Harvard’s lazy attack on homeschooling: Mike McShane

Posted on: April 23, 2020

Over the weekend, my twitter feed exploded with derision of “The Risks of Homeschooling” published recently in Harvard Magazine. The article presents Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Bartholet’s argument for a presumptive ban on homeschooling, citing risks ranging from potential child abuse to a lack of proper socialization to the undermining of American democracy. The article draws from a recent paper Professor Bartholet published in the Arizona Law Review that while substantially longer, is no more convincing.

Like the golden retriever who breaks into the dog treat factory, where do I begin?

It’s tough not to start with the image that Harvard Magazine chose to accompany the piece. The child behind bars at home while other children frolic happily outside, the Bible used as part of the framework of the house, it’s like a royal flush of innuendo and lazy stereotypes. Hilariously, “arithmetic” was also misspelled in the original. It has since been corrected.

Have any of these people actually talked to a homeschooler? First off, they are much more likely to be the ones running around the house than those in traditional schools. Second, they’d probably spell “arithmetic” right on the first try (they do dominate spelling bees). But beyond that, this stereotype of the insular conservative homeschooler has never been an accurate picture of homeschooling in America.

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

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