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)
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)
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)
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 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)
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 book I argue that school integration is not a proxy for educational justice. I demonstrate that the evidence consistently shows 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 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 dit artikel onderzoek ik of de standaardbenaderingen van burgerschapsonderwijs in de Lage Landen geschikt zijn om jonge mensen voor te bereiden om de huidige politieke realiteiten tegemoet te treden, laat staan om onrecht te bestrijden. Ik laat zien waarom een nadruk op ‘democratische principes’ of de rechtsstaat de status quo waarschijnlijk niet zal veranderen zolang opvoeders er niet in slagen de aandacht voor de waarheid te cultiveren die nodig is om te kunnen oordelen over rivaliserende normatieve claims. Met name (...) op tolerantie gebaseerde interpretaties van burgerschap zullen weinig bereiken in afwezigheid van burgerlijke deugden – vooral moreel oordelen en morele moed – die nodig zijn voor dissent. Dissent omvat minimaal een bereidheid om de waarheid te spreken tegen de macht. Maar het ernstigste probleem betreffende burgerschapsonderwijs op school betreft de legitimiteit ervan, gegeven dat dat onderwijs gebaseerd is op een door de overheid opgelegd curriculum met als doel een gewenste respons op de boodschap ervan op te leggen en te conditioneren. Daardoor staat het per definitie vijandig tegenover dissent. (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 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)
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 interpretative frame of the state-approved history curriculum; the onerous institutional constraints under which school teachers must labour; the unusual constellation of talents history teachers must possess; the frequent absence of marginalized voices in these conversations; and (...) finally, the not unlikely indifference - if not outright hostility - expressed by far too many members of the dominant group. For these reasons, we think it best to expand the scope of educational possibilities one is willing to consider. (shrink)
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 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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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 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.
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 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)