Today I sent this letter to the editorial board of Harvard Magazine.
Dear Harvard Magazine,
Thinking people take objection to the implications in your article, The Risks of Homeschooling. Harvard has been considered the epitome of prestigious and elite higher education until the past couple years, and unfortunately, this article heralds this. Not only are many of the comments in your article false, you have not cited sources so that people can look this information up for themselves. In fact, when I look up the same arguments, I find the opposite of what you have said is true. Are you trying to use the prestige of an Ivy League school to enforce false propaganda on the masses who, frankly, feel quite differently?
As one of America’s most prestigious schools, you should be doing your best to inspire an atmosphere of freedom in learning and patriotism. America is the greatest country on earth. Our founding fathers changed the world when they developed our Constitution and Bill of Rights, allowing common people to have a say in their government and granting them their God-given rights. It is a gift that has to be protected, because there are many villains in this world who would crush the Constitution simply because they love power more than people. Many schools promote anti-American sentiments, whereas homeschooling families tend to be more active in the government, more learned in our history, and more appreciative of our Constitution.
You are concerned that states don’t regulate homeschooling enough. Harvard, you say you are concerned about this because homeschoolers might have a lack of education or will be kept in abusive homes. You’ve even cited a source for this, the memoir Educated, By Tara Westover. However, you cited one person. Not a study. If you look at the statistics, you will see that in general homeschoolers do better on tests than children who attend school, and that homeschoolers “are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development (Ray, “Research”).” If homeschoolers lived in abusive homes, this would not be the case. Tara Westover’s up-bringing is an “isolated case of a family that slipped through the cracks (O’Donnell, “The Risks”).”
The practice of homeschooling does not isolate children, either. Many homeschoolers are more involved in their communities than children who go to public school, including, but not limited to, attending church and youth group, serving within their communities, participating in sports and scouting troops, etc. Plus, many homeschoolers participate in co-ops, which allows them to see people and participate in educational and enrichment classes. Because homeschoolers are not trapped in a set schedule, they can do more, learn more, and actually visit the places they learn about. Homeschoolers are, most assuredly, not isolated (Klicka, Chris, “Socialization:”).
You also state that one of the reasons homeschooling should be banned is because, “… A majority of such families… …are driven by conservative Christian beliefs (O’Donnell, “The Risks”).” Are you discriminating against Christians? To ban homeschooling because many homeschoolers are Christians is a violation of the First Amendment. As for your comments that we “question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy (O’Donnell, “The Risks”),” please share where you got your information. It is false. Homeschooling is growing among people of all ethnic groups (Ray, “Research”). Homeschoolers also tend to be more tolerant of different viewpoints (Tuccille, J.D. “Homeschooling”) and more exposed to “democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints (O’Donnell, “The Risks”)” than kids who go to public schools (Ray, “Research”).
Finally, where would the rights of parents towards their children go? To the government? One need only to look at the last century to realize this doesn’t work. It’s a dangerous ideology, one that Hitler himself would approve and applaud you for. Bartholet’s quote, “I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority (O’Donnell, “The Risks”),” could very well apply to the government far more truthfully than to parents.
So I ask you, what is your true concern about homeschooling? Your article leads me to believe that it is because many of those who homeschool hold a different worldview than you. The claims you cited in your article are unsubstantiated, and that is an embarrassment to Harvard University. Many people wouldn’t be gravitating towards homeschooling if the public school system hadn’t failed. Harvard, you were founded as a Christian university, and you have fallen a long way since then. Articles like this one continue to show that you have become more of an “agenda driven” school rather than one that wishes to teach the truth.
Christian, Homeschooled teenager, precinct committeewomen.
Klicka, Chris. Socialization: Homeschoolers Are in the Real World. HSLDA, Homeschool Legal Defense Association, 2007, hslda.org/content/docs/nche/000000/00000068.asp.
O’Donnell, Erin. The Risks of Homeschooling. Harvard Magazine, Harvard, 17 Apr. 2020, harvardmagazine.com/2020/05/right-now-risks-homeschooling.
Ray, Brian D. Research Facts on Homeschooling. National Home Education Research Institute, NHERI, 23 Mar. 2020, www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/.
Slatter, Ian. New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement. HSLDA, Homeschool Legal Defense Association, 2009, hslda.org/content/docs/news/200908100.asp.
Tuccille, J.D. Homeschooling Produces Better-Educated, More-Tolerant Kids. Politicians Hate That. Reason.com, Reason, 22 Jan. 2019, reason.com/2019/01/22/homeschooling-produces-better-students/.