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Me for Quillette: Not just homeschooling–Elizabeth Bartholet and her pals want to shove every kid in America into a public school

May 25, 2020

In her Arizona Law Review article, the eye Bartholet cast upon public-school alternatives was almost as cold as that she cast upon homeschoolers who eschew every form of organized schooling:

“Some private schools pose problems of the same nature as homeschooling. Religious and other groups with views and values far outside the mainstream operate private schools with very little regulation ensuring that children receive adequate educations or exposure to alternative perspectives. Policymakers should impose greater restrictions on private schools for many of the same reasons that they should restrict homeschooling. Moreover, it would be deeply unfair to allow those who can afford private schools to isolate their children from public values in private schools reflecting the parents’ values, while denying this possibility to those unable to afford such schools.”

“Views and values far outside the mainstream,” “exposure to alternative perspectives,” “isolate their children,” and “schools reflecting their parents’ values” are the operative terms here. Underlying them seems to be the assumption that the main purpose of education isn’t to teach young people reading, writing, and arithmetic but to instill—or at least “expose” them to—certain “views,” “values,” and “perspectives.” It is equally important that those “views and values” be “mainstream”—which seem to be the fashionable preoccupations of the liberal professoriate: feminism, LGBTQ issues, global warming, racial oppression, and “diversity” of every variety except the ideological kind.

It is worth noting, for example, that several major public school districts—in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., among other cities—either actively encouraged or promised leniency to students who skipped classes on September 20th, 2019, to join a “global strike” demanding government action on “climate change.” Astonishingly, some 3,500 public schools peremptorily adopted the New York Times’s controversial but Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project” magazine special into their curricula, even though its historical accuracy was vehemently contested by many academic historians. Are we to assume that this is what is meant by the “mainstream” in the world of public education?

Read the whole thing here.

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