A Harvard University professor is proposing a ban on homeschooling because it allegedly “violates a child’s rights,” and is “dangerous.”

Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, the Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, was interviewed for an article in Harvard Magazine on the problems of homeschooling. Among other reasons, she alleged that homeschooling parents were racist and sexist. Bartholet also alleged that when parents homeschool their children, the kids are more likely to be abused.

“Effectively, people can homeschool who’ve never gone to school themselves, who don’t read or write themselves,” Bartholet also argued.

For these reasons, Bartholet proposes a presumptive ban on homeschooling, requiring parents who do want to homeschool to justify their reasoning in order to be granted permission.

Incidentally, in the picture to go along with the piece, Harvard Magazine originally spelled “arithmetic” wrong by incorrectly writing “arithmatic” instead.

Previously, Bartholet wrote an 80-page paper in the Arizona Law Review titled, “Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection.”

“This homeschooling regime poses real dangers to children and to society,” Bartholet contended in her piece for the law review. “Children are at serious risk of losing out on opportunities to learn things that are essential for employment and for exercising meaningful choices in their future lives They are also at serious risk for ongoing abuse and neglect in the isolated families that constitute a significant part of the homeschooling world.”

In response to Bartholet’s charges against homeschooling, Michael Farris, CEO and general counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote in Townhall against Bartholet’s contention that conservative Christian parents who homeschool are “extreme religious ideologues” who “question science and promote female subservience, and white supremacy.

“Any form of bigotry coming from one of its professors should cause Harvard trustees to be concerned,” Farris wrote. “Religious bigotry may be fashionable in some circles, but Harvard expresses commitments to the contrary.”

In the Harvard Magazine, Bartholet called the Home School Legal Defense Fund (HSLDF) “overwhelmingly politically powerful” since it has faced little opposition from those who opposed homeschooling. Farris defended the Home School Legal Defense Fund (HSLDF), which he founded to protect the rights of parents to homeschool their children. Though Bartholet argues that homeschoolers are sexist, Farris said that three of the four Supreme Court law clerks that he has taught in his career have been women.

In an op-ed for Fox News, Focus President Jim Daly defended homeschooling and wrote, “Children who are schooled at home perform academically better than their public schooled counterparts by a degree of 30 percent. They also have higher SAT/ACT scores as well as better grade point averages in college.”

“I don’t believe any bureaucrat – or law professor from Harvard University – should be dictating to parents what form of education is best for their child,” Daly wrote.

Bartholet concluded in the Harvard Magazine piece: “I think an overwhelming majority of legislators and American people, if they looked at the situation, would conclude that something ought to be done.”

Bartholet is facing a stiff uphill climb to convince Americans that she’s right, as a poll from YouGov conducted in 2013 found that 71% of Americans agree homeschooling should be an option for parents whereas only 16% said it should be outlawed.


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Photo by Annie Spratt