Toleration, parents rights, and childrens autonomy: The case of sex education. Josh Corngold

ISBN: 9780549852735

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207 pages


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Toleration, parents rights, and childrens autonomy: The case of sex education.  by  Josh Corngold

Toleration, parents rights, and childrens autonomy: The case of sex education. by Josh Corngold
| NOOKstudy eTextbook | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, audiobook, mp3, ZIP | 207 pages | ISBN: 9780549852735 | 5.62 Mb

A number of contemporary educational policy debates---debates about free expression on school grounds, exemptions from the required curriculum, and the regulation of private schools, for instance---raise questions about the scope and limits ofMoreA number of contemporary educational policy debates---debates about free expression on school grounds, exemptions from the required curriculum, and the regulation of private schools, for instance---raise questions about the scope and limits of toleration in a free and pluralistic society. In this dissertation, I examine and critique various normative political theories of education that address these kinds of debates.

I defend one, liberal republican theory against its competitors, and then explore its implications for a particularly controversial area of educational policy: sex education.-The theories at the center of my analysis differ, primarily, in the way that they prioritize the interests of different educational stakeholders in considering toleration-related educational dilemmas. Amy Gutmanns democratic republican theory gives primary consideration to the diffuse civic interests of society as a whole, including its interest in cultivating citizens who can deliberate about the common good under terms of mutual respect.

William Galstons liberal pluralism theory, on the other hand, prioritizes the expressive interests of parents and local communities in transmitting their particular values and beliefs to their children. And James Dwyers child-centered theory, as the name suggests, gives primary consideration to the developmental and welfare interests of individual children.-I argue that none of these theories represents an optimal balancing of the various interests at stake.

Instead, I promote an alternative, hybrid theory of education in the liberal democratic state---the liberal republican theory. The liberal republican theory is liberal first, insofar as it gives primary consideration to what children need, educationally, to lead flourishing lives as individuals. It is republican second, insofar as it also emphasizes the civic interests of society, seeking to promote those interests in ways that dont conflict with the developmental interests of individual children.

The liberal republican theory also makes certain concessions to the expressive interests of parents in the design of educational institutions and policies, but is averse to educational practices that contravene the childs prospective interest in autonomy.-In the latter part of the dissertation, I apply the liberal republican theory to the sex education debate.

I argue that in a free society parents must have the opportunity to present their own views about sex and sexual morality to their children. However, parents expressive interest in perpetuating that morality is not so powerful that it can override public health interests on the one hand, and the welfare and developmental interests of children on the other. The state should require that all schools provide their students with a comprehensive sex education that includes medically accurate information about contraception, reproduction and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Yet because children and teens have a basic interest in becoming autonomous, self-respecting adults, and because sexuality is an area in which they are particularly susceptible to manipulation, exploitation and abuse, state-mandated sex education must go beyond the merely informative to address the affective and conative dimensions of sexual decision-making. It must help children develop the emotional strength and social skills to make independent decisions about their sexuality---and insist that others respect these decisions---in the face of enormous pressure to do otherwise.



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