Protecting a Federal Right to Educational Equality and Adequacy

Forthcoming in Thoughts on a Federal Right to Education (Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, ed., NYU Press, 2019)

16 Pages Posted: 3 May 2018  

Joshua E. Weishart

West Virginia University - College of Law; West Virginia University - John D. Rockefeller School of Policy and Politics

Date Written: April 28, 2018

Abstract

A federal right to education is legally viable provided it reconciles children’s equality and liberty interests and overcomes the remedial challenges that have afflicted the state constitutional right to education. Decades of state court adjudication suggests the right is properly construed to moderate the demands of educational equity and adequacy, as fonts of equality and liberty. Courts thus recognize that differently-situated children should be treated as equals according to their needs so as to cultivate their positive freedoms to become full and equal citizens. The resulting claim for equal liberty entitles children to an equally adequate, adequately equal education. A federal right to education could unify both dimensions by implicating U.S. constitutional guarantees of substantive due process and equal protection. The union of these doctrines is the site of judicially enforceable standards to protect children from the harms of educational deprivations and disparities.

Keywords: right to education, substantive due process, equal protection, educational equality, adequacy, equity, equal liberty, state constitution, school finance litigation, school funding

JEL Classification: I22, I24, I29, K39, K41

Suggested Citation

Weishart, Joshua E., Protecting a Federal Right to Educational Equality and Adequacy (April 28, 2018). Forthcoming in Thoughts on a Federal Right to Education (Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, ed., NYU Press, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3171006

Joshua E. Weishart (Contact Author)

West Virginia University - College of Law ( email )

Box 6130
Morgantown, WV West Virginia 26506
United States

West Virginia University - John D. Rockefeller School of Policy and Politics

PO Box 6025
Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

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