Do parents unfairly advantage their children by paying for private schooling, reading aloud to them at bedtime, or homeschooling them? Just when you thought you (as a parent) were doing something good, philosophers construe it to be bad.
Professors Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift got themselves into a heap of trouble – with some observers – with their book Family Values: The Ethics of Parent-Child Relationships and articles like the following:
We wrote Family Values because we had both worked on justice in education and argued for strict limits on what parents could legitimately do to purchase advantages for their children (e.g. paying for elite schooling). But we did not object to parents reading bedtime stories or spending time with their children, even though that also creates unfair inequalities. To explain the difference, we needed a general account of parents’ rights, of what parents should and shouldn’t be free to do to, with and for their children. That led us to the fundamental question of why children should be raised in families at all. Why not in communes or state-run childrearing institutions?
Read more here.