A Communitarian Theory of the Education Rights of Students with Disabilities

Educational Philosophy and Theory 44 (10):1093-1109 (2012)
Abstract
There is a lack of writing on the issue of the education rights of people with disabilities by authors of any theoretical persuasion. While the deficiency of theory may be explained by a variety of historical, philosophical and practical considerations, it is a deficiency which must be addressed. Otherwise, any statement of rights rings out as hollow rhetoric unsupported by sound reason and moral rectitude. This paper attempts to address this deficiency in education rights theory by postulating a communitarian theory of the education rights of people with disabilities. The theory is developed from communitarian writings on the role of education in democratic society. The communitarian school, like the community within which it nests, is inclusive. Schools both reflect and model the shape of communitarian society and have primary responsibility for teaching the knowledge and virtues which will allow citizens to belong to and function within society. Communitarians emphasise responsibilities, however, as the corollary of rights and may require the individual good to yield to the community good when the hard cases arise. The article not only explains the basis of the right to an inclusive education, therefore, but also engages with the difficult issue of when such a right may not be enforceable
Keywords rights  education  inclusion  communitarianism  people with disabilities
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