Front Page Titles (by Subject) Public Schools vs. Privacy - Literature of Liberty, July/September 1978, vol. 1, No. 3
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Public Schools vs. Privacy - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, July/September 1978, vol. 1, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Public Schools vs. Privacy
“Values Education and the Right to Privacy.” Journal of Moral Education (UK), 7 (October 1977): 9–26.
Public schools have increasingly introduced formal moral education courses into the compulsory curriculum. Such courses, which require the student to disclose sensitive information, strongly disturb parents and civil libertarians. They contend that such disclosures violate the right to privacy of the student and his family. Is such opposition well grounded?
The right of privacy rests on the underlying values of personal autonomy, liberty, and fairness. This right, it is argued, is not absolute since the pragmatic needs of the state may require mandatory violation of privacy (e.g., to compel witnesses to testify in courts). In the school setting, three areas of information-gathering do not seem to violate privacy (understood as the right to withhold personal information): data on family demographics, on career choice, and on the ideas that are normally discussed in teaching literature and the sciences. These types of elicited information are legitimate because of an implicit contract between the school and the students which necessitates exchange of data for administrative or instructional purposes.
Four other areas of information-gathering in school, however, would violate the right to privacy: data on personal relationships within the family, and within peer groups, data on personal behavior and emotions, and beliefs on general philosophic or religious views.
On the basis of these different kinds of information-gathering we can distinguish between two methods of teaching values. The “values clarification” method violates a student's right to privacy by intrusively seeking information in the four banned areas. To overcome a student's tendency toward apathy or “overdissension” this first and illegitimate method demands disclosing personal values to clarify the content of the student's value choices. Such personal information should be sacrosanct. The second method of moral education, Lawrence Kohlberg's “moral development” technique neither violates privacy nor intrudes into the four areas of privileged information. Through discussing moral dilemmas and difficult choices moral reasoning is emphasized rather than content or conclusions. The aim of this licit technique is to ascend toward the upper levels of Kohlberg's six stages of moral reasoning.