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The State’s Role and Individuals’ Rights

The State’s Role and Individuals’ Rights

(p.120) Chapter Five The State’s Role and Individuals’ Rights
James G. DwyerShawn F. Peters
University of Chicago Press

Complete state detachment from children’s education is not possible. Following explanation of this point, we construct a framework for reasoning about what proper form the state’s inevitable role in children’s development should take. We view the state not as an entity with its own interests but rather as an agent for society. Everyone wants the state to enact laws dictating with whom a child will have family relationships and laws empowering the persons whom the state has made a child’s legal parents to exert substantial control over the children’s lives. What people really disagree about is which legal powers, rights, and duties the state should give persons in the state-created legal-parent role, or in other words how much legal power and practical control over children’s lives the state should give parents. This chapter establishes principles for a normative framework for the relationship between parents and the state.

Keywords:   parental freedom, state control, legal parent role

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