Attack on home schooling Is The Left's latest way of silencing conservatives
Harvard Magazine published a truly awful article this past week in which Elizabeth Bartholet, a Harvard Law School professor and the director of its Child Advocacy Program, comes out strongly against home schooling. Bartholet's interview is a smorgasbord of selective outrage and red herrings. She points to isolated instances of neglect by home-schooling parents (mentioning exactly one example) but conveniently ignores shocking evidence of widespread sexual abuse and physical violence in America's public schools (1.1 million serious incidents, according to a 2016 report originally published under then-President Barack Obama's administration).
Bartholet also ignores the reams of evidence demonstrating that home-schooled children do better academically, socially and professionally than their public-schooled peers.
The piece has received well-deserved criticism from press outlets including Forbes, The Christian Post, National Review and the Daily Mail. In the Washington Examiner this week, columnist Tim Carney ripped apart Bartholet's specious arguments and concluded by saying, "you need to worry about these people," and "These people have a dangerous agenda."
He's right. But I would go further. The attack on home schooling must be seen as part of a larger effort to silence conservatives and marginalize their impact in this country.
If people like Elizabeth Bartholet are successful in criminalizing home schooling, they won't stop there. They'll move on to people who send their children to public school and who nevertheless impart values with which she and her cadre of statists and secular humanists don't agree. The next step would be further interference with -- and even termination of -- parental rights.
This is not extreme, and it isn't hysteria.
There is plenty of precedent. Take abortion, for example. According to the Planned Parenthood website, which provides state-by-state information on abortion access, 12 states and the District of Columbia do not require that parents or any legal guardian be notified before a minor child can obtain an abortion.
Washington is among them. In 2010, a 15-year-old student at Ballard High School in Seattle was given an exit pass by school administrators, who procured a taxi for her to go to an abortion clinic and have an abortion without her parents' knowledge or consent. When the girl's mother found out, she was outraged. It's "always best if parents are involved in their children's health care, but they don't always have a say," King County Health Department representative said in a statement. "At any age in the state of Washington, an individual can consent to a termination of pregnancy."
Even in the other 38 states that require parental or guardian notification, the minor can obtain a "judicial bypass." In theory, anyone can take a minor child before a judge to obtain such a bypass, permitting the minor to obtain an abortion without parental knowledge, or over parents' objection.
Such laws have been on the books for decades. But the attacks on parental rights in the transgender advocacy movement are much more recent, and even more insidious.