Monday, July 17, 2017

The Compromise That Secured a Constitutional Right To Education - Education Law Prof Blog

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The Compromise That Secured a Constitutional Right To Education

In my forthcoming article, The Constitutional Compromise to Guarantee Education,
Stanford Law Review, I argue that, contrary to popular belief, our federal constitution does protect a right to education.  I base the argument on congressional debates, state constitutional conventions, and the new state constitutional amendments that states passed in the conjunction with ratifying the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  
On one hand, the right lays in plain sight.  On the other, it has been overlooked due to the complexity of the ratification process and subsequent historical events that sought to overturn the substance and effect of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The abstract offers this summary:
Although the Supreme Court refused to recognize education as a fundamental right in San Antonio v. Rodriguez, the Court in several other cases has emphasized the possibility that the constitution might afford some protection for education. The Court, however, has never explained why the constitution should protect education.

New litigation is attempting to capitalize on the Court's sympathy toward education, but convincing the courts will still require a compelling affirmative constitutional theory. This Article offers that theory, demonstrating that the original intent of the Fourteenth Amendment was to guarantee education as a right of state citizenship. This simple concept has been obscured by the unusually complex ratification of the Amendment. But this article, relying on primary sources, reveals that providing public education was a condition of southern states' readmission to Union and was incorporated into the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. As a right of citizenship, this Article also theorizes that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits states from partisan and other illegitimate manipulations of educational opportunity--some of which have continued to this day.
Read the full draft here.
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