There is great uncertainty about the reopening of public schools in Texas this fall and what that will look like. Some are increasingly concerned as to how this could impact children. The Texas Education Agency will soon issue its recommendations but many families are looking for other opportunities.
In May, the Dallas Morning News editorial board invited THSC to sit down with them through a virtual meeting to talk about homeschooling. We had a great discussion about homeschooling in general across the country and also in Texas specifically.
We have also been assisting many families who have been homeschooling as a result of both public and private schools being closed due to the coronavirus. As we explained to the Dallas Morning News editorial board, we have had a number of success stories from these students and families.
In fact, some polls have shown that a significant number of these families are considering a permanent transition to teaching their children at home, as some students are now thriving. Some of these polls have also shown that attitudes toward homeschooling have become more positive.
Some weeks ago, Harvard published an attack on homeschooling by a law professor, who argued that homeschooling should be “presumptively banned.” The professor says that parents are authoritarian.
Although she acknowledges that most families are able to homeschool, she believes that families should only be allowed to do so if some government expert agrees. She is concerned that many Christians are homeschooling and keeping children from a “meaningful education.”
She also claims that there is a correlation between homeschooling and increased child abuse.
This position is so lacking in documentation that it has been roundly disparaged across the political spectrum. In response to the professor, Dr. Peter Gray wrote in Psychology Today: “On the basis of available evidence, it is absurd to believe that the total amount of hurt done to children would go down rather than up if homeschooling were outlawed.”
Harvard postponed their “Homeschool Summit,” an invitation-only event for persons who agree with the position that homeschooling should be strictly regulated. Some thought that perhaps the event was cancelled because of the strong opposition to this ludicrous stance.
However, just in case everyone didn’t get the message, Harvard has published two more articles discussing the “dark side of homeschooling,” arguing that there is a “strong connection between homeschooling and maltreatment.”
“The claim that homeschooling could lead to higher rates of child abuse is unfounded. In fact, three academics responded harshly to Bartholet’s conclusions, writing at EducationNext, ‘Professor Elizabeth Bartholet’s claims that homeschooling contributes significantly to the scourge of child abuse fail to survive scrutiny.’ Some research shows that homeschoolers are less likely to be abused than their schooled peers. And as I’ve written previously, physical and sexual abuse by educators is rampant in public schools, which Bartholet holds up as the gold standard. Still, Bartholet argues that homeschooled children could be abused because they are not in the presence of school teachers and administrators who are ‘mandated reporters’ of child abuse.”
Amid this renewed attack, a recent poll showed that 40 percent of people currently homeschooling due to school closures are more likely to homeschool after the coronavirus lockdown ends.
This is very likely what the teachers’ unions are so concerned about, as they have always opposed homeschooling. These unions are spending vast amounts of money on a public relations campaign to push for the reopening of schools and for increased funding.