Apr 2 2009, 7:08am
Well, perhaps in the US you might be considered so. But having grown up in a welfare state, your definition of kids' rights seems natural to me.
So you're not such a radical after all!
I do have a quibble with the terminology of "rights", though. I do not like the concept of natural rights at all, as if someone could just sit and idle around, but still has inalienable rights, by the mere fact of being born. But if you speak of society's obligations towards its members, I'm with you.
About education - I have my doubts. I agree with you that anyone should have the basic opportunity towards learning and self-betterment, but does that naturally include a college degree? To be more exact, how much does this include? The examples of Gates and Galois actually prove the contradicting theory - that people can achieve a lot without formal advanced education.
Arguably, today you need mainly to teach reading and writing skills, and knowledge on how to navigate the internet. As far as an opportunity for learning is concerned, that is nearly enough (at the first stages, you would need someone to coach the new user, and online avanced resources should also be available). Of course, there are plenty of reasons to prefer the old school system - education for morals and good citizenship, and a baby-sitter service; many are also concerned about preventing the kids from drifting into watching sex and violence all day, if let loose on the net (but then they end up breakin free in their teens, a period of life in which the raging hormones make this exposure far more dangerous!). But as far as the basic opportunity, what you call an "equal shot", is concerned - these basics would give it.
(And no, I'm not advocating the abolishment of public schools at all - I'm just airing my thoughts, a way of talking aloud to myself! For one thing, I do believe in value-orientated education, but am growing more and more frustrated with schools being nothing more than an information-feeding tube)
But I think higher education (higher than the standard, once you define it) is a privilege. It's a moratorium period, in which the student can choose what to learn and explore, and is not yet binded to the rigours of professional and of family life. As someone who has spent more time in such a moratorium than on any other period of my life, I am grateful for this privilege, and recognise it as such; the problem is that people who are granted this privilege do not appreciate it, and fail to see the duties which s/he should assume once the period is over. I can only hope I do.
And once we come to love - ah, here the rights-orientated discourse falls flat. How can you enforce this right? I agree, every child deserves love and care; but once again, this is an obligation on those whose duty is to take care of them.
"There's more to come yet, or I'm mighty mistook" - Tom
(This post was edited by sador on Apr 2 2009, 7:11am)