Tolerance and Liberty: Answering the Academic Left's Challenge to Homeschooling Freedom
Should homeschooling be banned? Several scholars have argued that, to achieve a diverse and tolerant society, homeschooling and private education should be abolished or severely limited. Read Mike Farris’s response in the Peabody Journal of Education.Download article Here
Millions of children in the United States are educated in the home. Millions more receive their education from private institutions.
For parents, a common reason for seeking alternatives to public education is the desire to ensure that they receive instruction in accord with their religious beliefs. In many cases, these beliefs include exclusive claims about the nature of God, salvation, or morality.
Recently, several scholars have argued that, to achieve a diverse and tolerant society, homeschooling and private education should be abolished or severely limited. They have contended that “a liberal multicultural education,” which will expose children to different ideas and perspectives, is necessary for the preservation of democratic values. Homeschooling, they claim, leads to close-mindedness and intolerance because children are taught to affirm certain beliefs which imply that not all other traditions are equally valid.
The argument that homeschooling should be banned or severely restricted, however, relies on illiberal and intolerant premises that have already been discredited as inconsistent with our constitutional liberties. Although tolerance may be a valuable objective, it cannot be forcibly imposed by using the state's power to create philosophical homogeneity.
True tolerance and diversity require a constitutional commitment to liberty for all, not a “constitutional norm” of silencing the “intolerant.”