Harvard To Host Apparent Anti-Homeschooling Summit

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Earlier this week, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) sounded the alarming news that a summit is taking place at Harvard Law School in June to discuss the “controversial practice” of homeschooling.

Although Harvard itself readily accepts homeschoolers, HSLDA’s Darren Jones reveals that The Homeschooling Summit: Problems, Politics, and Prospects for Reform will be conducted with a blatantly adversarial bias toward home education.

According to Jones, speakers will include:

  • Dr. Rachel Coleman, founder of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education and co-founder of Homeschooling’s Invisible Children. She is expected to reiterate her organization’s views that homeschooling must be more firmly regulated by the government. Proposed regulations include a call for annual evaluation of every homeschooled student.

  • Samantha Field, author of “Meet HSLDA, The Most Powerful Religious-Right Lobby You’ve Never Heard Of.” The article starts by declaring, “The Home School Legal Defense Association has fomented a culture of suspicion and wild conspiracy theories that may put children in danger.”

  • Carmen Longoria-Green, litigation counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Green’s 2015 Note for the Georgetown Law Review describes the current homeschool environment as “massively deregulated” and suggests that states should set up a process where homeschooled students could petition a judge to force their parents to send them to public school. (Educational Empowerment: A Child’s Right to Attend Public School, 103 Geo. L.J. 1089) Such a process is necessary, she told the Washington Post, because “It’s unreasonable to expect children to be their own advocates … You need a forum where an outside person looks at the situation and says, ‘Is this person meeting educational outcomes?’ ”

  • Dr. Chelsea McCracken, who asserted in 2018 that “Research on homeschooled students’ academic performance has been hampered by the lack of data collected on homeschooled students in most states.”

  • Dr. Barbara Knox, who worked at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine as the head of the hospital’s Child Protection Program until 2019, when she voluntarily resigned while under investigation for alleged unprofessional acts including intimidation of her colleagues. She currently works with the Alaska Child Abuse Response and Evaluation Services, “a department charged with making medical determinations about whether a child has been abused or not.” Dr. Knox is a leader in the field of pediatric child abuse medicine, a specialty that the Parental Rights Foundation contends can lead to doctors seeing child abuse “lurking behind every injury.”

  • James Dwyer, a law professor at the College of William and Mary. He is the professor famous for claiming that “The reason parent-child relationships exist is because the State confers legal parenthood …”. In his 1994 law review article “Parents’ Religion and Children’s Welfare: Debunking the Doctrine of Parents’ Rights” (82 Calif. L. Rev. 1371), Dwyer argued that “the claim that parents should have child-rearing rights—rather than simply being permitted to perform parental duties and to make certain decisions on a child’s behalf in accordance with the child’s rights—is inconsistent with principles deeply embedded in our law and morality.”

  • Professor Robert Reich, whose views on homeschooling can be best summed up by the title of his 2015 editorial in the New York Times: “More Oversight is Needed.”

The summit was organized by Dwyer and Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, who Jones says has previously recommended “a presumptive ban on homeschooling, with the burden on parents to demonstrate justification for permission to homeschool.”

preliminary agenda of the summit includes topics such as “Concerns With Homeschooling” and “The Current Politics: HSLDA Dominance and Tactics,” a discussion Jones says HSLDA would love to attend.

“Alas,” he says, “it’s invitation only, and the exact location is undisclosed.”

“However, we know that many parents homeschool to protect their children from abuse,” Jones adds, “so if you have questions about the summit, the website states you can contact Crisanne Hazen (chazen@law.harvard.edu) or call 617-496-1684.”

It is incredibly alarming that this summit would be conducted with such brazen bias, especially during a time when the novel coronavirus pandemic has forced many families to begin dipping their toes into a form of homeschooling.

As many other parents have resorted to homeschooling in order to escape vaccination mandates and the advance of the LGBT agenda into school curriculum, we can rest assured that enemies of liberty will come for our homeschooling rights. It’s not a matter of “if,” but “when.”

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