By Carolyn Martin (CHEC Director of Government Relations)
Exploring Contrary Narratives
Remember last year when Harvard Law School was planning to host a summit entitled “Problems, Politics, and Prospects for Reform”? (See my blog post from last year and this article from HSLDA.) The speaker lineup included many who desire to see homeschooling heavily regulated. Thankfully, the pandemic put a hold on the invitation-only event that left out voices from the homeschool community.
This year, the Harvard Kennedy School hosted a seven-week long webinar to explore the “Post-Pandemic Future of Homeschooling.” It’s clear from the title that those hosting this new conference had a very different agenda. Instead of solely looking at the problems with homeschooling, they wanted to understand the growth and the expanding landscape of homeschooling families.
The conference began with two of the most vocal professors against freedom in home education. Elizabeth Bartholet, a professor at Harvard Law School who organized the event last June and advocates for stronger children’s rights, has said, “Many homeschooling parents are extreme ideologues, committed to raising their children within their belief systems isolated from any societal influence.” James Dwyer, a professor at the College of William and Mary, who believes parental rights come from the state and wrote a book entitled Homeschooling: The History and Philosophy of a Controversial Practice, would love to see homeschooling more regulated by the state. (Check out Brian Ray’s review of the book.)
Thankfully, the conference organizers quickly moved on to cover some of the typical questions we just can’t seem to shake like “are homeschoolers prepared for life?” and “are homeschoolers socially isolated?” The latest accusation against homeschooling concerning child abuse was addressed as well. Protecting our fundamental, God-given responsibility to direct the education of our children means we must pay attention to all of the voices spoken in the public square, especially within academia and the judicial system, and be able to counter their narratives.
For starters, check out the Harvard webinar videos and a set of response videos put together by state homeschool leaders on the Homeschool Freedom website. You will find a lot of good information, and hopefully they will get you thinking about how to become an apologist for home education!
Trusting in the mighty power and grace of Jesus,
Carolyn Martin, CHEC Director of Government Relations