Misspelling and typos happen, but when you’re calling for millions of home educators to be disenfranchised while appealing to your own scholastic authority, you might want to make sure your content has at least been checked for errors.
In a vapid, poorly-researched article chock-full of tired anti-homeschooling clichés, for the May-June 2020 edition of Harvard Magazine, author Erin O’Donnell quotes heavily from Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Bartholet in calling for a presumptive ban on homeschooling.
We, along with a handful of others, have already shredded the content of “The Risks of Homeschooling,” which largely argues that homeschooling should be banned or oppressively regulated unless parents meet the burden of demonstrating their qualifications to educate their own children, but there are a couple more glaring—and hilarious—errors that aren’t found within the article itself.
In the original featured image of the article, the illustration by Robert Neubecker featured a child imprisoned in a small, boxy home made of books. At the time of first publication, one book’s spine read “ARITHMATIC.”
— China is lying (@jtLOL) April 19, 2020
In the event that even tweets featuring the original image disappear, here it is in all its wildly inaccurate glory:
If you were to try typing “arithmatic” into any word processor, you’d likely get the red underline of shame, indicating that you’d misspelled the word “arithmetic.”
To be fair, an error could be forgivable under other circumstances—this writer has had to fix typos after publication from time to time. It happens to the best of us. But again, we have to point to the irony that these people trust their own authority on education, and didn’t even catch this glaring error.
Of course, the original image has since been edited and likely won’t find its way into Mr. Neubecker’s portfolio, but, thankfully, it is forever enshrined in the Internet.
Perhaps the more obvious problem with Neubecker’s illustration, however, is the content itself.
As you can see, it features a lonely child locked up in her home, presumably limited to only learning reading, writing, arithmetic, and the Bible while other neighborhood children frolic about outside.
The only way this could even be a remotely accurate representation of “homeschooling” is if Neubecker were attempting to illustrate such tragic cases as that of the Turpin family. In our rebuttal, we outlined why this is not only a gross misrepresentation of the diverse array of homeschooling families, but it’s also factually inaccurate as children such as the Turpins suffered abuse while they were public-schooled with no change in outcome.
No, friends, this illustration does not accurately portray your average homeschooling family.
It does not remotely resemble the child who is free to pursue his or her interests, learn science firsthand from examining pond life or visiting a working farm, or blissfully scan library shelves for the week’s mountain of new books to consume. It does not represent the child who attends co-op or a school group, karate (or music or dance or horseback riding or any of the plethora of other extracurricular) lessons, or volunteers alongside their friends and family at local food cupboards or soup kitchens.
If anything, one might argue, the child caged in a room all day, bound by an inflexible curriculum, could more accurately represent the average child struggling to sit still in their desk at a public school for upwards of six hours each day.
And, as quarantines and lockdowns continue amid the coronavirus pandemic, it could be said that public-schooled children have tragically been forced into these same restrictive circumstances even while they are technically receiving their education at home.
Teach these ivory tower Ivy Leaguers a lesson and share this story far and wide.
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