The May-June issue of Harvard Magazine carries an article, “The Risks of Homeschooling,” promoting the argument of Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Bartholet that the U.S. should enact “a presumptive ban” on homeschooling. Homeschooling is essentially unregulated, Bartholet argues, and many parents adopt this method of educating their children for nefarious reasons including indoctrinating the parents’ values into their children, isolating the children from society, and abusing them. Parents should be assumed to be incompetent and dangerous educators of their children. Therefore, specific parents may homeschool their children only if government officials determine that allowing them to educate their children at home is worth the risk.
The article prompted a tsunami of critical responses, in Education Next (see “Harvard Professor’s ‘Absurd’ Claim that Homeschooling is Child Abuse”) as well as here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. We seek here to move the discussion beyond the 1,000-word Harvard Magazine article that sparked such opprobrium by carefully considering Bartholet’s 80-page Arizona Law Review article that inspired the story. We expected it to be rigorous and fact-based but were sadly disappointed.
Read the full post at Education Next.