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ERIC Number: EJ1043709
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0160-7561
Conscience in the Curriculum, Not Opted Out of It
Stitzlein, Sarah M.
Philosophical Studies in Education, v45 p74-82 2014
A small, but growing, number of states have legislation that protects the conscience of parents by allowing them to opt out of teaching practices and content. Most notably, HB 542 in New Hampshire allows parents to opt their children out of the teaching of any material or through any pedagogical style that they find "objectionable" to their conscience, though parents are not required to provide a reason for objecting and their identities can be shielded from public record if they make such a request. Also, at the expense of the parent, the teacher or school must construct an alternative curriculum that is suitable to the parent while still meeting state requirements in the relevant subject area. More recently, rather than rely on judicial decisions after-the-fact, parents have become active in shaping legislation that allows them greater control over the content and delivery of the curriculum. These laws challenge educational philosophers to reconsider the definition of conscience, including its understanding as an educational product and its role in shaping curriculum. The author questions whether the laws rightfully enable the parent to safeguard one pre-selected vision of the good life over the child's opportunity to learn about multiple and conflicting visions. She examines the impact of classrooms being deprived of certain viewpoints due to conscience legislation, especially those that run counter to mainstream content. Finally, she considers how this move jeopardizes future production of a deeply pluralistic public capable of interacting across differences of belief.
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Hampshire
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A