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Getting Facts Straight

Getting Facts Straight

(p.159) Chapter Six Getting Facts Straight
James G. DwyerShawn F. Peters
University of Chicago Press

To reach a conclusion as to what stance the state should take toward homeschooling, given that there must be some law relating to the practice and that it is the state that makes laws, and bearing in mind that the state may dictate a child’s schooling only in a parens patriae role, we take this approach: first, we identify basic goods whose acquisition by children can be impacted by the nature of their schooling. Second, we consider whether some children actually do not need or benefit from those goods or have competing needs that might be more important. Schooling is most obviously about cognitive and intellectual development, acquisition of knowledge, interpersonal development, and identity formation. And because of children’s great vulnerability, school can pose a danger of or protection from maltreatment, and so where and how children are schooled can impact their basic physical, psychological, and emotional security. These important aspects of a child’s experience are largely determinative of a human’s ability to enjoy a fulfilling life. We consider each in turn, aiming to reveal where some parents or other individuals and the state might diverge in their attitude toward schooling.

Keywords:   basic goods, parens patriae, attitudes toward schooling

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