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Saving Democratic Education from Itself: Why We Need Homeschooling

Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 88, No. 3

Peter L. Glanzer, Baylor University


We need homeschooling to save education in a liberal democracy from taking a religious form—what I call Democratic Education. Democratic Education emerges when the democratic identity and narrative become elevated to the highest priority when thinking about educating human beings. This elevation becomes particularly dangerous when other nonpolitical ends and aspects of our humanity are ignored, downplayed, or, worse, delegitimized. This article argues that three signs of this danger currently exist in educational theory and practice. First, Democratic Educators are offering a reductive view of human persons in which undue focus is placed upon those skills or educational justifications that relate to students’ political identity and capacities. Second, the liberal tradition of education that seeks to show justice to the diversity of narratives or comprehensive reasonable worldviews that exist in America is being undermined. Third, educational alternatives outside the public system are attacked by Democratic Educators and even considered politically problematic. If we want to recover more human forms of education, we need to reinvigorate more pluralistic forms of humanistic education, such as homeschooling, that nurture philosophies and practices of education that allow for a wider focus upon human flourishing. Ultimately, this is why liberal democracies need homeschooling.


Perry L. Glanzer (B.A., Rice University; M.A., Baylor University; Ph.D., University of Southern California) is Associate Professor of Educational Foundations at Baylor University. He is the coauthor with Todd Ream ofThe Idea of a Christian College: A Reexamination for Today's University (Cascade, in press), Christianity and Moral Identity in Higher Education (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009), Christianity and Scholarship in Higher Education (Jossey-Bass, 2007), and The Quest for Russia's Soul (Baylor University Press, 2002). In addition, he has published more than 40 journal articles and book chapters on topics related to religion and education, and moral education.