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Why Harry Brighouse is Nearly Right about the Privatisation of Education

Lookup NU author(s): Professor James Tooley


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Professor Harry Brighouse has written extensively against 'educational choice' reforms in England and Wales and in the USA, and has challenged the status quo of private school provision in England and Wales. This paper explores the extent to which his arguments are applicable to the more radical, but prima facie linked, concept of the 'privatisation of education', that is, where funding, provision or regulation of education are progressively moved away from the state to the private sector. The arguments address in particular the issues of autonomy-facilitating education and educational equality, suggesting that Brighouse's arguments that use these concepts are not powerful objections to the case for choice or privatisation. Indeed, it is suggested that there are several arguments in Brighouse's writings, concerning the virtues of efficiency, diversity and innovation, and the power of the 'mimicking effect' of parents who are not skilled choosers, that contain the kernel for an argument advanced elsewhere that defends, rather than opposes, the privatisation of education.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tooley J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Philosophy of Education

Year: 2003

Volume: 37

Issue: 3

Pages: 427-447

ISSN (print): 0309-8249

ISSN (electronic): 1467-9752

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/1467-9752.00337


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