I was delighted to learn that Harvard is holding a Summit to discuss homeschooling. I was ready to thank them for elevating the worthy enterprise of Home Education to the level of a summit and in Cambridge, no less. Then, I clicked through on the details. The description is downright Dickensian. It even includes a cloak-and-dagger-like “by private invite only” note. Does something wicked this way come?
Reader, this is not hyperbole. A cursory look at the speakers reveals that there are none with direct experience in this alternative learning environment and a closer look will show that their goal is to hoist child-abuse onto the shoulders of hard-working parents, most of whom are too busy doing the noble work of home educating to fight back.
That Harvard would organize this cabal of antagonism and malevolence against home education, while so many citizens are frightened, weakened and worried is a most grim, most appalling thing. Harvard seems determined to breathe new life into Stalin’s words. The rest of this article will show why.
With so many families recently thrust onto the homeschool landscape, home education is a very timely subject. Obviously, it has the wheels of collectivism churning overtime.
First, there is the title of the event. Problems, Politics and Prospects for Reform. Really? If an alliterative title was sought, why not:
- Home Education: Progress, Power, Payoffs.
- Home Education: Re-thinking, Re-inventing, Re-casting.
- Home Education: Bigger, Better and Booming.
Why not shed a positive light on a positive thing? Because this is not at all their goal.
Any discussion about home education is really a discussion about why people choose to do it. Often, it is a faith-based decision with some conservative Jewish, Muslim and Christians choosing this path. However, the greatest motivator in the 21st century is the fact that there are over 36 million publicly educated high school graduates classified as functionally illiterate or with low literacy. This is the single most-common reason I am given by the ever-increasing number of families choosing a DIY approach to education. Can a summit on home education can be balanced or complete without covering this?
The sponsors are deeply concerned about abuse of children – and this truly is a terrible thing. As child abuse seems to be the main focus for this summit, I have two observations:
- Tragically, the overwhelming majority of USA’s abused children are students in a school system, and we do not claim that schools cause abuse. That wouldn’t really make sense. So then why would a truant child who is a victim of abuse throw home education under suspicion?
- The illiteracy statistic quoted above is a staggering, wide-spread abuse that impacts citizens from childhood through adulthood. Surely, no summit on childhood neglect could omit this shocking reality. Home educated kids represent about 3% of our country’s school-aged children. But, 97% are at the greatest risk of becoming a statistic.
The purpose of the Summit as stated on its webpage: “We will convene leaders in education and child welfare policy, legislators and legislative staff, academics and policy advocates, to discuss child rights in connection with homeschooling in the United States. The focus will be on problems of educational deprivation and child maltreatment that too often occur under the guise of homeschooling, in a legal environment of minimal or no oversight. Experts will lead conversations about the available empirical evidence, the current regulatory environment, proposals for legal reform, and strategies for effecting such reform.”
Wow. This description leaves no room for scholarship, does it? This description is a conclusion not an educated exploration. And this description excludes as a topic abuses that occurs under the guise of public education – the abuse of educational neglect resulting in illiteracy, the abuse of endless, ongoing sexual misconduct charges against teachers in schools, and the abuse of unbearable anxiety and stress resulting in child suicide which correlates neatly with the school year calendar. Why aren’t the great minds convening in Cambridge applying themselves to these horrific abuses on our young? Stalin’s words ring loudly in my ears. Educational deprivation is certainly run amok in the USA, but most call this abuse-in-plain-sight by its formal name: public education.
Finally, Harvard stands ready to accept the sorry product of what they term “educational neglect” in home education.
So, I wondered if Harvard had considered a panel of students, home educated K-12 for their summit? From the Harvard alum alone there would be enough to set up a tidy group.
This Harvard Summit isn’t much interested in a two-way conversation on the many ways that children thrive better at home than they do at school or how this country shamefully fails and places at risk, the many millions of students in public education. This larger-than-life repository of child abuse isn’t the target of their sinister hunt. The freedom to home educate is.