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Evaluating Parental PowerAn Exercise in Pluralist Political Theory$
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Allyn Fives

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784994327

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784994327.001.0001

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Sharing lives, shaping values, and voluntary civic education

Sharing lives, shaping values, and voluntary civic education

(p.222) 10 Sharing lives, shaping values, and voluntary civic education
Evaluating Parental Power

Allyn Fives

Manchester University Press

When we consider civic education, we are led to ask whether parents have a right to share a way of life with their children and whether the State may justifiably shape the values of its future citizens. And when we try to answer these questions, we may on occasion have to deal with tensions and conflicts between respecting diversity and protecting adults’ rights to religious freedom, promoting the autonomy of the adults children will one day, and protecting the liberty of children. It is indeed the case that parents should not be permitted to sacrifice their children’s future autonomy for the sake of their (the parents’) religious beliefs, and nor should children’s license be permitted to undermine the project of education itself. But nonetheless, there are cases where we should accept some sacrifices in respect of future autonomy so as to better protect the liberty of children or their parents. For instance, in some cases we should allow children greater freedom to influence the design and delivery of civic education classes and to opt out of certain aspects of those programmes, if in doing so we guarantee gains in children’s liberty; and we should allow parents to remove their children from civic education classes, for short periods, and so as to engage in religious ceremonies, so as to respect diversity and protect parents’ right to liberty.

Keywords:   Civic education, autonomy, diversity, liberty

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