A Constitutional Right to Learn: The Uncertain Allure of Making a Federal Case out of Education
Daniel S. Greenspahn
George Washington University - Law School
February 15, 2008
South Carolina Law Review, Vol. 59, 2008
Following the Supreme Court's 2007 decision limiting race-conscious school integration plans, advocates have argued about the next steps towards ensuring a quality education for every student. One possibility is to pursue a federal right to education. For thirty five years reformers have brought school funding lawsuits in state courts believing that the Supreme Court closed the door to a federal right to education in San Antonio v. Rodriguez. This article corrects that misunderstanding, but urges advocates not to pursue a federal right to education at this time. Federal courts have recently weakened constitutional protections in schools, whereas state courts have been a successful forum in ensuring that every student has a chance to learn. The lure of a federal right should not distract advocates from continuing to use state courts to ensure that students and schools are given the resources they require.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38
Keywords: education, education finance, school funding, school finance, right to learn, San Antonio v. Rodriguez, constitutional law, public school, educational adequacy
JEL Classification: I22, I28, 121, 120, H52Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 16, 2008 ; Last revised: July 27, 2008
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