Who should have control over education, is it the role of the state or the parents?

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Who should have control over education, is it the role of the state or the parents?

Values in Education:

Who should control education? The role of parents and the state

Who should control education, however, is played out in numerous, yet still contested ways. For instance, the issue of whether parents have a right to remove their children from compulsory schooling rises difficult questions of who is allowed decide what is best for the child. In the United States, many of these issues have turned into court battles. One such famous case, Wisconsin v Yoder, questioned whether the Amish parents were allowed to take their children out of schooling at the age of 15. The balance of parents’ rights to raise their children may be in conflict with the state’s protections to ensure that children have the ability to make informed judgments about how they wish to lead their life as future adults.

This lecture will examine the question of who should control education by reference to the adherents of state control of schooling and the proposal of a more democratic decision-making process.


Almond, B (1991) ‘Education and Liberty: Public Provision and Private Choice’ Journal of Philosophy of Education 25(2)

Archard, (2004- second edition) Children: Rights and Childhood. London: Routledge

Brighouse, H. (2006) On Education. London: Routledge.

Callan, E (1988) Autonomy and Schooling McGill: Queens University Press

Dwyer, J. (1998) Religious Schools v. Children’s Rights Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Gereluk, D. (2008) Should parents have a say in children’s schooling? In Richard Bailey (ed) An introduction to Philosophy, London: Continuum.

Gutmann, A (1982) ‘What’s the Use of Going to School? In Sen, A and Williams, B (eds) Utilitarianism and Beyond Cambridge: CUP

Haydon, G (1998) 50 Years of Philosophy of Education: Progress and Prospects London: Institute of Education

LaFollette, H (eds) Whose Child? Children’s rights, Parental authority and State Power Totowa: Littlefield, Adams and Co

*Reich, R. (2002) Yoder, Mozert, and the Autonomy of Children, Educational Theory, 52(4), pp. 445-462.

Skills: Proofreading, Report Writing, Research Writing

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