Homeschooling the Right

How Conservative Education Activism Erodes the State

Homeschooling the Right
Heath Brown
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Paperback
h229 x 152mm - 264pg
12 Jan 2021 US
International import eta 10-30 days
9780231188814
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For four decades, the number of conservative parents who homeschool their children has risen. But unlike others who teach at home, conservative homeschool families and organizations have amassed an army of living-room educators ready to defend their right to instruct their children as they wish, free from government intrusion. Through intensive but often hidden organizing, homeschoolers have struck fear into state legislators, laying the foundations for Republican electoral success. 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. Drawing on decades of county data, dozens of original interviews, and original archives of formal and informal homeschool organizations, this book is a groundbreaking investigation of the politics of the conservative homeschooling movement.
In this fascinating and informative book, Heath Brown examines how the homeschooling movement has produced far-reaching and powerful political effects. By permitting people to opt out of public life, homeschooling has contributed to social sorting and polarization, and its supporters have constructed a formidable parallel set of institutions and civic organizations. Brown' s insightful analysis illuminates how conservative policy achievements yield enduring feedback effects that are transforming the public sphere. -- Suzanne Mettler, coauthor of Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy How do groups frame issues to their own members, and separately to policy makers and the broader public? How did the word ' freedom' come to mean separating oneself from public education, public neighborhoods, and public services? What is the nature of the broad right-wing parallel network of social and political institutions? Brown' s comprehensive analysis of the development of the homeschooling movement addresses these questions and many more. It is a model of policy history. And it is alarming. -- Frank R. Baumgartner, author of Agendas and Instability in American Politics In detailing the political, institutional, and social apparatus that has grown up around homeschooling, Brown shows how a parallel politics emerged that simultaneously withdraws from and undermines the public sphere. The significance of this study provides crucial insights into the deep political fault lines of our current moment. -- Adam Sheingate, author of Building a Business of Politics: The Rise of Political Consulting and the Transformation of American Democracy In this exciting book, Heath Brown enlarges our understanding of conservative public policies and their relation to American political development, helps situate the homeschooling movement within the larger ' New Right' enterprise, and offers a novel theory of conservative freedom policies as they operate through and outside of the state. -- Kristin Goss, author of The Paradox of Gender Equality: How American Women' s Groups Gained and Lost Their Public Voice Homeschooling the Right has implications that go well beyond education politics and policy, shedding light on the interplay between organized interests, social movements, party coalitions, and public policy. It is also essential reading for anyone interested in the development of the modern conservative movement. -- Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, author of Politics At Work: How Companies Turn Their Workers Into Lobbyists
Heath Brown is associate professor of public policy at the City University of New York, John Jay College, and the CUNY Graduate Center. His books include Immigrants and Electoral Politics: Nonprofit Organizing in a Time of Demographic Change (2016) and The Tea Party Divided: The Hidden Diversity of a Maturing Movement (2015).

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