CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Using its own publication outlets, Harvard University launched a two-day, back-to-back assault on homeschooling last week.
Despite backlash over its late April anti-homeschooling article in Harvard Magazine — a piece promoting the anti-Christian bias of Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Bartholet — the university is at it again.
On May 14, the Harvard Crimson published an op-ed by Lindsey T. Powell, a patent administrator in the university's Office of Technology Development. In it, Powell complained that her homeschooling experience included "painful, social isolation" and that it wasn't until she reached college that she met anyone who held views different from those she had been taught.
The next day, the Harvard Gazette, the university's official news outlet, published an interview with Bartholet. When asked about her proposed homeschooling crackdown, Bartholet said she wasn't advocating for an outright ban, but does believe parents should have to "demonstrate" that there is a legitimate reason for homeschooling their children, that they are qualified to homeschool and that their chosen homeschool curriculum would provide an education equivalent to that provided by public schools.
Bartholet also said she would require that homeschool children participate in at least some school courses and extracurricular activities so they get exposure to a set of alternative values and experiences. Some observers suggest that Bartholet, who has asserted that homeschoolers are "up to 90%" conservative Christians seeking to "indoctrinate" their children, may be the proverbial pot calling the kettle black, noting that many parents have turned to homeschooling in an attempt to escape the very public school indoctrination against which Bartholet claims she wants to guard.
Bartholet has aggressively attacked homeschool families through her academic publications and university PR pieces. She also planned an invitation-only summit of like-minded academics and activists to discuss the "problems" associated with homeschooling as well as proposed regulations to protect children from abusive and/or ignorant parents. Originally scheduled for June, the event has been postponed to 2021 owing to the Wuhan virus.
In last week's Harvard Gazette interview, Bartholet noted that "Many academics and the biggest teachers’ unions in the country have found homeschooling deeply problematic."
A ven diagram of people who are against homeschooling and who are against school choice likely would reveal nearly 100 percent overlap. The common denominator in both groups is the powerful teachers' unions lobby.
Presidential hopeful Joe Biden, who in 1997 advocated for school vouchers — and who himself was privately educated, as were his two sons — is now tweeting a different song, "When we divert public funds to private schools, we undermine the entire public education system. We've got to prioritize investing in our public schools, so every kid in America gets a fair shot. That's why I oppose vouchers." As a presidential candidate, he is required to unilaterally support public schools, and only public schools.
As early as October, Biden was courting public education union members when he was the featured speaker at the United Federation of Teachers annual Teacher Union Day in New York.
In an exclusive interview with Church Militant, Corey DeAngelis, director of school choice for the Reason Foundation, says the Wuhan virus has created an opportunity for parents to experience alternatives to the public school industrial complex.
"Families are taking a step back and seeing ... well, one, homeschooling can work, I can actually make this work for my family, either individually or with a group of people. And maybe what my children were learning wasn't all that valuable," he said.
DeAngelis went on to report that many parents are finding that their children are happier, less anxious learning at home. "Education shouldn't be one size fits all," he told Michael Voris.
For parents who worry that they aren't qualified to homeschool their children, DeAngelis pointed out that few people would be qualified to teach every subject, but in the age of smart phones, that's not really necessary. He then rattled off a list of resources to which parents can turn: Khan Academy, TED-Ed lessons, Learneverywhere.org, Hybrid Homeschool, micro schools and more.