Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Bartholet made headlines – and raised a lot of dissent – when an article in Harvard Magazine publicized her opposition to homeschooling. The professor, who is also faculty director of the law school’s Child Advocacy Program, argued that homeschooling was “dangerous,” giving parents “essentially authoritarian control” over their children.
The magazine article cited Bartholet’s 80-page paper, published in the Arizona Law Review, “Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism Vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection.” The paper called for a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling, where parents would have to justify to the state their desire to the educate their children at home, and called for more government oversight of at-home education.
In response to the article about Bartholet, the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts is hosting a free, online Home Education Summit: “Who Owns Your Children? Home Education in an Authoritarian Age.”
The May 13th event brings together a number of well-known experts on Christianity, law, parental rights and homeschooling:
- Robert P. George is a Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He’s taught and written extensively about the sanctity of human life, natural law theory, religious freedom and marriage.
- Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom. McDonald submitted a rebuttal to Harvard Magazine’s article about Bartholet, titled, “Harvard Magazine Calls for a ‘Presumptive Ban’ on Homeschooling: Here Are 5 Things It Got Wrong.”
- Frank Edelblut is a businessman and politician who serves as the New Hampshire Commissioner of Education. Edelblut has a Masters of Theological Studies from the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and has homeschooled all seven of his children.
- Douglas Farrow is Professor of Theology and Christian Thought at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He writes and teaches about theology, marriage, ethics, constitutionalism and church-state issues.
- Jamie Gassis Director of the Center for School Reform at Pioneer Institute, a Massachusetts public policy research group that values education, “liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise.” Gass has experience in public administration and education reform, and has overseen more than 100 research papers, projects and events on K-12 education reform.
- Andrew Beckwith is President of Massachusetts Family Institute, a Focus on the Family-affiliated public policy organization. He serves as an allied attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, focusing on religious liberty cases, and as a judge advocate in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He and his wife have homeschooled their four children for seven years.
Bartholet was scheduled to be part of a private, June “Homeschooling Summit,” with “leaders in education and child welfare policy, legislators and legislative staff, academics and policy advocates.” The invitation-only event was convened “to discuss child rights in connection with homeschooling in the United States,” with a focus on “problems of educational deprivation and child maltreatment that too often occur under the guise of homeschooling, in a legal environment of minimal or no oversight.” The conference has been postponed, due to the coronavirus quarantines.
Bartholet and other elitists suggest that home education may be “dangerous” and challenge educational choice and parents’ rights. But next week’s Home Education Summit proposes that, on the contrary, government usurpation of parental authority is the real danger.
Sign up for the free, online event: Home Education Summit: “Who Owns Your Children? Home Education in an Authoritarian Age”