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Ryan Bomberger: Harvard Hates Homeschooling

People in Ivy League towers really need to come back down to earth.

Harvard law professor, Elizabeth Bartholet, has taken residence in that tower and looks down on us lowly homeschoolers. Her recently published anti-homeschooling screed absurdly claims: “This homeschooling regime poses real dangers to children and to society…homeschooling is a realm of near-absolute parental power.” Well, who should be in power? The child? The State? Well, according to the professor…yes and yes. She believes that the government’s desire to indoctrinate, I mean educate, children supersedes parental rights. Children, according to Bartholet, essentially belong to the State (that’s slavery) and selective rights are then bestowed upon the parents by Almighty Government. She has it all in reverse. Our rights don’t come from that institution. We, the people, decide which rights the government possesses. Constitution, anyone?

Bartholet is appalled “that parents who are committed to beliefs and values counter to those of the larger society are entitled to bring their children up in isolation, so as to help ensure that they will replicate the parents’ views and lifestyle choices.” By “isolation” she really means, anywhere outside of the public school system. Parents want to raise their children with their own values? Collective gasp everyone.

She insists on a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling because children “are also at serious risk for ongoing abuse and neglect in the isolated families that constitute a significant part of the homeschooling world.” My wife, Bethany, and I take all of this on more extensively in our newly launched podcast, Life Has Purpose. We attended public and private schools. Bethany has her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Education. She taught in both urban and suburban public and private schools for thirteen years and has homeschooled our four children for the same amount of time. I’m the teacher’s assistant.  

According to Bartholet, we are religious extremists, misogynists, racists and child abusers. The only extremists here are those in academia who have no idea who homeschoolers are. It’s not illegal to be a Christian. My wife’s in charge of our nonprofit organization, The Radiance Foundation, and we share equal responsibility in our home. I’m brown, so white supremacy (or black supremacy, for that matter) isn’t a thing in our homeschool or in the homeschools of any of our diverse group of friends. And we’ve never neglected or abused our children. Ever.

Child abuse is horrid, and every instance is a tragedy that needs to be remedied. It’s despicable to exploit it, which is exactly what Bartholet is doing because she lacks the evidence to make a legitimate argument.

Do you know where children have been found to experience extensive and underreported abuse? In our public schools. According to a 2004 Department of Education (DOE) report entitled Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature: “…nearly 9.6% of [K-12 public school] students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career.” 

Guess who never mentions abuse at the hands of public school personnel? Should we issue a “presumptive ban” on public education?

Harvard—which is in the business of competing for students against many other Ivy League schools—is holding Bartholet’s anti-school choice event in June. The event website states: “It will focus on problems of educational deprivation and child maltreatment.”

Never mind the spelling deprivation that Harvard Magazine displayed in its article promoting Bartholet’s paper and upcoming summit. An illustration (since corrected) in the article’s header shows a sad homeschooled child behind bars inside a house of books as public school students frolic and play outside. The word Arithmetic was misspelled in the drawing. Oh, the irony.

It seems that Harvard is also deprived in that very arithmetic.

If homeschooling is such a hotbed of child abuse, wouldn’t the numbers bear that out? Parents are increasingly choosing options other than public school: charter schools, private schools, and homeschools. According to the DOE, homeschooling rose from 850,000 students in 1999 to 1,690,000 in 2016 enlarging the percentage of homeschooled students from 1.7 percent to 3.3 percent. So, logically, if homeschooling numbers have doubled, then the number of child abuse victims would rise as well. Right? 

No.

In 1999, there were 826,000 children reported to be victims of abuse and neglect in America, with a victimization rate of 11.8 per 1,000 children. In 2016—nearly 20 years later—that number dropped significantly to 676,000 victims of abuse with a lower victimization rate of 9.1 per 1,000 children.

Where’s your argument, Harvard?

Bartholet and other “progressives” like her love to cling to their fringe anecdotal evidence. Pro-abortion activists do, too. Rape-related reasons comprise less than 1% of our nation’s annual abortions, but fake feminists will use the 1% to justify 100% of abortions. I was conceived in rape but adopted and loved, so I’m very aware of the abused argument. 

Interestingly, Bartholet is an adoptive mother who opined that she had a fundamental right to her two adopted children yet contends that parents don’t have the natural right to their biological children. She wrote in the far left The American Prospect magazine: “But there is no necessary inconsistency between abortion rights and adoption rights, and we should not let abortion opponents hoodwink us so easily.” Sorry. One set of “rights” results in a dead human being; the other results in a living one. There couldn’t be more of an inconsistency.

So, she’s for the choice in ending the life of a child but against a parent’s choice in educating a child.

Yup. Sounds like progressivism.

Thankfully, a Harvard student group isn’t easily hoodwinked and is holding an online event on May 1st to counter Bartholet’s published paper and propaganda summit. It’s called The Disinformation Campaign Against Homeschooling. It’s clear that Bartholet and her anti-homeschooling colleagues are suffering from the effects of all the thin air up in that Ivy League tower. Perhaps they should join the Ideological Diversity student group and the well-informed school choice speakers who can help bring them all back down to earth. 

Ryan Bomberger is the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of The Radiance Foundation. He is happily married to his best friend, Bethany, who is the Executive Director of Radiance. They are adoptive parents with four awesome kiddos. Ryan is an Emmy Award-winning creative professional, factivist, international public speaker and author of NOT EQUAL: CIVIL RIGHTS GONE WRONG. He loves illuminating that every human life has purpose.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

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3 comments

  1. Bartholet does not want the world to see how the left manipulates students during their formative years through propaganda and brainwashing

  2. Carmine Lawrence

    Bartholet mindset is Hitleresque. One of Hitler’s first edicts was to make homeschooling illegal. Enter the brown shirts, mind and body OWNED and PROGRAMMED a la Hitler’s sick ideological and demented zombies. No critical or discerning thinkers, my way, my mindset was his way. Unfortunately for German families wishing to homeschool THEIR children, the oppressed German government never reversed Hitler’s no homeschooling policy.

    Like most liberals that live in a self absorbed bubble, feel that everyone must submit to their twisted will.

    • Dorothy R. Brant

      To Carmine Lawrence – excellent comment. My granddaughter has been blessed to be able to home school her children. She has four children but only homeschools three right now as Isaac is only 3 1/2 years old. They are doing quite well. Her oldest girl is above average and reads at a higher level than her age. She is giving them what is called a classical education. One of the biggest reasons she wanted to homeschool her children was to keep them from being brainwashed as she believes she was and that was not going to happen to her children. Anabella takes dancing lessons and took piano lessons for many years, Rylen took karate for years and has three belts but started playing baseball and then football and he loves football and he will be 11 years old come August, Libby takes tumbling lessons and she is miss personality plus and I call her my own Shirley Temple as she had the curliest hair and just reminds me of Shirley Temple but Liberty only has one dimple. Little Isaac is very smart and talked up a storm real early much earlier than all the others. They play outside a lot and have friends. They are quite well rounded. They have a wonderful mother and a wonderful daddy my grandson in law is a hands on father that is kind, caring, helpful and he and my granddaughter are like two peas in a pod or as some would say soul mates. They do not hit or spank their children at all. They both are conservative and Laura is a committed Christian and Roland believes in God. I am proud of my granddaughter more than I can say. They live in WA state which unfortunately is a Progressive state but the part that they live in is more conservative.