Do Students Have a Constitutional Right to Education?

Students in Detroit filed a lawsuit in 2016 after attending a school with deteriorating conditions, inadequate teachers, and a lack of textbooks. These issues raised a big question—to what extent do students have a constitutional right to education? A Federal Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of the students. While the case only applies to the four states within the 6th Court of Appeals jurisdiction, the issue may soon be a national question if it reaches the Supreme Court.

Those who argue that students have a constitutional right to education contend that the skills that one learns in school are essential to civic life. For example, they argue that citizens in a free society need to be literate in order to participate in a democracy. This side tends to believe that the economic inequalities that prevent someone from receiving a good education violate his or her rights.

Those who argue that students do not have a constitutional right to an education argue that the Constitution itself is silent on this issue. This side also contends that while individuals should be able to have access to education in general, making it a right could have detrimental consequences. For example, it may impose a large financial burden on states as vast changes would need to be made. Instead, this side tends to believe that inequalities should be addressed through legislation, not by the judicial branch.

So, what do you think? Do students have a constitutional right to education? Students can either argue Yes, students have a constitutional right to an education; No, students do not; or something else!

Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:

-Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner

-Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers

-Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors

-Address counter-arguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner

-Are organized in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly

Current Standings:
Yes: 59%
No: 41%
  • Crawford from Texas

    We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. That they endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These are the guiding words of the Declaration of Independence, which is the precursor to the Constitution. The unalienable rights delineated by the Declaration of Independence are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How could any of these rights truly come into fruition without education. How could a nation, for that matter, endure to protect the rights of its citizens and their security if the people are uneducated? Let’s suppose that your are a son of a farmer and education is right that is ignored by the government. You live in a rural area so your access to schooling is sparse, and even if there was a school, your family could probably not afford it. You haven’t gained the ability learn any useful skills outside of farming and you’ve never had any access to go to school and experience other professions or learn history. Chances are, that you will just stick to farming because it is all you know, just like your father did and your father’s father did. Does that sound like you’ve been able to live, or experience liberty or pursuit happiness? No, the only outcome that scenario produces is a static nation where no industry is improved and no one other then the rich get education. America is the exact antitheses of that scenario. We live in a land where an immigrant born with nothing can work his way up through education to be what he wants to be and to pursuit his happiness. America had this discussion in the mid-1800’s when we decided that every child no matter of race or gender can get a education. Let’s not revert to the system we had in the early 1800’s. The Tenth Amendment gives the power of education to the states and rightly so. Just because the Federal Constitution doesn’t explicitly say something, does not mean that it isn’t a right. Every single state in the Union has it in their Constitution to require public education. So indeed it is a Constitutional right in every state. The Founders did not explicitly put education in the Bill of Rights for obvious reasons. They didn’t want the issue of how to educate the citizens to become under Federal jurisdiction so they gave that right to the states as they could better understand how to properly teach their students. For them it wasn’t a question of if the people should be educated, but rather how they should be educated. So they gave that power to the States while still intending that all children of America receive an education so this nation could prosper. The Founders knew the people had to be educated in order for the engine of democracy to roar. An uneducated populace is not fit for self-governance but rather it is ripe for a dictator. Imagine how easily a politician could abuse their power if the people didn’t even know basic math as it was like for most of the eighteenth century for many people. Freedom may only be preserved if the people know just as much as those trying to take freedom away. Finally, All men are created equal. And what is the Great Equalizer of man? Education, Education, Education.

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    • Yasmeen from California

      I believe that every students should have the right to determine their access to education. Educating the youth is what allows our nation to grow. Holding students back from not having the right amount of supplies, textbooks, resources, etc. takes away from valuable time. The skills and information that students learn in class, will be used throughout their whole lives. Having an education helps people think and behave in a way that allows them to think with knowledge and foundation. If students don’t believe they are getting the education they need, they have every right to express their feelings, because an education will be their foundation for everything.

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      I believe that every students should have the right to determine their access to education. Educating the youth is what allows our nation to grow. Hol…

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    • Cathleen from New York

      Good job. You changed my mind!

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  • Tayana from Pennsylvania

    I think every student has an right to an education that they should have a chance to learn something beyond them to become intelligent and better themselves in the world

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  • Blake from New York

    Education allows oneself to make critical decisions and develop ones own rhetoric based on the education one receives. Without education, people can lead one to believe anything they want them to.

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    Education allows oneself to make critical decisions and develop ones own rhetoric based on the education one receives. Without education, people can l…

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  • Brenda from Illinois

    Do students have a constitutional right to education.?
    Yes, I do think all kids living in the United States have the right to a free public education. And the Constitution requires that all kids be given equal educational opportunity no matter what their race, ethnic background, religion, or sex, or whether they are rich or poor, citizen or non-citizen. Over the years, the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution has had an enormous impact on protecting individual rights in public elementary and secondary education. This has occurred through the United States Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the incorporation of other rights (like freedom of speech) to the states through the 14th Amendment. No one should be denied their education because education is a basic human right for all and is important for everyone to make the most of their lives. Education improves an individual’s chances in life and helps to tackle poverty.

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    Do students have a constitutional right to education.?
    Yes, I do think all kids living in the United States have the right to a free public education…

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  • Naran from Texas

    “A primary object […] should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing […] than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”

    George Washington

    “Say […] whether peace is best preserved by giving energy to the government, or information to the people. This last is the most certain and the most legitimate engine of government. Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them.”

    Thomas Jefferson

    “A well instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.”

    James Madison

    Today, the words of the founding fathers on the importance of educating Americans ring true as much as they did two-hundred-fifty years ago, when our nation was in its infancy and its merit untested. And yet, the practical applications of interpreting this value from our constitution is a source of contention among the diverse opinions of the current political spectrum.

    Despite the controversy, it is clear that the right to an education, or the right to PURSUE an education, is derived from the constitution through an in-depth analysis of the founding document’s literal content and moral purpose.

    Before I outline my case, allow me to define what constitutional rights mean.

    Rights are legal, social, or moral norms that entitle a group of people to certain actions or experiences; in the context of the U.S. Constitution, rights are protections of entitlement that are enumerated or implied by the document and cannot be obstructed without due process of the law.

    These rights include inalienable/natural rights; legal rights as those enforced distinctly by the law (such as the sixth amendment); civil rights (thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments); political rights that ensure fair treatment under the law (I.e, due process, the right to vote, the right to a fair trial); and implied rights.

    Out of these subsets, the most important for the purpose of my argument are the concepts of inalienable and implied rights, the latter being entitlements that are not explicitly stated in the constitution.

    An example of implied rights is the right to privacy: while the constitution makes no specific mention of privacy, modern interpreters of the living document note that the first, third, fourth, fifth, ninth, and fourteenth amendments allude to it, and can therefore be derived from the explicit text.

    Furthermore, the validity of implied rights has been well-cemented in our current interpretation of the constitution. The most notable affirmation was the landmark 7-2 SCOTUS ruling in Roe v. Wade, which determined that states cannot infringe upon the individual right to privacy with regards to first trimester abortions.

    The reason why I mention this specific instance is to illustrate that constitutional rights INCLUDE THOSE WHICH ARE NOT EXPLICITLY STATED IN THE DOCUMENT. As evidenced by their upholding in the highest court in the land, implied rights are just as legitimate as those which are explicitly stated.

    Now, with this matter settled, we are but one step away from seeing how education is a right afforded by the constitution.

    First, we must recognize that inalienable or natural rights, as encapsulated by the Jeffersonian (Lockean) phrase ‘‘life, liberty, and property,’’ are explicit rights, as mentioned specifically in the fourteenth amendment:

    “Nor shall any state deprive any person of LIFE, LIBERTY, OR PROPERTY, without due process of law.”

    Here, it is clear that education is an implied right because it falls underneath the umbrella of the rights of “life and liberty.’’

    To prove this, allow me to produce a definition of education. According to pedagogist Mark K. Smith, education is the “wise, hopeful and respectful cultivation of learning undertaken in the belief that all should have the chance to share in life.”

    Dissecting this definition, we see that it accurately eclipses our shared American values and therefore constitutes an important facet of American life and liberty.

    Firstly, the philosophical adjectives used to describe the process of learning (“wise, hopeful, and respectful”) embody the very message of educational opportunity and quality in which our founding fathers believed, as reflected in the opening quotations.

    For instance, ‘wisdom’ conveys a sense of empathy for different ideas: a cornerstone value that comprises our national love for debate and inquiry.

    ‘Hope,’ meanwhile, is a word that signifies fearless exploration of the uncharted, the very spirit of the first colonists who came to this land and the continued guiding force for our country’s students, who aim to cure pressing scientific and social issues in the twenty-first century.

    Lastly, ‘respect’ implies treating others both equally and as individuals: a uniquely American tightrope act that extends to both three hundred years of turbulent history and the way we seek to educate students in our classrooms.

    In short, education is, as American philosopher John Dewey put it: “not preparation for life,” but rather “life itself.” It is not the same thing as schooling; rather, it is an experience that transcends the four walls and rows of desks to be about cultivating individual potential.

    By interacting with knowledge and other people in a formal or informal education setting, students learn the importances of reason, risk-taking and collaboration—qualities that are inextricable to the rudimentary values of the United States, and are therefore inextricable to living a free life in America.

    Ultimately, education is the foundation for life and liberty (although we could indeed argue that it is also so for property) and is therefore protected as an implied right from the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution. As our neighborhoods, communities, and people rely on it to maintain the ethical and practical functions of our country as embodied by ‘life, liberty, and property,’ education is wholly necessary to the perpetuation of the American identity,

    In closing, I would like to clarify my claim by addressing two counter arguments.

    With regards to my assertion that natural rights are explicitly protected by the constitution, I can imagine an objection to be a copy or some variant of : “Oh, so you’re saying that the government can force teachers to teach?”

    I am not—I am only emphasizing that life, liberty, and property are protected from deliberate state discrimination. Although they are undeniably supported under the constitution and (indeed our Declaration of Independence), I concede that inalienable rights cannot be used as justification for infringing on others’ natural, political, or economic rights. In other words, I am saying that education is a constitutional right INSOFAR AS IT IS NOT USED TO DENY INDIVIDUALS’ THEIR OWN RIGHTS.

    On the subject of the U.S. government’s role in education, I must establish my silence. Both critics and supporters of public education have valid points, but I am not here to argue how or if the government SHOULD be involved in education based on empirical evidence. Rather, I am here to argue what IS protected under the constitution; any other reference to purported government over or underreach is irrelevant to the question: Do students have a constitutional right to an education?

    My answer, as demonstrated from a close examination of natural and implied rights, the fourteenth amendment, and the meaning of education, is an irrevocable ‘yes.’

    Citations:
    Founding Fathers Quotes:
    The Constitution of the United States with Index, and The Declaration of Independence. Second Edition, 2014 Printing. National Center for Constitutional Studies.

    Definition of rights: https://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=1857

    List of types of constitutional rights: https://legaldictionary.net/constitutional-rights/

    Civil Rights: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/civil_rights

    Implied rights:
    https://uscivilliberties.org/themes/3958-implied-rights.html

    The Right to Privacy: https://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/is-there-a-right-to-privacy-amendment.html

    Roe v. wade: https://www.oyez.org/cases/1971/70-18

    14th Amendment:
    The Constitution of the United States with Index, and The Declaration of Independence. Second Edition, 2014 Printing. National Center for Constitutional Studies.

    Definition of Education: https://infed.org/mobi/what-is-education-a-definition-and-discussion/

    Mark K Smith, pedagogist: https://infed.org/mobi/mark-k-smith/

    John Dewey quote: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/42738.John_Dewey

    U.S. Dept of education: https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/focus/what_pg3.html

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  • Sophie from Maryland

    A speaking point that gets thrown around often when scenarios such as this are presented is that the Constitution does not explicitly state that students have the right to education (in the same way that “women have the right to safe and legal abortion” and “citizens have the right to healthcare” are not written directly into the Constitution). This argument, however, is indicative of someone who’s run out of convincing strategies for defending their perspective. The first thing we learn about the Constitution is that it was designed to be a living document, open to revision, addition, and interpretation, and yet, this is somehow always the first thing we forget. The ninth amendment in the Bill of Rights, when simplified, states that any right not listed in the Constitution is to be delegated to the people and determined at the point of its relevance – in other words, not every right is listed in the original document of the Constitution. What it boils down to, then, is a question of the nation’s core morality. What do we, as a national community, prioritize? The way I see it, the answer is evident: in the Preamble, it’s stated very clearly that two of the chief purposes of the Constitution are to “promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” In a modern America, there is very limited possibility for a secured long-term state of well-being without a satisfactory education, and there is no liberty in a life of suppression and misinformation brought about by an ill-conceived school system.

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    A speaking point that gets thrown around often when scenarios such as this are presented is that the Constitution does not explicitly state that stude…

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  • Nikhil from New York

    In my opinion, yes, students have the Constitutional right to education. Denying children the right to education limits the progress of our nation, and also violates the Fourteenth Amendment of our Constitution. The basic parameters of the Fourteenth Amendment are that all people born or naturalized in our country are citizens, and therefore, neither the federal government nor state governments may create laws that deny privileges granted to citizens by the Constitution. By not granting some children the right to education, our country directly violates this amendment. In my eyes, education is a right that everyone should have. If education isn’t accessible for all citizens, the Fourteenth Amendment is violated, as a citizen’s unalienable rights are taken away. If a child citizen is not able to be educated, they have almost no chance at ‘pursuing happiness,’ or creating a life for themselves.
    Two parts of the Fourteenth Amendment, in particular, serve to reinforce the constitutionality of equal access to education: The Equal Protection Clause, and the Due Process Clause. The Due Process Clause states that “no state [shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” If a child isn’t able to receive an education, there is a very low chance that they will be granted the same opportunities for life, liberty, and property as educated citizens. Following the stipulation of the Due Process Clause, this means that no state may deny a citizen the right to education without due process; in other words, no state may deny a citizen access to education without an opportunity for that citizen to appear in court to defend their rights. Furthermore, the Equal Protection Clause prohibits federal and state governments from “mak[ing] or enforc[ing] any law which shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.” The U.S. government grants all children the right to education through the public school system; children receive access to this system as a result of the annual taxes their parents pay. The Equal Protection Clause therefore protects education as a right granted to all citizens of the United States of America by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
    People frequently say that the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. I believe that our Constitution enables them to be leaders of tomorrow through granting the right to education to all U.S. citizens.

    Sources
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life,_Liberty_and_the_pursuit_of_Happiness
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Protection_Clause

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    In my opinion, yes, students have the Constitutional right to education. Denying children the right to education limits the progress of our nation, an…

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  • Giovanna from Pennsylvania

    I firmly believe students do have a right to an education. The end of result of someone who had a well rounded education vs someone who didn’t would be the amount of opportunities that would be available to them compared to someone with a poor education only having the ability to receive whatever he/she could get such as . housing, job etc. by having an education, a person will be able to learn the things needed to survive in the real world, which is why I firmly believe students do have the constitutional right to education.

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    I firmly believe students do have a right to an education. The end of result of someone who had a well rounded education vs someone who didn’t would b…

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  • Elizabeth from Pennsylvania

    Education is a constitutional right but is narrow in its scope. This means that an education sufficient enough to provide basic literacy that allows comprehension needed to participate in our democracy must be provided. In other words, as the appellate judges stated a minimum education is a “basic exercise of other fundamental rights and liberties, most importantly participation in our political system.” Without having the basics there is no way a person would be able to independently survive on their own and participate in society. With democracy, citizen participation is viewed as a fundamental principle within our system and to take the right of education away would cause failure. As argued in an issue like this, the Supreme Court cases of Plyler v. Doe and Brown v. Board of Education are used. These cases use that the 14th amendment guarantees and equal education as a right. Some may argue that the idea of education is not a right itself, but that equality within the education system is. However, I believe to argue that these cases solidify the right to equal education also solidifies that education is a basic right. By having schools that are not properly equipped to provide students a legitimate education is not equal at all. It does not provide the students what they need to participate in the American ideals of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In conclusion, not only is education a basic human right, but our democratic system is dependent on the educated as well.

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  • Evan from Pennsylvania

    Yes, I think that children have a constitutional right to education. It is their development that leads to the improvement of society. Without that knowledge it would be had for them to advance through life and take up the jobs adults work now. Although it can become expensive for the state to provide this to children for a long period of time, children should be able to learn the basics to be able to have a base ground of knowledge. It is a previous generation’s job to ready the next. If the next generation is not ready, then society will not advance and can ultimately collapse over time. Depending on the location of the situation, tax dollars should attribute to help children gain some level of education. In Detroit, the court decided that all children have the constitutional right to learn how to read. Apparently, some schools were not able to teach students due to low quality issues. Tax dollars should make sure that books are up to date, buildings are environmentally comfortable, and there are enough qualified teaching figures. I completely understand that money may become an issue. But in our day in age, it should be easy to find some sort of solution to educate children. Cyber activities are ways for children to learn at home while it could be possible for local libraries to schedule days that kids can come and learn in small groups with volunteers. There is a vast amount of options to make sure all children have the ability to learn and grow academically.

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    Yes, I think that children have a constitutional right to education. It is their development that leads to the improvement of society. Without that kn…

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  • Grace from Pennsylvania

    Some believe you cannot describe the right to an education as a constitutional right. It is true that when we look at what the framers wrote, we cannot identify any mention of education. As they created this new government, we see all the ways they worked to avoid government from being too involved in our personal lives and taking too much control over various aspects. Education could have been one of the factors that they did not wish to address, as they could have intended it be left up to state legislators to deal with. However, in order to even participate in the democracy that the Constitution describes, one needs a “basic minimum education”, especially a “foundational literacy.” I believe the right to an education is therefore an inexplicit constitutional right. Ensuring that children will receive an education adequate enough for them to be involved in our political system is very important and necessary to provide them with the ability to pursue opportunities in the future. Being able to read and understand basic ideas is essential in one day becoming an active citizen.
    The horrible conditions of select schools in Detroit created an environment that hindered their students’ educational experiences dramatically. According to plaintiff Jamarria Hall, “… the saddest thing of all was really the resources that they had, like, being in a class where there’s 34 students, but there’s only six textbooks.” Another complaint talks about how due to the lack of faculty, one of the highest performing students was told to teach classmates math. This is extremely upsetting and should not be tolerated. Students who are required to attend school should be receiving the education they deserve, not forced to teach themselves and unnecessarily struggle.
    https://www.npr.org/2020/04/27/845595380/court-rules-detroit-students-have-constitutional-right-to-an-education

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    Some believe you cannot describe the right to an education as a constitutional right. It is true that when we look at what the framers wrote, we canno…

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  • Gwenyth from Pennsylvania

    Yes, students in the United States have a right to education. Education is a gateway to new opportunities and a better standing in life. Living in ignorance is like living imprisoned: you are trapped, unable to advance in life or make informed decisions to help yourself and your family. This is in direct violation of the constitution. The constitution states that the United States will “promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” Without education, how can you advocate for yourself? How can you have the resources to say “you are treating me in a way that is wrong and degrading”? How can you get yourself to a comfortable economic state? Without education, you can’t get a well-paying job, which means you can’t help your children later in life. That doesn’t sound like securing “the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
    Education is a right, and when only some people have it and others don’t, that is not treating evereyone equally under the constitution.

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    Yes, students in the United States have a right to education. Education is a gateway to new opportunities and a better standing in life. Living in ign…

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  • Marly from Pennsylvania

    Yes the constitution guarantees liberty of the people and children are people. In order to move the country forward the youth will need an education

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  • Lissa from Ohio

    This question is hard to answer. To start with, what does the question mean? “Do Students Have a Constitutional Right to Education?” Well, what is a constitutional right? This is the definition of constitutional from the Oxford English Dictionary: “in accordance with or allowed by an established set of principles governing a state.” The definition of right, also from the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something.” So, a constitutional right is a legal entitlement to have something as stated in a constitution.
    The question is, do students in America have a legal right to go to school based on the constitution? Different states over the country have different rules in their constitutions for this. In my home state, Ohio, students have the “constitutional right” to education as guaranteed in our Bill of Rights. However, in this case I believe the question is referring to the United States Constitution, so we will attempt to answer the question from that standpoint.
    There are very convincing arguments both ways, which I think is illustrated very well in the other debate posts I have read. At first, it seems that the answer is no, because the Constitution of the United States says nothing about Education. The word education or school does not appear in it. This means that education is under the direct rule and jurisdiction of the states, many of which include education as a right, as I said before.
    However, despite all this, I believe that the answer is still yes. The states are in charge of education within their own states and that is the way they should be. But education falls under life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; it falls under equal opportunity. We live in a country where to not have an education is to hinder success and limit quality of life. That is just the way it is here. Telling a person in America that they can have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but that they might not get an education is like promising your family they can make the dinner they want, and then not letting them buy the ingredients for it. How can they have the dinner they want without the ingredients!? You can’t promise them the finished product and not give them the pieces. In this country, pursuit of happiness is the finished product and education is one of the pieces.
    So, when it comes down to it, I agree that the Constitution does not guarantee Education specifically. However, it does guarantee it as a part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If you want an education in this country, you are legally entitled to it, as decided in the recent court decision in the 6th Court of Appeals Jurisdiction.

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    This question is hard to answer. To start with, what does the question mean? “Do Students Have a Constitutional Right to Education?” Well, what is…

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  • Michelle from Maryland

    Students have a constitutional right to education. Education is necessary for a functional society. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” The importance of education has been established but the question remains whether or not education is regarded as a constitutional right.

    The capacity of education fulfills the main objective in the Constitution which is to “promote the general welfare.” Education promotes the general welfare by providing citizens with the knowledge to improve the community. The Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment also states that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This clause allows for education to be equal and prohibits any discrimination. In fact, the Federal Appeals Court ruled in April 2020 that literacy is “essential for citizens to participate in a democracy” and this right should not be prohibited. The verdict was determined after a lawsuit by five students in Detroit who claimed that “the State of Michigan failed to provide them with the most fundamental of skills: the ability to read.” Education is not only essential in society but it upholds the greatest American value, liberty.

    The contrasting opinion argues that the right to education is not explicitly stated in the Constitution, although this does not mean that the right is not supported implicitly. The Elastic Clause allows for powers to be carried out as long as they are deemed “necessary and proper”. This applies to education as well since it fulfills the democratic beliefs of the United States. Literacy, which stems from a good education is needed for citizens to participate in democracy and express their beliefs. The United States prioritizes liberty and this is achieved with equal rights including an education.

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  • Don from Virginia

    The topic of whether students have a constitutional right to education presents two questions. First, are states constitutionally required to establish a public school system? Secondly, once a state does establish a public school system, do students have a right to equal access to that system? Because the second question can be confidently answered in the affirmative, students do have, in practice, a constitutional right to education.

    To answer the first question, the federal Constitution does not create a legally enforceable right to be provided with publicly financed education by either states or the federal government. In an unprecedented 2-1 decision, a Sixth Circuit panel recently ruled that the 14th Amendment gives students the right to “an education sufficient to provide access to a foundational level of literacy.” The facts of this case, involving Detroit schools with “missing … teachers [and] physically dangerous facilities” clearly require immediate action. However, the Constitution, as Judge Murphy pointed out in his dissenting opinion, has not authorized the courts to correct all public policy failures by state and local governments. The recent panel decision is almost certain to be overturned because it contradicts Supreme Court precedent. In Plyler v. Doe, the Court held that “[p]ublic education is not a “right” granted to individuals by the Constitution.” The reasoning used to distinguish that statement from the case at hand is unlikely to be persuasive to either the full Sixth Circuit or a majority of the Supreme Court.

    The main rationale for treating education as a positive constitutional right is that basic literacy is needed to engage in the democratic process. However, the Constitution clearly does not require the government to equip every citizen to exercise all of their constitutional rights. While access to a firearm is necessary to exercise one’s rights under the Second Amendment, the Constitution does not require citizens to be provided with firearms at public expense. As the Sixth Circuit dissent explained, the Bill of Rights protects “negative” rights – in other words, it tells the government what rights it may not take from citizens, not what benefits it must provide to citizens. Phrases such as “shall make no law”, “shall not be infringed”, and “shall not be violated” describe the bounds of the individual rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

    While students in principle do not have a right to education – because no state is constitutionally required to establish a public school system – in practice, students do have a constitutional right to education because of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. Since all 50 states do have a public school system, students must be provided with equal access to that system, and as state actors, public school officials must respect students’ constitutional rights. This is clear based on the text of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. In Goss v. Lopez, the Supreme Court ruled that “[h]aving chosen to extend the right to an education … Ohio may not withdraw that right on grounds of misconduct absent fundamentally fair procedures…” In other words, the decision to establish a public school system is at the discretion of the state, but once that decision is made, students may not be arbitrarily deprived of access to education. Precedent set in Brown v. Board of Education and Plyer v. Doe prohibits the government from excluding students from public schools for discriminatory reasons.

    The Constitution does not, and was never intended to, solve every problem in our society. When schools are crumbling, dangerous, and inadequate, the solution must come from the people holding their elected representatives accountable, not the federal courts. However, the Constitution is exceedingly clear that states must provide their citizens with equal protection and due process. Because of this, arbitrarily denying students equal access to preexisting education systems is unconstitutional, and students, due to the policy decisions of all 50 states, therefore have a constitutional right to education.

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  • Martina from Pennsylvania

    In society today, going out into the world post-high school, without an education, will have detrimental effects. As citizens, we do have the right to a basic education. Picture someone trying to get a job while only having a middle school education. It just wouldn’t work right? Well that’s how it is for students with a below average high school education. Not only does high school teach kids educational things, but it teaches life skills. According to Debbie Preston a geography specialist and educational consultant, “My most valuable school experiences weren’t academic. They were all about people—social skills, respect, self-worth, empathy, and realizing your own potential. On the sports field, I learned about winning and losing graciously. In the classroom, I learned that doing your best counted far more than academic ability.” As citizens, we have the right to learn how to become a GOOD citizen. The Constitution puts all these rules in place to make sure we can live up to our potential. But if we aren’t given the tools to do that, then what’s the point? Many believe having this conversation will “open a new can of worms” based on discrimination in education. But, we’ve already hit that point, and honestly we can only improve from where we’re currently at. This issue needs to be spoken about. Without a basic, minimum education, think about all the future careers you’re ending, all the communities that will go unchanged, and all the people who will be robbed from a good life. In the Detroit case, this was a landmark for the Constitutional right to fair, public education. This statement by the judges of this case, “In short, without the literacy provided by a basic minimum education, it is impossible to participate in our democracy”, just proves my point talked about above. In the end, a Constitutional right to education isn’t just about students learning math and science, it’s about learning the skills needed to become a successful citizen in this competitive society. “This decisions affirms that the right to a basic education ensuring access to literacy is far more than an aspiration, but rather is constitutional birthright of every child.” (Mark Rosenbaum: lead attorney in Detroit case).

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  • Willow from Michigan

    I am a student at Charlotte high and I think I honestly should have the right and the way in what I learn and what I think is best for me. I know I need and I want to have math, science and language arts. But I also know I want to have an art class and the way that parents are saying we don’t have a choice in the matter of if I want a extra math or art or even doing physical activity during school hours that I won’t be able to that is something that isn’t fair for them to say. We have such little say as is during school I think personally that we as students should be able to ask for something as small as more art in the schedule or more gym time.

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  • Sabarish from Kansas

    Yes, students have a constitutional right to receive basic education because education is the single most important factor when it comes to the success of a nation going forward. Education is so critical in almost every aspect of adulthood, and an educated mind is also capable of making an informed decision as a citizen of the United States. Without a constitutional right to go to school, many students who opt-out of such experiences can only be classified in many cases as irresponsible. How will the student that is rejecting basic education, something that is required to the most basic jobs in any field, find their way without any guidance from someone who knows the importance of education. This such person will go on to later regret their decision to skip essential education. Lawmakers of the United States know better than to deprive students of valuable education. If the situation turns out that students in certain school districts do not have an effective learning environment, that should be the matter in the question posed to lawmakers. Lawmakers are responsible to impose laws and have an obligation to make education a priority because the first step in any intent to irradicate poverty is bad hit neighborhoods in the United States is to motivate students into learning and make it their obligation to make informed decisions as a citizen when they turn 18. Not only is a basic education essential for every purpose in adulthood, but a basic education is also the single most important factor for the future of a nation. That is why the Founding Fathers would have thought so the importance of education, implying that it is, therefore, a constitutional right for very living child in the United States.

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  • Anjali from New Jersey

    Although I see many justified responses stating that education is not in the constitution, therefore it is not a constitutional right, many things are stated indirectly in the constitution to make it apply to more governmental topics. To explain, several amendments in the constitution indirectly support educational rights, and this is most likely why the judge ruled in favor of the students in several cases dealing with education, such as Brown v. Board of Education and the more recent lawsuit in 2016 regarding Detroit students.

    To explain, one of the primary reasons the constitution was written was to make all men equal. The fourteenth amendment cites, ” No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” In this day in age and before, education is a privilege given to us by the state because we pay taxes to fund facilities and teacher income. Therefore if one person in a state were allowed to have an education while another child would not, this would be ruled as unconstitutional. A child does have a constitutional right to an education if the state funds school facilities with our taxes because it violates the fourteenth amendment when education is selective to certain children. Not only does this show that we have a constitutional right to education, but to equal facilities and equal quality of the curriculum, no matter what economic, or minority position you are in, as fought for in the 2016 case involving Detroit students.

    Also, to be a successful and model citizen of the United States, you need to go through specific “training” to learn about our nationalism, patriotism, most importantly, laws. This is vital so no one tries to take advantage of them in the future, or so they will be a functioning member of the society. In other words, it is more likely that a student without education to commit actions ruled as unconstitutional than someone with an education, who has learned prior knowledge about the Bill of Rights and what our ancestors fought for. How is it fair to give someone the right to vote if they are not taught about the governmental system or how voting should be done with carefulness?

    All in all, no, a right to education does not need to be stated in the constitution for it to be a constitutional right. How would it be possible to cover all political and social topics of America if every constitutional right had to be divided into specific subcategories? Not only does the constitution justify our rights to education, but education is crucial to develop a functional society that our founding fathers would deem “constitutional”. Children are our future. It is important to teach them about the government, country, and basic living skills so our society will stable and “constitutional” for generations to come.

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  • Peter from California

    I like my vote

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  • Lachlan from Indiana

    Yes, students have a constitutional right to education under the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution. While the constitution itself makes no direct guarantee of education for all, the 14th Amendment does ensure that states shall not “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This section, known as the Equal Protections Clause, has been applied to desegregation (in Brown v. Board of Education), Affirmative Action (in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke), and same sex marriage (in Obgerfell v. Hodges), among others. Ensuring equal protection is vital to the Rule of Law enjoyed in the United States. Furthermore, while the US Constitution does not guarantee education, the Michigan Constitution does. According to article VIII, section 2, the Michigan Legislature “shall maintain and support a system of free public elementary and secondary schools. Responsibility for this system rests in the hands of the Michigan Board of Education, a statewide agency that often delegates its duties to lower school boards. In the case of Detroit, however, the state agency actually acted as an “emergency manager,” overseeing the school district on a personal level. This had many consequences, including the hiring of teachers who lacked qualifications, buildings that did not meet the state fire codes, and antiquated text books. This represents a stark contrast from other schools in Michigan. In essence, the Michigan Legislature failed to meet the standards of the 14th Amendment by subjecting some students to conditions that failed to meet basic standards. If every school in Michigan were decrepit, the state would be meeting the constitutional bar required. However, the laws of the state were applied unequally to disadvantaged minority groups, indicating a clear violation of the 14th Amendment. Because nearly every state includes education within their own constitutions, the equal protections clause guarantees every student the right to an education- at least equal to their peers – across the nation.

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  • Ashley from Minnesota

    I believe that education is very important in every aspect of life, and thus, everyone should be offered an education. However, with that said, I believe that individuals should be able to choose the level of education they achieve because there are many individuals who’d rather achieve something else outside the academic realm. So while I believe everyone is entitled to an education, I don’t think they should be forced to continue if they don’t want to.

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    I believe that education is very important in every aspect of life, and thus, everyone should be offered an education. However, with that said, I beli…

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  • Aidan from New York

    Yes, I think that Students should have the right of Constitutional rights just like everyone else in the world that has them.

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  • Lauren from Illinois

    According to a federal appeals court, ” The Constitution provides a fundamental right to a basic minimum education” (The Washington Post). It is important that citizens have the bare minimum of education, reading and writing, so they can exercise their fundamental constitutional rights, and voice their opinions in the country’s politics. The Bill of Rights states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”. It is the duty of the citizens of the United States to participate and be an active member of the political community,and literacy is essential in taking art in these activities. Some might argue that it is not the responsibility of high class citizens to pay taxes in order for those who can’t afford an education to go to school. However, scholarships and financial aide gives students the opportunity for and education, and a significant part of this money is loaned. The government is actively coming up with solutions to find better ways of funding colleges. Another fact is that in order to be enlisted into the Army, Police force, or Navy and any Military force, one must have a high school diploma. Not only is education important to ensure the rights of the people and their involvement in the government, it also allows more people to join the Military and to fight for this country. The protection and safety of this country goes beyond money and taxes, this should not be the primary focus. Not only this, but to become a doctor one needs an education. With more doctors and medical research, we are one step closer to finding the cure to cancer, coronavirus, and other fatal illnesses. Needless to say, the education of American citizens is essential in ensuring the safety and security of the country, the constitutional rights of citizens, and the research that allows us to live long healthy lives.

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  • Chiron from North Carolina

    Yes, as the question states they are already students. I do believe if you are a student you should get a education however I also believe you should be able to choose what you learn, depending on what you learn different opportunities will be available to you for the future, I feel like required “core classes” are an ok concept but ultimately should be up to the student if they deem them necessary or not.

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    Yes, as the question states they are already students. I do believe if you are a student you should get a education however I also believe you should …

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  • Charlie from Utah

    The Constitutional argument made in the Detroit case is that basic literary (i.e. basic education) was required to exercise fundamental rights which are explicitly mentioned in the conversation, and which are impossible to perform without literacy. Several court cases (both in Michigan and in California, from which this quote is sourced), have stated that “Most significantly, every meaningful interaction between a citizen and the state is predicated on a minimum level of literacy, meaning that access to literacy is necessary to access our political process.”

    In essence, because the Constitution guarantees all citizens the right to participate in the American political process, it also [implicitly] guarantees all citizens the right to be able to participate in the political process—thus, to have the education necessary to read a ballot or law, or to form a legal assembly.

    But there’s also the argument that failing to provide an education violates the unalienable right to life itself. Let us look at the meatpacking industry, for example. The report “Labor Practices in the Meat Packing and Poultry Processing Industry”, by William Whitaker, states that “workers with skills and a moderate amount of formal education would not work in meat packing…”. But if we turn our attention to Wisconsin today , we can see that the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court has argued that it is just to lift the stay-at-home restrictions because it wouldn’t impact the “regular folks”—only those who work at the meatpacking factories, which have seen huge spikes in infections.

    While the government continues to insist that the lives with low levels of education do not matter, and are meaningfully distinct from “regular folks”, it is clear that education must be a right for all American citizens. The federal government cannot have it both ways: it cannot violate the unalienable right of life to those with little educational attainment, and then argue that there is no Constitutional, similarly unalienable responsibility for the national government to provide education.

    Sources: https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/04/24/federal-court-rules-that-students-have-constitutional-right-basic-education-including-literary-historic-detroit-case/
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/05/wisconsin-state-supreme-court-hears-gop-lawmakers-challenge-stay-at-home-order/
    https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc814912/m2/1/high_res_d/RL33002_2005Jul20.pdf

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  • Derek from Texas

    The issue in question is whether students of the United States of America have a fundamental right to education, and the answer, in my opinion, is complicated.

    The biggest argument, and a seemingly valid one, is that the Constitution grants no authority to the federal government to regulate education. According to the tenth amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively…” Those who claim students do not have a right to education seldomly believe that education is unimportant; on the contrary, they point to the constitutional principle of federalism and the lack of any mention in the Constitution. However, there is a flaw with this argument: many other issues, including but not limited to abortion rights in Roe v Wade and marriage equality rights in Obergefell v Hodges, are also not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, yet the courts still hammered down the decision they made… The Constitution is not a solid, unchanging document; not only can it be amended, but as the times change and the centuries pass, the interpretations of it and what the Constitution needs to do for the people and for government changes. This is not to say the Constitution is liquid, randomly changing at the whims and wishes of those in power, but the Constitution was designed to be adapted and interpreted to promote proper government function and the well-being of the people, regardless of the era. And the times have changed, indeed…

    When the Constitution was drafted, a tiny minority of the population was fortunate enough to receive an education at all. Obviously, in that era, it would have been impractical to *guarantee* every child in the nation access to universal education, but now, universal K-12 education is expected for every child living within these borders; college education is even expected for a wide variety of jobs. The Fourteenth Amendment says clearly that “nor shall any State deprive any person of life [and] liberty… without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are of the three greatest founding principles of individual freedoms that need to be protected in the United States, and an adequate, basic education is important for all three: an education allows social mobility and allows one to get a job that improve one’s living condition. An education allows one to break free of the cages of poverty and the cycles of being trapped in the lower classes of society. A good education is a way to grow and learn, and it is a gratifying and rewarding experience when done correctly. After all, what would life be like if you could not speak, read, or understand English? How difficult might something simple such as going to the grocery store or cooking off a recipe be without basic mathematics? Would it be possible to properly participate in democracy and society without these basic skills? The “education” we are talking about is not college-level, advanced aerospace engineering, but basic skills such as English are required for proper civil discourse and social engagement, such as understanding the policies of candidates to vote or being able to assemble and read the press. Thus, is it really ethical to deny our children, our nation’s future, basic education to accomplish such tasks?

    Various cases throughout history point to such- Brown v Board of Education shattered the previous Plessy v Ferguson “separate but equal” and banned putting colored people in inferior-quality and underfunded schools. Plyler v Doe rejected the idea that a state could deny funding to undocumented immigrant children. The Courts recognized that education should be applied equally, and in an era where so many people receive a proper education, it would be a disadvantage and a hindrance on one’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness if one were denied it.

    The Ninth Amendment says “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Simply because the right to education, which in so many ways is transformative in the lives of people, is not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution, it does not mean it should not be guaranteed. It does not mean the federal government should centralize education, nor should it necessarily, but it could do millions justice by ensuring that each State will provide some sort of basic education to all students for a brighter future. As education grows increasingly important and relevant in an ever modernizing world, the denial of a proper and just education, in a way, discriminates against those without it.

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  • Ruth from Georgia

    Although education is not a right explicitly mentioned in the constitution or protected by the Bill of Rights, it is a vital part of our society that helps to uphold America’s ideals which indirectly makes it a right every U.S. citizen should have. Starting with Thomas Jefferson, our founding fathers felt that education was a necessary component to our nation and would ultimately help raise the next generation of workers in our economy. As a result, Thomas Jefferson made it mandatory for states to use tax money as a means for paying for education to ensure that even underserved children with financial burdens could attend school. Think about it. How are we as citizens of the United States of America suppose to know what actions are a violation of state and national laws if we are never able to go to school to learn about them? How are we suppose to effectively run the economy and steer the nation away from bankruptcy if we never went to a school to learn how to deal with and use money wisely? Most importantly, how are we suppose to teach the next generation of children how to successfully run the nation while standing by the foundations America was built on if we were never introduced to those ideas in school? All of these questions go to show that, if our national government must protect our rights and liberties in exchange for our dedication to serve the nation and uphold the nation’s values, then it should indirectly be our constitutional right to have an education that will sufficiently expose us to the concepts while also teaching us vital information that will help us ensure America’s success tomorrow.

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  • Caden from Illinois

    Everybody in the United States should have the right to education. Just because the right to education is not printed on the constitution, does not mean it is not a right. Our constitution is based on three primary principles, “inherent rights, government by the people, and separation of powers” (fl-pda.org). The definition of inherent is “existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute.” The right to education is an inherent right because education is most definitely essential. Without education, the student is almost guaranteed to not be able to find a well-paying job, or make simple life decisions. It is understandable because many people believe that if the student does not take education seriously, then what’s the point of it being a right? Well, there are many smart kids out there who want to be challenged and go to school but they can’t because their parents need them for working at home, or simply they cannot afford education. This needs to change and people need to understand that without education, you are so unlikely to succeed in life, make social connections, or even live a healthy life. In order for a democracy to thrive, you need more brainpower and more education. Without the right to education, we are throwing away so many young people’s careers. This world needs more innovators, entrepreneurs, and other magnificent jobs in the upcoming generation. So overall, yes, educations should be a constitutional right.

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  • Duaa from Missouri

    Section 29 of the Constitution directly outlines that everyone has a right to basic education, and even that higher learning must be made accessible to all. One could argue that education is not a “fundamental right” in the constitution, however, the 14th amendment says that if any state establishes a public school system, no child can be denied education in that state (which is all 50 states). Beyond that, the constitution protects many things including our basic human rights and I maintain that education is a basic human right. In this day and age in America, it’s hard to get very far without one, to deny any U.S. resident literacy, basic math skills, etc. is an infringement on their human rights.

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  • Isaac from California

    Although there is no defining amendment in the Constitution that details that students have a right to an education, many of the rights that are detailed require literacy and other educational factors. The appellate judges in the Detroit case stated that even though the fundamental right to literacy is narrow, it includes “‘the skills essential for basic exercise of other fundamental rights and liberties, most importantly participation in our political system'” (Washington Post). The ability to read is so fundamental for understanding the many components of our democracy, considering how the Founding Fathers, creators of this democratic system, all were able to read and write. And with a governmental system founded on the requirement to be literate, it SHOULD be a right for students to receive an adequate education so that they too can participate in the democratic systems of our nation. Many of the politicians who argue otherwise will say that there is no amendment in the Constitution to support these students, however, there is reason to suspect other intentions. The upgrade schools will need to provide adequate education will cost quite a lot of money, and it’s this kind of long-term investment that is the exact kind of a nightmare to a capitalistic politician, a kind of politician that is sadly in abundance in our nation’s government. In the end, we have to realize that those of us debating on this right now have the luxury to have adequate education, but this isn’t the case for everyone in this country. And in a time where speaking up is so important, by denying students the right to a good education, we’re denying them a chance to prosper in this country, we’re denying them the opportunity to succeed, and most of all, we’re denying them a voice in this nation.

    Thank you

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  • Chrystiann from Texas

    We are in a world where being educated is a human right !! And governments and people of power need to stop worrying about there pockets and more of the people they represent.

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    • Sophie from Pennsylvania

      Students around the United States are being deprived of equal educational opportunities because of the status of urban school districts. This often makes students and parents question if students have a constitutional right to equal education. The constitution protects a students right to equal education under the equal protections clause of the 14th amendment and the overturning of the “separate but equal” doctrine of the court case “Plessy v. Ferguson”
      The Equal Protections clause of the 14th Amendment provides that any citizen of the United States shall never be deprived of the equal protection of laws. While the constitution never directly mentions education because that falls under state jurisdiction, it ensures that people are also protected under those individual state laws. Many states include universal education as a law, but those who don’t are being pushed to by both parents and students. While the constitution does not provide specific educational rights, it implies them in the Equal Protections clause which has related to many equal education court cases. The Equal Protections clause of the 14th amendment gives citizens the equal protection of laws therefore protecting students’ right to equal education.
      The court case “Brown v. Board of Education” overturned the separate but equal doctrine set in place by “Plessy v. Ferguson”. This doctrine insisted that racially segregated schools may be separate but if they are they must be equal. In “Brown v. Board of Education” the Supreme court determined that the separation was not equal therefore not protected under the Equal Protections clause. Because of this Supreme Court decision we can assume that the same decision would be made for underfunded urban schools who are not able to give the same quality of education. Better opportunity in education, especially middle and high school, leads to a more efficient and better equipped member of society.
      The United States constitution does not give students the right to education under the 14th Amendment. The federal government has no place in dealing with education laws because those powers have been delegated to the states. In any case, laws made relating to education by the Supreme Court relate to restrictive actions made by educational systems. Schools having a lack of budget has nothing to do with discrimination by race, sex, or sexuality, it only defines the schools spending limits. There is no reason to say that students do not deserve equal education, but there is no way to prove it’s constitutionality considering that education is a power reserved to the states.
      In conclusion, a students right to education is protected under the Equal Protections clause of the 14th amendment, and the overturning of the separate but equal doctrine put in place by “Plessy v. Furgeson”. No student should be deprived of the opportunity of equal education based on their county or district.

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    • Lauren from Illinois

      According to a federal appeals court, ” The Constitution provides a fundamental right to a basic minimum education” (The Washington Post). It is important that citizens have the bare minimum of education, reading and writing, so they can exercise their fundamental constitutional rights, and voice their opinions in the country’s politics. The Bill of Rights states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”. It is the duty of the citizens of the United States to participate and be an active member of the political community,and literacy is essential in taking art in these activities. Some might argue that it is not the responsibility of high class citizens to pay taxes in order for those who can’t afford an education to go to school. However, scholarships and financial aid gives students the opportunity for and education, and a significant part of this money is loaned. The government is actively coming up with solutions to find better ways of funding colleges. Another fact is that in order to be enlisted into the Army, Police force, or Navy and any Military force, one must have a high school diploma. Not only is education important to ensure the rights of the people and their involvement in the government, it also allows more people to join the Military and to fight for this country. The protection and safety of this country goes beyond money and taxes, this should not be the primary focus. Not only this, but to become a doctor one needs an education. With more doctors and medical research, we are one step closer to finding the cure to cancer, coronavirus, and other fatal illnesses. Needless to say, the education of American citizens is essential in ensuring the safety and security of the country, the constitutional rights of citizens, and the research that allows us to live long healthy lives.

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      According to a federal appeals court, ” The Constitution provides a fundamental right to a basic minimum education” (The Washington Post). It is imp…

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    • Alexis from Illinois

      I think that students have a constitutional right to education for many reasons. Although the Constitution doesn’t specifically say the word “education,” the 14th amendment does say “..nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This means that all citizens of the United States are guaranteed equal protection of the laws. In my opinion, it’s not fair for the kids who aren’t privileged with education or for the kids who don’t even have a decent education program. Everyone deserves a right to an education no matter their race, religion, sex, income, or the location of where they live. I understand that some schools are going to be more enhanced and privileged than others, which is obviously going to happen. However, no person deserves an education where there are “deteriorating conditions, inadequate teachers, and a lack of textbooks.” This type of education will not only give many children a disadvantage in their futures, but it will also cause them to lack the important and necessary skills that one needs in order to succeed. Many people live in a community with a great education system; however, this makes him blindsided by the fact that there are several other people who don’t have the same educational opportunities as they do. So in my opinion, I think that all students should have a constitutional right to education, as stated in the 14th amendment.

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      I think that students have a constitutional right to education for many reasons. Although the Constitution doesn’t specifically say the word “educ…

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    • Megan from Minnesota

      According to the fourteenth amendment, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” I think, in a way, depriving students of an adequate education is depriving them of life and liberty, therefore making it unconstitutional. Without a proper education, students will be put at an unfair disadvantage at life, making it harder for them to get a high paying job or pursue a potential higher education. By putting these children at a disadvantage, we are depriving them of the chance to succeed in life, and potentially depriving them of life itself.

      Sources- The Detroit News, The Washington Post, NPR, and findlaw.com

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  • Courtney from Illinois

    Do students have a constitutional right to education? I believe that they do, according to the 14th amendment, any person or student born or living in a state in the United States has the rights of a citizen, and those cannot be taken away. Education is a constitutional right for students, and the 14th amendment makes it a constitutional right for any student in the US. The 14th Amendment prohibits any state from denying “to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The equal protection clause clearly requires that all American citizens must be treated equally by the law. While this may not apply to “illegal” people in the United States, in every state, it should. Education is a constitutional right for American citizens. This also applies to everyone no matter their race or gender. On the UCLA website they mention the Brown v board of education Supreme Court case. “The Supreme Court said this in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case when it struck down race segregation in the public schools.” and “And the Constitution requires that all kids be given equal educational opportunity no matter what their race, ethnic background, religion, or sex, or whether they are rich or poor, citizen or non-citizen. Even if you are in this country illegally, you have the right to go to public school.” This proves beyond any reasonable belief that education should be, and is a constitutional right to education in America.

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  • Kayana from Alabama

    I think we as students have a right to an education as it allows us to further ourselves

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  • Devin from Michigan

    There are two separate and distinct justifications for declaring students to have a constitutional right to education. Both come from the list of enumerated powers given to Congress in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. The weaker justification has to do with Clause 18 – the “necessary and proper” clause. It is necessary and proper to have educated individuals fulfilling the various functions of government, which could then be construed to allow for individuals’ education if for no other reason than to keep the government functioning. The stronger justification goes something like this: the Second Amendment makes clear the intentions of the Founding Fathers to develop “a well-regulated militia,” asserting its necessity “to the security of a free state.” Since that Amendment also endows upon the general population the right to bear arms, a reasonable person can conclude that such a militia is meant to encompass the general population. Regulation of such a militia is a distinct power given to Congress in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16, but there’s a catch: “organizing, arming, and disciplining” the militia is distinct from “governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States.” In other words, the fact that the federal government is organizing a citizenry (which inevitably includes education) does not mean that every single citizen must be serving in a military to render this a valid exercise of federal power. Therefore, it can reasonably be concluded that to “provide for the common defense” and “promote the general welfare,” as laid out in the Preamble as objectives of the Constitution, we as Americans do have an implied but fundamental right to an education.

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  • Ifeanyi from Florida

    The cornerstone of this democratic nation is the availability of certain universal resources to all, which indefinitely include education. How can we, as a people, create innovative ideas, improve the technology of today, solve social issues, campaign for civil rights, and foster positive change, without access to basic education? It has a lasting impact on the lives of all, and pushes us to make consciously positive choices, including those that affect the people around us. Through education, we are able to look at the world through a different lens. It places us in different perspectives that allow us to reach conclusions in novel ways. Education is essential for growth, and a necessity for nationwide wellness. The educated man becomes infinitely more independent when he has access to knowledge. He can better think for himself and others, and has the potential to change the world.

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  • Orlando from District Of Columbia

    Education for all

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  • Eddie from Illinois

    As public school funding continues to drop, our country falls further behind in education in comparison to other countries. Many assume that education has federal protection, but it doesn’t. While all 50 states laws provide for education, it is not outlined in the United States constitution. This has hurt our education system because each state regulates education as it sees fit. In 2016 lawsuits were filed in Michigan and Connecticut trying to fight the education system in those states. While this did not pass, it has become a stepping stone for future changes in this law. As much as 23% less funding has been given to schools in some states since the recession and these numbers continue to fall. If we don’t make education a federal law, states will continue to short school funding for other projects and our education rate will continue to fall. We will be facing a less educated future population, and the cost of that will be immense.

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  • Oyu from Virginia

    Constitutional rights are principles of freedom guaranteed by the United States Constitution (state constitutions will not apply to our argument) by mention or amendment. Thus, education is not a constitutional right.

    Education is neither explicitly nor implicitly included in the framework of the U.S. Constitution. In addition, no amendments were made to the document enforcing the right to education.
    Secondly, there is a Supreme Court case that attests to the nonexistence of this “right.” In 1972, in the case of San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, parents argued that their school district lacked the funding to provide a fair education, violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that the government cannot “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”^1 The justices ruled that the Constitution does not give a fundamental right to education and that Texas’ education system did not discriminate against low-income families.^2 The result deemed that the San Antonio Independent School District had the necessary means to provide an adequate education to their students.^3

    Plyler v. Doe (1982) involved a discriminating Texas statute that pressured school districts to deny undocumented children from obtaining public education. The justices explicitly stated that education is not a right, but instead an institution where discrimination should be outlawed to better the future of American citizens.^4 Illiteracy, racial prejudice, and poverty would most certainly trap these children into the lowest socio-economic class, due to this law.^5,6 In addition, the Supreme Court failed to see the state interest or need behind the statute.^7 Thus, the outcome declared the Texas statute unconstitutional according to the Equal Protection Clause on the basis of racial and economic discrimination, while denying education as a constitutional right.
    Finally, the Tenth Amendment defines federalism in the United States, such that powers not given to the national government belong to the regional governments and the people.^8 Accordingly, education is one of the topics that fall under the jurisdiction of the state governments, along with other topics such as regulation of in-state trade and state taxation.

    The opposing side may argue that the case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) set a precedent where education is “a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”^9 However, this does not apply. The Supreme Court overseeing the San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez case agrees that education is valuable, but they stressed the difference between the situations of the two cases. The importance of education is not a determining factor to whether or not education is a fundamental right, under the Equal Protection Clause.^10

    In conclusion, education is not a constitutional right. It was never written in the Constitution and the United States Supreme Court has come to the decision multiple times that education is not a fundamental, constitutional right. If the students from Detroit reach the Supreme Court, they may change the relationship between public education and the student. However, the current status is quite clear, education is not a constitutional right.

    1. U.S. Const. amend. XIV.
    2. San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U. S. 18-28 (1973)
    3. Id. at 411 U. S. 29-39
    4. Plyler v. Doe, 457 U. S. 221 (1982)
    5. Id. at 457 U. S. 208
    6. Id. at 457 U. S. 223
    7. Id. at 457 U. S. 209
    8. U.S. Const. amend. X.
    9. Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 493 (1954).
    10. San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U. S. 30

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  • Isabella from Pennsylvania

    This is a big question often overlooked: DO students have the constitutional right to an education? When there is a newly-brought-to-light question such as this in America’s justice system, the judiciary branch turns to the Constitution for help. So, what does the Constitution say about the issue? Absolutely nothing—the Constitution is silent. It makes no mention of a guaranteed right to be educated. Of course, the right to be educated can be implied from phrases in our nation’s history such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” but in reality, any so-called “right” can be implied from any phrase or clause in the Constitution or elsewhere. One can argue that, because of our civic duty to participate in our democracy, one must be literate, but there are other ways in which someone can be educated about the current events in our country other than a formal public- or private-school education. I agree with a previous response that this is not a constitutional issue at all and that it should be addressed by the legislative branch and the judicial system alike. I think that the governments of each individual state should make laws about and decisions on this matter.

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  • Alana from New York

    Before addressing the matter at hand, it is first important to clarify a few terms. “Students”, in this case, is referring to any individual residing in the United States of America that is attending or will be attending any formal instructional located in the United States of America. A constitutional right, as legal dictionaries write and in clearest terms to this matter, is a right given to and held for the people of the United States of America by the U.S Constitution and the Bill of Rights. With this being clarified we will avoid the dilemma of a miscommunication due to the general “Do students…” framework of the question and the plain truth that the U.S Constitution and Bill of Rights only applies to the United States. Now even with clarity, the answer is still no, students do not have a constitutional right to education. Rather, the right to education is a human one stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): “Everyone has the right to education. […] Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace” (Art. 26). This answers the matter rather straightforward, and there is not much to clarify, but I will address how this is relevant in the Detroit students’ case.
    As the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled and which is shared in the case, the ability to read and write is “essential” for a citizen to participate in American democracy because of things such as road signs, voting, and tax forms. This is similar to Article 26 of the UDHR shared above, stating that education should further the maintenance of peace. Without a strong enough school system, students are unable to receive an education that will provide them with literacy or an understanding and tolerance of other beliefs, customs, and cultures, meaning that this goes against both the 6th Circuit’s decision and the UDHR. It is also stated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights that this human right also includes “a responsibility to provide basic education for individuals who have not completed primary education.” This is to say that if someone did not receive a basic education- which is generally considered to be the first six years of an education- they should have access to gaining it. According to these sources, because the individuals in this case did not learn literacy, they should be provided with a new system where they will be taught and will therefore be able to participate effectively and efficiently in daily life.
    So while no, students do not have a constitutional right to education, they have the human right to education. The human right to learn literacy and tolerance, to understand their own customs and others’, and the right to have the ability to participate in the Democracy that they are a part of.

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  • Katelyn from North Carolina

    Do students have a constitutional right to education? Every state has a provisional constitution called the “education article” and in this it guarantees that every child will be able to have a free public education at least up until the twelfth grade. Though this is not in the federal constitution it can be connected to the fourteenth amendment in the Constitution which states that all people born in the U.S and not born here will have the right to federal laws and be seen as equal. This means that in America today children of all races, genders, and ethnic backgrounds should be able to get a free and equal opportunity to an education that will benefit them. Also in amendment ten it states that all things not in the Constitution will be delegated by the state and or the people. This means that although this is not in the federal constitution each state has their own laws about the education of children. In the NC state constitution it says in article I, Section 15 : “The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of the State to guard and maintain that right.” This should be in the Federal Constitution because the significance of the Constitution is to establish the base of America’s national government and fundamental laws, and guarantee that certain rights for its citizens are followed. Education is one of the most significant rights in life. With education comes a future to establish your own opinions and understand the world around you. As I mentioned earlier, this right is put in the state constitutions; however, I believe very firmly that this should be included as a federal right.
    Historically, education wasn’t always provided for all people. During the era of slavery in the United States, education for African Americans, enslaved and free, was often discouraged and not provided, except for religious instruction. Eventually this was made illegal in many of the Southern states and seen as a threat. Women , prior to the 19th century were seen as objects. Their role was to learn how to attend to and manage the house. Their opinions and thoughts weren’t respected and largely seen as invalid. Toward the end of the 19th century this began to change. Women were allowed to branch out. They began to move out of the home and become leaders with new found roles and importance in various fields. In addition, people with disabilities were generally excluded from public schools. These students were put in institutions or classes that did not provide them with the education that they needed. This changed with the introduction of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or (IDEA) for short. It helped to ensure that more than six million students with disabilities have the right to a free and appropriate education. Which meant that they too would now get to be included with the general education population. Over the course of time many groups have fought to have this right. It is for this reason that I believe the Federal Constitution should include a specific right to education as opposed to an implied right as mentioned in the Fourteenth Amendment. States have not always provided an equal opportunity to education. Even now, education is not provided in an equitable manner. Students in high poverty areas or districts tend to have less experienced instructors. Which means less access to high level science, math, and advanced placement courses. The average teacher salary in high poverty school districts was about $46,000 in the 2013-2014 school year compared to over $57,000 in low poverty school districts. For example, Louisiana is one of the poorest states and as of 2017 has the highest dropout rate. The students are the ones who feel the impact of these disparities when they are being deprived of an equal education.
    In conclusion there is no law in the constitution that says we all have the right to an education but there needs to be one. It should not be up to the state to determine if all kids have an equal and reliable education.The 14th Amendment states that all people should have equal opportunities but education is just as important. In the past states have not lived up to the amendment so education should be one specific right.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_income
    https://www.asumag.com/research/top-10s/article/21120426/states-with-the-highest-status-dropout-rates
    http://strongernc.org/our-right-to-education-in-north-carolina/
    https://nces.ed.gov/programs/dropout/intro.asp
    https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/look-past-present-and-future-special-education
    https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/05/31/our-schools-have-an-equity-problem-what.html
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/14/detroit-civil-rights-lawsuit-constitutional-literacy-education
    https://www.cato.org/blog/education-constitution

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  • James from Pennsylvania

    No, I do not believe that students have the constitutional right to receive an education. However, I do believe that all students and citizens of a free society deserve the ability to receive one. In a Republic such as the united states, it is crucial that all citizens participate in the governance of The Nation. If we don’t produce well-educated citizens then our government will collapse because the government gets its authority from the citizens. public education is not a right but a justifiable investment in the future of The United States. I fully believe that our society is more than capable of giving a full education to all who wish to seek it legally. And anything short of that is a failure of government to protect and to conserve the Constitution of the United States.

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  • Aidan from Pennsylvania

    No, I do not believe the right to an education is backed up by the Constitution. There is no specific citation that backs such a belief. Supporters of this often loo to the Fourteenth Amendment but that only guarantees equality before the law. It is quite a stretch to assume that equality before the law must mean equality in education. There is a need for education in America. However, this has come from society advancing forward and not the Constitution.

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  • Parker from Pennsylvania

    Education is not a right listed in the Constitution; however, the pursuit of education is a right that is fundamental. All humans have a self-evident human right of pursuit of happiness, so if an individual wishes to receive an education, they can work to receive one, but its not a fundamental right. Some may say people need an education to participate in democracy and civic activities, but its not a school’s job to teach you how to be a citizen, its your parents. Your parents and other guardians are there to teach you about civics and politics, not an institution. Schools are meant to further an individuals knowledge of different subjects used in life, such as reading and writing. Therefore, education is not a Constitutional right or guarantee, but rather something people make work for if they wish to pursue it.

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  • Teighan from Pennsylvania

    In my opinion, I do not believe students have a constitutional right to education. First, the Constitution never states anything about education being a right. The Constitution does not guarantee any other rights beside the ones stated in the Bill of Rights and the other amendments. So, why would students have the constitutional right to education if it is not stated anywhere in the US Constitution. If you look at the documents signed by our founding fathers, they nowhere mentioned or stated anything about education. In Brown v. the Board of Education, the court stated that students must be receiving a ‘’ free and equal” education, which all have the chance to do now. Contradicting, this case was argued on equality, not a constitutional right. Education was never ruled a right in this case. Lastly, I think that the federal government should have no power whatsoever, over education. It should not be the business of the government to worry about a child’s education. In conclusion, everyone has access to free education, but it is not by any means a Constitutional right.

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  • Payge from Pennsylvania

    No, the constitution lists that all kids living in the United States have a right to free public education. The constitution also requires that all kids be given equal educational opportunity no matter what their race, ethnic background, religion, or sex, or whether they are rich or poor, citizen, or non-citizen. If you take a look into the education system, it is far from equal education and not all kids are permitted to attend school. Systemic racism plays a role, its a fed broken promise. If you go to school, do well, go to college and you will be rewarded. The reality is, its a fantasy, and the path for achievement and advancement is far easier. People face barriers simply for the color of their skin, that whites never even have to question themselves about. There are many factors such as the school to prison pipeline, “effective segregation”, debt and racism.

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    • Petra from Michigan

      Good morning! After reading your post, I was a bit confused on the context of your argument. Although you have explicitly voted “No” to the prompt of public education being a Constitutional right, you then describe our federal situation as “the constitution lists that all kids living in the United States have a right to free public education.” This claim seemed to be rather contradictory toward the overall purpose of this side of the debate, and even more unstately was when no clarification was brought forth into your reasoning afterwards. In other words, you never stated WHERE in the Constitution students have this right, but rather made the assumption that they did to continue to your other point of racial inequality outside of the Constitution. With that being said, I do agree with the fact that it is difficult to withstand certain discrimination of students even while the Constitution bans these practices, but I do not believe that this argument is completely appropriate on the “No” side of the debate, for you do state that there IS a right to free public education somewhere in the Constitution, but that it is the lack of duty in United States citizens to uphold its meaning that causes its purpose to diminish. By all means, I might have interpreted the claims of your argument wrong, so do correct me if I am mistaken. However, I feel that it would be in your best interest to clarify more over your initial statements to allow your readers to have more accessibility to the understanding of your intuitive sense of the background of this debate. Furthermore, in future circumstances, I believe that you should make sure to recheck your stance on a topic in accordance to the overall prompt before you affirmatively submit your point over to one side of a debate.

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      Good morning! After reading your post, I was a bit confused on the context of your argument. Although you have explicitly voted “No” to the prompt of …

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  • Evan from Pennsylvania

    No, I do not believe that the Constitution of the United States gives students the right to an education. No where in the Constitution is anything regarding schools, teachers, students, or education ever mentioned. The “right” given to students in Detroit only applies to the states of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, the four states covered by the Sixth Court of Appeals. A Constitutional right to education would never happen, for a few reasons. One, it would be an extreme financial burden to put educational funding to the federal executive branch, rather than the legislative. Moreover, educational funding is something usually left to the states. Secondly, the increasingly right-leaning Supreme Court would simply never go for this, as the Constitution’s silence on the matter can speak loudly on the issue. This silence almost certainly entails that the Framers never intended for education to become a right administered by the federal government, and for budget issues, it should stay that way. Some people may argue that increased funding towards schools may increase the quality of learning and its environment; however, education spending has increased by $700 billion in recent years, $14 billion of that going to high-poverty areas. But, even with this increased spending, the quality of education has not increased significantly in high-poverty areas. Sure, increased spending can fund better school buildings and supplies, but the true quality of education comes from the quality of teachers, and there are simply some places where enough high-quality, competent teachers do not exist.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/nataliewexler/2020/04/27/why-a-constitutional-right-to-education-wont-mean-much/

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  • emma from Pennsylvania

    No, in the Constitution it does not state that students have the right to an education. The law of the constitution does not deliberately guarantee any form of valuable status to any citizen then what is written in the Bill of Rights and added amendments. Therefore, there is no official statements for an education. The Constitution never mentions a protection of education. This may be because the Founders did not see a federal government involvement in education. The 10th Amendment, which gives powers not mentioned in the constitution to the people, establishes that it is not a protected right. Many Supreme Court cases have made education accessible, but in the constitution, it is not written.

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  • Victoria from New Jersey

    The Right of education is not stated within the Constitution. The Constitution has no mention of education for students at all. The basis needs to be successful in a society does not particularly need to be learn within school walls. Also, if the opposing side that school is needed to be apart of democracy than what shall be done for the other classes not helping students learn to live in a democracy.

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  • TJ from Kentucky

    Students have the right to seek out education but there is no constitutional right that says students have the right to education. The argument against this is that you need an education to participate in a democracy but that is just not true. The only thing you need to participate in a democracy is your own beliefs and values. I’m not saying people don’t have the right to get a education, but the government is not required to give students an education by the constitution.

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  • Logan from Kentucky

    I believe that education is extremely important and believe that everyone should have access to it. However, I do not think it should be a right. The reason many public school are poorly run and provide subpar services is because they are run by the government. Industries run by the government are always ineffective and of lesser quality than the private market. If school were run privately and the family could choose their school, rather than be forced into one by their district, it would raise the level of education for all of the schools. Poorly run schools would get no business and have to adapt and become better. That’s the beauty of the private market. Right now, poor schools have no incentive to improve conditions, as either way, they will get students. The only downside is that school would no longer be free. However, one solution could be to use some of the taxes already taken to pay for the schools and use it to assist lower income families.

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  • Colin from Kentucky

    I do not believe that education should be a constitutional right. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that education is guaranteed to citizens. I agree with arguments that state that a democracy relies on educated citizens, but one can educate oneself online through many different sources that are free. Guaranteeing education to students on a federal level would be a disaster, as it would place a huge financial burden on individual states and regions that would not be able to handle it. But, if free education was required on a more local level, it could allow for more consideration of the region’s ability to handle such a financial strain.

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  • Maggie from Illinois

    Regardless of personal wants or wishes, there is no constitutional right for students to receive an education. Within the constitution there is no article or amendment stating so, there is no mention of education anywhere in the constitution. Some may argue that the constitutional right to education lies in the 14th Amendment, the one guaranteeing rights, privileges and immunities of citizenship, due process, and equal protection. However those who argue this are wrong, as it only argues it in terms of the criminal justice system, not civil laws. The first few sections of this amendment goes through the regulations of corporations and businesses in order to promote competition and good working conditions, and the protection of resources. It then goes into taxes, taxation, and fundamental rights. In the fundamental rights it is non economic and has everything to do with the rights of a person. No where in the fundamental right section does it mention education, it only mentions abortion, informational privacy, liberty interests of people with mental disabilities, family relationship, and the “Right to Die”. After this the amendment goes over due process and laws. No where is it mentioned that people have a privilege, yet alone a constitutional right to education, which is why I believe there is no constitutional right for students’ education.

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  • Henry from Illinois

    Students in the United States do not have a Constitutional right to education. There are no amendments that talk about education or school in any matter. I believe that all kids should have the opportunity to attend school and have an education, but it is not a constitutional right. The two main reasons that it is not a constitutional right is because, first off, the federal government should have no control over education. Education should be solely be controlled by the states, and no student should be forced to be educated. It is also said that any power not mentioned in the constitution shall be given to the states, and since education is not apart of the constitution, it is a state decision. Some think that brown vs the board of education dealt with giving all students the right to education, but it solely was saying that schools should not segregate, hence the ‘separate but equal’. In conclusion, I believe that education is not a constitutional power and I believe it should remain that way. The power should be given to the states.

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  • Petra from Michigan

    Hello! To start off, I would like to explain one substantial difference: a moral right is not a legal right, nor does it have any limit to the freedom of United States citizens to uphold its principles. This is fundamental to understand when dealing with the interpretation of the Constitution, as is the case with student education, when there isn’t an Amendment explicitly stating that all students have the right to a high public education, but it is on moral grounds that we feel dignified as human beings to create as much of a suitable learning environment for a child as possible. Therefore, on the basis of moral vs. legal rights, many people are mistaken on what our state and federal governments will allow based on the alienable moral needs of the people. With that out of the way, here are my major points on why I believe students of the United States do not have a Constitutional right to education:

    1. Education had always been a privilege in the past. During the good ole 18th century of colonial settlers from Europe to the Americas, schools were not common, and if one wanted to pursue a career, they were either taken on as an apprentice or, if they were a white male, attended some of the rarer schools that were around. Later in the future, we now have less chores and more time to spend on investing in other parts of our lives, so school became popular, and was eventually the crowned way to “making it big” in society. However, the usage of school was, and still remains the purpose and choice of a student to understand more of their world and gain the knowledge necessary to obtain a desired career. Therefore, schools and education are a privilege to the people to use under their consent, but can not be a legal right as “guaranteed” to Americans.

    2. A legal right to education could lead to abuse of the education system. I address you now, the reader, to recall a student in your past years of education who clearly exhibited a lack of interest in the school work they were forced to do, having no interest to pursue the material whatsoever. With that in mind, I now want to focus your attention to our country’s emphasis on performance rather than the actual “learning” of students, using the equation good grades = college, and college = high-paying job. For some, good grades = cutting corners, studying just to pass, but not to retain information, as well as working only enough to be deemed above average. For others, they are simply pushed away from the attention by their department of Board of Education, leaving many to drop-out and slide to lower regions of our society. Certainly, this action defies our Constitutional principles of “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness” for all living in U.S borders, but I believe that if the right to Education is endowed among us students now, the social gap between diligent and less-motivated students will only grow, which dampens our overall ability as a nation. Before we can instill a higher mode of education among students, the federal and state governments must first work together to establish a more effective, and dare I say “up-to-date” education system that allows all Americans, regardless of their personal goals as citizens, to become motivated to learn and view school projects more as opportunities rather than chores.

    3. When there’s so much to clean-up in the education system already, the government can not face the financial endeavor of supporting such a new and rigorous approach to education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics in the 2015-2016 school year, the United States had spent a total of $706 billion on expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools across the country! That number was largely due to the 18% increase in enrolled students from the past 15 years, and that rate is predicted to continue as our population increases. Now, this accounts for the average funding of schools by themselves, but if we were to pass a right to Education, the amount of money added on top of those initial costs to ensure a higher approach to a student’s education would be horrendously substantial, taking more tax-payer dollars from the government and creating a worsening amount of inflation! In other words, a higher investment in education is just not worth it right now.

    4. For my final point, I’d like to clarify that a right to Education is different from equal treatment of students in schools. We DO have Constitutional Amendments that maintain equal environments for U.S citizens regardless of race or sex, such as through sections of the 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments. As well, it was established in Brown v. Board of Education and The Civil Rights Act of 1964 that schools and other public facilities were banned from using segregation. However, the right to Education simply allows all students to have equal accessible abilities to get ahead in their education and better themselves for our society. Since we already have legislation in place that disbands discriminatory practices, schools can not legally withhold an equal opportunity of education from a specific group of people anyway, so the right to Education would mainly just help students in financial struggle. However, as I stated earlier, our government has too much financial detriment on its own to offer any more aid to students right now.

    These were the reasons I could come up with on why there is not currently a Constitutional right to education, but regardless of your personal standpoints, I think we can all agree that as United States students, and by the words of John Adams, “[E]ducation of youth, especially of the lower class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.” Thank you for your time.

    Sources:
    https://www.knightcrier.org/opinion/2019/02/28/editorial-education-is-a-privilege-not-a-right/
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/09/17/there-is-no-constitutional-right-to-a-high-quality-public-education-should-there-be/
    https://www.iep.utm.edu/hum-rts/
    http://web.mit.edu/course/2/2.95j/readings/introethics_pt2.html
    https://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-7-4-c-education-and-the-14th-amendment
    https://www.stltoday.com/opinion/columnists/founding-fathers-agreed-funding-public-education-is-not-a-debate/article_f05aa5b0-2fed-5c63-be1a-1b013cf49625.html
    https://educationdata.org/high-school-dropout-rate/
    https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66
    http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/education/all_amendments_usconst.htm#Amendments11-27

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  • Bridget from California

    I propose a legislative renewal of deteriorating schools. Any elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools that wouldn’t meet a regulatory requirement of learning environment or textbooks could be replenished. A funding limit could be implemented to make cost-efficient choices within the school, and to relieve financial burden from state finances. As simple as I may make this project sound, it would require many new jobs for people, to inspect schools, determine the budget needed for necessities only, and grant change. This project does not need to be a broad constitutional addition to assimilate, because by focusing solely on the problem, a solid solution can be made. This is why I am formally against giving this problem to the judicial branch, because the legislative branch can also provide beneficial results. By going too broad and proposing a country wide constitutional insertion, we may also be falling short from fixing the targeted problem we have right now, in the Detroit schooling system. A thoroughgoing reform affecting the entire country’s education, focus, and economy at once is not as likely to succeed as a more focused, solidified proposition, especially during the recent pandemic receding our economy and us as a people recovering back to normalcy.
    By taking it one step at a time and helping the children who need it now, we slowly implement an achievable, better system.

    Works Cited:
    “MSU: Michigan ‘Dead Last’ in Funding Growth for K-12 Schools.” Google, Google, http://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.detroitnews.com/amp/2656393002.

    “Global Recession Due to Pandemic Inevitable; but Recovery Can Be Fast.” Google, Google, http://www.google.com/amp/s/m.economictimes.com/markets/stocks/news/global-recession-due-to-pandemic-inevitable-but-recovery-can-be-fast/amp_articleshow/75004890.cms.

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  • Celine from Maryland

    This is a hard question to answer. Because is anyone really going to say, that people shouldn’t have an education? Of course not! But the question is not whether children should be educated, but whether education is a right protected by the constitution. My answer to that question is no – and I will explain not only why that is my answer, but why I think that is the case.

    So first of. Why do I think the constitution doesn’t protect the right to education? In the simplest of terms, look in the constitution, or it’s amendments and you will not find any reference to education, teaching, learning, reading, literacy, etc. Now some of you may be thinking, well what about Brown V. Board. But first off, that is not part of the constitution. Brown V. Board is a supreme court case, which is the highest court of appeals in the country. And I would even debate that the case wasn’t declaring that children had a right to an education. When you think about Brown V. Board the phrase that most likely comes to mind is “Separate but equal, isn’t equal”, or something along those lines. And that phrase is actually my whole defense for my stance that Brown V. Board has nothing to do with education. Inherently, it was battling racism, not quality of education, or a right to education. If you want to run a school in your county that is great, but the one thing the constitution does enshrine is that you can not exclude anyone from entering that school based off of the color of their skin.

    So I guess that is my answer. Education is not a right enshrined in the constitution, because frankly it is not even mentioned in the constitution, and Brown V. Board is not a sufficient argument to declare education a right, because Brown V. Board was at it’s essence, about equality, not education.

    Now why exactly do I think education is not included in the Constitution. Well, I have a few reasons for why I believe this is the case.

    1) Limited Government. Our founding fathers, were especially keen on the idea of limited government, that’s why they tried testing out the waters with the articles of confederation, before they realized they needed at least a slightly stronger centralized government in order to succeed as a nation. But even though they wrote the constitution, there was a large faction of people at the time who called themselves the Anti-Federalists, and they wanted to make sure that as much power as possible was within the hands of the state governments not the federal government. Perhaps education was something that they believed had no right to be mandated on a federal level.

    2) The founding fathers were home schooled: OK so in reality, a lot of people were probably home schooled back than. But the point is that the founding fathers were self taught. The read the ideas of enlightenment thinkers, they discussed said ideas, and they read some more. The literacy rate in America was incredibly high during the colonial era, and the period of time occurring after the Revolution. And this was without a forced public school system in order to make sure everybody new their ABC’s. But since the founding fathers were living in a time where so many people were self educated, perhaps they didn’t see a need to enshrine that right into our constitution.

    3) There is always the case of there being underlying racism/sexism: Let’s face it, in colonial America, women and African Americans were not treated as first class citizens. Would they have really wanted to make it a right to educate everyone, when they thought of these people as 3rd class citizens. I do not entirely believe that this statement truly holds up, only because that for quite a long time people treated the constitution as only pertaining to white males anyway. So if they truly that that a right to education should be included in the constitution, I think they would have included it because they would have just ignored their hypocrisy in not applying it to all citizens, just like they did with the rest of the bill of rights.

    Now you have my points as to why I think the founding fathers did not include education as a right into the constitution, I’m going to address whether I personally think that it SHOULD be.

    The short answer would be I’m undecided – but I’m leaning towards no. (hear me out, ok)

    I think in many ways we have already been treating it like it is a constitutional right, but at the same time not really. People in government now are saying that not only should we have public k-12 education, but we should have free colleges as well. But if those people were truly concerned about our education, shouldn’t they be trying to fix the state of our k-12 education system first. One thing I find particularly interesting is if you compare Finland’s Education system to the USA’s. 30+ years ago, both countries ranked about the same globally in terms of education, a round the middle of the pack. But today, Finland places in the top percent in every category, while the United States remains in practically the same position that it was in years ago. If those in congress truly believed that Education was a basic human right, one that should be protected and cherished with the utmost care, why are we in the same place that we were 30 years ago?

    On top of that, I see places where the Federal government seems to have stepped in to try and “improve” our education system, and I don’t believe their methods have worked out all that great. Take the no child left behind act from GWB’s presidency. It discounts that people have different learning and retention rates, forces teachers to teach to the test instead of to help their students actually learn/understand, and some would say even goes so far as violating the 10th amendment. Because the 10th amendment strictly states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Another example i would use would be Common Core, which while not mandated by the Federal Government was highly encouraged by the use of grants given to states that applied the curriculum. Common Core was supposed to be amazing, and do so much for us, but has it? New ways of learning, that may or may not be truly better than before. It surely hasn’t drastically changed the United States ranking in comparison to other countries education systems. And it makes it a whole lot harder for parents, who are the primary educator for their children once they return from school, to help their children out with homework. Kids should not be graded wrong for getting the right answer, in a more old fashioned, and often easier way. As Mr. Incredible said, “Math is Math!”

    And then their is the case of indoctrination. While I do not want to dive into the realm of crazy conspiracy theories here. I think children should be taught how to think not what to think, and unfortunately, right now the public school system seems to be doing the latter.

    My last point on the matter pertains to COVID-19. We are living in a terrible, and unprecedented situation. But one thing that schools have had to consider, was should they even consider distance learning, because some students won’t have access to the same materials and information due to their situation at home. And while these circumstances are terrible it does breed the question: Does your right to not be left behind trump my right to an education? Should I stop learning, because of something 100% out of my control?

    Wow. So I dumped a lot on you guys. I hope it is understandable and not too muddled. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about this issue recently but for a different reason then you might think. I’m home schooled. And while I may have a one up on you guys during this pandemic, some people want to take away my right to be educated in that way. Harvard planned on holding a conference over the summer, discussing what to do about homeschooling and whether or not it should be temporarily banned. So I have had a lot of thoughts about this issue swirling through my head the past couple of weeks, because while I hope beyond hope that our country never reaches a point where they are even thinking about bringing that idea into fruition, I figure if they really start to consider it, that I want to testify in the hope that my voice matters.

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  • Patrick from Massachusetts

    Is education guaranteed by the Constitution? In the strictest sense, no. The Constitution does not guarantee education to all Americans, nor should it. What is guaranteed is the right to liberty, which is enshrined in our founding document. This right includes the right to decide to go to school, the right to read a book, and the right to educate oneself. What is not guaranteed, however, is the school itself, the book itself, or the materials which are necessary for education. As the founding fathers noted, these are not rights, we don’t innately own them. Rather, they are privileges. This being said, through liberty, we have the right to make the best of the privileges that we have access to (the Constitution protects my right to read any book that I own), but we are not bestowed the privileges themselves (the Constitution doesn’t force the government, or the public, to buy me the book). Nowhere in the Constitution is a public school system established, not once is schooling even mentioned. Not a single time in the Bill of Rights is the term “education” even referenced. How can one say that the Constitution guarantees a right which it does not address?

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  • Parker from Oregon

    Do students have a constitutional right to education? The law of the constitution does not guarantee any beneficial status to citizens other than what is entailed in the bill of rights and the additional amendments. This being, there are no official writs binding the government to provide the education or the funds for the education of its citizens. Even the original spirit of the constitution contradicts the truths that are self-evident: that all men are created equal, that all men have the right to life, that all men have the right to liberty, that all men have the right to pursue happiness. The contradiction could not be more obvious; it is and was the issue of slavery and inequality. The signing of the constitution, which was a verification of slavery, authorized slave-owners to deny every single one of the rights mentioned above. Without those rights, it is impossible for a right to education to exist because that right can’t be when the right to life doesn’t exist. However, it is arguable that the signing of that founding charter did not mean the finalization of it. It has seen change and is no longer under the grasp of the founding fathers’ corrupted vision. That being said then, what does the living document say now? In that paper, not a sentence can be found supplying a right to learn in a classroom. And that’s just the pits.

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  • Justus from Pennsylvania

    No, I do not believe that the United States Constitution guarantees a right to education at all. Before I look at the reasons, I want to be clear about what a constitutional right is: For the purposes of this discussion, a constitutional right is “a right explicitly stated or mentioned in the Constitution of the United States.” Fairly simple to understand, but foundational none the less. Also, the context of this debate is clear that the constitution in question is the United States Constitution.

    With this framework in mind, here are my reasons why education is not a constitutional right under our definition.

    1. Silence speaks volumes: The Untied States Constitution never once mentions that education is protected. To quote the Cato Institute, “Education is not mentioned in the Constitution of the United States, and for good reason. The Founders wanted most aspects of life managed by those who were closest to them, either by state or local government or by families, businesses, and other elements of civil society. Certainly, they saw no role for the federal government in education.”

    Cato continues to say that the Supreme Court recognizes this, and ruled: “in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez (1973), the Court specifically declared that education, though important, ‘is not among the rights afforded explicit protection under our Federal Constitution. Nor do we find any basis for saying it is implicitly so protected.'” This ruling alone should settle the matter, but let’s look at two other reasons.

    2. No Jurisdiction. The 10th amendment which gives powers not mentioned in the constitution to the states and people. Because the constitution does not mention education, this amendment establishes it is not a constitutional power, or protected right.

    3. The federal government should not run education. Education, under the ideals of liberty, self-determination, and pursuit of happiness, should be a decision of the parent and the teacher. Someone in a government office does not and should not have a right to dictate what someone else’s child learns.

    Some may think that Plyler v. Doe and Brown v. Board of Education apply the 14th amendment to education, making it a constitutional right. I believe this is a wrong perspective. The decision in Brown v. Board of Ed. was a question of equality in schools, not that schools were a right. Plyler essentially applied the separate but equal ruling to illegal immigrant children as well. In neither of these cases, is education ruled a right guaranteed by the constitution, but an equal enforcement of education laws in the states. The purpose of the 14th amendment was to insure due process and equality under the law was guaranteed in every state and court law system.

    In conclusion, Education is not a constitutional right. It does not appear in the constitution, it should not be a purpose of the federal government, and powers not mentioned in the constitution are given to the states, not the federal government.

    https://www.cato.org/blog/education-constitution
    https://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2018/10/25/is-education-a-constitutional-right/
    https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendment/amendment-x
    https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendment/amendment-xiv

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    • Victoria from New Jersey

      I fully agree with your viewpoint. The Constitution gives no notice to education for students as a right. The Constitution does not mention education for students at all.

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    • cedrick from Texas

      the power to regulate the education is given to the states and not to the federal government, the education process is the matter of the state, additionally, each state has a total right regarding the education.

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  • Jacob from California

    Opinions aside, students in the United States do not have a Constitutional right to education. I searched the Constitution including all of the amendments for the words, ‘school’, ‘education’, and ‘teaching’. They do not appear once. However, in the United States, we are always told that everyone has a right to education. They are not wrong. It so happens that it is not the Constitution that upholds that freedom but a Supreme Court Case. In the case of Brown v. Board of Education, it was decided on May 17th, 1954 it was illegal to segregate children in schools. This applies to everyone getting a ‘free and equal’ education. So, yes all youth have access to free quality education but not by the constitution.

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    • Don from Virginia

      The Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education was interpreting the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Students may not be deprived of equal access to government programs based on race. While I agree that the government is not obligated to provide education to anyone, since it has chosen to do so, it may not arbitrarily deny any student access to educational programs. Students therefore have a constitutional right to education in practice, if not in principle.

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  • Ethan from Alabama

    It is in my belief that the United States citizens do not have the constitutional right to education. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that we would require people to attend school or have a right to it. School and education is a privilege that not many other countries have but that does not make it a right. While a basic level of education is needed in order to have a successful life this is not mean having school is necessary. Every basic form of knowledge learned from school including reading, writing, and arithmetic can be tied at home by parents. For many American students school can be stressful and a hassle, so why should we even make it a constitutional right or not everyone uses it or needs it. In fact some of the highest demanding jobs in America currently are not jobs that require college education but instead are trades. Besides the small piece of paper that signifies that you worked hard to get a degree, school nowadays does not really have lots of real world application to the majority of its citizens. School is important and we do need people that have higher levels of intelligence but when there is such a saturation of people attending school and colleges, it’s very hard to pick out the smart people that could make a difference scientifically, medically, or in law. That is why in my personal opinion it would be a waste to make education a constitutional right and make it a requirement. Furthermore it would waste lots of money that could be used in other ways to support the American people. This is self-evident especially in the times of the coronavirus when people are unemployed and need money. Many people who work hard in college and school to get jobs are now being laid off and there’s no money from the government to support these people’s lives and well-being.

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  • Daniel from Kansas

    It does not say it in the Constitution so it cannot be a Constitutional right.

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  • Eliyahu from Maryland

    The tenth amendment makes it clear that powers not given to the federal government, education is one of them, belongs to the states. Thus, the federal government can not, and has no responsibility to pay for a students education. One might argue that the parent of a child has a responsibility to provide an education, but in Wisconsin v. Yoder, the Supreme Court ruled that the Amish family in question did not need to send their kids to high school because of their first amendment rights. Most importantly, one must recognize that without someone providing a positive right, you don’t actually have that right. Someone needs to have an obligation to provide that right. Since the states have the power regrading education, they could give their citizens a right to education, but the federal government can not, and should not guarantee education. Another important factor is the quantity of the education. Middle School? High School? College? What is the argument that someone has a right to a high school education, but not to a college education? Or, what’s the argument that says that you have a right to college, but not to 20 years of college, and why not? In conclusion, the federal government has no responsibility to provide education to students, and there is even an argument that parents don’t need to provide a high level of education to their kids. All in all, it is evidently clear that students don’t have a constitutional right to education.

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