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Homeschooling the Right: How Conservative Education Activism Erodes the State, Heath Brown

Reviewed by John B. Holbein

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The rapid rise of homeschooling over the past five decades in the United States has for too long gone unnoticed in contemporary discussions of American politics. In Homeschooling the Right, Brown unfolds this vitally important but previously underexplored phenomenon of the rise of a network of parents, advocates, and partisan organizations that have lent their support to the homeschooling movement. Using a variety of data sources, interviews, and historical records, Brown outlines how the modern movement for homeschooling came about and, in so doing, outlines a broader theory of “parallel politics” that has come to increasingly encapsulate a small, but growing, group of actors aligned with the (predominantly) conservative-driven homeschooling movement. Leveraging a mix of policy feedback, policy diffusion, and historical institutionalism frameworks, Brown argues that “parallel politics” has been underappreciated in previous research and that this gap is previous research is unfortunate as, “Like a highway with a service road, homeschoolers have traveled apart from the traffic of the public sphere, but they have maintained regular opportunities to merge back in when they deem if advantageous to get where they want to do” (p. 20).

There is a lot to like about this ambitious book. First, though much of the source materi

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