Do children have a right to an education?
What does it mean to have a right to an education? We have compulsory education in all of our fifty states, so far as I know, but do we need to formalize that as a right as well? Is education even something that you can have a right to? I subscribe to a basic philosophy handed down from John Locke which holds more to the "natural rights" of life, liberty and property. I'm no philosopher...and I haven't even read all that Mr. Locke has to say on the subject...but it seems to me that a right is something that you have that cannot be taken away from you. It is not something which is given to you by another.

What would it mean to the United States if we were to amend its constitution to include a right to education for all children? While looking for an old link on this general discussion, I found an interesting paragraph:
The Independent Commission on Public Education works within a human rights framework, which guarantees that every child in New York City has the right to education. Children have the right to quality teachers and curricula, and to a school environment that respects the dignity of every child. This right is not only found in our State Constitution, it is recognized around the world in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The United States does have a markedly different history in regards to the definition of rights in comparison to much of the rest of the world. Since this is largely derived from English common law, it is no surprise that homeschooling is legal in all English speaking countries (so far as I know). But the paragraph about the child's right to an education in the Convention of the Rights of the Child also seems to have been central in the Konrad decision which sided with Germany, citing that "parents may not refuse the right to education of a child on the basis of their convictions." The children were not old enough to foresee the consequences of their parents decisions, so the state had an obligation to ensure that their right to an education was not infringed upon. Forcing them into the public schools therefore was viewed as protecting their right to an education.

Does a right to an education mean that the parent then does not have the right to direct such education? On the surface, it does not appear to be so. However, the European Court of Human Rights seems to believe it does.
The right to education as enshrined in Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 by its very nature calls for regulation by the State...Therefore, Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 implies the possibility for the State to establish compulsory schooling, be it in State schools or private tuition of a satisfactory standard...
That obviously does not necessarily mean that decisions would fall the same way in the United States. But I do sense that we are steadily drifting far from the vision of our founders in regards to basic rights, liberties and the role of the state in protecting those rights.

Two carnivals for your perusement:

The Christian carnival over at Brain Cramps for God.

The Education carnival over at A History Teacher.

I haven't had time to look through them much (ok, at all), but the titles look intriguing.

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