Philosophy of Education

Meira Levinson argues that the classic liberal position, which sees parents as having the freedom to educate their children as they wish, is actually illiberal as it “disvalues the liberty of future citizens”. Do you agree? Discuss, with reference to the Supreme Court judgment in Wisconsin V. Yoder, and/or to contemporary education policy.


Education is often a highly sensitive and debatable topic in contemporary society. Particularly, educating children is viewed by those that value liberalism as being a way of preparing children to become global citizens in a world that is increasingly interlinked and interdependent. Yet the arguments advanced by education philosophers and judicial judgments provide precedence that present dilemmas regarding who is responsible for educating children and what children should be taught to become liberal adults (Mühlbacher & Sutterlüty 2019). Meira Levinson provides a classic liberal position that makes a philosophical case while the Supreme Court ruling in the Wisconsin v. Yoder case presents judicial precedence, both of which have been used to formulate education policies in the United States.  The position taken in this discussion is that the argument presented by Levinson about the illiberality of allowing parents to dictate the education of their children as they wish, is valid, convincing, and defensible. The argument extends to illustrate how this illiberality is supported by the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in the Wisconsin v. Yoder case in 1972 and continues to be reflected in the current education policies in the contemporary United States. As such, I agree with the argument brought forth by Levinson regarding why parental-driven education disvalues the liberties of future citizens. To illustrate my concurrence with the said argument, the discussion begins by interrogating the argument presented by Meira Levinson before delving into how the ruling in the 1972 Supreme Court ruling in the Wisconsin v. Yoder case supports the argument for the authority of the parents over their children’s education and its policy implications. Finally, a solution is presented recommending how this touchy subject should be addressed in the education policy to ensure that children’s value of liberty is nurtured into their future adulthood, as proposed by Levinson.

Meira Levinson’s Argument

As Meira Levinson presents her arguments in her 2002 book, The demands of liberal education, she explains the concepts of liberalism, autonomy, and paternalism as they are related to education. She puts together these three concepts in a myriad of contexts, one of which is in response to Rawls’ a political philosopher renowned for his political liberalism views. Levinson’s arguments presented hereafter are consistent with the two moral powers proclaimed by Rawls, regarded as having a sense of justice and the good. These presents are used to formulate argument about the rightfulness and goodness of having parents dictate their children’s education based on the consequences of such actions on the children later in adulthood in term of their freedom and autonomy.  


Levinson defines liberalism indirectly by explaining what a liberal school should be using the liberal theory and its role as a public institution in a liberal state. She posits that an ideal liberal school embodies pluralism by detaching the institution and its students from the families and communities in which they are located. She means that a liberal school cannot achieve its ideals if it is intimately connected to the families of the children learning therein or the communities in which they are located to avoid having undue cultural and perceptual influences that would promote heterogeneity of thinking. According to her, contemporary liberal theory comprised three components that explain her definition of liberalism, “the fact of pluralism”, “public legitimation process”, and “substantive liberal institutions” (Levinson 2002, pp. 9-10). Regarding the fact of pluralism, Levinson noted that liberalism aimed at facilitating a pluralist society which accepted diverse views rather than having people thinking uniformly. This situation promoted the freedoms of individual citizens, and their equality, diversity, and coexistence. In addition, based on Rawls’ perception of political liberalism, another fact of pluralism implies contactualism in which the establishment and operations of the state undergo a transparent process with free and equal participation of the public, leading to a consensus. She explained that this component underpinned the legality of a state governed by defined principles that protected the plurality of the citizens. Further, liberalism required substantive liberal institutions that promoted democracy by protecting individual liberties while defining the government’s duties. However, these three aspects of liberalism were irreconcilable and thus problematic in delivering true liberalism to society because they presented what Rawls called “burdens of judgment” (Levinson 2000, p. 17). The concept of judgmental burdens can be construed as the diversity of decisions made in a multicultural society in which different judging approaches leveraging the free application of human reasoning yield different outcomes (Zerilli, 2016). Nonetheless, these elements were critical for delivering autonomy in liberal schools. However, parents may be incapacitated in promoting liberalism either due to their lack of capacity of autonomy or due to the presences of divergent convictions that value beliefs other than those held by liberals.


Levinson explained that autonomy is a pertinent element of the liberal theory because it promoted individual qualities and capacities that were critical in fostering pluralism. She refers to the conceptualization of autonomy by Rawls, when she argues that autonomy can be a viable alternative to the three components of liberalism when their unification is untenable. In other words, when the three component of liberalism are challenging to unify and reconcile, the concept of autonomy can help unite them by invoking the right of self-determination. Specifically, Levinson (2002) argues that autonomy is valuable to a truly liberal citizen because it embodied the right to self-determination through which one was could conceptualize goodness and use that to judge others, in terms of their beliefs, values, and lifestyle choices. But Levinson’s caveat was that although someone could acquire and develop the capacity of autonomy needed to pursue ones conceptualization of the good and bad, the individual could select not to live autonomously on a liberal state because possessing such capabilities did not eliminate the individual’s right to free choice (2002, p. 29).

However, Levinson observed that children could not exercise autonomy because of their limited and still-developing decision-making capabilities. Besides, she noted that letting children make pertinent choices in the guise of promoting their rights and liberties was in itself perilous to their current and future wellness because they were likely to make wrong and irrational decisions. Nonetheless, she believed that autonomy is a journey rather than an event and children developed this capacity as their matured into adulthood (Mühlbacher & Sutterlüty 2019). Therefore, according to Levinson, it was pertinent to assess from time to time the progress that children made in acquiring the capacity for autonomy. For this reason, Levinson advocated paternalism 


Paternalism is the restricting of freedoms and liberties of an individual for his or her own good or benefit.  According to Levinson (2002), paternalism took the form of parents, guardians, and relatives of children, teachers, institutions, and the state. She argued that since children lacked the capacity of autonomy, they required a paternalistic intervention or support to nurture their decision-making capacity. However, although the liberal state often adopted a paternalistic stance on children, this presented controversies in education because some people opposed the government interfering with the parent’s right to raise their children. Unfortunately, Levinson contends that although the parents and state are well intended in lording over children’s education as a supposedly beneficial paternalistic approach, children often felt coerced by these agents because their interests were often not aired (Levinson 2002). Coercion results when the liberal state interferes with the autonomy development process of children.  In this regard, Levinson’s suppositions can be argued from the parent and state dimensions (Feinberg 2007). Levinson (2002, p. 57) argues that paternalism is coercive when the parents assume the right to nurture their children as they wish. This is because such an approach negates pluralism because it does not allow children to make choices about what they feel is best for them. In this case, by parents usurping the right to dictate the education of their children, they violate the pluralism principles and especially the liberties of the children, disvaluing their liberties as future citizens.  Similarly, the state is in a moral dilemma regarding the extent to which the parents can dictate their children’s education. According to Levinson (2002), parents do not have a right to dictate their children’s upbringing, including education, but rather, a privilege. This means that the state can usurp the role of the parents if the children suffer any harm in their parents’ custody. For instance, the state can take custody of children of abusive parents to prevent further physical and emotional harm. Either way, the parents and state are obliged to promote the development of the capacity of autonomy in children, albeit to different extents (Godwin 2020). Nonetheless, Levinson argued that while the state and parents have a moral duty to their children by nurturing pluralism, the parents acted illiberally when they dictated the lives of their children as they wished. This controversy among the parents and state as significant actors in the lives of children played out publicly during the Wisconsin v. Yoder case.

The Wisconsin v. Yoder case

The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in the Wisconsin v. Yoder case marked the culmination of several judicial attempts to entrench the rights of parents over their children above those of the state and its agencies (Hopson 2020). It pitted parents against the state in the matter of who could dictate the education of children, a controversy that Meira Levinson has attempted to address by taking the classic liberal position and using the contemporary liberal theory. This case demonstrates that the action of the respondents, the parents of the children withdrawn from school, was illiberal, based on Levinson arguments.

The parents of three students ascribing to the Amish community were accused of withdrawing their three children from school after attaining the 8th grade by the state of Wisconsin. They had violated the Wisconsin Compulsory School Attendance Law, which obliged all children in the state of Winscosin to attend elementary and high school and held parents and carers liable for preventing their children from attending formal education between the ages of 6 and 18 years. Although the law was well intended in ensuring that every child in the state of Wisconsin had a fair chance and broad opportunity to a good and productive life after compulsory education, the views of the Amish community went contrary to this notion. The local Green County Court had found Jonas Yoder, Adin Yutzy, and Wallace Miller in violation of the state law by withdrawing their three children, Frieda Yoder, Vernon Yutzy and Barbara Miller, from New Glarus High School and fined then $5 each (Wisconsin v. Yoder 1972). However, the three families launched a successful appeal against the ruling of the Wisconsin Supreme Court at the US Supreme Court. The final court ruling found that the religious convictions of the Amish Community overrode the educational requirement of the state of Wisconsin despite the Amish community violating the state law. In other words, religious considerations of the Amish community were sufficient to make the community exempt of laws that threatened to undermine their religious beliefs and lifestyle.

The United States Supreme Court delivered a majority ruling, although one judge presented dissenting views despite agreeing with the court’s decision while two members of the bench did not participate in the case’s consideration or decision. In its ruling, the Supreme Court found that the State of Wisconsin infringed on the first amendment rights of the Amish community (freedom of worship, religion, and expression) by forcing its members to attend school compulsorily and interfering with their right to practice legitimate religious beliefs (Wisconsin v. Yoder 1972). The court acknowledged that the Amish community was a responsible, law-abiding, self-sufficient, and successful member of the American society whose religious beliefs and practices did not place any societal burden. Therefore, the court found that not attending an additional two years of high school by the Amish students would not adversely affect their contribution and performance as American citizens. Instead, the court argued that the parents’ right to freedom of religion was overarching and not related to the first amendment rights of the children (Hopson 2020; Wisconsin v. Yoder 1972). Besides, it opined that the compulsory education law in the state of Wisconsin was premised on a historical basis of preventing child labor by keeping school-going children in school, which had been overtaken by time. As such, the law was not justifiable in the contemporary American society. These finding of the Supreme Court reinforce the notion of illiberality when children are denied an open education, as argued by Meira Levinson.

Yoder, representing the parents of the Amish children, and in turn, arguing for the Amish community and its way of life claimed that the Wisconsin Compulsory School Attendance Law violated their fundamental religious beliefs in the separation of the devote Christian community and the secular influences of the modern world by forcing them to expose their children to the influences of the contemporary world. Indeed, the Amish are some of the original European settlers that arrived in the United States in the 17th century seeking religious freedom that was restricted in their ancestral land. Like many other protestant Christian groups of the time that found Roman Catholicism illiberal and restrictive, they found the United States suitable for their divergent Christian views because it promised freedom and liberty at its formation. This assurance was guaranteed in the United States constitution through the first amendment, and particularly, the free exercise clause, which guaranteed the freedom to exercise religion freely, including parental rights to making important life decisions on behalf of their children such as religious upbringing and education (Hopson 2020). However, although the Supreme Court’s decision largely upheld these protections of liberties of minority American groups, such as the Amish community, its argument is faulty, causing Levinson to claim that letting parents decide whether or not and how to educate their children denied the children of liberties as future adult citizens and thus was illiberal, contrary to the founding values of the American state and the liberal world. The explanation of the faulty reasoning in the Landmark judicial ruling is made using the contemporary liberal theory advanced by Levinson, other related judicial decisions have been based on the Wisconsin v. Yoder case. Therefore I agree with Levinson’s view and its application in the Wisconsin v. Yoder case, as illustrated hereafter.

Firstly, I argue that the bench did not consider exhaustively the lifestyle of the Amish community to discern whether its practices advanced liberalism as a core concept in the American society. According to Levinson when applying the contemporary liberal theory, the members of a liberal state should be tolerant to diverse and divergent views, which is a characteristic of a modern society. Accepting and embracing varying identities, value systems, and conceptualizations of overall goodness commonly characterizing pluralism, was highly desirable in the cohesion of a modern multicultural state.  However, the Amish community had selected to isolate themselves from the American society, except for transactional rather that relational purposes, such as trading and in limited occasions, childhood education. Therefore, although the Amish were respected as significant members of the pluralist American society, even by the Supreme Court’s bar, I argue that their lifestyle did not reflect such commitment. Besides, although the Amish are considered as critical contributors to constituting the United States of America, being pioneer immigrant, they did not commit to the public legitimation process because they were not equal, free and courageous political participants of the American society that legitimized the American state. Their lifestyle was reclusive and they viewed the dominant American society and culture as endangering their existence by polluting their ideologies and worldview with modernity, which went contrary to their religious beliefs and practices. Levinson is right when she says that the Amish are illiberal in their practices and I concur by proclaiming that the courts erred by disagreeing with this position through their shortsightedness and incomplete analysis.

Secondly, I find that the Amish offered their children such limited education that it constricted the integration of the youngsters into the American society, stifling pluralism, which was critical for advancing liberalism countrywide. I find this to be against Levinson’s view about the pertinence of broad educational opportunities for advancing liberalism and autonomy. The court reasoned that the students had gathered sufficient education to enable them function as responsible and productive members of their Amish communities. It also argued that although the students had exited the plural education at the 8th grade, their educational journey was still ongoing because they would move on to vocational training that prepared then to be useful and productive members of their community. However, I feel that what the judges forgot to consider was the Amish Community was not as ambitions and forward-looking as the dominant contemporary American society. For this reason they often did not aspire to become anything more than farmers and small traders, despite being afforded the opportunity to schooling till high levels. Besides, I also believe that the Amish restricted the freedoms of their members by denying them the opportunity to exploit their interests and talents and restricting their ambitions through limited but indoctrinating education. Moreover, even though Amish children were educated in independent schools, the curriculum taught there targeted the perpetuation and preservation of the Amish way of life rather than being pluralistic. Consequently, Amish youth were ill prepared to become liberal global citizens in the future. In addition, the school teachers in the parochial Amish schools were young female teachers that had not surpassed the eighth grade themselves and therefore had not additional skills to pass over to their siblings. These teachers often started family life early after 2 or 3 years of teaching because the Amish community recommended that girls start their families early to avoid being caught up in worldly iniquities that would compromise their faith and lifestyle. In this aspect, Levinson’s views are echoed when Rawls provided a contactarian perspective of the effects of pluralism and legitimation of the state that indicated a constitutional democratic outcome in a liberal state (Levinson 2000, p. 10). However, I argue that the Amish did not satisfy these conditions because they abhorred modern technologies and spread the fear of the corruptibility effect of modern society, denying youngsters the opportunity to discover themselves through diverse opportunities and experiences. For these reasons, I conclude that the Amish did not deliver a plural curriculum to their children, thus stifling their opportunities to lead an autonomous and self-fulfilling life in future, as recommended by Levinson.

Thirdly, I think that the United States Supreme Court erred by not considering the Amish children as agents of a liberal nation. Instead, it prioritized the interests of the Amish community as a collective that selected to preserve and promote their conservative lifestyle, which were contrary to those of the State of Wisconsin of promoting liberal education to all American children. As such, I argue that the interests of the Amish children, who were being denied a liberal and open education by their community, were ignored totally in the arguments supporting the ruling. According to Levinson’s classic liberal position, the acquiescence of all participants, including children, is pertinent for the success of the liberal project (Levinson 2000, p. 10). In other words, substantive liberal institutions in a nation ensure that the liberal state promotes constitutional democracy by guaranteeing individual liberties and prescribing governmental obligations regarding education (Levinson & Solomon 2021). Therefore, according to Levinson’s argument, parents cannot be trusted to prescribe the best education of their children when they are of limited educational capacity themselves. Consequently, the government has a moral duty of ensuring that children benefit from a liberal and open education when their caregivers, primarily parents, have stunted capabilities. Therefore, although the court’s ruling acknowledged the parental primacy in raising their children as they wished, including deciding what kind of schooling to undergo for educational empowerment, the state of Wisconsin erred by not providing the Amish parents an alternative schooling mode, such as homeschooling, which would have allowed the Amish children attain a high school diploma and avail and expand their opportunities for greater freedom, autonomy, and liberty in adulthood (Reich 2016). This would have been consistent with the political liberalism advanced by John Raul, asserting that the state had a responsibility to promote individual freedoms and justice for all without advocating only one kind of life (Kotzee 2019, p. 438). I observed that instead, the state opted for litigation, underpinning its abandonment of its mandate as a responsible promoter of the liberal state. Besides, rather than consider the individual liberties and freedoms of children, as prescribed in article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which advocates prioritizing the best interests of the child when making decisions affecting children, the Supreme Court judges ignored this consideration. Although I find that this may be understandable because the United States is not a signatory to this convention for the fear that the American children could gain unrestricted access to antisocial behaviors, such as occults, gang activity, and controversial sexual behavior line pornography and abortion, it is an erroneous justification for absconding decisional inclusiveness by the state and its agents (Cohen-Almagor 2021, p. 6). I argue that these fears are shared with the Amish community, who rationalize their seclusion from the rest of the American society claiming that its members would acquire ideologies and behavior that would corrupt their beliefs and faith, and threaten the survival of the religious community. In all this, I argue that what the state, courts, and Amish community forgot is that some Amish youths may wish to exit the community and pursue independent, pluralist, and liberal lives of their own as individuals. Without a liberal education, which includes subjects and topics avoided by the Amish independent schools, such Americans would be disadvantage over the rest of the American society and therefore struggle with integrating into the dominant American secular culture. I feel that by denying such children the opportunity to pursue liberal goals as autonomous individuals, the Amish community, supported by the American judicial system, denied bona fide American citizens an opportunity for a liberal future by disvaluing their liberty through acknowledging that their parents had the exclusive and irrefutable right of educating children as they wished, which is actually illiberal.

Education Policy

Many countries in the western world, particularly the Unites States and United Kingdom proclaim to be liberal states and that this is reflected in their education legal provisions and policies. They believe that governments should not overreach their mandate to encroach into individual liberties such as parenting, which taking a commercial approach to education. In turn, for instance, in the United States, the constitution does not protect education as right, even under the 14th amendment, which prohibits the government from encroaching into the liberties and rights of people on the American soil. Consequently, education in the United States is regulated by individual states through stake laws, and policies, as prescribed in the 10th amendment (Dorsey 2020). This explains why basic education is compulsory in some states but not in others and why constitutional cases in education-related litigations are hardly in favor of the plaintiff as the education boards often end up settling monetarily out of court and having their cases dismissed (Dorsey 2020).

Therefore, it is not surprising that the reach of the State of Wisconsin in dictating whether or not parents are in-charge of the children’s education, was curtailed by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Wisconsin v. Yoder case by affirming that parents had every right to decide what kind of education their children could receive, provided that can be demonstrated to be intimately intertwined with the families’ religious beliefs (Wisconsin v. Yoder 1972). This is surprising because the founding fathers of the United States identified education as a liberating factor for the citizens in the young nation because it would help promote democracy and prevent authoritarian rule, and secure the individual liberties that American had fought for in a protracted civil war that led to the formation of the United States of America (Levinson & Solomon 2021). However, according to Levinson, these high ideals of securing and preserving the individual liberties are not evident in in the country’s education policy, including those of the United Kingdom. This is exemplified in the opening statements that Levinson makes in her introductory part of her book, The Demands of Liberal Education. For instance, she writes, “the more control a state acquires and exercises over education, the greater the potential for tyranny in that state” (Levinson 2002, p. 1). To exemplify the transformation of the united states into a diverse multicultural nation, Levinson (2002, p. 1) writes that, “Respecting diversity in a liberal society in part, means valuing parent’s freedom to education their children as the wish”. Besides, there is a trend towards commercialization of education and treating students like customers that should be equipped with employable skills rather than citizens with sound social and cultural values. Regarding this transformation, Levinson (2002, p. 1) writes, “Schools provide a service and product to patent and student consumers, as with any business, therefore, schools should be responsible for their consumers’ preferences and directly accountable to them”. If these are the directions that education in the United States has taken, then it is discernable about why using education to liberate children now and in their later adulthood is no longer the priority, demonstrating why empowering parents to dictate and control their children’s education is an illiberal. The education system in the United States is fragmented because there lacks a coherent educational policy. In turn, although public schools follow a prescribed curriculum, they were not held responsible for the students’ academic performance. Besides, private schools were free to develop their own curriculum, while independent schools were allowed to inculcate narrow beliefs and worldviews. Consequently, the success of the American educational policy in promoting liberalism, autonomy, and other vital life skills was suboptimal, yet state governments wanted to assume more authority of dictating the children’s education without guaranteeing sufficient competency acquisition, high-transition rate, and success in promoting individual autonomy critical for a liberal and democratic nation. Besides, the American public schools had failed in nurturing a civically-informed populace that respects personal and group freedoms, promotes democratic practices, prevents demagogues and oligarchs from rising to power, and nurtures liberalism and pluralism (Kahlenberg & Janey 2016). Recent politically-charged events, such as the storming of the Capitol during president Trump’s administration, the violent ‘black lives matter’ rallies, and increasing nationalistic tendencies in international trade are few examples that demonstrate that the dreams of the Founders of the United States, like Thomas Jefferson of creating and maintaining a free and liberal civilization are yet to be fully realized through education. No wonder the United States has succumbed to extremist ideological resurgence, increased intolerance towards the diversity presented by multiracialism, multi-ethnicism, multiculturalism, and multinationalism. These developments are evidence of the danger that passing sectarian rulings that address a national issue, such as the one passed in the Wisconsin v. Yoder case could undermine the prospects of what Levinson called a liberal nation without illiberalities.


After considering and supporting Levinson’s assertions and argument, the dilemma confronting the education sector in the United States and other liberal countries is clearer. However, there is an opportunity to remedy the situation to make education a pathway to a liberal future for all citizens regardless of their religious, cultural, and social convictions. A middle ground in which the state and parents cede their hard stances and collaborate in providing meaningful education to children is a viable alternative to the quagmire presented by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Wisconsin v. Yoder case, which supports Levinson’s classic liberal position regarding the parent’s illiberal role in children education. The state and parents share a sacred and moral duty of ensuring that children have the right start at education that prepares them for enjoying a liberal, just, and progressive nation. Similarly, they have a moral duty to avail as many educational opportunities as possible because they promote the development of an liberally-minded individual in childhood and later in adulthood, thus eliminating the illiberality present by transferring all the decision-making powers about children’s education to their free-willed parents. In this regard, although parents may have a legitimate concern over their children’s education early in life, they should allow the children to participate in decision-making in their educational matters as they grow older (Mühlbacher & Sutterlüty 2019). This is compatible with their developing capacity of autonomy as they mature and progress towards self-determination (Mullin 2014). Similarly, the government should create educational policies collaboratively by involving all the stakeholders, including parents and students. This is because the capacity of autonomy is a critical lifetime achievement deserved by all citizens living in a liberal state. The state should also support parents that are intellectually impaired and do not realize the liberating effect of a plural curriculum due to their stunted autonomy. In the same vein, as a country aspires towards a truly liberal state, individual liberties should be treated as inalienable rights available to all citizens, including children, particularly those related to acquiring and intellectually and morally enriching education (Kotzee 2019). In this aspect, a democratic government has a legitimate mandate of securing those individual rights legally and in practice.   


This discussion took to agree with the argument advanced by Meira Levinson in her book, The Demands of Liberal Education, in which she asserted that the classic liberal position, which sees parents as having the unrestricted freedom to educate their children as they wished, was actually illiberal as it “disvalues the liberty of future citizens”. The discussion explained why this position about the illiberality of parents usurping the authority of dictating the education of their children as they saw fit did not benefit children as future citizens. It used the United States Supreme Court’s judgment that upheld the rights of parents in the Amish Community to decide whether to place their children in public schools or any other formal school setup recognized by the United States or not, to support the illiberality of such freedom. This landmark ruling was erroneous because it overlooked several aspects of a liberal and plural society and its members that should have influenced the eventual outcome. The primal argument is that the Supreme Court let the Amish children to be disadvantaged by the education choices made by their intellectually impaired parents leading a conservative religious life, which the affected students may not wish to pursue in future. These children may have lost a valuable and irredeemable opportunity to a liberal, autonomous and individually-fulfilling life because they were denied a liberal curriculum for the fear of decimation the highly-religious minority community.

In addition, the discussion ventured into the ramifications of the landmark judicial decision of undermining liberalism using the education policies of countries that claim to be liberal states yet these policies disvalue the freedoms of most future citizens, which is the liberty of all persons, in their childhood and adulthood thereafter. In the United States, the educational policies were not guided by a constitutional provision, and therefore, not secured as a constitutional right and inalienable liberty. Similarly, the country was not a signatory to the United Nations convention securing the rights of children. Consequently, American children did not a constitutionally protected right to a meaningful education, meaning that the moral obligation and legal duty of the parents and state were ill-defined and ambiguous. For this reason, the danger of legally-protecting a selected group of the American society remained and the risk of perpetuating the illiberalities against future citizens because of their inability to make logical and long-lasting decisions in their childhood was still a reality in the liberal countries, including the United States. However, for a country like the United States, while is lauded for being a global beacon of liberalism globally, it is critical that it is seen to act practically, in addition to its political rhetoric.

Reference List

Cohen-Almagor, R 2021, ‘Can group rights justify the denial of education to children? The Amish in the United States as a case study’, SN Social Sciences, vol. 1, no. 7, pp.1-29.

Dorsey, D 2020, ‘Education is still (for now) not a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution’, Kansas Policy Institute. Viewed 29 December 2021,

Feinberg, J 2007, ‘The Child’s right to open future’ in Randall Curren (ed.) Philosophy of Education: an anthology, pp. 112-123, Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Godwin, S 2020, ‘Children’s capacities and paternalism’, Journal of Ethics, 24, pp. 307-331.

Hopson, CP 2020, ‘The family vs. the state: Protecting the rights of parents to raise and educate their children’, The Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy, vol. 18, p. 605.

Kotzee, B 2019, ‘Intellectual perfectionism about schooling’, Journal of Applied Philosophy, vol. 36, no.3, pp.436-456.

Levinson, M & Solomon, MZ 2021, ‘Can our schools help us preserve democracy? Special challenges at a time of shifting norms’, Hastings Center Report, vol. 51, pp. S15-S22.

Levinson, M 2002. The demands of liberal education. Oxford University Press.

Mühlbacher, S & Sutterlüty, F 2019, ‘The principle of child autonomy: A rationale for the normative agenda of childhood studies’, Global Studies of Childhood, vol. 9, no.3, pp. 249-260.

Mullin, A 2014, ‘Children, paternalism and the development of autonomy’, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, vol. 17, no. 3, pp.413-426.

Reich, R 2016, ‘Why homeschooling should be regulated’, Homeschooling in New View, Information Age Publishing, pp.133-143.

Wisconsin v. Yoder 1972, ‘406 US 205’, viewed 29 December 2021,

Zerilli, L M 2016. A democratic theory of judgment. University of Chicago Press.

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