Heath Brown is an associate professor of public policy at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. He has worked at the U.S. Congressional Budget Office as an Education Research Fellow, at the American Bus Association as a Policy Assistant, and at the Council of Graduate Schools as Research and Policy Director. His mixed-methods research focuses on the intersection of education policy, nonprofit studies, and politics. He has published in the American Journal of Education, Policy Sciences; and the Journal of School Choice, In 2021, Columbia University Press published his book Homeschooling the Right: How Conservative Education Activism Erodes the State.
Homeschooling the Right
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.
Published January 2021
Columbia University Press, 2021
The Tea Party Divided: The Hidden Diversity of a Maturing Movement
Since the Tea Party exploded onto the American political scene, it has matured and changed, but the differences that now exist within the movement are largely unacknowledged. A more nuanced understanding is called for. Previous treatises have sought explanations for the rise of the movement and focused primarily on its early days. This book, in contrast, focuses on understanding the diversity within the party, challenging the notion that the Tea Party is a homogeneous political movement defined mainly by its ultra-conservatism, regionalism, and rigid political orthodoxy.
Published October 2015