This post is part of the series Education?
I have previously mentioned that education is not job training or knowledge acquisition. Education is the process of equipping citizens to pursue their goods in society. Sometimes adults need education, especially if they failed to receive an education or they received an incomplete or improper education. Most of the time, it is children that need to be educated. When we discuss children, we should think of how education relates to parents. It is the job of parents to ensure that their children are properly educated in the sense that I have outlined.
There are three reasons why this is is so. The first reason is that parents are responsible for the existence of their children. I realize that some children are adopted or raised by someone who did not give birth to them. In the ordinary and most common case, those raising the child are also those who gave birth to the child. I am including both mothers and fathers because reproduction takes two people. Generally speaking, if we create something, then we are responsible to take care of it. There are cases where we cannot, and cases where what we created does not require someone to take care of it. However, children always require someone to take care of them. In most cases, those who give birth to children are capable of taking care of them. Now a part of taking care of children is training or educating them. Therefore, it is parents who are responsible for educating children.
The second reason is that this method of educating children gives the best kind of responsible caregiver that can be given. I realize that some parents are not irresponsible. Some people who are not parents are good at taking care of children as a part of their job. Such things are generally exceptions though. The structure of having parents take care of children ensures two very important things. First, parents will have a heavy emotional investment in their children. They will be with their children from birth and spend a large amount of time with them. Second, parents will know their children very well. They will know what goods their children are pursuing, and how to encourage them through education. It is these two things that make them better than any other means of taking care of children.
The third reason is that this places education within the sphere of other things that it is related to. Parents are responsible for more than just education. They are also responsible for providing for their child’ s needs. Education is just one of those needs. By integrating all of these needs in one unit (the parental unit), the child has a clear direction for who to turn to. The child also knows that caring for bodily needs (food) and mental needs (education) are linked. False barriers between various parts of life do not appear as easily. Finally, education’ s goal is preparing an individual to pursue their good. Their good needs both learning and character development to be pursued. One cannot separate these things and have a good education. But parents are already responsible for character development. Therefore, parents must also be responsible for education.
Continue reading this series:
Education and the State