A Harvard University professor has come under fire for arguing that homeschooling should be banned, claiming that it is “dangerous” for parents to have “authoritarian control” over their children.
According to Faithwire, Elizabeth Bartholet, Wasserstein Professor of Law and faculty director of the Law School's Child Advocacy Program was featured in a Harvard Magazine article, “The Risks of Homeschooling.”
The image atop of the article shows a child behind prison bars at home while the rest of the children are playing outside. Moreover, the sidewall of the house is in the form of books labeled “Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Bible.”
Regarding homeschooling, Bartholet says that children are deprived of a “meaningful education” as it prevents them from “contributing positively to a democratic society.”
She implies that parents are abusive to their children, though she failed to provide statistics.
“We have an essentially unregulated regime in the area of homeschooling,” Bartholet says, piling on the imagery of abusive homes with a “regime” that’s taking over large swaths of the country. “If you look at the legal regime governing homeschooling, there are very few requirements that parents do anything,” she added.
Therefore, Batholet believes that parents should not have complete autonomy over their children.
“The issue is, do we think that parents should have 24/7, essentially authoritarian control over their children from ages zero to 18? I think that’s dangerous,” she asserts.
“I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless and to give the powerful ones total authority.”
In response to Batholet’s article, Harvard honors graduate Melba Pearson, who was homeschooled from kindergarten to 12th grade, expressed her disappointment in a piece for Medium.com.
She considers Batholet’s anti-homeschooling claim “an attack on the fundamental rights and freedoms that make our country (and until recently, institutions such as Harvard) what they are.”
“The idea that a government, already so inefficient and inadequate in so many areas, can care for and educate every child better than its parent is wrong”, she said.
Pearson addressed the claim that “90 percent of homeschooling families are conservative Christians” citing Batholet’s lack of evidence “regarding statistics of abuse, mistreatment, mental health, or success within the homeschooling community.”
“Even if that were the case — why does that matter?” she asks. “Are we not a country committed to freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of religion? Are we not a two-party government wherein roughly 50% of the nation adheres to and promotes conservative or individualist thought?”
Pearson provides evidence that “homeschooled students consistently test approximately 30% higher than the national public school average in all subjects tested. Homeschool students consistently demonstrate higher high school GPAs, higher SAT/ACT scores, and higher first-year college GPAs.”
“According to Harvard Admissions policies, homeschooled students are not evaluated any differently than students from other educational backgrounds,” she continued.
In closing, Pearson defends homeschooling as it helped her in the long run.
“I excelled at Harvard because I was homeschooled, and of that I am proud.” Pearson wrote. “It is deeply disappointing that Harvard is choosing and promoting an intellectual totalitarian path that calls for a ban of the liberties that helped me and countless others succeed, for it is those liberties and ideals that have made America the great nation it is today.”
Photo courtesy: Jessica Lewis/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.