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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

The Elites’ Ugly War on Homeschooling

Apr 24, 2020

The misotheist left hates parents, and hates homeschooling:

Whether they like it or not, a whole lotta parents around the world have learned a whole lot about homeschooling of late. At a time of mass lockdown, the majority of parents – at least in the West – have found out what it is like to be a homeschooler – at least to some extent.

But at the same time so many are learning how good it can be to actually spend time with their young children, and help them in their education, some of our secular left elites are having a hissy fit about it all. Our prime example of this is Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet.

She recently wrote a piece that is getting a whole lot of attention: “Homeschooling: Parent rights absolutism vs. child rights to education and protection” (Arizona Law Review, Vol. 62, Issue 1, March–May 2020, pp. 1–80). If interested, you can read it here: arizonalawreview.org/pdf/62-1/62arizlrev1.pdf

It is a shocker of a piece, and tells you everything you need to know about the Christophobic progressive left. So alarming is the article that it has resulted in numerous responses from concerned thinkers. With so many experts rightly tearing into this piece, the best thing I can do is quote from a few of them.

Early on Jonathon Van Maren wrote a critique of her and the article. He offers some frightening quotes from her and then says this:

Got that? Conservative Christians are possibly “white supremacists” and should not be permitted to raise their own children. They must be “exposed to” the views that Bartholet thinks children should be exposed to, specifically the “nondiscrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints.” What she means by that, of course, is that she wants the government to force parents to send their children to schools where they will have her worldview rammed down their throats.

State schools were successfully colonized by LGBT activists and progressives a long time ago, but much to their dismay, many parents decided, in response, to send their children to private Christian schools or to teach them at home. That is why homeschooling and private institutions enrage progressives so much: It means that there are children who are out of their reach—at least until they get to college or university. To solve this problem, folks like Bartholet are now claiming that “homeschooled children” being taught by their parents might be “a threat to U.S. democracy” because they don’t have the same education as children who attended public schools. thebridgehead.ca/2020/04/20/harvard-law-professor-proposes-banning-homeschooling-to-combat-the-influence-of-conservative-christians/

That really is her beef: she abhors Christians and conservatives and does NOT want them anywhere near their own children. As Kelly Marcum comments:

Bartholet’s only real concern is not that children may be subjugated to failing school systems or become victims of bullying, reasons commonly cited by homeschooling parents as their motives for pulling their children out of school. These concerns she dismisses out of hand. No, Bartholet’s largest worry is that since some public schools may reflect the conservative regions in which they are located, students may still be forced to attend “Some schools that teach views and values that mirror those of conservative Christian homeschoolers.” It’s very difficult to argue you’re just trying to protect the kids when the biggest worry you can conjure is that some students may still need to interact with religious folk. thefederalist.com/2020/04/23/harvard-law-professor-wants-to-ban-homeschooling-because-christians-do-it/

Emily Zanotti concludes her piece on this matter with these words:

The central argument seems to be that children should be wards of the state, and that the state — not individual parents — should be charged with deciding what is best. There is likely reason for concern, at least as far as the liberal educational establishment is concerned. The coronavirus lockdowns have exposed millions of parents not just to the concept of homeschooling, but to the curriculum of public schools — and perhaps in ways that might make them think twice about returning their children to a government-run educational system. www.dailywire.com/news/harvard-professor-wants-a-presumptive-ban-on-homeschooling-claims-it-promotes-white-supremacy

Rod Dreher has also weighed in on this. He says in part:

As a homeschooling parent friend of mine — himself a Princeton graduate — said to me over the weekend, in reference to Prof. Bartholet’s views, there is no one quite as provincial as an Ivy League provincial. Every homeschooling parent has had to deal with views like Bartholet’s — and they haven’t only come from liberals. My own conservative family members thought, at least for a while, that my wife and I were neglectful parents because we chose to homeschool our children. And to be fair, homeschooling is not for everyone. I, personally, would be terrible at it; I say “we” homeschool our children, but it’s my wife (and the teachers at Sequitur Classical Academy, a hybrid classical school, one that’s half classroom instruction, half homeschool). There are certainly people who homeschool for the wrong reasons. Nobody doubts that, and certainly not any honest person who has been involved for years with the homeschooling movement. And it is also true that it is possible to hide child abuse behind a homeschooling façade. But then, we certainly know that it is possible to hide abuse behind a public school façade too.

He concludes:

Recently, some public schools have adopted policies for handling transgendered students that require teachers and staffers to deceive parents of gender dysphoric children. This is really happening. The school places itself between parents and their children, for the sake of assisting children’s beliefs that they are the opposite sex. It’s terrifying. In a matter of utmost concern and intimacy, parents really cannot trust the schools. And that, in my view, is at bottom the reason this Harvard Law professor and other elites hate homeschooling: they really do believe that they know better than families, churches, and non-state institutions, what is best for children. This is about an ideology of domination masquerading as care for abused children, and for liberal democratic values. 

It is important to get that straight in your head, so you’ll know what this fight is really about. The Elizabeth Bartholets of the world really will come after us, if they are given the opportunity. I especially appreciate the speaking out by homeschooling parents who are not religious and/or conservative, but who choose homeschooling because they regard it as a better way of educating their own children. These people are not supposed to exist in the Elizabeth Bartholet model of the world. www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/harvard-imperalist-elite-crusade-against-homeschooling/

Alex Harris, who is a Harvard graduate, discusses his own homeschooling experience:

Our family did not register with the state or comply with annual testing requirements. By every metric, we are the people Professor Bartholet would outlaw. But my childhood was wonderful. Education was woven into everything we did in my family. There was always something to read and talk about around the dinner table. My parents never seemed to miss an opportunity for instruction. They were particularly adept at identifying what I was most passionate about, and then using that as a tool for teaching. They wanted their children to love learning, and there was never a shortage of opportunities beyond our formal curriculum. We spent endless hours outdoors, exploring the acres of woods around our house, building (often literally) adventures and solving problems (both real and imagined) on our own. When we weren’t outside, we were reading books—or trying to write our own….

Ironically, like so many missives from the ivory tower, Professor Bartholet’s argument and unacknowledged biases may accomplish the exact opposite of what she intends: highlighting the virtues of alternative education options in a world full of “experts” ready to teach our children what is good and true and beautiful. As for this homeschool graduate, I can only express my gratitude that the educational choices that were made for me were made by the two people in this world who knew me best, who loved me most, and who sincerely wished the very best for me and my siblings. Thanks for the sacrifices, mom and dad. They were worth it. www.facebook.com/harrisjalex/posts/3073031376086788

Jenna Ellis also wrote this about the Harvard attack on homeschooling:

The danger of the Harvard piece is that it suggests to parents that they should question their own capabilities when educating their children and be worried about socialization and contributions to our society. A book could be written on how many things are wrong with that philosophically. Do we really want Harvard or the government to determine what defines “meaningful contribution” to society? Sounds a lot like communist China. But even the empirical data show that home schooling is actually beneficial for children. Business Insider’s 2018 piece titled “Homeschooling could be the smartest way to teach kids in the 21st century—here are 5 reasons why” discusses that children who are home schooled “have the same access to online learning, friendships, and extracurricular activities as the typical public school student—but without many of the drawbacks, like standardized lesson plans and bullying.”

The evidence for success of home schooling is insurmountable. Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), a nonprofit whose core mission is to provide resources and defend the fundamental right of parents to choose home schooling, and their data shows home schooling is thriving across America, with an estimated 2 million home schooled students pre-pandemic.

The many, many individual stories of home school successes are also a huge pushback to the elitist’s fabrications. But the secret is that how an individual defines “success” isn’t actually up to the government or the elites. It is rooted firmly in the purpose of family and society as God ordained them: to find our individual calling and pursue it. Not every home school family by far is conservative or faith-based, but definitely public schools are not. The freedom and ability for parents to raise children in a faith-based environment without government interference will not be tolerated by the progressive elites. www.falkirkcenter.com/2020/04/21/liberal-elites-are-terrified-more-parents-will-choose-home-schooling/

Finally, John Zmirak is quite right to ask this in his headline: “Harvard Wants to Take Your Kids. Why Not Take Its Endowment?” He finishes his piece this way:

Every time you hear someone on the left speak of children’s rights, a red light should go off in your head. (Remember that pedophiles echo the rhetoric, claiming to defend children’s “rights” to have sex with men.) Leftists today insist on children’s “right” to explicit sex education starting in first grade. And their “right” to daycare starting shortly after birth. Anything to increase the government’s role in shaping their souls. Evangelical Christians and conservatives now stand in the same position that Catholic immigrants did in the 19th century. They’re the targets of a conspiracy of the rich and arrogant who want to take their children. To “protect” them. Because they know better. stream.org/harvard-wants-to-take-your-kids-why-not-take-its-endowment/

Yes exactly right. And there are plenty more such authors and quotes I could have run with here. Thankfully there has been a massive outcry against this leftist nonsense, and rightly so. But it is always nice when the totalitarian left declares its true colours and reveals its hand.

You have been warned.

[1831 words]

13 Responses to The Elites’ Ugly War on Homeschooling

  • Thank you Bill.

    The bottom line in this also is the leftist elites’ relentless war on God.

    Praying that many parents will have the courage now to change direction, since having opportunity to observe first hand, since the lockdown, the strident marxism that their children are being forcefed in the public schools system.

    As a point of interest, a young woman well known to our family is studying to become a teacher, at a government university. The agenda to radicalize students is breathtaking. She has no doubt she has been labelled conservative and likely Christian since her conservative positions have been obvious in some of her assignments. Though academically bright, she has been consistently marked down . . . Until in one assignment, in which the B.Ed. students were asked “If you were to take part in social agitation and unrest, what action would you need to take to make sure that you were arrested and ended up in gaol?”, she decided to prove to herself what she had suspected was the bias towards her. She responded to this bizarre question that she “would need to kill a judge”!! And for this assignment she was awarded by far the highest grade she has been awarded for any of her excellent assignment submissions in her B.Ed course to date!

    Parents, be encouraged to do what only you can do best for the education of your precious children!

  • Conservative Christians do not have to be white. I have lived in Nigeria. There are many Christians there who attend church regularly. There are a lot of Nigerians who would be conservative Christians. They are not white. Most Nigerians usually marry at a young age. Most people will say “when” you get married. They do not say “if” you get married. They usually have big families. Divorce is rare. Children are expected to obey and be courteous to their parents. They do not usually have wild, out-of-control teenagers. They really do love children. Abortion is not in their traditional culture. They have maintained a family culture. So there are conservative Christians who are not white.

  • Yes Helen, Bartholet was foolish – and racist – to bring up that nutty canard.

  • Thanks Bill.

  • G’day Bill,

    Would you please withhold my name? It is just too personal. And too raw.

    Most of my 25+ grandchildren have been homeschooled. And I have seen it all. Wonderful and godly home education, for which I thank God, and an utter disaster. The latter, it seems, came from a obsessive desire to protect the children from the world, and that led to a range of minority if not extreme views, everything from refusing vaccinations to the Authorised Version only, no microwaves and no Sunday School or Youth Group. No sleepovers with anyone, even grandparents. I have counted over 15 of such minority views. Yes many factors operated, but it seems to me that this worldview destroyed everything the parents held dear. The marriage has now collapsed, and that has to be one of the greatest harms any parent can inflict on their children. Ultimately it was the idolatry of family before anything; they wore their extreme views as a badge of pride as if it were godly. It wasn’t. I would counsel all homeschooling parents that your relationship with God must take first place; be aware of the danger of idolatry of family and protecting your children; be aware of the danger of spiritual pride; be aware of the devil’s schemes to get you sidetracked. Homeschooling is weird enough in the world’s eyes; don’t become any more weird than you must be to raise children who love Jesus. That’s the goal, not protecting them from the world.

  • Her real story should be “homeschooling should be outlawed because their children will be too smart to buy our socialist nonsense”

    Like all who act against God what they are afraid of is the truth and homeschooling gives children more of it than the government run schools do. They have spent about 120 years dumbing students down bit by bit and don’t want to lose all that progress. Too many in the field care about ideology not the children. I think that is part of why I didn’t fit in. (I did volunteer work at a public elementary school back when I still wanted to become a teacher) I care about the kids. I want them to succeed. I always considered them to be the one I would work for. And you always want to do a good job for you employer.

  • It’s quite scary when you realise that the Left’s thought hasn’t moved on from Rousseau or Marx.

    Even as atheists, my girlfriend and I — when we have children — will send our kids to a Catholic school. I don’t want leftists indoctrinating my children with ideology such as gender being “socially constructed” or any other postmodern drivel.

  • Another elitist nonsense: an Oxford female lecturer who DOESN’T want Britain to succeed in developing a coronavirus vaccine because the effort it will mean Britain is ‘great’ or something like that. SAY WHAT (facepalm).
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1273335/oxford-coronavirus-vaccine-trial-begins-covid19-doctor-emily-cousens-political-correctness

    https://www.rt.com/op-ed/486841-oxford-vaccine-white-privilege-fail/

    Meanwhile the female lecturer’s original article seems to be blocked. Maybe somebody realised it’s too nonsensical.
    https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/coronavirus-vaccine_uk_5ea067f2c5b6b2e5b83ba372

  • I think there may be a typo in the good professors name
    I believe it’s Professor Elizabeth Baphomet
    (Sarc)

  • The “Perfessa” needs to recognise that parents have taught their children to walk and talk, dress and feed themselves (and lots more besides) before they reached school age.

    She also needs to read John Holt (How Children Fail https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Children_Fail, How Children Learn https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Children_Learn) and Ivan Ilyich Deschooling Society (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deschooling_Society) to see both the non-religious and the religious challenges to mass education.

    There is also nheri.org where, since 1990, Dr Brian Ray has been publishing his research into home education and comparisons with mass school-based education models.

    One definition of an “expert”: someone who learns more and more about less and less until eventually they know everything about nothing.

  • Is part of UN Agenda 2030-total userping of parental control and rights. Progressive elites have been trying to destroy the family for decades with the sexual revolution followed by the institutions running with Marxism. Homeschooling will come under relentless attack in coming years using mostly the LGBT juggernaut as the tools to implement more coercive power of the state. Bricks and mortar schools are in fact becoming less relevant and increasingly obsolete but the elite progressives do not wish this so one bit. Less Children’s minds to capture.

  • People were talking about Marxism. I was wondering how society would work if families were abolished. Would children grow up in something like an orphanage? Would there be an orphanage for babies right from birth? How would this work? I was wondering if you could explain how society would function if families were abolished. Can you please explain how these ideas work? It seems crazy to me but they must have some theory on how this would work.

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