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Title:Minority rights, liberal autonomy and North American Indian schools
Author(s):McDonough, Kevin Michael
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Feinberg, Walter
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Philosophy of
Abstract:Advocates of liberal education have traditionally expressed suspicion of tolerating, let alone supporting, separate schools designed to foster a particular religious or cultural identity because it is thought that such schools are likely to threaten the development of children's capacity for personal autonomy. This dissertation offers a philosophical defense of the following claim, which runs counter to these commonly expressed liberal suspicions: the values of a distinctively liberal society allow for, and under certain conditions require, the state to provide support (e.g., funding) to separate schools designed to reinforce minority cultural identities within a pluralist society. It is argued that liberal suspicions of publicly funded separate schools are unfounded in cases where such schools are more likely than the alternative form of public schooling (i.e., the common school) to promote children's autonomy. In particular, it focusses on the case of Indian demands for separate, publicly funded, tribally controlled schools. Thus, it is argued that the goals of education which are suited to liberal political morality actually support, under certain conditions, the provision of public funding to separate tribally controlled schools designed to promote a particular cultural identity. Nonetheless, these same goals impose substantial limits on the kinds of separate tribally controlled schools that a liberal state may support. These limits may be summarized by saying that publicly funded separate Indian schools must respect children's autonomy, and the concomitant capacity for imaginatively exploring ways of life alien to one's inherited cultural traditions. These limits also entail that a liberal state must impose regulation on publicly funded separate tribally controlled schools, for example in the form of teacher training and control of curricula and textbooks. Finally, the implications of the liberal arguments for providing public support to tribally controlled schools are explored in relation to the claims of other groups to publicly funded separate schools.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 McDonough, Kevin Michael
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9512482
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9512482

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