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Realizing Educational RightsAdvancing School Reform through Courts and Communities$
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Anne Newman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226071749

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226071886.001.0001

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The Shape of a Right to Education

The Shape of a Right to Education

(p.24) Chapter Two The Shape of a Right to Education
Realizing Educational Rights

Anne Newman

University of Chicago Press

This chapter addresses the question: If we should treat education as a preconditional right to enable fair deliberative decision-making, what should this right include? Rights claims have become ubiquitous in education reform discourse, but little work to date has focused a philosophical lens on the substantive argument for a right to education, its democratic implications, and what this entitlement should include. This chapter begins with a brief overview of rights theory to call attention to how education is sidelined in existing accounts of welfare rights, and argues why it merits a place alongside the other social goods covered by this literature. The chapter next defends the deliberative view of citizenship as the proper framework in which to situate educational rights, and then turns to its educational demands. The general contours of this right are outlined by focusing on the civic skills associated with meaningfully exercising free speech and voting rights, which illustrate the conditions that facilitate equal citizenship. The chapter focuses in particular on the development of citizens’ cognitive autonomy and ability to use public reason as central to the meaningful exercise of political liberties.

Keywords:   Rights theory, Welfare rights, Civic skills, Equal citizenship, Deliberative democracy, Free speech, Voting rights, Public reason, Autonomy

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