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Harvard professor recommends a 'presumptive ban' on homeschooling, says it violates children's rights, promotes white supremacy

The Washington Post recently published a piece on how homeschooling was going to “set back a generation of children.” To be clear (and they weren’t in their tweet), the Post was referring not to traditionally homeschooled children but those who found themselves suddenly thrust into things like virtual learning as schools closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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A piece published Friday in Harvard Magazine, though, makes no mention at all of COVID-19 when it talks about the risk of homeschooling, and Professor Elizabeth Bartholet argues for a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling. Here’s the Reason Foundation’s Corey A. DeAngelis:

Erin O’Donnell writes:

Yet 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.

“We have an essentially unregulated regime in the area of homeschooling,” 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 homeschooling, there are very few requirements that parents do anything.” Even apparent requirements such as submitting curricula, or providing evidence that teaching and learning are taking place, she says, aren’t necessarily enforced. Only about a dozen states have rules about the level of education needed by parents who homeschool, she adds. “That means, effectively, that people can homeschool who’ve never gone to school themselves, who don’t read or write themselves.”

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Also problematic? “… 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.”

In public schools, Karens like Bartholet can better ensure that “children grow up exposed to community values, social values, democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints.”

No, this is all real, and there’s no counterpoint.

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Unreal. We wonder how much of Harvard’s $9 million share of cash from the CARES Act is going to maintain her salary.

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Happy birthday Fletcher!

Again, the article never even mentions COVID-19 or the shutdowns … this professor thinks this year-round.


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