While many parents are leaving the struggling public education system behind, one internet personality is vilifying mothers who proudly homeschool. Keith Olbermann took to Twitter on Mother’s Day, but he had no interest in supporting mothers, families, or celebrations to honor maternal women. Instead, he ridiculed homeschooling mothers. This was in response to Fox News columnist, Bethany S. Mandel who homeschools her children and is an editor at Heroes of Liberty — a historical book series for children that teaches American values.
The comments exploded with witty retorts. From calling him out for his lack of understanding, to jokes about his own lack of education, the general consensus is that holding bias against mothers who homeschool is uneducated and flat-out rude. Many people were put off that Olbermann would tweet such a message at a mother on Mother’s Day, but Keith Olbermann’s body of work and his persona say it all.
His career started in sports journalism. He does not have any children, nor does he have any education experience. Based on his background alone, many are wondering: Why does this man think he knows anything about a homeschool curriculum, or parenting in general?
In October of 2020, Olbermann started a YouTube channel. Apparently during the pandemic sportscasting wasn’t necessary (as sports were halted), and so he decided to become a political commentator. This was a popular trend in 2020. Plenty of entertainers and personalities had time to explore new mediums. John Krasinski started a beloved channel that offered everyone “Some Good News.” Olbermann — being a sportscaster — decided to play a different game. His videos are a mixture of his old sportscasts, and politically charged arguments insulting conservatives.
Most people have never heard of this guy. In truth, his take on homeschooling and mothers who homeschool perfectly displays past biases that home educators faced, but also shines a light on the change in public opinion. What was once painted as an education path for religious extremists, parents who wish to shelter their children, or abusers is now being recognized for the many success rates that are being proven.
Despite Olbermann’s belief that homeschooling ruins children’s lives, children who are homeschooled have proven to show many advantages. Children who receive individualized at-home instruction are winning spelling bees, graduating early, and starting their own businesses. Before the public education system was created, homeschooling was common until minors were old enough to enter apprenticeships where they learned a useful trade, and so many historical figures — from Mozart to Abraham Lincoln to Albert Einstein up to Venus and Serena Williams and beyond —were often successfully homeschooled.
In truth, Olbermann’s tweet offered no validation. He gave no examples of lives ruined by homeschool tactics. He offered no links, no sources, and nothing but an outdated prejudice that many left behind when schools shut down in 2020 and parents realized just how beneficial one-on-one lessons are for students. His opinion was directed at a successful woman whose writing career has offered much more research and credibility than a childless sportscaster (who decided to start commenting on politics during a national crisis) could.