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: