Molly Olmsted wrote in Slate about the role of Christian conservatives in promoting the home school movement. Their blunt instrument is fear. Public schools, they warn, will expose your children to all sorts of dangers: secular education, non-believers, bad children, teachers grooming your children to be gay or trans, indoctrination into radical ideas, exposure to books about racism. The list goes on and on.

It used to be considered an advantage of public schools that they introduced children to others unlike themselves. It prepares children to live in the world when they have friends who are of a different race, religion, ethnicity, or economic status. But this frightens the home schoolers.

The recent spate of school shootings gives them yet another reason to school their children at home.

She writes:

The morning after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the Federalist published an op-ed with the headline “Tragedies Like the Texas Shooting Make a Somber Case for Homeschooling.”

In the essay, the author immediately dismissed calls for gun control as petty and insincere, offering home-schooling as the true solution to keep children safe. “It is clear now from the long list of school shootings in recent years that families can’t trust government schools, in particular, to bring their children or teachers home safely at the end of the day,” the author wrote.

On first blush, the idea is somewhat understandable or, at least, relatable; it’s natural for parents to look for ways to protect their children. But then the author added, “The same institutions that punish students for ‘misgendering’ people and hide curriculum from parents are simply not equipped to safeguard your children from harm.”

And the “parental rights” political agenda emerged.

Many politically powerful conservatives promote home-schooling as a way to undercut or weaken the influence of public schools, and to shield their children from the liberalism they believe public schools foster. The Federalist was just one of anumber of conservative voices calling for home-schooling in the wake of the Uvalde tragedy. (And there were plenty of news stories about parents who were considering it.)

But the groundwork of the movement was laid by conservative Christians who have been working for years to siphon power from public schools, pushing both home-schooling and parental rights legislation at the state and federal level. It’s just that finally, their ideas are becoming mainstream.

As she shows, the home school movement has been building for decades, and its leaders will use any excuse to attack public schools.

There are many problems with home schooling, starting with the fact that most children will learn no more that their parents. Few parents are equipped to teach history, science, math, literature, and foreign languages. Schools have teachers who are expert in these subjects. Home schooling is a recipe for mass dumbing down. It is also a sure fire way to indoctrinate children into the religious beliefs of their families.

Several years ago, when I first wrote about a particularly noxious home school story, I was bombarded by dozens of comments from outraged home school parents. How dare I, they asked in indignation. They sincerely believe that they are right and everyone else is wrong. They are entitled to their opinion. It’s a free country.

So be it. I am not a state legislature or a federal judge. I think they are miseducating their children. That’s my opinion.