Late in April, Harvard Magazine featured an interview with law professor Elizabeth Bartholet, a severe critic of homeschooling who has called for a “presumptive ban” of the practice. The interview summarized arguments Bartholet had made earlier in an 80-page article published by the Arizona Law Review

Responses began appearing online and in the media almost immediately.  Journalists, researchers, advocates, Harvard graduates, and other friends of homeschooling pointed out how Bartholet’s views mischaracterize the movement and threaten freedom.

Many of these replies are linked to below.

Note: Our image at the top of this article is a direct response to Harvard Magazine’s caricature of homeschool children being imprisoned at home, depicted here. It is not intended to be a criticism of public education. We recognize that many good teachers, staff, and security officers (some of whom are homeschool grads and parents) daily invest their lives in helping children learn and stay safe and we thank and honor them for their service.

APRIL 14, 2020

“Harvard Law Plots Attack on Homeschooling, Parental Rights”
Author: Alex Newman, columnist
Key quote: “Not only is homeschooling superior, it is better for children by orders of magnitude on every front.”

APRIL 19, 2020

“Harvard Law School Calls for Ban on Homeschooling; Homeschooled Harvard Graduate on Why This is Wrong”
Author: Melba Pearson, homeschool grad and Harvard alumna
Key quote: “In essence, this article is not an attack on a form of education some might view as lesser quality. In essence, this article is an attack on the fundamental rights and freedoms that make our country (and until recently, institutions such as Harvard) what they are.”

“I Have a Perspective”
Author: Alex J. Harris, homeschool graduate and Harvard alumnus
Key quote: “Ironically, like so many missives from the ivory tower, Professor Bartholet’s argument and unacknowledged biases may accomplish the exact opposite of what she intends: highlighting the virtues of alternative education options in a world full of ‘experts’ ready to teach our children what is good and true and beautiful.”

APRIL 20, 2020

Harvard Magazine Calls for a ‘Presumptive Ban’ on Homeschooling: Here Are 5 Things It Got Wrong”
Author: Kerry McDonald, senior FEE fellow, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, homeschool researcher, and homeschooling parent
Key quote: “Aside from its biting, one-sided portrayal of homeschooling families that mischaracterizes the vast majority of today’s homeschoolers, it is filled with misinformation and incorrect data.”

Harvard Mag Attacks Homeschooling: Parents Who Choose It are ‘Extreme Religious Ideologues’”
Author: Dorothy Cummings McLean, journalist, essayist, and novelist
Key quote: “Bartholet is concerned that home education is not regulated and that it is practiced primarily by conservative Christians who wish to shield their children from ‘mainstream culture.’ “ 

“Proposals to Ban Homeschooling Are an Attack on Pluralism”
Author: Fred Bauer, columnist
Key quote: “While Bartholet speaks about the importance of giving children the ‘choice to exit’ the worldviews of their parents, her proposal to ban alternative modes of education is itself a proclamation of ‘no exit.’ “

“Terrifying Liberal Tyrants Want to Ban Most Homeschooling Because They Hate 'Conservative Christian Beliefs'”
Author: Timothy P. Carney, political columnist, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and book author
Key quote: “Basically, Bartholet stays up at night, worrying that some parent, somewhere, is preparing a lesson plan on Psalm 23.”

“Harvard Law Professor—Ban Homeschooling for ‘Question[ing] Science’”
Author: David Klinghoffer, author, essayist, and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute
Key quote: “Professor Bartholet is against ‘question[ing] science.’ She feels ‘it’s also important that children grow up exposed to community values, social values, democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints.’ That all sounds great, but we know that in practice those can be newspeak codewords for training young people to respond to life in rigid, programmed, ideologically approved ways.”

APRIL 21, 2020

“Harvard’s Lazy Attack On Homeschooling”
Author: Mike McShane, director of national research at EdChoice, education policy writer
Key quote: “Banning homeschooling would thrust thousands of children who left traditional schools to avoid maltreatment back into the very schools where they were victimized.”

“Harvard Prof Calls Homeschooling ‘Dangerous,’ Says It Gives Parents ‘Authoritarian Control’ Over Kids”
Author: Caleb Parke, associate editor
Key quote: “Without citing specific examples, the civil rights and family law teacher argued homeschooled children are at higher risks of abuse.”

“More Thoughts on Homeschooling and Harvard Magazine”
Author: Alexandra DeSanctis, staff writer and visiting fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center
Key quote: “In short, Bartholet’s view is that elite educators necessarily know better than parents and that it would be a disservice to children to let them be taught by the people who gave them life.”

“The War on Homeschooling”
Author: Kevin D. Williamson, correspondent and book author
Key quote: “Bartholet is pretty open about her program, which has less to do with ensuring equal educational opportunity across socioeconomic groups (ho, ho!) and more to do with extending the surveillance state, lest unsupervised proles make child-rearing decisions at odds with the priorities Bartholet would prefer to see enforced.”

“To ‘Save The Children,’ Harvard Magazine Calls for the Abolition of the Family”
Author: Tom Lindsay, former college professor and administrator
Key quote: “Totalitarianism by any other name still destroys the family, and this appears to be the intention of the article.”

“Harvard Professor Slams HomeschoolingThese are the Facts She Ignores”
Author: Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family
Key Quote: “I think homeschooling and homeschoolers represent a powerful force to help save and serve not only the next generation but also preserve and protect many of the ideals upon which this country was built.”

APRIL 22, 2020

“A Harvard Law Professor’s Assault on Homeschooling—and Parenthood”
Author: John Hirschauer, fellow in political journalism
Key quote: “Bartholet insists on forcing homeschooled kids out of their homes to ensure that they are afforded their apparent birthright to learn about intersectional feminism and the correspondence theory of truth.”

“Harvard Law Professor Calls for ‘Presumptive Ban’ on Homeschooling”
Author: by Luis Miguel, marketer and writer
Key quote: “Of course, Bartholet bemoans the ‘authoritarian control’ of parents, but, like so many homeschooling opponents, she apparently has no qualms with the authoritarian rule of unelected educational administrators who have complete power to bypass the will of parents on all matters.”

APRIL 23, 2020

“Harvard Law Professor Attacks Homeschoolers, as She Envisions Them”
Author: Michael Farris, president of Alliance Defending Freedom and HSLDA founder
Key quote: “Like the vast majority of parents who choose other forms of education, the overwhelming number of homeschool families are led by good parents who are also good neighbors.”

“The Attack on Homeschoolers Is an Attack on American Ideals”
Author: Kyle Smith, columnist
Key quote: “Bartholet wants the state to ride in on horseback and break up all those sinister gatherings in which families go through the multiplication tables together. Or discuss the Constitution. Or—sharp intake of breath—even study the Bible.”

“Harvard’s Bizarre Take on Homeschooling”
Author:  John Clark, author and speechwriter
Key quote: “While I can understand why some homeschool parents might be infuriated by this article, I’m primarily struck with a much different emotion: sadness. Some people might actually believe some of what is presented in the Harvard piece and think it is true—and they will never know the joy of homeschooling.”

“Harvard Law Professor Wants To Ban Homeschooling Because Christians Do It”
Author: Kelly Marcum, columnist
Key quote: “[Bartholet’s] worry, and the worry of all those who argue for weakening the parent-child bond, is that these parents will raise children who adhere to a vision of the good that differs from the morally acceptable viewpoints held by academics in their coastal conclaves.”

“Open Rebuttal to Harvard’s Elizabeth Bartholet”
Author: Marie Stroughter, writer and radio show host
Key quote: “The research shows that by every conceivable measure, homeschoolers outperform their traditionally-schooled peers. Black homeschooling has been the fastest [growing] segment of the homeschooling movement in recent years.”

APRIL 27, 2020

“Elitist Harvard Professors Say They Do Not Approve Of Homeschooling”
Author: Liv Finne,  Center for Education director
Key quote: “The core point that elitist critics seem to miss is that homeschooling is entirely voluntary.  Families can teach at home as they like. The best thing about school choice is that parents can decide for themselves what learning services are best, without a scolding from their betters in Boston.”

April 29, 2020

“Living with Children: In Defense of Homeschooling”
Author: John Rosemond, family psychologist
Key quote: “:When all is said and done, the best regulator of the homeschooling parent is other homeschooling parents, motivated by desire to preserve their own and everyone else’s freedoms.”

MAY 5, 2020

“Harvard Law Professor’s Attack on Homeschooling Is a Flawed Failure. And Terribly Timed, Too.”
Authors: Patrick J. Wolf, University of Arkansas professor;  Matthew H. Lee, University of Arkansas doctoral fellow; Angela R. Watson, Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy senior research fellow.
Key quote: “Upon reviewing Professor Bartholet’s article, we conclude that it suffers from contradictions, factual errors, statements of stereotyping, and a failure seriously to consider that the alternative to homeschooling–public schooling–shares the problems that she attributes to home education.”