Harvard shows itself as grotesquely greedy, hostile to parents and faith
(UPDATED. See below.) Harvard got some bad press today, and deservedly so. First, it turns out that even as Americans are standing in breadlines, Harvard got $9 million from taxpayers. Second, America learned that a Harvard professor thinks children must be pushed into public education to protect them from uneducated, abusive, religious parents.
Harvard University has a $40.9-billion endowment, the largest academic endowment in the world. This is separate from the tuition students pay to fund most of the college's day-to-day operations. The annual tuition for Harvard is currently $47,730, but fees, room, and board bring a year at Harvard to $72,000.
Harvard may be wealthier than half the countries in the world, but it's still greedy. When the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act sent $9 million in taxpayer money to Harvard, it accepted it:
Harvard University will receive nearly $9 million in aid from the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the Department of Education announced last week.
The CARES Act — the largest economic stimulus package in American history — was signed into law on March 27. It allocates nearly $14 billion to support higher education institutions during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Of the $8,655,748 Harvard is slated to receive, the government has mandated that at least half — $4,327,874 — be reserved for emergency financial aid grants to students.
The Department of Education will distribute the first $6.28 billion to colleges and universities to cover expenses such as course materials, technology, food, and housing students have incurred "related to disruptions in their education due to the COVID-19 outbreak," according to a April 9 press release.
Harvard's $40.9-billion endowment is subject to conditions. Still, it's impossible to believe that Harvard has no way to tap into that money to provide "emergency financial aid grants to students" without having to grab taxpayer money.
Greed isn't Harvard's only problem this week. An article in the latest issue of Harvard Magazine went viral today. It's entitled "The Risks of Homeschooling" and recounts ideas from Elizabeth Bartholet, the Wasserstein public interest professor of law and faculty director of the law school's Child Advocacy Program.
According to Bartholet, keeping children in the hellhole of an American home, one without credentialed parents and, quite possibly, with excess religion, is destroying a generation. The only way to save these children is to put them in public schools — you know, the ones that routinely fail American children.
Bartholet's most predictable complaint is that the 50 states don't impose strict rules on parents, thereby allowing people without the proper credentials to teach their own children. Another concern is that if children are kept at home, there's no way teachers can report suspected child abuse. If the state's not spying on you, you must be doing something wrong. As proof of this, Bartholet points to Tara Westover's memoir, Educated, about her childhood with survivalist parents who educated her minimally while off the grid. Apparently, one memoir is enough to indict an entire cohort of homeschooling parents.
For Bartholet, though, the worst thing is that homeschooling is...Christian!
But surveys of homeschoolers show that a majority of such families (by some estimates, up to 90 percent) are driven by conservative Christian beliefs, and seek to remove their children from mainstream culture. Bartholet notes that some of these parents are "extreme religious ideologues" who question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy.
These evil Christians have prevented legislators from following the more enlightened German and French legislatures, which have banned homeschooling entirely:
She views the absence of regulations ensuring that homeschooled children receive a meaningful education equivalent to that required in public schools as a threat to U.S. democracy. "From the beginning of compulsory education in this country, we have thought of the government as having some right to educate children so that they become active, productive participants in the larger society," she says.
In the United States, Bartholet says, state legislators have been hesitant to restrict the practice because of the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association, a conservative Christian homeschool advocacy group, which she describes as small, well-organized, and "overwhelmingly powerful politically."
"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," Bartholet says. "I think it's always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority."
The illustration supporting the article shows a sad homeschooled child, locked behind bars in a house made of books, watching public school children play. The books making up the house are "Reading," "Writing," "Arithmatic" [sic], and "Bible."
Ironically, Harvard was established in 1636 as a private institution to educate Christian ministers. It's still private, but now it feeds hungrily at the taxpayer trough and teaches its students to hate Christianity.
UPDATE: Following the uproar about the $9 million, Harvard announced on April 22 that it would not accept the money.