The School of Public Policy welcomes Heath Brown, associate professor of public policy at John Jay College for a virtual discussion about his new book, Homeschooling the Right: How Conservative Education Activism Erodes the State.
In Homeschooling the Right, the political scientist Heath Brown provides a novel analysis of the homeschooling movement and its central role in conservative efforts to shrink the public sector. He traces the aftereffects of the passage of state homeschool policies in the 1980s and the results of ongoing conservative education activism on the broader political landscape, including the campaigns of George W. Bush and the rise of the Tea Party. Brown finds that by opting out of public education services in favor of at-home provision, homeschoolers have furthered conservative goals of reducing the size and influence of government. He applies the theory of policy feedback—how public-policy choices determine subsequent politics—to demonstrate the effects of educational activism for other conservative goals such as gun rights, which are similarly framed as matters of liberty and freedom. Brown draws on decades of county data (from Pennsylvania and seven other states), dozens of interviews, and original archives of formal and informal homeschool organizations.