‘My preferred regulatory regime’: Harvard prof offers details on proposed homeschool ban

  • The Harvard Law professor who recently made headlines for suggesting a government ban on homeschooling is not backing down.
  • In a recent interview, she detailed her “preferred” plan for placing “burden of justification” on parents for homeschooling their own children.

The controversial Harvard Law professor who called for a ban on homeschooling is making the rounds yet again to clarify her statements, and offer proposed policies as to how to practically prevent parents from educating their children at home.

Elizabeth Bartholet raised eyebrows in April when she publicly proposed a government ban on the “authoritarian” practice of homeschooling as parents across America were being forced to transition to various forms of at-home education due to the government's response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

"I think they need to demonstrate why even if they haven’t had much of an education themselves, they’re going to be capable of providing their kids an adequate education."   

[RELATED: Anti-homeschool Harvard prof thumbs her nose at 'conservative Christians']

She later doubled-down on her statements, saying that her proposed plan involved a “radical transformation of the homeschooling regime,” where parents would have to “demonstrate that they have a legitimate reason to homeschool,” as well as that they are “qualified to provide an adequate education” and that such an education would be “comparable in scope” to that of public schools.

Now, in a recent interview, Bartholet has gone into more extensive detail about what such a plan actually entails, speaking of a “burden of justification” that would be placed upon parents to “demonstrate that they actually have the capacity to provide an adequate education at home.”

“That doesn’t mean as an absolute matter that they would have a high school degree or a college degree, but if they don’t have a high school degree, then I think they need to demonstrate why even if they haven’t had much of an education themselves, they’re going to be capable of providing their kids an adequate education,” Bartholet went on.

[RELATED: Harvard prof wants government to ban 'authoritarian' practice of homeschooling]

Bartholet went on to denounce the concept of parents having an absolute right to withdraw their children from public schools, saying that they should be forced to provide a “reason that they think they’ll do better by their kids’ education."

In addition to having to provide the state with an adequate “reason” for homeschooling their own children, Bartholet says that parents should be required to “make a commitment to teaching the broad range of subjects” that “our state commissioners of education consider the minimum that children should learn.”

The professor went on to explain that even parents approved to homeschool by the state should be required to teach the same curriculum to their children that they would learn in a state-funded school. 

“I think that you know, roughly speaking, the public school curriculum ought to be something that homeschooling parents are willing to commit to, and demonstrate that they are able to teach.”

"So ‘presumptive ban’ simply means shifting the burden of justification to parents,” Bartholet clarified, before adding that “even for parents who are homeschooling in my preferred regulatory regime,” kids should still be required “some exposure to the public schools' environment.”

“There would be different ways to do this,” said Bartholet, “but they should perhaps take a course or two every year at the public school, and engage in some extracurricular activities." The professor says this is necessary because “children have a right to be exposed to views and values other than those of their parents, and there is no way to guarantee that if 24/7 those kids are at home.”

“Even if the parents do have the credentials to teach, and even if they do commit to teaching the public school curriculum, and even if their kids can pass some tests about civics or history, I still think those children need and deserve some exposure to other kids,” she added.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan



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Celine Ryan
Celine Ryan | Correspondent Editor

Celine Ryan is the Correspondent Editor reporting on liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. Celine was previously the investigative reporter, New Hampshire Senior Campus Correspondent, and California Senior Campus Correspondent for Campus Reform.

20 Articles by Celine Ryan