Sunday, June 28, 2020

Debating the Harvard Law Professor Who Wants to Ban Homeschooling

Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Bartholet
In a recent Arizona Law Review article, Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection, Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Bartholet called for a "presumptive ban" on homeschooling.

Here the article's abstract:
This Article describes the rapidly growing homeschooling phenomenon and the threat it poses to children and society. Homeschooling activists have in recent decades largely succeeded in their deregulation campaign, overwhelming legislators with aggressive advocacy. As a result, parents can now keep their children at home in the name of homeschooling free from any real scrutiny as to whether or how they are educating their children. Many homeschool 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. Many promote racial segregation and female subservience. Many question science. Abusive parents can keep their children at home free from the risk that teachers will report them to child protection services. Some homeschool precisely for this reason. This Article calls for a radical transformation in the homeschooling regime and a related rethinking of child rights. It recommends a presumptive ban on homeschooling, with the burden on parents to demonstrate justification for permission to homeschool.

Cato recently held an online policy forum on the topic, "Homeschooling: Protecting Freedom, Protecting Children."

In addition to Bartholet, the participants were Milton Gaither, Professor of Education, Messiah College, and author of Homeschooling: An American History,  Kerry McDonald, Adjunct Scholar, Cato Institute, and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well‐​Educated Children outside the Conventional Classroom  and Neal McCluskey, Director of the Center for Educational Freedom at Cato Institute, who also served as moderator of the forum.

It became clear in listening to the forum that if Bartholet can't ban homeschooling, she wants to make it, through regulation, an annex of public schools.

At one point she said that "parents should have lots and lots of control but that the state should have some control in trying to raise that they are likely to participate in some positive meaningful way in the larger society...that's my starting point."

When anyone calls for others "to participate in some positive meaningful way in the larger society" that is a big red flag. Just who is going to decide what is a positive meaningful participation, especially when this effort is supposed to be directed by the state in its role in partial control of children?

Her list of demands included state credentialed parents before they could homeschool and ensure that a homeschooled child had "exposure to views different from those of the parents."

When a question was asked as to whether public school children should be exposed to Republican ideas and religious ideas, Bartholet answered that if parents want to educate children about other views they can do so when they are at home. But that was not the question. The question was about students that were only getting the public school line and none other at home or elsewhere. What about them getting some alternative views?

By her answer, you could see that she has a one track-mind about what needs to be taught.

Homeschool kids must be exposed to what is being taught in public schools but there is no advocacy of public school children being taught anything that isn't approved by the fixed education of the state.

The panelists responding to her were interesting.

Gaither was more a historian of homeschooling than anything else, he did not seem to be cognizant in a significant way of the underlying freedom debate. He advocated for minor regulations, apparently not recognizing that minor regulations never stay minor.

McCluskey clearly understood what  the debate was about freedom but he is one of those guys that always sees that the opposing side "makes some good points." And so in typical beltarian style, he agreed that some state testing of homeschool students should take place and once a year an unannounced visit by state regulators should occur.

He was an excellent moderator though

The real freedom firebrand of the panel was McDonald. She delivered knockout punch after knockout punch against Bartholet.

With her most important point being: If the government isn't effective in educating its students, how can government regulate homeschooling successfully?

And she has a very good point, inner-city public school education and urban primitives are almost synonymous.

The full event is below. It is 1 hour and 33 minutes long.

McDonald's introductory marks begin at approximately the 20 minute and 33-second mark.



  1. Home schooling is bad because the children might miss out on Tranny Story Hour.

  2. Wait'll school starts again and Jane Sixpack has to suit up little Ginger and Todd in bunny suits and masks.

  3. Ms. Bartholet joins the swollen ranks of individuals who know better than you do how to run your life. She knows better than you do how to raise your children, even though she hasn't spent five minutes with any of them and you've been with them their entire lives. She reluctantly favors the idea of sending armed police to remove your children from their home if you have the temerity to assert that you're better than she is at educating them. It really frustrates her that you make her go to such lengths when clearly she's so much better suited than you are at running your life. She's only doing this because she loves you, and your children, so much.

  4. The state is getting concerned about losing its mainline process for indoctrination! You allow parents to teach their kids to discern OTHER than what the state wants them to know and you thwart a major avenue for influence!

    Create great humans and take the time to home school

  5. Government schooling is a joke. My teenage kid was provided with the following reading list as "suggested summer reading" to keep him "sharp" until September, when indoctrination starts up again in earnest. It's all about white privilege, white supremacy, radical feminism, trans-genderism, male toxicity, LGBTQ-ism, coming-out as a gay person, etc. etc.
    I responded to the teacher's email with a stern admonishment, that she should stick to teaching skills, facts and knowledge, not her own political agenda...and stop the identity politics..