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Homeschoolers are About to Dump Harvard

Anti-Homeschooling Harvard Prof Doubles Down: ‘Right-Wing Christian Conservatives’ Became ‘Dominant’ and ‘Took Over’


19 May 2020

Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet doubled down Friday on her attacks against homeschooling, underscoring further her view that homeschooling parents are primarily “right-wing Christian conservatives” who may be abusing their children.

I get the feeling that some previously-homeschooled Harvard kid schooled this woman in one of her classes and she didn’t like it. Geez. Crazed much? I refrained from commenting on the insane narcissist her first time around, but now that she’s doubled-down…

In an interview with the Harvard Gazette, Bartholet continued her call for a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling, this time further describing what she views as a form of education dominated by Christian conservative parents who engage in “maltreatment” of their children.

I went through years of morning sickness, even more of pregnancy, many labors, late night feedings, walking the floor with colicky, sick, or simply awake babies, not to mention the weird tantrum years that seem to hit three or four times at 3, 5 and 7 and there are the 20-something years, yet I’m somehow maltreating my children because I chose to homeschool? Does she even have children? Can’t really find much on her personal life but she seems awfully interested in the private lives of everyone else.

Over the past decades, right-wing Christian conservatives became the dominant group in terms of numbers, and they completely took over in terms of political activism,” Bartholet stated. “Their power has to do with their ideological fervor, their tactics, and the absence of any significant organized opposition. Many academics and the biggest teachers’ unions in the country have found homeschooling deeply problematic.

Let’s stop right there. I’m from California. If you think homeschoolers here are all “right-wing Christian conservatives” you’re nuts. Google, my friends. This is why, when California decides to try to impose some new restrictions, the lines wrap around the floors of the State Capitol many times. Do you really think it’s the vast amount of conservatives from California? Please. If this were true, we wouldn’t have such a tough time in elections!

Bartholet had been scheduled in June to present to an invited-only audience her call for a vast injection of state control over what she describes as the “unregulated regime” of homeschooling.

Last time I checked, that was called parenthood. Never knew we were an “unregulated regime.” She sounds like Meryll Streep’s character in “The Giver.” It’s creepy. You practically expect to hear “Precision of language!” at some point.

“Harvard Law School postponed the conference, however, stating the reason as “COVID-19.””

Let’s be real. It’s just like every other time people try to regulate homeschooling. The homeschoolers got ticked. And, oh, by the way, it’s because we actually love our children and want what’s best for them, not because we keep them chained to radiators. Those people tend not to show up for protests.

The summit was to have gathered various education policy and child welfare advocates “to discuss child rights in connection with homeschooling in the United States.”

The focus of the conference had been “problems of educational deprivation and child maltreatment that too often occur under the guise of homeschooling, in a legal environment of minimal or no oversight.”

This is so, I don’t know, Orwellian? Perhaps Elizabeth Bartholet might want to look at the Harvard roster. Do you know how many of those deprived homeschoolers go there??? Clearly Harvard put the kibosh on this ridiculous conference. They might want to figure out how to put a muzzle on the professor, too.

Bartholet created a firestorm in April when Harvard Magazine published an interview about her Arizona Law Review paper, titled “Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection,” in which she lamented the freedom associated with homeschooling and the fact that “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.”

I’ve never had an ounce of scrutiny. I’m as close to an unschooler as homeschoolers get, and yet, because I didn’t want my children living with me the rest of their lives and having to support them (sarcasm for those who don’t understand it), I gave or got them the tools they needed to succeed. And because of all that lack of scrutiny, we’ve got degrees coming out the wazoo. Not one of my adult age children doesn’t have some sort of college degree. In fact, I think they all have multiple degrees. So, step off, parent wannabe.

Our interest in having our children succeed is FAR more than anyone else in this world, especially Elizabeth Bartholet. She’s a little more concerned with someone showing her up.

Bartholet provided the Gazette with her own history of homeschooling in America:

Behind the rapid growth of the homeschooling movement is the growth in the conservative evangelical movement. Conservative Christians wanted the chance to bring their children up with their values and belief systems and saw homeschooling as a way to escape from the secular education in public schools. They had fought the battle with public school systems to have their children exempted from exposure to alternative values in the schools and lost. When they started withdrawing their children for homeschooling, this propelled expansion of the homeschooling movement.

Wrong. I have several siblings, and all but one of them homeschooled their kids. We didn’t fight any battles with the public school systems. We were never in them. In short, we protected our kids from the crud right off the bat and, interestingly enough, that was more of a by-product of homeschooling than a reason to homeschool.

Many homeschooling experts, however, say her research about homeschooling is shoddy and not at all current, in particular her assertion that Christian parents homeschool primarily to instill their “values and belief systems” in their children.

A 2017 report by William Heuer and William Donovan at the Boston-based Pioneer Institute noted that, in 2012, only 17 percent of homeschooling families cited religious instruction as the predominant motivation for choosing that option.

After 2017, Common Core was probably a major reason. And look what just happened last week. Gates admitted it was a failure. Uh, we told you so!  So, yes, let’s listen to the “experts” like Bartholet. She’s as “experty” as Bill Gates.

“Environment in schools” had become the predominant reason for 25 percent of homeschoolers, and 91 percent listed it as one of the reasons that was important to them,” the researchers reported.

Well, that’s true, too. Who wants their kids trying to learn in an environment of chaos where discipline issues reign?

To Bartholet’s assertion that she has “evidence that there is a strong connection between homeschooling and maltreatment,” Kerry McDonald, senior education fellow at Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) wrote she agrees wholeheartedly that children need to be protected from abuse.

Only abusers wouldn’t agree with that. When are people going to stop making the vast majority of parents pay for the few bad ones? It’s ridiculous.

McDonald observed, however, that one of the many reasons parents choose to homeschool is to do just that – to protect their children from rampant bullying that exists in government schools and abuse by teachers and administrators:

I agree with Bartholet when she says in the article: “I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.” She is concerned with families having this power, while I worry about giving that power to government.


“Other dangers” of homeschooling, said Bartholet, “are that children are simply not learning basic academic skills or learning about the most basic democratic values of our society.”

The allegation that homeschoolers are lacking in civic knowledge and the means to contribute to “democratic society” is perhaps best addressed by the 2018 results of the Nation’s Report Card, released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), that showed only 15 percent of eighth graders in mostly public schools in the U.S. are at or above the proficiency level in U.S. History, with only 24 percent at or above proficiency in civics.

Oops. Why don’t you explain that, Ms. Bartholet? Could it be that civics to you means indoctrination to your liberal beliefs instead of actual civics? Civics is a wee bit more lofty than Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Pride Month, or any of the other silly little class warfare months you and your posse deem more important that actual civics.

In addition, a Pioneer Institute study released in April revealed a historic drop in national reading and math scores among U.S. students since the adoption of the Obama-era Common Core standards a decade ago.

“Nearly a decade after states adopted Common Core, the empirical evidence makes it clear that these national standards have yielded underwhelming results for students,” said Pioneer executive director Jim Stergios in a statement. “The proponents of this expensive, legally questionable policy initiative have much to answer for.”

Yes. They. Do.


 Bartholet continued that many homeschooling parents are raising their children to be racist and sexist.

I know that was totally my goal when I started homeschooling. Guess I must have failed. Clearly, she’s lost all other arguments so she’s drawing from the racist/sexist card deck now. How about we kick small dogs, too?

“Many homeschooling parents are extreme ideologues, committed to raising their children within their belief systems isolated from any societal influence,” she said. “Some believe that black people are inferior to white people and others that women should be subject to men and not educated for careers but instead raised to serve their fathers first and then their husbands.”

Where does she get this stuff from?

However, Bartholet’s views about the homeschooling population once again appear, at best, uninformed.

The 2017 Pioneer study’s authors found “large increases in black and Hispanic homeschoolers,” as well as “data indicating an increasing number of Jewish and Muslim homeschoolers in the past 15 years.”

Another oops.

Additionally, a new RealClear Opinion Research poll released last week found 40 percent of families surveyed during the coronavirus crisis said they are more likely to choose to homeschool their children or engage in virtual learning once the pandemic subsides.

With political party as a factor, 45.7 percent of those parents who said they would be “more likely” to homeschool identified as Democrat, while 42.3 percent identified as Republican.

Among those parents who said they were “more likely” to homeschool, 36.3 percent were white, 50.4 percent were black, 38.2 percent were Hispanic, and 53.8 percent were Asian.

Well, sure! They realize how much education was stolen from their children in a packed classroom. There’s not enough individualized attention. There’s a lack of discipline. There are insane things like “Common Core” inflicted upon them. This could be something quite positive coming out of this pandemic. Parents have been forced to see what learning outside of a classroom can do for their family, even with (or maybe because of) the bloated online curriculum thrown at them from their teachers. What they don’t know yet is that actual homeschooling is even better! (Most homeschoolers point out that the kids who have been sent home due to the virus aren’t really homeschooling.) Hopefully, with a little investigation, parents will find that they are very well equipped to homeschool.

In response to Bartholet’s rant against homeschooling, the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts held a virtual conference last week titled, “Who Owns Your Children? Home Education in an Authoritarian Age.”

Keynote speaker Professor Robert George of Princeton University observed that, as a result of knowing and teaching many homeschoolers, he views homeschooling parents as encouraging their children’s critical-thinking skills.

“I see more willingness among homeschool parents to let their children raise questions that challenge their parents’ beliefs than I do on many college campuses where very few … seem to be willing to tolerate students or faculty members expressing dissent from … doctrines that are held as sacred,” he said.

Most parents know that “because I said so” doesn’t make for a lasting faith or education. Kids need to own it. They need to look at it from all sides. They need to realize their parents did the same thing. And parents need to be willing to accept the questions, and even some rebellion, as part of the learning process. The object is to guide the discussion. We’re basically the great moderators of our kids’ lives. It’s not always easy. Teens can be tough nuts to crack. Despite that, I’ve relished every moral, political or religious discussion I’ve had with my kids. It’s neat to watch them thinking it all through. These are some things that would be missed if the Elizabeth Bartholets of the world, who really don’t want them to think, get their way. Nope. They just want to stuff our kids full of junk and have them regurgitate it back. That’s not thinking. That’s indoctrination. You know, the thing of which all homeschoolers are accused.

“Actually, if I’m looking for violations of free speech or freedom of thought, I wouldn’t think to look at the homeschool movement so much as I want to look at the Yale campus or the Oberlin campus or one of the University of California campuses,” George added. “There’s where I see the real concerns about free speech and authoritarianism.”

Yes, yes, and yes. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend “No Safe Spaces.” Great pandemic family movie! Parents are not the thought police. That would be the likes of professors like Bartholet.

So, Harvard, this lady is making you look super bad. You might want to give her a muzzle before you find homeschoolers overlooking your university for schools that are a little friendlier to them. That would be your loss.

7 thoughts on “Homeschoolers are About to Dump Harvard”

  1. Dr. Bartholets is a true “Karen” for our times!

    Seriously, when I read of such people with such ignorant attitudes about home schooling, I wish they could meet my wife and the other Moms of our Sacred Heart Home Schooling group at the local coffee shop for an hour. Perhaps the scales would fall from their eyes.

    1. Dr. Bartholets already has some experience with homeschooling. Unfortunately, it was not good. Her homeschooling parents abused her. It is easy to be co-opted into the leftist, statist project when your own experience of home and faith and family was so horrible. Though our ideas of how to address this problem are markedly different from hers, we can all pray she will find healing and seek out better ways to protect other innocent little ones from being abused..

      1. Do you have a citation for Brtholet’s background story. I haven’t seen that anywhere. Are you possibly confusing her with Tara Westover?

        1. Bartholet’s area of expertise is foster care and adoption. She has two adopted children. Homeschooling attracted her attention because most child homicides that occur in homeschool families involves adopted children. I may have been confusing her with this Tara Westover…sorry about that. (Interesting that Westover was a Gates scholar and Bill Gates is a big supporter. Makes me wonder what he’s up to there…the Corbett Report has an excellent series about all of the projects Gates is funding.

          1. So don’t you have to wonder why homeschooling and not adoption was the target of her wrath? And, really, to make it sound like there’s some vast homicide faction in the homeschool world is ridiculous. There are not stats for that. In fact, I’d hazard to guess that there’s far more homocide in families that send their kids to school. Her stats have been shown to be a wee bit off.

  2. The goal of compulsory state education from the very beginning was to remove children from their parents, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, the founder of modern state education, the inventor of Prussian Schooling, wrote in 1808:

    “Of course, it is not to be expected that all parents will be willing to be separated from their children, and to hand them over to this new education, a notion of which it will be difficult to convey to them. From past experience we must reckon that everyone who still believes he is able to support his children at home will set himself against public education, and especially against a public education that separates so strictly and lasts so long.”

    That “separates so strictly and lasts so long” bit refers to his plan to simply remove ALL children from their families for the duration of their education, baring ALL contact with them. We, the families, ARE THE PROBLEM state schooling is trying to solve.

    He also stated simply that the state should use its police power to pull this off – that having the state raise our kids is so important that the parents lose all rights in the face of the state’s needs.

    So far, seizing our kids has not proved practical, but it remains the fundamental goal. In the meantime, schooling is designed to fill every kids every waking moment with homework, pre- and after-school activities, sports, etc., and to make parent feel like failures if they don’t go along with this.

    Horace Mann and many other founding lights of American compulsory schooling went to Prussia to study Fichte’s handiwork, and brought it back to America. The NEA is one of their children and tools. The ‘Research University’ is another Fichte idea, how he supposed the leaders for his schooling would get formed – and Harvard proudly claims to be a research university.

    Never forget: We are the enemy. We are the problem. Destroying families was the goal from Day 1.

  3. This Harvard woman was raised by abusive “fundie-Christian” homeschooling parents. Perhaps she thinks her abusers would have been found out if they had not been allowed to home-school her. She is mistaken in this, but it is understandable that she would think so. The poor child who got abused and is now grown up is casting about to find the cause, and to make the hurt go away for herself and for others. Ranting at her kind of strengthens her case against homeschoolers. Imagine what might have happened if someone had reached out to her at some point with compassion. Or at least addressed her points without losing our cool.

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