In Loco Parentis and the Politically-Directed Music Curriculum – Philosophy of Music Education Review – article

In Loco Parentis and the Politically-Directed Music Curriculum

William M. Perrine | Philosophy of Music Education Review


The pedagogical aim of liberation, as drawn from critical pedagogy, poses significant philosophical problems. In this paper, I argue that the fundamental right to direct the education of children rests with the family situated within a particular local community. This authority is then delegated to the state through the institution of the school via a social contract that can be described as in loco parentis. Advocating liberation as a universally appropriate educational good encourages teachers to violate this social contract by seeking to free children from family and community attachments deemed to be repressive within the context of a particular form of moral reasoning. Music educators utilizing the language of critical pedagogy thus adopt the framework of a contestable philosophical tradition that in turns instrumentalizes the music curriculum, subordinating the study or creation of music to external social goals. Instead, I argue that seeking to liberate children engenders political proselytization due to its imperative in converting children from one philosophical tradition to another. I conclude that directed efforts towards liberation should be avoided in the music classroom, that parents have a right to resist efforts to liberate their children, and that music education should prioritize artistic over political ends.


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