, democratic culture and values and want to ensure that their children adopt their own particular religious and social views. Many belong to fundamentalist religious groups, groups that Michael Rebell describes in his important new book, Flunking Democracy, as believing “that exposing their children to ideas such as secularism, atheism, feminism, and value relativism is inconsistent with the values they espouse and undermines their ability to inculcate in their children their beliefs in the sacred, absolute truth of the Bible.” Many use alternative textbooks that teach creationism instead of evolution. Many seek to create for their children a system of “total socialization” aimed at negating the influence of competing socialization agents. As Dwyer and Peters say in their recent comprehensive book on homeschooling, many religious homeschoolers object in principle to some core goals of public education:

[T]hey reject the value of independent thinking about values and aims in life, they oppose instruction in scientific methodologies . . . and they want to constrain their daughters’ lives to a single occupation—housewife. To the extent parents in this group do value secular learning, they treat it—even basic literacy—as of little importance compared to unflinching acceptance of religious doctrine and reactionary political views. (source)

I’m sure that will come as a vast surprise to all my homeschooling friends (particularly the ones who homeschool for secular reasons) who may have missed that part of the curriculum.

In her 80-page diatribe, Bartholet completely overlooks the lack of practical knowledge imparted by the school system. Our kids leave school knowing all about anal sex and BDSM but not how to do their taxes, make a reservation, navigate using a map, handle credit, or stick to a budget.

The real issue is a lack of indoctrination.

Ironically, the real problem Bartholet has with homeschooling is this:

Many homeschool because they want to isolate their children from ideas and values central to our democracy.  (source)

Let me rephrase that. Homeschooled children can’t be indoctrinated five days a week, eight hours a day, by an education system that emphasizes political agendas. (And incidentally, our form of government is a constitutional republic. Shouldn’t someone from Harvard who is worried I might not have the knowledge to educate my child know something as elementary as that?)

Bartholet defames homeschoolers for wanting to encourage their children toward a particular belief system while touting the belief system that the school system wants to instill. So it’s okay for the public school system to do it, just not for the parents to do it.

Here are a few of the things that the public school system wants children to believe:

While Bartholet scorns parents who indoctrinate their kids, she praises the school system for doing so. The American education system is wholly responsible for raising a generation of perpetually offended people who think they’re open-minded but who actually are only accepting of those with the same beliefs.

They’re creating a generation of worker bees, of dependent people who’d never dream of revolting against the status quo shown as ideal by Hollywood and the mainstream media. They’re creating adults who don’t know how to handle conflict, who don’t know how to deal with defeat, and who are regularly fearful of imaginary threats. People who are afraid of a tripod or a pop-tart chewed into the shape of a gun certainly aren’t going to be leading the next revolution.

Schools create a culture of fear.

In fact, nearly everything about today’s school system is designed to instill a sense of fear that will turn frightened children into frightened adults.

Do you remember a few years back when a school in Baltimore was locked down for hours because a person was spotted carrying a tripod on the property? It’s a perfect example of the culture of fear being created in the public school system.

The younger generation is being taught that the very sight of a gun or anything that could be related to a gun is a reason for fear.  That fear is cemented in the minds of children and parents when they are traumatized by the handling of the incidents.

Kids are getting in trouble for drawing pictures of guns. For having tools which are sharp. For wearing t-shirts with the word “gun” printed on them. For cutting their poor, defenseless food in the lunchroom. For biting a pastry into a shape that could either be a gun or the state of Florida.  Maybe we should outlaw maps of Florida because the shape of that state is “intimidating.”

They are being taught to have an irrational fear of inanimate objects.  And because everyone else shares that fear, that mass delusion, it becomes “normal”.  It becomes so commonplace that it isn’t fear anymore, but an accepted fact: “Guns are scary.”

The fear is quite literally being implanted. When police refuse to tell people what is going on, when kids are rapidly evacuated, when cops in military-style SWAT gear swoop in – all of these dramatic scenes are not soon forgotten.  When the dreaded “gun sighting” occurs in the future, the natural human response is to flash back to the last time that it happened.  Instantly, the emotional response is overwhelming fear. (source)

Why would the education system want children to be fearful? People who are scared are far easier to control. Kids are literally begging the government to take away all of the guns and keep them “safe”.

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It’s even worse when you get to college.

At this point, a university education results in two things: lifelong debt and 4 more years (at least) of indoctrination. Some professors outright incite violence against people who have different political beliefs. A few years back I wrote an article about the following stellar educators.

  • An instructor at Clemson University was recently outed by College Reform for volunteering his graphic design skills to help a local Antifa chapter that made headlines in February for openly promoting violence on campus. He replied to this request for help that was posted on the Upstate Antifa Facebook page.
  • Assistant Professor Bart Knijnenburg, another notable member of Indivisible Clemsoncaused national outrage when he wrote that “All Republicans are racist scum” in a Facebook post.
  • This is the same professor who tweeted last December of his desire for the deaths of white people. Interestingly, Ciccariello-Maher appears to be white and is a self-proclaimed “actual communist.”
  • Another example of this is Rashida Love, director of First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services at Evergreen College who demanded “A Day Without White People” at the Washington institution. When another member of the staff, Professor Bret Weinstein, rightly objected, he had to be escorted from the campus for his own safety as protests became heated. Then, a bunch of self-proclaimed Neo-Nazis decided to counterprotest the protest and things really went downhill. (The whole story is here.) What this tells us is that when professors speak up against the Radical Left agenda, they lose their jobs and face real threats to their physical safety.
  • Professor Michael Isaacson is a member of Antifa who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He was quoted in an article on The Hill justifying violence against “Nazis.”The justification [of the use of violence] is that Nazi ideology at its very core is founded on violence and on wielding power by any means,” said Mike Isaacson, one of the founders of Smash Racism D.C., an Antifa organization in Washington.
  • A Dartmouth professor published The Antifascist Handbook, complete with a call to arms. Mark Bray calls his book an “unabashedly partisan call to arms.”

But by all means, we should definitely worry about the homeschoolers, right?

Homeschool is just better for some kids.

There are children who do not thrive in the public school system. I had one of those kids myself.

Before I continue, I should note that I’m not one of those all-or-nothing parents who believe children should only be home-educated or should only be publicly educated. In fact, I have one kid who is the product of the public school system and one who is the product of homeschooling. Both of my daughters have grown up to be intelligent, thoughtful, sociable, and kind individuals who can think for themselves.

When I removed my youngest daughter from the public school system, the main reason was because critical thinking was discouraged. “If your daughter didn’t have to question everything, her grades would be higher,” the principal informed me at the very last school meeting I’d ever attend. “She always has to ask questions. She refuses to simply absorb the information.”

How could a school system like that properly educate my curious and intelligent child, who had been asking me “why” from the moment she could talk?  Quite simply they wouldn’t. They’d try to shove her square little brain into their round hole until she became just like everyone else – an automaton who believed that guns are scary and the government and all its agencies are always right. (Unless it’s President Trump, because he’s always bad.)

Not every child thrives in a homeschool setting but Dr. Bartholet’s premise that it should be banned is utterly outrageous.

Thank goodness for the HSLDA.

According to Bartholet, the only thing standing in the way of banning homeschooling for good is the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association.

In the United States, Bartholet says, state legislators have been hesitant to restrict the practice because of the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association, a conservative Christian homeschool advocacy group, which she describes as small, well-organized, and “overwhelmingly powerful politically.” During the last 30 years, activists have worked to dismantle many states’ homeschooling restrictions and have opposed new regulatory efforts. “There’s really no organized political opposition, so they basically get their way,” Bartholet says. A central tenet of this lobby is that parents have absolute rights that prevent the state from intervening to try to safeguard the child’s right to education and protection.

Bartholet maintains that parents should have “very significant rights to raise their children with the beliefs and religious convictions that the parents hold.” 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.”

…“I think an overwhelming majority of legislators and American people, if they looked at the situation,” Bartholet says, “would conclude that something ought to be done.” (source)

Right now, more parents than ever are getting the opportunity to interact with their child’s education, which could be one bright point in the COVID-19 catastrophe in our country.  Perhaps giving our kids one-on-one attention and watching their bright and curious minds at work will encourage more parents to say, “You know what? The school system is not for us. I want to raise this independent child to be an independent adult.”

And perhaps more parents will tell ivory tower elitists like Dr. Elizabeth Bartholet to go fly a kite.