As public schools closed at the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard Law professors with a penchant for publishing anti-homeschool articles declared a private conference with the intent of making homeschooling illegal in the United States. Behind locked doors, the invite-only conference seeks to end the rights of parents to choose the means of education for their children.
The organizers of “Homeschooling Summit: Problems, Politics, and Prospects for Reform” include Elizabeth Bartholet, a Harvard Law School professor with a history of falsifying data, and James Dwyer of William and Mary’s Law School. Bartholet in particular has an inflammatory past regarding homeschooling, claiming parents who teach their children are “authoritarian” and “dangerous”.
This wouldn’t be the first time Elizabeth has been cavalier with slandering homeschooled children & their parents. She falsely cited earlier this year that 47% of homeschooled children were subject to child abuse in an effort to convince lawmakers to ban homeschooling, despite multiple studies across the board have shown that homeschooled students are at no greater risk of abuse. By cherry-picking five small facilities that only took self-reporting data and ignoring the National Center for Educational Statistics, she framed an argument that homeschools were festering breeding grounds for sexual abuse, racism, and segregation.
The data says quite the opposite. Multiple national-level studies compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics showed that homeschooling showed no increase in the risk of abuse, in fact, considering that most sexual abuse cases in public schools go largely unreported, it is likely that homeschooled and private schooled students are at a much lower risk of abuse than their government-school peers (a 2004 report from the Department of Education estimated that 1 in 10 children will experience sexual misconduct by school employees). One study, in particular, cited that sexual predators working in school districts move around three school districts and have nearly 73 victims before they’re caught.
Dwyer, who stated “the reason parent-child relationships exist is because the state confers legal parenthood,” also attempted to make baseless claims off of comical stereotypes, stating that homeschooled students are socially crippled. Simple research on basic peer-reviewed studies show that homeschooled students are more engaged culturally, socially, and creatively than their public-schooled peers. According to one student I spoke with, she stated “Unlike public school students I was around people of all ages all the time….My parents taught us how to have conversations with anyone, how to ask questions.”
In response to Bartholet & Dwyer’s slanderous event, a massive grassroots campaign against the confiscation of these rights has found a home in Harvard’s Kennedy School through the event “The Disinformation Campaign Against Homeschooling” on May 1st.
Parents, children, lawmakers, educators, academics, and students from across the United States are converging in this public event to dispel the egregious falsities promoted in the most overt anti-homeschool event in education history. Corey DeAngelis, a speaker at the event, shared his optimism for a movement built towards examining clear evidence without pushing strange agendas. He cited numerous cases in which homeschooling, private schooling, and broad-scale education reform benefited students of all classes and backgrounds.
It appears that support for Dwyer & Bartholet’s anti-homeschool summit has backfired. In a moment of peak irony, the co-organizers could not find any education faculty, social workers, or psychologists to support their rhetoric, perhaps because they have come together to support the student-run pro-family movement instead. Dr. Peter Gray of Boston College, Kerry McDonald, Pat Farenga, and Cevin Soling are also speaking at this public event on Friday at 2pm.
In contrast to the anti-homeschool summit locking its doors and refraining from inviting anyone with opposing views, “The Disinformation Campaign Against Homeschooling” event encourages all to attend, stressing the importance of transparency, data-driven conversation, and an attitude of optimism as education is reformed to benefit all students from every home regardless of location, status, or heritage.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.