Who Should Make Decisions About Children's Education?

Authored by: Harry Brighouse , Adam Swift

Handbook of Philosophy of Education

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032000053
eBook ISBN: 9781003172246
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter suggests that answers to the question of who should make decisions about children's education depend on two kinds of consideration: consequentalist and non-consequentialist. Among the relevant consequences are educational goods – the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and dispositions conducive to flourishing – and distributive values. It identifies six educational goods and three distributive values and suggest that, from a consequentialist perspective, the answer to the question of who should make which educational decisions depends on who, in the particular context, is most likely to produce the best outcomes with respect to those goods and values. Parents’ rights, and children's rights, can be understood as non-consequentialist considerations that constrain the application of the consequentialist approach, and may offer different answers to the question.

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