Derek Black


Education Isn't A Constitutional Right, But It Should Be

Without a federal check, education policy tends to reflect politics more than an effort to deliver quality education. It's time to affirm the right to learn in our country's most important document.

Public school funding has shrunk over the past decade. School discipline rates reached historic highs. Large achievement gaps persist. And the overall performance of our nation’s students falls well below our international peers.

These bleak numbers beg the question: Don’t students have a constitutional right to something better? Many Americans assume that federal law protects the right to education. Why wouldn’t it? All 50 state constitutions provide for education. The same is true in 170 other countries. Yet, the word “education” does not appear in the U.S. Constitution, and federal courts have rejected the idea that education is important enough that it should be protected anyway.

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