One side effect of the current pandemic is that a lot of parents are finding themselves in the position of taking on the responsibility of educating their own children. While many schools have some form of remote teaching in place, it’s not the same as being in the classroom and some students need extra help from their parents. With the schools closed and many parents being stuck at home as well, why not, right?

But at least one Harvard professor sees this as a “dangerous” trend and fears that some uppity parents may get used to the idea and look at homeschooling on a permanent basis. And Professor Elizabeth Barholet is having none of it. In fact, she wants homeschooling to be banned altogether. (Washington Examiner)

A professor at Harvard University is calling for a “presumptive ban” on home schooling because the practice infringes on the rights of children.

“We have an essentially unregulated regime in the area of homeschooling,” Elizabeth Bartholet, a Wasserstein public interest professor of law and faculty director of the Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, told Harvard Magazine. “If you look at the legal regime governing homeschooling, there are very few requirements that parents do anything.”

Bartholet said the lack of oversight for people parenting their children leads to an increased risk of students not getting a proper education.

This professor starts off by listing some legitimate concerns to try to make her case. There are certainly some parents out there without the education and background to teach students the required curriculum of courses. She also points out that some parents may simply be irresponsible and not bother teaching their kids at all. But I think we can safely assume that such negligent parents would be outliers and in a distinct minority.

Of course, that’s not the real reason that Professor Barholet has a bee under her bonnet about homeschooling. She lets the mask slip a bit by going on to point out that children need to be “exposed to community values, social values, democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints.”

We can leave aside for the moment the hilarious idea that children need to learn “tolerance of other people’s viewpoints” when it’s being preached by a Harvard professor. If those other viewpoints happen to be conservative in nature, there will be no tolerance shown for them at Harvard or most other colleges and universities, as we’ve learned all too often. As far as community and social values go, again… Bartholet is talking about liberal values. But no matter whether the parents are more conservative or liberal, we’re not talking about something that is or should be the responsibility of public schools. Those values need to be instilled at home by the parents, separate from any textbooks the students need to digest.

I understand that homeschooling isn’t for everyone. Some parents may not have an aptitude for it or any interest in trying. Other kids come from two-income households where they simply can’t afford to have one of the parents stay home to take on those duties. But for those with the will and the ability, you can probably expect a safer environment and a better outcome from homeschooling. The lack of daily socialization with their peers is an obvious concern, so the kids need to have activities with other children outside the home worked into their schedules on a regular basis. But as for the actual educational agenda, we’re selling parents short if we assume that they aren’t up to the task.