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Elizabeth Bartholet

  • How homeschooling’s rise during the pandemic has impacted traditional school enrollment

    May 22, 2023

    Since the start of the pandemic, homeschooling has been on the rise with an estimated 30% increase in enrollment since the beginning of the 2019…

  • When universities become ‘safe spaces’ from free speech

    April 4, 2023

    An op-ed by Elizabeth Bartholet: Recent events at Stanford Law School are a sad sign of the state of academia. Students screamed sexual and other…

  • We can do better for American Indian children

    December 7, 2022

    An article by Elizabeth Bartholet: The Supreme Court heard arguments recently in Brackeen v. Haaland, a case that challenges the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act.

  • Wooden gavel on conference table in a law firm.

    ‘In pursuit of an atmosphere in which ideas can be followed without fear that you’ll be punished’

    December 6, 2022

    Professors Jeannie Suk Gersen and Janet Halley lead the Academic Freedom Alliance, an organization that protects the rights of faculty to speak or publish without fear of sanction or punishment.

  • Gov. Baker responds to Gov. Sununu letter accusing Massachusetts judge in case of missing Harmony Montgomery

    January 20, 2022

    Gov. Charlie Baker weighed in on the outrage and questions surrounding the disappearance of 7-year-old Harmony Montgomery and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s accusations against a Massachusetts judge in the case. ... “I do not think it's the appropriate response,” said Elizabeth Bartholet, a Harvard child welfare expert. Bartholet said Baker and the legislature know enough already to change current state policy, which she said too often gives unfit biological parents the benefit of the doubt.

  • Boston Public Radio full show: Jan. 19, 2022

    January 20, 2022

    Juliette Kayyem on BPR ... Blair Miller and Elizabeth Bartholet discussed the state of adoption laws and child welfare amid the disappearance of Harmony Montgomery. Miller is a Boston Channel 25 reporter and the adoptive father of Harmony Montgomery’s brother. Bartholet is the Morris Wasserstein Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School and faculty director of the Child Advocacy Program.

  • Homeschooling increases nearly 40% in Virginia, in part due to COVID and CRT concerns

    January 11, 2022

    The number of homeschoolers in Virginia has increased by nearly 40% since 2019, making up about 5% of Virginia’s total public school enrollment. There are now around 62,000 homeschoolers in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Education. That number is down slightly from more than 65,500 homeschoolers during the 2020-2021 school year. ... In April 2020, a Harvard law professor wrote in Harvard Magazine calling for a ban on homeschooling, claiming that the “dangerous” practice isolates children and fails to prepare them for participating in a democratic society. “The issue is, do we think that parents should have 24/7, essentially authoritarian control over their children from ages zero to 18? I think that’s dangerous,” Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Bartholet said in the article. Homeschooling continues to remain popular, however.

  • Do-it-yourself education is on the rise

    January 3, 2022

    Chemay Morales-James founded the homeschooling collective My Reflection Matters in 2016, to provide resources and connections for parents raising children of color, like her two biracial sons. Initially, the Connecticut mom kept her organization small and local, but that changed during the pandemic, when public schools across the country closed their doors and held classes online. “We had an influx of families,” says Morales-James. “They saw things they didn’t like over Zoom. They felt the education was cookie-cutter, making everyone fit into this box, whether it’s going to work for you or not. The camera revealed a lot, from racial nuances — how Black and brown children are policed — to just the lack of creativity.” ... The homeschooling trend might push schools to try new things, but some argue that it also comes with serious hazards. Elizabeth Bartholet, a professor at Harvard Law School who studies child welfare, supports “a presumptive ban on homeschooling” with exceptions only for parents who can demonstrate a legitimate need. At present, few US states have testing requirements, teacher certification, or even required subjects for homeschoolers. Bartholet credits the lack of oversight to a long-running lobbying campaign that Christian conservatives launched in the wake of mid-20th century efforts to desegregate and remove religion from public schools.

  • Amy Coney Barrett’s Comments Urging Adoption Over Abortion Deemed Unrealistic By Activists

    January 3, 2022

    Comments made by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett regarding abortion alternatives are drawing ire from activists. As abortion rights continue to be debated around the country, Barrett said in early December that women with unwanted pregnancies with no access to abortions do not necessarily have to be forced to raise the child. Instead, she argued, the mother could give birth to the child and then place the child up for adoption. However, both abortion and adoption activists say that it is not that simple. ... "It's ridiculous to say it's no problem to eliminate abortion — just place the kids for adoption," said Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Bartholet. "It's not going to be an emotion-free nonevent. There's going to be bonding and connection, and a sense that it's an unnatural act to give your child away."

  • What Amy Coney Barrett’s Roe v. Wade Remarks Get Wrong About Adoption

    December 14, 2021

    Abortions aren't necessary because women can always give their babies up for adoption. That was the argument Justice Amy Coney Barrett appeared to be making during oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization earlier this month. ... Experts and researchers told Newsweek that Barrett's argument ignores the burden of forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term, and minimizes the impact that placing a baby up for adoption can have on birth parents as well as the children involved. ... Elizabeth Bartholet, a professor at Harvard Law School, agreed that Barrett's remarks are "ignorant and misleading about the reality of the abortion decision." However, she noted that safe haven laws are "infinitely better than having such women feel pressured into abandonment of the baby in unsafe ways or, worst case, murdering the baby." But she pointed to disadvantages that include leaving a child "without any ability later in life to know who its forebears were."

  • Why more Black families are choosing to homeschool their children this fall

    September 2, 2021

    ...Nationwide, Black parents are reporting their challenging experiences with their kids in public, private and charter schools, prompting many to reconsider their educational options. Data show that, facing racism at school, bias from some teachers and curriculums that parents deem inadequate, more Black families than ever are choosing to home-school their children. ...Still, some parents and educators criticize home schooling. For example, last year in the Arizona Law Review, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet warned that a “lack of regulation in the homeschooling system poses a threat to children and society.” However, advocates like Taylor said home schooling, if done with deliberation, can allow parents to help their children reach their full potential.

  • Paying tribute

    July 14, 2021

    Retiring faculty Betsy Bartholet and Jerry Frug are celebrated by former students.

  • Boy standing in silhouette in a hallway

    A Q&A with homeschooling reform advocates Elizabeth Bartholet and James Dwyer

    June 28, 2021

    Homeschooling reform advocates Elizabeth Bartholet and James Dwyer discuss meaningful homeschooling regulations to prevent abuse and promote higher educational standards.

  • Woman sitting on the ground leaning against a granite column

    What Betsy built

    June 14, 2021

    Betsy showed that advocacy can be married with academia and modeled how to unapologetically take a stand.

  • young African American child holding his father's hand and looking up at him

    Evaluating President Biden’s first 100 days: Children and families

    April 30, 2021

    In evaluating President Biden's first 100 days, Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Bartholet says the president has been a champion for children and families, but she hopes he will also reform the current homeschooling regime .

  • American flag on the wall in the background; President Joe Biden at a podium with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sitting behind him.

    Evaluating President Biden’s first 100 days

    April 28, 2021

    As President Joe Biden approached his 100th day in office, Harvard Law Today asked faculty members and researchers from across Harvard Law School to weigh in on the new administration’s agenda, actions, accomplishments, and failures to date.

  • Bryan Stevenson

    October 7, 2020

    In the midst of America’s racial reckoning, this program provides inspiration from Bryan Stevenson, one of the country’s leading advocates for racial reconciliation, on what motivates him to continue the work toward justice. Featuring Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Bartholet.

  • 2020’s States with the Most Underprivileged Children

    August 26, 2020

    In an ideal world, all children would live worry-free and have access to their basic needs: nutritious food, a good education, quality health care and a secure home. Emotionally, they all would feel safe and be loved and supported by caring adults. When all such needs are met, children have a better chance of a stable and happy adult life. But in reality, not every child is so privileged — even in the richest nation in the world, and conditions are even harder for underprivileged children this year during the COVID-19 pandemic...Some states address the problems of underprivileged children better than others. To determine where children are most disadvantaged, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 27 key indicators of neediness. Our data set ranges from the share of children in households with below-poverty income to the child food-insecurity rate to the share of maltreated children. Read on for our findings, expert insight on how to improve conditions for children and a full description of our methodology...What measures can state and local governments take to ensure the stability of vulnerable children’s educational and social environment during this crisis? Elizabeth Bartholet: "Vulnerable children are seriously at risk with schools shut down. They are at risk both for not receiving adequate education and for abuse and neglect. Children who are less privileged in socio-economic terms are likely to be at the least privileged schools, which are doing the least adequate job in terms of home education. These children are disproportionately less likely to have access to online education. Children already at risk for abuse and neglect are not being seen by teachers if schools are shut down. This means they are not being seen by teachers and other school personnel who are mandated reporters under the law – required to report suspected abuse and neglect to child protective services (CPS). This is a major problem since teachers and other school staff are the largest groups of reporters of suspected abuse."