Harvard Magazine’s authoritarian slander against homeschooling: Frederick M. Hess and RJ Martin

Posted on: April 24, 2020

When coronavirus swept the nation last month, schools scrambled with little warning to close their doors. Starting on March 12, almost all of the nation’s schools closed their doors to 50 million students within a two week window. Ready or not, we were a nation of homeschoolers.

Parents and guardians worried about paychecks, putting food on the table, and upended routines were suddenly cast as educators and day care professionals. As you might expect, they’ve exhibited a ferocious appetite for informed, practical advice on these new roles.

When Harvard Magazine responded to the shutdown with a story on homeschooling, it had several good options. It could have tapped Harvard alumni and faculty who are homeschoolers to share some of their experience and advice with its readers. Alternatively, it could have drawn on the formidable resources of one of the world’s leading universities to share insights from scholars who study neuropsychology, children’s development, curricular design, or much else.

At a minimum, one would expect Harvard University’s flagship publication to provide something knowledgeable, accurate, and civil.

That’s not what readers got. Instead, in its May-June 2020 story “The Risks of Homeschooling” by Erin O’Donnell, Harvard Magazine took this opportunity to publish an ideological, fact-free screed against homeschooling and prejudicial attack on homeschoolers. Built around the unsupported (and frequently false) assertions drawn from a conversation with Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet, the article is little more than propaganda for her authoritarian impulses.

To read the rest of this column in RealClearPolicy, please click here.

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