By Martin Bürger
Secretary of state Mike Pompeo has spoken out in support of homeschooling, referring to a Harvard Magazine article slandering families educating their children at home and calling for “a presumptive ban on the practice.”
“The risk to children is NOT from homeschooling,” Pompeo tweeted. “The risk is from radical leftist scholars seeking to impose THEIR values on OUR children.”
Harvard Magazine had written an article about Harvard professor Elizabeth Bartholet, who argued that homeschooling “not only violates children’s right to a ‘meaningful education’ and their right to be protected from potential child abuse, but may keep them from contributing positively to a democratic society.”
She also said “one benefit of sending children to school at age four or five is that teachers are ‘mandated reporters,’ required to alert authorities to evidence of child abuse or neglect.”
Bartholet questioned the motives of homeschooling families, especially those having a Christian education in mind. She noted “that some of these parents are ‘extreme religious ideologues’ who question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy.”
The Harvard professor effectively denied parents’ rights as primary educators of their children, claiming that “we have thought of the government as having some right to educate children so that they become active, productive participants in the larger society.”
“But it’s also important that children grow up exposed to community values, social values, democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints,” she said, thereby implying that homeschooling families are unable to provide those values.
Requiring children to attend schools outside the home for six or seven hours a day, Bartholet said, would not really limit parents’ influence on a child’s views and ideas. “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.”
Secretary Pompeo summarized the article by stating Bartholet’s “mission is simple: to further the destruction of the family unit. Her plan: substitute state power for parental love. For her, the corollary benefit is to drive Christian values out of public discourse under the guise of preventing ‘child abuse.’”
“This ivory-tower screed attacking parents who choose to dedicate their lives to educating their own children, often at significant financial sacrifice, is a reminder that we must all work together to protect civilization’s most successful institution: our families,” Pompeo concluded.
This ivory-tower screed attacking parents who choose to dedicate their lives to educating their own children, often at significant financial sacrifice, is a reminder that we must all work together to protect civilization's most successful institution: our families.
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) April 26, 2020
Texas Senator Ted Cruz simply said, “This is barbaric. Myopic. And unconstitutional.”
This is barbaric. Myopic. And unconstitutional. https://t.co/9rqmjM0k9a
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 19, 2020
“Bartholet complains repeatedly about the lack of information, and then draws extravagant conclusions, and proposes draconian legal changes, on the basis of this inadequate information,” Shaw noted.
“It is meaningless to point out that some homeschooling parents only manage to bring their children up to meager standards, if these parents withdrew their children in desperation from a school where outcomes are even worse,” he continued.
Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and now president of the Alliance Defending Freedom, pointed out that in public schools, “family income is a strong predictor of a child’s academic success. In homeschooling, children from lower-income levels not only outscore their public school socio-economic counterparts, but they also score comparably to homeschool students from higher income levels.”
“Harvard should also be embarrassed — truly embarrassed — by its professor’s absolutely unsupported assertion that homeschool students will not be able to contribute positively to our democratic processes,” he added.
Finally, Farris emphasized that “Bartholet conjures up an imaginary profile of conservative Christian homeschoolers.”
At the end of March, LifeSiteNews reported on a “Homeschooling Summit” scheduled to take place at Harvard in June. The conference will bring together a number of speakers opposed to homeschooling, or at least arguing for certain limitations to the practice. One of the conference’s organizers is Elizabeth Bartholet.