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Harvard professor fears homeschooling is “dangerous”, calls for state monitoring

A Harvard law professor has called for stricter monitoring of homeschooling because she believes it’s dangerous to give parents full-time control over their children.

Speaking to Harvard Magazine, Elizabeth Bartholet warned that children could be exposed to white supremacy and misogyny because some homeschooling parents are “extreme religious ideologues”.

“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,” Bartholet said. “I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.”

Bartholet also claimed children would be safer in schools because teachers are required to report suspected abuse in the home. She called for stricter monitoring of those who homeschool, saying America has “an essentially unregulated regime in the area…”, with many states not requiring parents themselves to reach a certain educational level.

“That means, effectively, that people can homeschool who’ve never gone to school themselves, who don’t read or write themselves.”

The professor’s comments come as over 50 million children in the United States continue their schooling from home, with some being assisted by teachers, and others by their parents.

Approximately 4% of American children were already being home-schooled before the coronavirus outbreak, with an estimated 90% coming from Christian homes.

Noting that countries such as France require home visits by state officials, Bartholet referred to the government’s role in compulsory education, claiming that it had a 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 added.

Writing on Medium, Harvard graduate Melba Pearson, who herself had been home-schooled, called the professor’s comments “an attack on the fundamental rights and freedoms that make our country (and until recently, institutions such as Harvard) what they are”.

“The idea that a government, already so inefficient and inadequate in so many areas, can care for and educate every child better than its parent is wrong.”

“Additionally, this anti-homeschooling narrative coming out of Harvard is completely contradictory to its recent crusade of ‘diversity’, ‘inclusion’, and ‘acceptance’,” Pearson claimed.

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