A Harvard University law professor is arguing that homeschooling is used to dangerously indoctrinate children with "extreme" ideologies, such as Christianity.
Last month, Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Bartholet made headlines calling for a "presumptive ban" on homeschooling in the United States. In an article, titled "The Risks of Homeschooling," she suggested that the practice is dangerous because it allows parents to have "authoritarian control" over their children.
Then on Friday, in a follow-up interview with the Harvard Gazette, Bartholet doubled down on her anti-homeschooling stance, specifically citing why she believes giving control of education to parents is such a terrible thing.
What did she say?
Bartholet credited the recent growth of homeschooling to "the growth in the conservative evangelical movement."
She added: "Conservative Christians wanted the chance to bring their children up with their values and belief systems and saw homeschooling as a way to escape from the secular education in public schools."
The fact that many Christians homeschool their children is detrimental, Bartholet reasoned, because "many homeschooling parents are extreme ideologues, committed to raising their children within their belief systems isolated from any societal influence."
Bartholet then went on to make sweeping stereotyped generalizations of conservative Christians, suggesting that "some believe that black people are inferior to white people and others that women should be subject to men and not educated for careers but instead raised to serve their fathers first and then their husbands."
"The danger is both to these children and to society," Bartholet concluded. "The children may not have the chance to choose for themselves whether to exit these ideological communities; society may not have the chance to teach them values important to the larger community, such as tolerance of other people's views and values."
Bartholet's concerns that homeschooling is primarily used to close off children from society and indoctrinate them with beliefs in female subservience and racial supremacy is unfounded, according to data from the Institute for Family Studies.
David Sikkink, a professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, analyzed surveys of homeschooling families and found that the families "are not overwhelmingly Christian nor religious, and are not as universally closed-off to the outside world as Bartholet asserts," the Catholic News Agency reported.
Data from one of the large surveys showed that only about 16% cited religious beliefs as the most important reason for homeschooling and only 5% cited moral instruction. Rather, the most cited reason for choosing to homeschool was concern over the environment at other schools in the area.