Monday, 4 July 2016
Paula Rothermel and her dupes spread lies about me…
I seldom post on this blog these days, but when people circulate untruthful stories about me; I feel that I should at least set the record straight.
Paula Rothermel’s name is probably familiar to many home educating parents in this country. In the late 1990s, she conducted a piece of research which has been widely quoted by home educators ever since. Last year, a book was published by Dr Rothermel; a compilation of essays about home education. This book hasn’t sold well and the author apparently blames me for this. It is claimed that a poor review which I gave for the thing on Amazon has harmed sales. The Amazon listing may be found here;
Perhaps I should mention at this point that the publisher of this book, Palgrave Macmillan, approached me before agreeing a contract to elicit a professional opinion from me on the merits or otherwise of the thing. In my report, I pointed out that the references were a nightmare and that there were many factual inaccuracies. I suggested that these points might need to be dealt with if it was to be published. In the event, nobody bothered to correct any of the errors to which I drew attention and I posted a review of the book on Amazon.
I now find that Paula Rothermel is telling people that I have been dishonest in my review as part of some sort of personal vendetta against her; which is absurd. She had previously told the publisher, apropos of me, that, ‘The Select Committee condemned his contribution to the review on home education’. This is of course a bare-faced lie; as anybody reading the transcript of the select committee hearing can easily establish. Since I write non-fiction books for a living, making a false statement of this sort to a publisher was harmful to me. She went on to claim that I hated her and that she didn’t know why, since she had never met me!
The truth is that in the spring of 2009, Dr Rothermel contacted me quite out of the blue and asked for my advice about a developmental problem which afflicted her youngest child. I didn’t know her, but did my best to help. She told me all sorts of details about her life history and family circumstances. When I later criticised the methodology of the research which she had conducted, she became convinced that I was her enemy and threatened me with legal action. The whole business was very peculiar.
I would myself have been happy to forget all about this, except that a woman who evidently knows Rothermel is now dogging my footsteps on a Facebook group concerned with home education, to which I belong. It seems that all sorts of lies are being told by Paula Rothermel and since I have no idea where else these are being circulated, I thought that I would place this statement in the public domain; rather than being obliged to refute every individual claim being made about me by this woman and her friends.