by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
John Oliver is calling on states to crack down on homeschoolers after millions of parents fled the public school system and its Covid-19 lockdown panic in favor of education at home.
In a 24-minute monologue on Monday night, the “Last Week Tonight” host lectured his audience about the alleged dangers homeschooling poses and begged the government to regulate families that choose to keep their kids out of public schools. Oliver claimed state intervention is necessary because homeschooling parents regularly exploit their freedoms to abuse and neglect kids.
There’s nothing wrong with a good homeschooling joke routine, but Oliver’s “think of the children” screed was anything but funny. A laugh track roared in the background as Oliver relied on overgeneralizations and stereotypes to justify his call for states to surveil and interfere in homeschooling families’ lives.
Oliver assured listeners that if his government investigation plans didn’t work out, he would settle for statewide homeschool registries.
“That is how low the bar is here, at the earth’s core. Which I’m sure, according to at least one homeschooling textbook, is somewhere between soil and the fiery bowels of hell,” Oliver quipped.
Oliver correctly identified that there are a multitude of reasons families choose to homeschool including disabilities, safety concerns, and convenience for military families. (His personal favorite homeschooling demographic appears to be the “growing number of black parents opting to homeschool due to whitewashed curriculums and zero tolerance policies at schools that disproportionately criminalized their kids at an early age.”)
By the end of his segment, however, Oliver managed to reduce the whos and whys of the homeschooling community to the pack of dinosaur- and homosexual-fighting farm kids depicted in “Men Girls.”
“The ceiling of how good homeschooling can be is admittedly very high but the floor of how bad it can get is basically nonexistent,” Oliver said.