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University of Baltimore Law Review

Abstract

Homeschooling, the most extreme form of privatization of education, often eliminates the possibility of the child gaining the resources essential for success in adult life. It sacrifices the interests of the child to the interests of the parents, allowing them to control and isolate the child’s development. In addition, homeschooling frustrates the state’s legitimate interest in the child’s receiving a sound, diverse education, so that the child can achieve her potential as a productive employee and as a constructive participant in civic life. This Article uses vulnerability theory as a heuristic frame both to reexamine the dominant rhetoric of parental choice and to underscore the importance of a robust sense of state responsibility for the nature and content of education. It discusses the harms to the individual child and the larger society that might result when that responsibility is ignored. Finally, because privatizing education is often framed in economic terms, the final section argues that homeschooling is inefficient because competition in the market for education leads to market failure. For all of these reasons, homeschooling should be prohibited, as it is in many other countries.

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