A conference at Harvard Law School for critics and educators opposed to home education has been cancelled, according to sources.
The “Homeschooling Summit: Problems, Politics, and Prospects for Reform” conference was sponsored by the Harvard Law School Child Advocacy Program and in cooperation with several anti-abuse groups. It was designed to “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.”
In short, it had the presupposition that homeschooling is awful, abusive, and practiced predominantly by Christian parents who do it to brainwash their children and keeps them from being productive members of society.
The most controversial speaker would have been Elizabeth Bartholet, a professor of law and faculty director of Harvard Law School’s Child Advocacy Program. Her now well-publicized beliefs are that homeschool in all its forms should be preemptively banned by society, that parents should not get the right to automatically homeschool their children, but rather should have to get a special dispensation from the government to do so.
Elizabeth continually singled out Christian homeschool parents, which make up 90% of homeschoolers, and stated their desire to homeschool was the result of bad faith and religious zealotry that was incompatible with modern society. She was especially concerned that parents were homeschooling to shield their children from the realities of culture, and were teaching them outdated and unacceptable beliefs about science, human sexuality, and all manner of intolerance.
The news that the conference has been cancelled comes from Corey A. DeAngelis, Director of School Choice at Reason Foundation, who posted a Facebook update from the Coalition of Responsible Home Education, a group intending to attend the event
This information was also confirmed by CRHE’s Director of Outreach Kieryn Darkwater.
There has been no formal statement from Harvard Law yet, but we imagine that announcement is forthcoming.