Vanderbilt Law Review

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The need for a definition of the functions and goals of public education is a pressing problem in our society. American society is characterized by increasing alienation, weakening family ties, and waning church influence. The result is that education will play a greater role as one of the remaining institutions to help reach societal consensus and ensure the continued vitality of American democracy. Increasing controversy and litigation over students' and parents' rights in the educational process demonstrate widespread concern with the role of public education.' As the complexities of modern society increase and the public begins to believe American cultural values have become dysfunctional, school authorities and dissenting families come into conflict in their attempts to create order out of the apparent chaos." As a result, the judiciary has become involved in determining the rights of the various actors in the educational arena...

This Note traces the Court's development of a philosophy of education and the impact of that philosophy on students' participation in the educational process. Part II outlines three basic streams of educational thought and their impact on the roles of the school and student. Part III examines the Court's changing position on the proper function of education. Part IV analyzes Fraser and the Court's adoption of the cultural transmission model for education. Finally, Part V argues that the Court should have re-solved Fraser by applying the Tinker disruption standard, which properly allows maximum student involvement in the educational process without significantly hindering the socializing function of the public schools.

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