Whatever the merits idealized liberal accounts of citizenship education may have in the seminar room, in this essay I argue that they are both unpersuasive and ineffectual. This is the case, because they are insufficiently attentive to the empirical realities, first (a) with respect to how real – versus imaginary – school systems function; and second, (b) with respect to the broader political context in which citizenship education policies are implemented. Because so much is already known about the former, I (...) devote more attention in this essay to the latter. (shrink)
There is a loud and persistent drum beat of support for schools, for citizenship, for diversity and inclusion, and increasingly for labor market readiness with very little critical attention to the assumptions underlying these agendas, let alone to their many internal contradictions. Accordingly, in this book I examine the philosophical, motivational, and practical challenges of education theory, policy, and practice in the twenty-first century. As I proceed, I do not neglect the historical, comparative international context so essential to better understanding (...) where we are, as well as what is attainable in terms of educational justice. I argue that we must constructively critique some of our most cherished beliefs about education if we are to save the hope of real justice from the rhetoric of imagined justice. (shrink)
In this book I offer a critical, comparative and empirically-informed defense of Islamic schools in the West. To do so I elaborate an idealized philosophy of Islamic education, against which I evaluate the situation in three different Western countries. I examine in details notions of cultural coherence, the scope of parental authority v. a child's interests, as well as the state's role in regulating religious schools. Further, using Catholic schools as an analogous case, I speculate on the likely future of (...) Western Islamic schools. (shrink)
The issue of voting rights for older children has been high on the political and philosophical agenda for quite some time now, and not without reason. Aside from principled moral and philosophical reasons why it is an important matter, many economic, environmental, and political issues are currently being decided—sometimes through indecision—that greatly impact the future of today’s children. Past and current generations of adults have, arguably, mortgaged their children’s future, and this makes the question whether (some) children should be granted (...) the right to vote all the more pressing. Should (some) children be given the right to vote? Moreover, does the answer to this question depend on civic education, on whether children have been deliberately prepared for the exercise of that right? These are the questions that will occupy us in this article. Our answer to the first will be that older children—children roughly between 14 and 16 years of age1—ought to be given the right to vote. (shrink)
The manner in which individuals hold various nonevidentiary beliefs is critical to making any evaluative claim regarding an individual's autonomy. In this essay, I argue that one may be both justified in holding nonrational beliefs of a nonevidentiary sort while also being capable of leading an autonomous life. I defend the idea that moral instruction, including that which concerns explicitly religious content, may justifiably constitute a set of commitments upon which rationality and autonomy are dependent. I situate this discussion against (...) the backdrop of a minimalist notion of autonomy. I then consider the case for nonrational beliefs, examining the difference between those whose content is objectionable on evidentiary grounds and those that are immune to verification. Next, I consider the indoctrination/moral instruction distinction through examining the various ways in which indoctrination is defined. I also consider the role that value coherence plays in shaping our identities, paying particular attention to fundamental commitments as defined by our respective families, cultures, and communities. Finally, I argue that individual psychology is central to our ability to assess the outcome of an upbringing purported to be indoctrinatory, and I emphasize the important role that experience and agency play in enabling us to evaluate our beliefs. (shrink)
In this article I argue that while an attachment to one's country is both natural and even partially justifiable, cultivating loyal patriotism in schools is untenable insofar as it conflicts with the legitimate aims of education. These aims include the epistemological competence necessary for ascertaining important truths germane to the various disciplines; the cultivation of critical thinking skills ; and developing the capacity for economic self‐reliance. I argue that loyal patriotism may result in a myopic understanding of history, an unhealthy (...) attitude of superiority relative to other cultures, and a coerced sense of attachment to one's homeland. (shrink)
For many, it is far from clear where the prerogatives of parents to educate as they deem appropriate end and the interests of their children, immediate or future, begin. In this article I consider the educational interests of children and argue that children have an interest in their own well-being. Following this, I will examine the interests of parents and consider where the limits of paternalism lie. Finally, I will consider the state's interest in the education of children and discuss (...) a familiar view that argues that we have a central obligation to cultivate good citizens. The article will focus on the tensions which inevitably arise from the sometimes conflicting interests between them. (shrink)
In this article we challenge the notion that diversity serves as a good proxy for educational justice. First, we maintain that the story about how diversity might be accomplished and what it might do for students and society is internally inconsistent. Second, we argue that a disproportionate share of the benefits that might result from greater diversity often accrues to those already advantaged. Finally, we propose that many of the most promising and pragmatic remedies for educational injustice are often rejected (...) by liberal proponents of “diversity first” in favor of remedies that in most cases are practically impossible, and often problematic on their own terms. We argue that schools that are by geography and demography not ethnically or socioeconomically diverse still can successfully confront the obstacles that their students face in creating a life they have reason to value. (shrink)
In this paper we aim to demonstrate the enormous ethical complexity that is prevalent in child obesity cases. This complexity, we argue, favors a cautious approach. Against those perhaps inclined to blame neglectful parents, we argue that laying the blame for child obesity at the feet of parents is simplistic once the broader context is taken into account. We also show that parents not only enjoy important relational prerogatives worth defending, but that children, too, are beneficiaries of that relationship in (...) ways difficult to match elsewhere. Finally, against the backdrop of growing public concern and pressure to intervene earlier in the life cycle, we examine the perhaps unintended stigmatizing effects that labeling and intervention can have and consider a number of risks and potential harms occasioned by state interventions in these cases. (shrink)
In this paper we provide a defence of cosmopolitanism from a liberal perspective, examining its moral underpinnings, including moral obligations predicated on a belief in common humanity and the fundamental dignity of human people, cultural capacities that include an embrace of pluralism and a fallibilist disposition, and pragmatist resolve in finding humanitarian solutions to real problems that people face. We also scrutinise the ideal of cosmopolitanism by considering the ‘deeply religious’ as the sort of people about whom it may be (...) said that irreconcilable tensions exist between certain types of commitment and/or belonging and what the demands of cosmopolitanism involve. (shrink)
In this article we aim to open a new line of debate about religion in public schools by focusing on religious ideals. We begin with an elucidation of the concept ‘religious ideals’ and an explanation of the notion of reasonable pluralism, in order to be able to explore the dangers and positive contributions of religious ideals and their pursuit on a liberal democratic society. We draw our examples of religious ideals from Christianity and Islam, because these religions have most adherents (...) in Western liberal democracies that are the focus of this article. The fifth and most important section ‘‘Reasonable pluralism and the inclusion of religious ideals in public secondary schools’’ provides three arguments for our claim that public schools should include religious ideals, namely that they are important to religious people, that they are conducive for the development of pupils into citizens of a liberal democracy, and that the flourishing of pupils as adults is advanced by encountering religious ideals. We also offer a more practical reason: religious ideals can more easily be included within public education than religious dogmas and rules. (shrink)
In this article we defend a moral conception of cosmopolitanism and its relevance for moral education. Our moral conception of cosmopolitanism presumes that persons possess an inherent dignity in the Kantian sense and therefore they should be recognised as ends?in?themselves. We argue that cosmopolitan ideals can inspire moral educators to awaken and cultivate in their pupils an orientation and inclination to struggle against injustice. Moral cosmopolitanism, in other words, should more explicitly inform the work that moral educators do. Real?world constraints (...) on moral action and the need to prioritise one?s sometimes conflicting responsibilities will often qualify cosmopolitan justice as supererogatory. This fact does not absolve persons from aspiring to see themselves as having the moral obligation to help others in need, while recognising that their factual obligations are more modest in being bound by what they are actually able to do. (shrink)
In this paper we carefully study the problem of liberty as it applies to school choice, and whether there ought to be restricted liberty in the case of homeschooling. We examine three prominent concerns that might be brought against homeschooling, viz., that it aggravates social inequality, worsens societal conflict and works against the best interests of children. To examine the tensions that occur between parental liberty, children's interests, and state oversight, we consider the case of homeschooling in the Dutch context.
In this article I examine two basic questions: first, what constitutes a gifted person, and secondly, is there justification in making special educational provision for gifted children, where special provision involves spending more on their education than on the education of ‘normal’ children? I consider a hypothetical case for allocating extra resources for the gifted, and argue that gifted children are generally denied educational justice if they fail to receive an education that adequately challenges them. I further argue that an (...) adequately challenging education is essential to human flourishing, but that most children can be adequately challenged in schools in ways that promote flourishing without doing so at the expense of other children. (shrink)
Many parents cite intimacy as one of their reasons for deciding to educate at home. It seems intuitively obvious that home education is conducive to intimacy because of the increased time families spend together. Yet what is not clear is whether intimacy can provide justification for one’s decision to home educate. To see whether this is so, we introduce the concept of ‘attentive parenting’, which encompasses a set of family characteristics, and we examine whether and under what conditions attentive parents (...) risk loss of intimacy by sending their children to school; or, alternatively, whether they can avoid this risk by educating children at home. What we will determine is whether families who exhibit the specified characteristics are prima facie justified in educating their children at home under the conditions of interest. We argue that, for attentive parents, home education not only promotes greater intimacy, but also provides insurance against the loss of intimacy that may occur under certain conditions when children attend schools. (shrink)
An education for cultural coherence tends to the child’s well-being through identity construction and maintenance. Critics charge that this sort of education will not bode well for the future autonomy of children. I will argue that culturally coherent education, provided there is no coercion, can lend itself to eventual autonomy and may assist minority children in countering the negative stereotypes and discrimination they face in the larger society. Further, I will argue that few individuals actually possess an entirely coherent identity; (...) rather, most of us possess hybrid identities that lend themselves to multiple, not necessarily conflicting allegiances. (shrink)
In this article the author will investigate the extent to which Bhikhu Parekh believes that a person's cultural/religious background must be preserved and whether, by implication, religious schooling is justified by his theory. His discussion will explore—by inference and implication—whether Parekh's carefully crafted multiculturalism, enriched and illuminated by numerous practical insights, is socially tenable. The author will also consider whether, by extension, it is justifiable, on his line of reasoning, to cultivate cultural and religious understandings among one's own children. Finally, (...) the author will contend that Parekh, notwithstanding his cautious, even‐handed approach, commits several important errors, including conflating the culture of the parents with that of the children and insisting that cultural and religious persons ought to be allowed to defend their views in the public square on religious grounds. (shrink)
This article argues that while an attachment to one's country is both natural and even partially justifiable, cultivating loyal patriotism in schools is untenable insofar as it conflicts with the legitimate aims of education. These aims include the epistemological competence necessary for ascertaining important truths germane to the various disciplines; the cultivation of critical thinking skills ; and developing the capacity for economic self‐reliance. The author argues that loyal patriotism may result in a myopic understanding of history, an unhealthy attitude (...) of superiority relative to other cultures, and a coerced sense of attachment to one's homeland. (shrink)
In this article, I make a philosophical case for the state to fund religious schools. Ultimately, I shall argue that the state has an obligation to fund and provide oversight of all schools irrespective of their religious or non-religious character. The education of children is in the public interest and therefore the state must assume its responsibility to its future citizens to ensure that they receive a quality education. Still, while both religious schools and the polity have much to be (...) gained from direct funding, I will show that parents and administrators of these schools may have reasons to be diffident toward the state and its hypothetical interference. While the focus of the paper is primarily on the American educational context, the philosophical questions related to state funding and oversight of religious schools transcend any one national context . (shrink)
In this paper I argue that self respect constitutes an important value, and further, an important basis for equality. It also argues that under conditions of inequality producing segregation, voluntary separation in the educational sector may be more likely to provide the resources necessary for self respect. A prima facie case of voluntary separation for stigmatized minorities when equality as equal status and treatment is not an option under either the terms of integration or involuntary segregation is defended.
As we push headlong into the twenty-first century, increasingly stringent demands for citizenship issue forth from governments around the world faced with a formidable assortment of challenges. Shrinking budgets, weakening currencies, and worsening unemployment top the list. Migration and population mobility also continue to reshape and redefine how governments and their citizens understand and respond to the demands of citizenship. Long-established markers of national identity seem anachronistic, as do attempts to restore time-honored ‘‘norms and values’’ with a view to promoting (...) social cohesion. (shrink)
In this article I offer a critique of certain moral perspectives that are found in the second edition of Engelhardt’s Foundation of Bioethics. These views are spelled out in explicit detail in his second edition, and follow on the heels of a profound religious conversion. I question some of the conclusions that Engelhardt reaches as they touch upon moral frameworks, pluralism, and a ‘secular’ bioethics.
In many Western countries the pressure exerted on immigrants to integrate has become intense in recent years. Efforts to preserve their ethnic identity through multicultural recognition has now been replaced by the requirements of active civic participation and assimilation. Of course integration is considered important not only for the immigrant parents but also for their children. The central question in this article is whether there is a relationship between the degree of integration of the immigrant parents and the generation of (...) their children on the one hand and the level of language and numeracy achievement of the children on the other. To answer this question we use data collected in 2008 from the Dutch COOL5–18 cohort study. The information comes from more than 9000 immigrant and 16,000 indigenous children and their parents. The results show that as immigrant parents are better integrated and their children are of later generations, the language and numeracy skills of the children improve, though there remain large differences in achievement between different ethnic groups. (shrink)
This volume represents a rich multi-disciplinary contribution to an expanding literature on citizenship, identity, and education in a variety of majority and minority Muslim communities. Each of these essays offer important insights into the various ways one may identify with, and participate in, different societies to which Muslims belong, from the United Kingdom to Pakistan to Indonesia. Authors include Robert Hefner, Andrew March, Tariq Modood, Lucas Swaine, Matthew Nelson, Rosnani Hashim, Charlene Tan and Yedullah Kazmi.
In this essay I ask what educational justice might require for children with autism in educational settings where “inclusion” entails not only meaningful access, but also where the educational setting is able to facilitate a sense of belonging and further is conducive to well-being. I argue when we attempt to answer the question “do inclusion policies deliver educational justice?” that we pay close attention to the specific dimensions of well-being for children with autism. Whatever the specifics of individual cases, both (...) an attitude and policy of inclusion must permit parents to choose pragmatic alternatives, i.e., different learning environments, if educational justice is to remain the overriding goal. (shrink)
In this chapter, I develop a pragmatic defense of critical patriotism, one that recognizes the many personal and social benefits of patriotic sentiment yet which is also infused with a passion for justice. Though the argument is pragmatic given the ubiquity of patriotic sentiment, I argue that critical patriotism is able to reconcile a love of one’s country with an ardent determination to reform and improve it.
Selection within the educational domain breeds a special kind of suspicion. Whether it is the absence of transparency in the selection procedure, the observable outcomes of the selection, or the criteria of selection itself, there is much to corroborate the suspicion many have that selection in practice is unfair. And certainly as it concerns primary and secondary education, the principle of educational equity requires that children not have their educational experiences or opportunities determined by their postcode, their ethnic status, first (...) language, or family wealth. Indeed educational opportunities determined by unearned advantage or disadvantage offend against basic notions of fairness. But are public schools even permitted to select their students, and if so, how can selection procedures used by schools be best structured to achieve equitable ends? In this article we delineate, describe, and defend what we believe are the essential features of selection and also why we need to pay equal attention to both the outcomes and the processes leading to those outcomes. Provided the selection is motivated and guided by the right reasons, as well as appropriately monitored, we argue that selection can be equity promoting. (shrink)
In this essay I question the liberal faith in the efficacy and morality of citizenship education (CE) as it has been traditionally (and is still) practiced in most public state schools. In challenging institutionalized faith in CE, I also challenge liberal understandings of what it means to be a citizen, and how the social and political world of citizens is constituted. I interrogate CE as defended in the liberal tradition, with particular attention to Gutmann’s ‘conscious social reproduction’. I argue that (...) CE in practice does not operate on the bases of non-repression or non-discrimination, and has weak claims for legitimacy. In fact, CE in many forms reproduces social inequalities, and contributes to the expulsion of disadvantaged students from schools and from the ranks of recognized citizens. (shrink)
Whilst media and political rhetoric in Britain is sceptical and often outright damning of the (presumed) morals and behaviours of the White marginalized poor, our aim is to explore the conditions under which successful communities are nevertheless built. Specifically, we examine the features of community and stress its importance both for belonging and bonding around shared norms and practices and for fostering the necessary bridging essential for interacting and cooperating with others. In considering what it means to foster a community (...) that acts as a breakwater against the tides of stigma or disadvantage, we pay special attention to what we will call enabling conditions – essential features that communities either can or should be able to provide or that exist independent of communities and are indispensable for accessing opportunities in the wider society. We detail the dynamics of White poverty and exclusion before turning our attention to possible responses to these challenges. In searching for viable responses to stigma and disadvantage, we compare some different typologies of community presently available to the White poor in Britain and examine whether these are sufficient to satisfy the enabling conditions associated with more robust forms of group membership. (shrink)
Taking equality seriously means that we ought to consider the ways in which persons are not only unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged from the start – e.g., through genetic inheritance, wealth, or a parent’s educational background – but also how opportunities and rewards that result from these basic inequalities are later exacerbated in the distribution of goods and opportunities. The basic point of equality as a normative principle is not that everyone have similar things or achieve similar outcomes, that would be (...) undesirable both for reasons having to do with individual liberty as well as social need. (shrink)
Many liberals persist in the belief that school integration is an 'imperative'. Yet in this book I argue that school integration is not a proxy for educational justice. I meticulously examine the empirical evidence and demonstrate that in fact the opposite is more typically the case. I then articulate and defend the idea of Voluntary Separation, which describes the effort to redefine, reclaim and redirect what it means to educate under preexisting conditions of segregation. In doing so, I further demonstrate (...) how voluntary separation is consistent with the liberal democratic requirements of equality and citizenship. The position I defend is not opposed to integration but rather is a justified response to the daily experience of frustration and disappointment with a system that has failed members of marginalized groups for too long. I argue that most voluntary separation experiments in education, far from being motivated by a sense of racial, cultural or religious exclusion, are in fact driven among other things by a desire for a quality education, not to mention community membership and self respect. As such, voluntary separation represents a morally robust pragmatic strategy that is able to answer liberal challenges concerning involuntary stratification, ethnocentrism and democratic deliberation. (shrink)
In this paper the authors examine the role the Dutch gymnasium continues to play in the institutional maintenance of educational inequality. To that end they examine the relational and spatial features of state-sponsored elite education in the Dutch system: the unique identity the gymnasium seeks to cultivate; its value to its consumers; its geographic significance; and its market position amidst a growing array of other selective forms of schooling. They argue that there is a strong correlation between a higher social (...) class background and the concern to transmit one’s cultural habitus. They further speculate on the moral implications of state-sponsored elite education, both as it concerns the specific role of the gymnasium in the reproduction of social inequality as well as the curious tendency among its supporters to rationalise the necessity of its existence. (shrink)
Many philosophers argue that religious schools are guilty of indoctrinatory harm. I think they are right to be worried about that. But in this article, I will postulate that there are other harms for many individuals that are more severe outside the religious school. Accordingly the full scope of harm should be taken into account when evaluating the harm that some religious schools may do. Once we do that, I suggest, justice may require that we choose the lesser harm. To (...) simplify matters, I focus my attention on the stigmatic harm done to Muslims, and the role that Islamic schools might be expected to play in mitigating that harm. If the full weight of stigmatic harm is factored into the ethical analysis concerning Islamic schools, then I suggest that there are sufficiently weighty pro tanto reasons for Muslim parents to prefer an Islamic school over the alternatives, notwithstanding the potential indoctrinatory harm. (shrink)
In this paper, we offer a Leftist critique of standard liberal defenses of the public school. We suggest that the standard arguments employed by mainstream liberal defenders of the public school are generally inadequate because they fail to provide a credible representation of their historical object, let alone effective remedies to our current problems. Indeed, many of these narratives, in our view, are grounded in fantasies about what public schools, or teaching and learning, are or could be, as much as (...) they are grounded in the historical realities of public schools or the realities of so-called privatization. We speculate whether the self identification of the proponents of this cause as ‘progressive’ is not part of this ideological construction and if the underlying political agenda is not in fact more conservative. (shrink)
The aims of liberalism—which is often confused with value pluralism—are routinely challenged by persons whose primary commitments lie elsewhere. In his weighing the pros and cons of liberal democratic states versus an Islamic state, Ahmad Yousif has offered an impressive challenge to liberals, but in doing so has confused the aims of liberalism with the pre-liberal nation-state ideal. In this article, I will challenge his conclusions by demonstrating the competing aims of liberals without conflating them with the liberal state. Yousif (...) is right to draw attention to the inequities of Western liberal democracies, but I will contend that (a) wherever actually existing liberal democracies fail to show tolerance towards religious minorities, it is not the fault of liberalism, and that (b) Yousif’s counter ideal of an Islamic state is less than ideal. (shrink)
Notwithstanding some merits of Anderson's celebrated book, I demonstrate why she is wrong about integration being a proxy for justice. I offer a number of criticisms, not least of which her cherry picking the empirical evidence in order to make her argument; the absence of social class in her analysis of racial inequality, and thus her unhelpful homogenizing of 'black America'; and finally her perhaps unintentional, yet nevertheless very real and problematic, denigration of black space.
It is rare to find a book in political philosophy whose arguments successfully utilize both ideal and non-ideal theory. Rarer still does one find a book in political philosophy that takes seriously the proposition that the oppressed are not merely passive victims to injustice, but rather rational and moral agents, capable of making meaningful and informed choices concerning those things they have reason to value. Dark Ghettos does both.
One cannot adequately understand the persistence of the achievement gap, Darby and Rury argue, until one knows and understands the history that continues to inflict all varieties of dignitary harm on Black people. The authors deploy the phrase, ‘color of mind’, to describe the deeply embedded attitudinal and institutional norms that diminish the intellect, character, and conduct of Black students – norms with a long history that continue to poison the school system. There is, of course, no dearth of American (...) scholarship on these themes, and the reader may be forgiven for thinking she will encounter little that isn’t already known. Fortunately, however, the tack the authors take deviates in several important ways from most scholarship. (shrink)
In this essay I defend the following prima facie argument: civic virtue is not dependent on integration and in fact may be best fostered under conditions of segregation. I demonstrate that civic virtue can and does take place under conditions of involuntary segregation, but that voluntary separation—as a response to segregation—is a more effective way to facilitate it. While segregation and disadvantage commonly coexist, spatial concentrations, particularly when there is a strong voluntary aspect present, often aid in fostering civic virtue. (...) Accordingly, so long as separation provides the conditions necessary for the promotion of civic virtue, integration is not an irreducible good. (shrink)
In this paper I examine in detail the continued – and curious – popularity of religious schools in an otherwise ‘secular’ twenty-first century Europe. To do this I consider a number of motivations underwriting the decision to place one’s child in a religious school and delineates what are likely the best empirically supported explanations for the continued dominant position of Protestant and Catholic schools. I then argue that institutional racism is an explanatory variable that empirical researchers typically avoid, though it (...) informs both parental assessments of school quality as well as selective mechanisms many mainstream religious schools use to function as domains of exclusion. I then distinguish between religious schools in a dominant position from those serving disadvantaged minorities and argue that the latter are able to play a crucially important function other schools only rarely provide and hence that vulnerable minorities may have reason to value. (shrink)
There are many things that can be done to educate young people about controversial topics - including historical monuments - in schools. At the same time, however, we argue that there is little warrant for optimism concerning the educational potential of classroom instruction given the likely resistance from parents, the general absence of adequate training, the problematic nature of state-approved textbooks, as well as the institutional constraints under which most school teachers must labour. For these reasons, we think it best (...) to expand the scope of educational possibilities one is willing to consider. (shrink)
When are we morally obligated as a society to help the homeless, and is coercive interference justified when help is not asked for, even refused? To answer this question, we propose a comprehensive taxonomy of different types of homelessness and argue that different levels of autonomy allow for interventions with varying degrees of pressure to accept help. There are only two categories, however, where paternalism proper is allowed, be it heavily qualified. The first case is the homeless person with severely (...) diminished autonomy as a result of mental illness, and the second case is the homeless person who runs a risk of serious and imminent harm to self. In the first case, namely, that of soft paternalism, we argue that coercive intervention in the case of a refusal to accept help should be focused on the provision of housing that meets basic needs—needs that we outline in the article. In the case of imminent and severe harm to self, the case of hard paternalism, we argue that forced intervention can only be allowed if it is temporary and local, namely focused on getting someone out of harm’s way. (shrink)